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?