A novelist writes a story. When the book ends, so does the story.
A film director directs a story. When the movie ends, so does the story.
But television is a whole different ball game.
So much has been said over the past decade about this being TV’s golden age, about how you can develop characters and stories over years and seasons, and how viewers can really form bonds with these people that they spend an hour or so with per week for X amount of years. And I get that. Trust me. My relationship with Coach Taylor and Mrs. Coach and Riggins and Saracen and the gang was deeper than some of my closest friendships.
But the downside of television’s ability to draw out character development and storytelling over years and seasons – and in some cases decades – is this risk of running a show straight into the ground.
The following is a list of shows I have watched or am watching and what their ultimate end should be or should have been:
When he’s good, he’s good. Jon Stewart has made two things clear during his long and hilarious run as host of The Daily Show:
(1) He leans left and is more sympathetic to liberal causes and the Democratic Party.
(2) He takes no prisoners and will call a spade a spade, hilariously attacking incompetence from politicians and policies across the political spectrum and from both parties.
Combined together, this means he often reserves some of his most scathing critiques for failures coming from liberals and the Democratic Party.
And the failed launch of the ObamaCare website is no exception. His takedown last night had me laughing until I cried. Enjoy!
Author’s Note: This post is excerpts of an essay I wrote for Fare Forward. I highly recommend you visit that site, like the publication on Facebook, and even become a subscriber. It’s a collection of people much smarter and much better at writing than me, discussing all topics you could imagine through a deeply intellectual Christian worldview. I’m humbled to have written for them previously and for them to have been kind enough to invite me back to write again. They’re far too kind to me. I’ve tricked them into thinking I’m a legitimate writer. Please don’t destroy this illusion. But do support Fare Forward. It’s amazing what they’re doing.
This post contains excerpts of my essay entitled, “Fantasy Worldviews: From Middle Earth to Westeros.” Whether you’re a fan of Tolkien’s Middle Earth or Martin’s Game of Thrones universe, I think you’ll enjoy my reflections on what Martin borrows from Tolkien and what each fantasy epic tells us about ourselves and our time.
I hope this letter finds you well. I began writing this after the second episode, but then I thought I was jumping the gun and being a bit too harsh. I thought that it wasn’t fair to judge a show so quickly that has such a strong history.
However, after watching episode three, I can’t hold back anymore.
Homeland… you know when you’re reading a book and you catch yourself zoning out? Then, you have to go back and find the part that you last remember? That happened THREE times to me during Homeland on Sunday. THREE TIMES! How many times have I had that happen during a TV show before? ZERO—and for what it’s worth, it’s not like I watch TV once a week. One time when I was rewinding the show, I realized that the last part I remembered was Carrie building a house out of popsicle sticks in the psych ward. Yes, THAT was a “memorable moment” of last night’s show. A show that once had its viewers squeezing the couch as the main character was escaping burning buildings now has this same character building miniature houses out of popsicle sticks.
Homeland, it’s as if no one told you that your show started three weeks ago. After three weeks, I feel like I’m watching the part of a show that happens in between seasons that isn’t supposed to be filmed or seen.
Each new TV season brings excitement to your average couch potato. I am an average couch potato. Needless to say, I’m excited about the new TV season.
However, the new TV season also always brings, for me at least, one or two shows that I latch onto even though I know they are going to be canceled. Past examples: Go On, Bent, The River, and 666 Park Avenue. This season the show that I will get attached to but will inevitably get the axe is Trophy Wife.
Hey kids. Take a seat and let me tell you a story. It was the fall of 2005. I had just graduated from high school that past spring. Friends had been off the air for over a year. My generation had watched the last few seasons of Friends, and in the last few years of high school, we’d fallen in love with that crew and their more cynical (and funnier) NBC Thursday night pals on Seinfeld in syndication on TBS. And while Friends and Seinfeld continued to be some of our favorite shows, they weren’t OUR shows. They were for the generations before us, and although timeless, did not represent us at that time in our life.
Later in the fall of 2011, New Girl would premiere on Fox. Many have said (on our site and other sites) that it is our generation’s Friends, and that it’s the first sitcom to truly capture the life of the Millennial Generation. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
Well, kids, it was the fall of 2005 and I started school at Vanderbilt University. First time away from home, with beautiful women everywhere and the entire world at my fingertips. And like pretty much all college freshmen, we were all about as insecure as Ted Mosby.
Yes, Ted Mosby’s the annoying one who is friends with Barney and Marshall and Lily and Robin. Yeah, we were always annoyed by him too during How I Met Your Mother‘s 9-season run. But the show still meant a lot to us. And it served a lot of purposes to my generation, going through college and coming of age into adulthood (or suspended adolescence) during The Great Recession and the Golden Age of TV.
It’s that time again. That’s right – there are two magical times a year in which a brand new batch of Americans get “marooned” in a remote location that is nearly always an island in a tropical locale. For those of you who haven’t been so lucky to see my blog posts in the past discussing “Why Survivor is Still Relevant”, Survivor Fantasy Teams, and game play analysis, welcome to my guiltiest of pleasures. Either you’re a skeptic and you’re done reading this post now, or there’s something inside of you that also realizes Survivor is one of the best things to ever air on television.
As for this post, I’m previewing the new season, which promises a completely different game from every version we’ve ever seen before. After seasons of tinkering with the structure of the game and experimenting with one twist at a time, this season not only provides a completely new casting concept, but also provides multiple game-changing twists that will ensure this season will be one of the most unique ever. Will it pan out? I’m hopeful. But then again, I’m a Survivor loyalist.