Jonathan Wright writes via The Guardian:
There was time when episodic science fiction television was exactly that, episodic. Though there might be a few recurring plotlines in your favourite shows, you could dip in and out of a series without being seriously inconvenienced.
Not today. In the era of the story arc, it increasingly takes serious commitment to watch sci-fi telly. The new series of Torchwood is a case in point. Torchwood: Children of Earth, to give the latest series of the Doctor Who spin-off its newly expanded moniker, is “one epic story told over five nights”.
I’m sorry, but what’s so bad about five not-so-epic-but-nevertheless-carefully-crafted-individual stories shown over five weeks –or possibly even six if you need to re-jig the schedules because of a major sporting event? How did telly get so complicated?
Excuse me? Complicated? As someone who absolutely loves serialized television, this blog post has me scratching my head. What’s got me scratching my head even more is that this guy goes on to blame Babylon 5 for the downfall of the episodic Sci-Fi. What’s even worse is that he states that these ongoing arcs are “inconvenient,” and that one cannot simply jump into a show from the 3rd season and enjoy it like all the other shows out there.
Uh-huh. Whatever. The guy doesn’t seem to understand story arcs all that well, or that story is perhaps one of the most important aspects to television and film. Would you have really stuck with BSG had there not been a mission to find Earth? Would you have enjoyed Buffy quite the same way if there hadn’t been a “Big Bad” every season? And what’s that crap about story arcs excluding episodic content? Hello? Pushing Daisies? Dead Like Me? Must I list every other television show in existence?
This ranty-pants post is brought to you via J Michael Straczynski, who rocks. :)