Sunday, July 08, 2007

Series or One-off?

On my recent P.I. fiction list DetecToday, we're discussing what makes a series versus what makes a standalone, and it's got me thinking about TV series versus movies.

With today's increasing continuity, series have the benefit of following characters in greater depth over a longer span of time. However, given the structure of a TV season and the goal to keep a series going for several seasons, there's a great chance of series going too long, of the characters' lives taking twists that alienate as many viewers as they draw. The longer a series runs the more likely original plans will be thrown out, leaving us to wonder, "When will the series end? When it does, will I care?"

There's something to be said for telling a complete, compelling story in a finite amount of time. I don't like to hear directors or writers say, "The first movie laid the groundwork. In the sequels I'll really wow you,"

What's your preference, a long-running series or one memorable movie?


pattinase (abbott) said...

IMHO in the case of something like The Sopranos or The Wire, I'll take the series. It was/is so much fun wondering what would happen over a period of years. But, in general, a movie has a greater impact because of the immediacy, the bigger budget, better actors, director. etc.

John D. said...

I like a good series, provided that the writers keep it fresh, and the show doesn't overstay its welcome. But there's something special about a movie. It's hard to explain, but my preference is with movies.