The Beauty in Goodbyes – When TV Shows Just Won’t Let Go

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We have all been in that situation where you make a dramatic farewell to someone only for them to carry on walking the same way as you are for a few more kilometres. The walk changes from a pleasant catch up to the most awkward time as you attempt to start conversation again. Television series are no different to that; they can turn from a series you avidly watch when they air to one you reluctantly watch because it hasn’t ended yet and you’re adamant to finish it.

Unsure what sort of series I mean? Think programmes like Heroes which gained phenomenal views in its 1st season only to have the figures slowly dissipate as the seasons went on. Television directors and broadcasting companies know a good thing when they see it and ratings is the epitome of “good things”. So when a successful television programme takes off it is only a matter of time before the broadcaster pays the show creators to produce another season until, like vultures on a carcass, it is picked clean of any individuality or flare that made the show such a success. Viewers begin to lose interest in the series and find other shows to watch, when this happens the television companies will do the same; dropping the show with no conclusion and preying on another show to take its place, creating as many seasons as possible before interest is lost. In this sense, broadcasters are constantly chasing after the viewers; scavenging any interest in a show they may have had.

However, is it fair for the broadcasters to do this? How many series have been ruined by constant seasons being made? Heroes, Lost, Smallville & Primeval have all been victims to the scavenging media vultures. These shows all started with great plots and all had something unique until popularity forced them into creating more stories than their premises could hold. Like the majority of the media, their narratives became weaker and in doing so their uniqueness was lost. Surely it would have been greater if these shows knew their limits. “Save the cheerleader, save the world” would not have become a redundant saying in Heroes, Smallville would remain set in the small farm town rather than Metropolis and dinosaurs would have remained as the creatures coming through the anomalies rather than mythical beasts in Primeval.

Due to being completely hollowed out by major television corporations these shows will never get their chance to become big cult television classics that those that were ended, perhaps before there time, have. Shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the original Star Trek and Farscape all have a cult following because the shows were either cancelled or ended on their own accord and perhaps ironically have permeated into other successful media platforms such as graphic novels. In doing so, these shows still made money after their end without completely destroying the reasons behind what made them a success in the first place. Perhaps contemporary television broadcasters should take a note and finally leave our favourite television programmes to take their course and end naturally.

First submitted to Brighton Elephant

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