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December 05, 2022

Ramblings of a TV Addict

By Josh Brown

Okay. I'm going to start off the topic right up front. I sat here in front of my screen, then later all comfy with my notebook, then returned to the computer and still I couldn't for the life of me figure out what to write about. So, here's a little bit about me. I'm sure my later ramblings will display this stuff but I'll put it out there before I actually begin.

I like television. It's really that simple. There's a vast world of imagination out there to experience and while it's not always the greatest display one could witness, everything does seem to touch me somehow; even if that somehow is to make me laugh when it's supposed to be a very serious subject.

My preference is for serialized television shows. I'm really a sucker for a story arc that can stretch across an entire season or even an entire series. This isn't to say I don't enjoy the episodic format, I just enjoy the serialized shows more. My favorite shows are Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel.

Television can evoke such emotion in people at times it can be scary. I've sat watching a show and found myself filled with anger at what was transpiring. I've laughed, I've cried, I've done it all when it comes to shows and I truly think over the years some of the characters on entire shows have become so real in my mind that I will never forget them. That is why I watch and enjoy.

Serialized vs. Episodic

While it is true almost all series on television could be considered serialized, when I think of a serialized series I am looking at the grand scheme.

Serialized shows generally have a long-term story being told and that story is unfolding within each episode. Each episode will have a clear start and finish, but for the whole of the story arc it will only signify a piece of the finished product. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BtVS) is a prime example of this.

Generally, you'll have some big bad enemy that will have a clear goal and be trying to reach it. As the season unfolds, this goal will usually become clearer, this enemy will usually become clearer, and over all the entire season will more or less deal with this enemy. Each episode could be self-contained, its own little bad enemy and trouble, but if you don't know the entire story it could lead to confusion.

That confusion is one of the drawbacks to serialized television shows. Unless you're there from the beginning, you will be missing out and the further along the story gets, the harder it will be to join in.

With episodic shows you have the opposite. Yes, there will be a main 'goal' for the show. An example of this should be Star Trek: Voyager. Their entire premise is trying to get home. The show, however, is set up in episodic format in such a way that anyway at any time could watch an episode and generally not get lost in a long storyline that they've been missing out on. Each episode is pretty much self-contained.

Shows like CSI, Law & Order, all the Star Treks (except for the last season of Deep Space Nine), are all good examples of episodic shows. They still have the character development and all that good stuff that goes with a great story. It's just a more self-contained show. This was how all shows were made for a long time.

Shows like X-Files are almost a mixture of the two. X-Files has several very long story arcs that have been drawn out for ages, but they still have a lot of their stand-alone, self-contained episodes. I really enjoyed X-Files for some time, but I haven't watched it in a few years now.

It's all a matter of taste and what you the viewer enjoy. Me personally, I find I can get more involved in shows like BtVS. More often than not I've found myself watching the same episodes over and over again, making sure I'm not missing anything. I've seen the entire first five seasons three times now and hindsight is a wonderful thing. There were so many clues and so much foreshadowing that didn't even register until after future events took place. When you look back and see what you should have realized all along, 'Duh' comes to mind but I can help but smile and realize just how much was put into such a little show like this.

Well, I think I've rambled enough for this week. Hope it wasn't too terribly bad. Next week I'll try to be more organized.

: Quote of the Week :

Buffy: Well, I gotta look on the bright side. Maybe I can still get kicked out of school!
Xander: Oh, yeah, that's a plan. 'Cause lots of schools aren't on Hellmouths.
Willow: Maybe you could blow something up. They're really strict about that.
Buffy: I was thinking of a more subtle approach, y'know, like excessive not studying.
Giles: The Earth is doomed!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Season 1 - "The Harvest"
Article © Josh Brown. All rights reserved.
Published on 2002-04-15
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