www.epistlepublishing.com as our guest blogger today!
There have been a number of shows, series on TV over time that we've seen that have floundered for a while or even failed and a number that were successful.
I am going to look at the ones that were a success because there lie
problems on both ends of the scale. For a show that becomes a success - or a book series for that matter - there is the danger of it becoming stale. What I mean is this, a show can become a victim of its own success by being extended far longer than it should be, for the story being extended longer than it should be. It becomes weak, thin on plot and characterization and the series, eventually suffers under the weight of its own success. Many people call this phenomenon for a story as being "past its expiration date". Ever heard the phrase? This happens with book series as well.
I will refrain from posting too many examples as often more than not, people vehemently disagree on such matters but a couple that come to mind are Smallville and The X-Files. I will focus on one. Smallville was one of my favorite shows and for years I looked forward to tuning in. It was on for ten years and in my opinion, that was two years too long. I still loved the final year and the finale was magnificent but this was an example of a series being drawn out over too many years. As Bilbo says in The Fellowship of the Ring "...butter scraped over too much bread."
Too many seasons or too many books for a story weakens the story. Some shows push it so far that the beloved characters that were once exciting, interesting, fascinating or well-rounded become mere shades and the plot becomes nothing more than a paper thin excuse for the vehicle/ show to continue rambling on, to make more money from advertising for studio executives or for the author
and publisher rather than paying attention to good story-telling for the audience. I am sure we all can think of shows and book series where this has happened and how disappointing for the viewers and readers this is when this happens! I suppose there is a fine balance between how profitable a series is and good story-telling that doesn't go stale and I think that channels such as HBO and Showtime have got it right in that a series gets a certain amount of seasons and then its done. Surprisingly, this happened for Lost on broadcast television and it worked like a charm, the very opposite of what happened with Smallville. Lost was one broadcast television show that I felt did not lose all of its steam and popularity and was able to go out with a bang because it was limited nearly from the beginning to only six seasons. Some feel it would have done better with four or five seasons and I tend to agree, but the producers had decided how the show would end not too long after its first season and because of that, the story stayed relatively strong through the end. There are a few other good examples as well. I only wish this method could be adapted for other great TV and books series.
Reader and viewer satisfaction would certainly increase if quality story-telling were put before monetary considerations.