This has been bugging me for a while, and as I am hardly online at all (and thus watching scary amounts of DVDs) it is probably a good time to make use of the distance which not seeing replies as they are made creates – and yeah, this is another whine about writing, but it is one which goes some way to explaining why I don’t really bother with certain television series. The expanded format of television shows allows a decompression of storytelling elements, which should provide a greater opportunity for scriptwriters to provide characterization and epic tales. Only… Few shows really take the challenge and make anything of the set-ups which they provide early in the process. You don’t have to look far and wide for these lazy methods (there is, I guarantee you, one of these pointless shows on right now.), and it isn’t merely a budgetary issue.
Look to The Wire for the best crime drama series. Story, story, story. It’s all in the writing. Sure, the performances help, but without the writing there would be nothing for the actors to do. Stories unfold over the course of multiple episodes, where characters develop from sketched-in appearances to fully-formed individuals. For a science-fiction counterpart, then Battlestar Galactica (ignore later developments in the series) or Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex should be on your watch list. The level of plot to character balance is, in all of these shows, balanced across not only individual episodes, but across seasons as well. While it may seem that there are filler, everything matters.
And this, regardless of the fact that I can’t get reception here at the moment, is why I don’t watch television. I want themes and ideas to be properly explored, not pushed into forty-seven minute chunks as if the show is merely a sausage factory creating disposable product to air between the all-too-important adverts. I’ve been watching Star Trek: Voyager again (the feeling of being in purgatory in excellently reinforced by watching this series), and I have noticed numerous opportunities throughout the first dozen episodes for season-long stories which would actually make sense of the nonsensical elements. The hurried nature is though all of the first three years worth of episodes (and, I suspect, the remainder of the show, but it has been a while since I sat through it all), which makes it hard to care.
I have no emotional connection to Tuvix. He suddenly appears in a transporter accident, and there is much wangsting, but I found myself glancing at the DVD box, wondering what the point was. I flicked the show into fast forward for a while, picked over an article about pandas in a magazine, and looked through my notes for rewrites. There was no way, given how abruptly the story thread was introduced, built, then resolved, that I could do more than shrug with disinterest. While the problems of numerous currently-running shows may be lesser than the notorious examples, I still have the feeling that not enough prep-work is done for new shows.
With this free time, I still have the box-set of Lost to sit through. I may possibly have to get extremely drunk to do so, but I will approach it bravely (no matter how dumb it is).
Now… How to get out of the Voyager marathon before 7of9 turns up and ruins the show entirely.
*ponders shooting television*