Monday 30 January 2012

Starting with a Dissapointment

The downside to the wham episode cliffhanger season closer is that, when the new season finally rolls around, you have to sit through a dull opening episode. Or at least I think it's dull, the Evil Monster Boy tends to shout 'best episode ever' and rewind to make me watch anything I've missed.

I put up with this behaviour by telling myself that he's only sixteen and, besides, in a few years be living somewhere else(1). I don't blame writers and producers for wanting to have wham episodes but like much in television these days it seems to have become a requirement rather than a joy. The problem is that the real appeal of a TV series(2) is spending quality time with fictional characters you like. This involves building a consensus reality that the viewer can slip into once a week with an expectation that they're going to get more of the same.

A wham episode by definition blows this all to shit so that you spend the summer wondering what the fudge is going to happen next. That's one source of dissapointment but now the consensus has been shattered it means that the primary role of the season opener is to recreate that consensus - everything else, story, character and plausibility are secondary. This is why they often feel unsatisfactory.

Sometimes that have to spend two episodes putting humpty dumpty back together(3) which just doubles the tedium. So please, for the love of god, can we skip the wham episode this season.

(1) No doubt I will be sad and lonesome without him but at least I'll be able to fast forward through the dull bits of season openers.
(2) British TV hardly ever makes proper TV series any more so the art form is mainly confined to the US and, oddly, Denmark.
(3) Often taking the opportunity to remove any troublesomely popular POC characters and replace with them with skinny redheads.

1 comment:

Leslie said...

One of the awesome things about the US series "Eureka" is that when they did a massive overhaul of the plot due to time-travel shenanigans, *they didn't push the reset button*. They kept the new timeline as the New Normal.

Also, copy that about British TV shows unclear on the concept of "series." WTF, Sherlock, 3 episodes per year?! Foyle's War with six episodes? (Speaking of best research job ever, Foyle's War was like looking through a window into the past.)

US TV has something like four "seasons" per year now, with shows coming and going and rotating in and out of sequence, with a new and lucifer-inspired concept called the "mid-season finale," where they split up (by several weeks if not a month or two) the front 13 and the back 9 (or however many eps the show gets per year). This mostly applies to cable networks, not broadcast networks (your ABC, CBS, NBC).

And! In POC in SF/F news, check this out: They actually put a black man on the cover! Granted he's a bad-ass special ops soldier, which is an acceptable occupation for your average well-muscled black man, seeing as how they're much more savage and violent than your typical white man, but still! On the cover! There may be hope for Peter yet!