I was speaking with Bruno (a Brazilian co-worker of mine at SHS) the other day. He had asked me if I had watched the latest episode of "Lost." I told him I had watched it, and then he asked me if they "opened the hatch," yet. For those of you who watch the show, and haven't caught up yet, they have not yet opened the hatch (I would normally make all of this spoiler-ish text invisible, but I don't consider this spoiler material).
Bruno was a little upset that they still haven't opened the hatch. He wants the show to get on with itself and get all of the secrets out into the open. On one hand, I disagree. "Lost," and other shows ("Desperate Housewives," "Deadwood," and "Carnivale"), have finally made television almost watchable again (I won't even mention some shows that negate that fact). When shows actually have a good story to tell, I don't mind them taking so long to tell it... as long as it remains fresh and interesting. I'll still watch a show once it's jumped the shark, but it's not nearly as fun. I also know that when shows are getting rave reviews and big ratings numbers, then networks do they only thing they know best... renew and prolong. It IS their job, afterall.
But on the other hand, I'm right there with Bruno. Stop dedicating an entire season to what all the crazy stuff on the island is. Just tell us already and let's see how everyone deals with it all. Season finales are good and all, but let's move on to the next crazy idea, make the story turn, surprise us, keep us guessing.
Despite the success of "Lost," I wonder how small the story once was and how big it's ballooned to now. Chances are the entire story could've played out in one season. Chances also are the story was created as a 48 or 72 episode arc. Who am I to say?
But think about this. How intriguing would some high concept television be for us? Imagine shows that play out in eleven episodes, that's it. No continuation, no second-season, no prequels. It's like a mini-series, almost. Imagine "Lost" ending next week, for good. What a fun series it would've been, right? HBO already makes their seasons 12 episodes, or less, and I think it makes for some better storylines. They don't deal with low-times or sweeps. How refreshing. I'm not certain, but I think the UK does this too.
But would it work here in America? I doubt it. Everything here is about making money, not about telling a good story and keeping it intriguing. You see tons and tons of interviews with people saying they'll come back for another season, or the next film, if the story is good. Most times they're NOT GOOD. Why keep things going for so long ("The X-Files," "Friends", and "ER" come to mind)? Do we television viewers need to grasp onto a story and hold onto it forever?
I don't think so. But I record about six shows as it is right now, so what do I know? I suppose I'm just ready to be challenged a bit more in my television viewing.
+ original post date: May 14, 2005 06:55 PM
+ categories: Television