This Times article
tries to answer the question. Executive summary: a lot of the new serials are dying, but so what? Most shows do. "You can't say they're not working," says one exec, "because, really, they are the only thing that is working."
Labels: Crafty TV Writing
How can they be the "wave of the future" when they have never really gone away?
Personally I think the successful serials today: 24, HEROES, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES break their stories into digestable arcs.
Audiences then have plot threads that lead into the next adventure. It's like reading a series of novels.
The ones that weren't successful or are beginning to see a backlash (SMITH, LOST) or those that never pick up the plot threads and weave them back in.
Its funny. Serials used to be ghosts from the past, relegated to dim memories of Commander Cody, Superman, Batman and Robin. Now they're heralded as the future... I guess our relality is cyclical.
Heroes is working just fine n'est pas?
My only problem with them lately is that they're not showing them. I thought that was because they don't expect people to watch during the "holiday season." Or are they really dead?
I know that LOST has sucked since the beginning of the first season. Bill is right about the plot elements, too. In addition, though, I think a problem is that they're trying to sell the characters too much, so they're neglecting the plot.
It seems fashionable to Lost-bash these days. Personally, I think the show is still one of the best on tv. Yes, it is slow to connect the dots, and often-times it feels as though some dots will never be connected. But, I enjoy the Byzantine nature of it all. It is one show that I truly cannot predict where its storylines are heading, and I appreciate that. The show is certainly not without its faults (too many cast members being number one), however I still think its heavily-layered approach to storytelling is commendable.
I don't think serialized series ever left, they were less obvious as today though.
The problem is as the article says if you put too many of those shows on TV, then you take the risk of not having viewers. I personally prefer seralized shows, always have. I tend to dislike stand-alones stuff and they're usually not good, look at CSI etc, they're nto good shows, they might be entertaining but there's no value to them. Once you watched them you forget about them.
Serials have better plots usually. I'm still in shock that The Nine didn't make it. I guess it's because of the way ABC publicized it as bank robbery but still the writing was great.
As for Lost, the problem is not that it's serialized, the problem is you know that the writers have no clue where they're going. If you feel like that, then the audience will start leaving.
Serials with strong plots where you actually empath with the characters always work. Grey's Anatomy, Men in Trees, Ugly Betty or Friday Nights have strong plots and strong characters.
So I'm not sure saying they're the wave of the future is the proper expression. TV needs both serials and stand-alones to have great shows. Too much of one or the other and people get fed up.
I can appreciate that LOST has taken a different approach into left field. I just don't think being compelling based on "experimentation is good" works enough for me.
After all, season 1 rocked, and it totally fit the experimental label for me. Season 2+, it simply stopped providing consistent entertainment, mainly by sacrificing plot to try selling characters rather than let them develop organically and dynamically.
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