Hey there, blogger buddies!
In my post The Trouble With Sequels~Featuring Why I Don’t Typically Like TV Shows, I expressed my disdain for TV shows as a species. I’m sure I have mentioned it in other posts as well.
But as you may have noticed, I also spend a lot of time telling you of my undying love for several TV shows…my inconsistency is…well, it’s something.
At this point, I can’t really say that the TV shows I like are exceptions to the rule- there are too many of them and I am starting to enjoy them for BEING TV shows. I used to say “This story is good DESPITE being in a TV show format.” But that is just not true.
There are, in fact, positive things about TV shows.
I know, I’ve had a major turnaround here.
Positive aspects of TV shows
1) TIME to TELL the STORY
For one thing, some stories just take a long time to tell, and with a TV show you don’t have to squeeze it into a two hour time slot. You can explore interesting side plots and really take the time to build the story naturally, instead of streamlining everything.
2) Episodes are like chapters- more like a book
Someone once pointed out to me that each episode of a TV show is like a chapter, and more recently I’ve really come to agree with that. As a great lover of books, anything that makes movies/TV more like a book is going to get points with me. The length of TV shows, as well as the way they’re broken up into chapters, is indeed more similar to the format of a book than a typical Hollywood film.
3) Depth of character development
Again, due to the prolonged nature of a TV show as opposed to a movie, there is potentially time for some really great character development to happen. Like a book, we have time to explore things that a streamlined movie can’t get into.
4) Easy to fit into life (chapters again)
This last one isn’t so much about the quality of the story as it is about the practicality of short, bite-sized pieces when it comes to fitting into a person’s schedule. When everyone in your family is going every which way and there is much in the way of sallying forth, it can be hard to find a two and a half hour chunk of time to watch a James Cameron movie, but a forty-five minute episode might be just the thing.
In the past year or so I have come to appreciate these pros to the TV show format. That being said, however, I still stand by much of what I have said in the way of negative aspects of TV shows.
Negative aspects of TV shows
1) Sloppy pacing
Having the time to tell a story that needs it is one thing. Taking five seasons to tell a story that could easily have been told in five minutes is quite another.
Due to having so much time, TV shows can easily fall into the trap of sloppy pacing, and dragging things out that really should not be dragged out at all. There are aspects of stories that can get cluttered with extra bits and lose their impact because they were edited lazily. Extra bits can be good, but in the right places. Otherwise they drag the story down.
And of course it can be really annoying when you can tell they are holding off on an important event/reveal just to keep you watching- not for any actual purpose for the story. Ugh.
2) Cheaper quality
Though this is certainly not always the case, there seems to be a lower standard for the quality of TV shows- acting, dialogue, special effects- which can be rather painful at times. Maybe this has to do with how fast they have to churn out episodes or something? But I think that for some TV shows this is a much bigger problem than others. Still, worth mentioning.
3) Time consuming
This is mainly a personal problem, because I could always STOP watching a TV show partway through… But nevertheless. When you watch a bad movie, you wasted about two hours of your life doing it. When you watch a TV show that you end up realizing (far too late) is rubbish, you may end up wasting…twenty hours? Thirty? I mean, once you’ve invested so many hours in a story, it’s much more awful when the finale is a horrible letdown than if you’d only spent an evening on it.
4) The run-on effect
Oi. So this may be the biggest issue I have with TV shows still. And it may have something to do with my inability to quit things before I’ve finished them (though I am getting better at this actually!) There are so many that just run themselves into the ground. Starting a TV show that is still active is terrifying because you don’t know if they will have the good sense to stop when the story is over or if they will keep going until after the cows have come home, become elderly, and died. Or something.
The good thing is, I have discovered that some TV shows are actually capable of coming to an end when the story has run its course, for which I am extremely grateful.
I have come to appreciate much about TV shows, which I never would have guessed a few years ago. It does make me feel a bit sheepish sometimes, since I was so strongly against them for so much of my life thus far.
But hey, we all get these kinds of blows to our pride and it’s probably good for us.
What are your thoughts on TV shows as a species? Have you watched many TV shows? Do you think that TV shows are more like books than movies are? What are some of your favorite TV shows? What is something on which your opinion has drastically changed in the past few years?