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#1
Old 10-02-2012, 12:44 PM
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Television shows which would be better/worse because of long-term story arcs. (Open spoilers)

Recently I discovered The Mentalist on TNT, and I thought about making this thread an insane Rhymer-rant in which I feigned fury at all of you for not telling me about the show earlier and swore revenge on at least sixty-eight of you. Then I got bored, and I decided I'd rather talk about TV shows and long-term story arcs, as Mentalist is a good opening for that.

For anyone non in the now, The Mentalist's main character is one Patrick Jane, a reformed fake psychic & con man now working as a consulting detective. Jane abandoned the con game when his wife & child were murdered by a serial killer yclept Red John, whose attention Jane had drawn by doing a phony reading on television, and whilel Jane clearly wants to atone for his past misdeeds, his primary motivation for working with the police is to hunt down Red John and give him a nice lead injection in the forehead.

The show's in its fifth season, and Jane still hasn't caught his family's killer. I, for one, think they'd have been better off having him do so early on. The problem with Red John is that he's so improbably powerful that he breaks the suspension of disbelief. He has multiple acolytes willing to kill and die for him; he is always ten steps ahead of the police and two steps ahead of Jane; he once brainwashed a woman into believing he was a ghost. For Red John to do all the things he does, he'd have to be Professor X, MacGyver, and Jack Bauer all rolled into one. Watching the show on DVD, I grew to dread the arc episodes.

But that's just me. Is The Mentalist better for its continuing central story? Worse? What other TV shows can you think of that are significantly helped or harmed by their myth arcs?
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#2
Old 10-02-2012, 12:56 PM
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BtVS and Angel were much better as arc shows than they ever were as Monster of the Week shows. OTOH, Castle has been crippled by the conspiracy arc for way too long.

The poster child for arc-bad is, of course, X-Files.
#3
Old 10-02-2012, 01:04 PM
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It is stating to get a little absurd. My personal theory is that "Red John" is a government conspiracy. The victims all share some rare genetic trait/defect which the government is trying to eliminate from society. No one person is the Red John. His army of assistants/lackeys/people willing to betray their friends all believe that they're acting in the country's best interests.

And that might well be true.

As for the OP, I grew bored with the X-Files after a while, for precisely this reason. The alien conspiracy stuff got way too paranoid; they were so advanced and obviously far ahead of Mulder and Scully; it was like the police force of Monoco trying to defeat the entire United States military.
#4
Old 10-02-2012, 01:11 PM
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It depends on the arc. Heroes is noted for it's fantastic long term arc in the first season, but they didn't know where to take the show from there and quality fell of significantly after that. Simmilarly, Smallville improved when the arcs were introduced but degenerated when they decided to make Lana Super Ninja Girl™ with special Mysterious Tattoo Powers™.

A good arc can take a show a long ways and make it more interesting over the long haul, but a lousy arc can kill a show fast. It's one of those great balance things that most shows struggle with once they get into multiple seasons.
#5
Old 10-02-2012, 01:12 PM
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One show that would definitely be improved by a multi-season story arc would be Wheel of Fortune.

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Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 10-02-2012 at 01:13 PM.
#6
Old 10-02-2012, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by silenus View Post
BtVS and Angel were much better as arc shows than they ever were as Monster of the Week shows. OTOH, Castle has been crippled by the conspiracy arc for way too long.

The poster child for arc-bad is, of course, X-Files.
I have to slightly disagree with you about Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- not because I dispute your basic thesis, but because I neglected to make a slight distinction in the OP. Buffy had season-long arcs, but not a long term one; there was no central mystery or quest Buffy was on that the majority of the series. It is a multi-season arc that I wanted to talk about, but since I did not make that clear in the OP, it is reasonable for responders to talk about single-season arcs.

I'm of two minds about Angel. My favorite season of that show -- hell, of any show ever -- was that show's fourth season, which was basically one long-ass episode and which also tied all the random crap that had happened to the FangGang over the years into a single plot; but I think the best episodes of the series were three or four of the monster-of-the-week episodes from the first two years.

I don't watch Castle because of my Nathan Fillion boycott, which frankly I just made up but which is as good a reason as any so I have decided to make it policy. What I have heard of it makes it sound quite similar to The Mentalist, though (except that Castle seems not to be the asshole that Jane superfically is, and clearly the female lead is comelier). The only X-Files episodes I ever watched in total was a non-arc episode, the one when Scully (Mulder? the guy, anyway) met the genie; it was mildly amusing, but otherwise I can't comment.

Last edited by Skald the Rhymer; 10-02-2012 at 01:16 PM.
#7
Old 10-02-2012, 01:24 PM
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Skald - I always knew we were on similar wavelengths. Not too many months ago I started a very similar thread. If my searching/linking mojo is working, here it is
http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/...d.php?t=652236
#8
Old 10-02-2012, 02:35 PM
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For me, the cardinal sin for a sitcom is to be not funny. It doesn't matter if you have an episode that has lots of character development -- if it's not funny then that's not a good episode. I'm thinking of shows like Friends (I don't care if Ross ends up with Rachel or if Monica and Chandler have a baby) and Futurama (I don't care if Fry ends up with Leela).
#9
Old 10-02-2012, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by silenus View Post
BtVS and Angel were much better as arc shows than they ever were as Monster of the Week shows. OTOH, Castle has been crippled by the conspiracy arc for way too long.

The poster child for arc-bad is, of course, X-Files.
You misspelled "Dark Angel".
#10
Old 10-02-2012, 03:18 PM
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Of course, you also have the definitive arc shows like BSG, B5 and Lost, which exist solely for the arc. Each had a distinctly different outcome. BSG pulled off the conclusion to its arc "successfully," in that the conclusion fit the parameters of the show as defined by the creators. Some of us may have felt the the ending was less than successful, of course. Babylon 5 suffered from network jerking around, but was quite successful at integrating the arc into each season and concluding things in a satisfactory manner that fit with the thrust of the show.

Lost was us all getting fucked over by the producers and writers, may they all rot in Perdition.
#11
Old 10-02-2012, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Skald the Rhymer View Post
But that's just me. Is The Mentalist better for its continuing central story? Worse? What other TV shows can you think of that are significantly helped or harmed by their myth arcs?
I like having the Red John thing in the background, but I also like that arc episodes aren't that frequent (so far, just on Season 2, 4 or 5 episodes after a certain incident in the CBI offices, the new director lady has just come in - I hope it doesn't get more dominant)

In contrast, I really like the arcs for Supernatural and generally prefer those to the MoTW episodes there.

Gilmore Girls, could have done without any arc stuff.

Buffy, of course, worked because of the season arcs but I could have stood to see a multi-season arc, yet conversely I would actually have preferred Angel to be less arc-y at the end. Ditto X-Files.

Scooby-Do could seriously have used an arc. Talk about your Monster-of-the Week shows.
#12
Old 10-02-2012, 03:59 PM
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The central story of The Mentalist was a boon in the beginning, but now Red John is a comic book style super-villain in a theoretically mundane crime procedural. I don't know whether to blame the producers or the writers, but this arc has definitely become a failure.

The conspiracy arc on Castle had a similar failing. They kept building up the conspiracy with characters saying things like "This is so much bigger than you know/can imagine" and omnipresent assassins.*
SPOILER:
Then it turned out to be the work of one U.S. senator angling for the presidency.
They had a two-parter that had a far more impressive conspiracy.

*Spoilered for info from recent episodes.
#13
Old 10-02-2012, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
I like having the Red John thing in the background, but I also like that arc episodes aren't that frequent (so far, just on Season 2, 4 or 5 episodes after a certain incident in the CBI offices, the new director lady has just come in - I hope it doesn't get more dominant)

In contrast, I really like the arcs for Supernatural and generally prefer those to the MoTW episodes there.

Gilmore Girls, could have done without any arc stuff.
In writing this, you were, of course, not aware of Rhymer Rule # 19834 (prohibiting any express or implied criticism of Lauren Graham and/or Amy Palladino) because I just made it up. But the rule is retroactive and violating it is punishable by being empty threats and slanderous cants, so I will expect you to apologize or face being stung so many times by radioactive bees until you are exposed as a murderous fascist.

I don't think you can eliminate the GG arcs and have it be the same show. They're all character arcs anyway: just the things that are going on in Lorelei & Rory lives (and to a lesser extent the lives of Sookie, Luke, Lane, Paris, & Emily as well), rather than being an ongoing quest. Character arcs bother me not; they're the best sort.

Quote:
Buffy, of course, worked because of the season arcs but I could have stood to see a multi-season arc, yet conversely I would actually have preferred Angel to be less arc-y at the end.
On review, I'd say that while Buffy had no myth arc, it did have one multi-season one: seasons five and six are pretty much one long story.


Quote:
Scooby-Do could seriously have used an arc. Talk about your Monster-of-the Week shows.
I feel like I should say something in praise of Velma and critical of Daphne here, but I'm feeling lazy. Somebody else do it.
#14
Old 10-02-2012, 04:30 PM
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I agree with the assessments of both the Mentalist and Castle, I'll also throw in Burn Notice, even though it's kind of a stupid show, they keep getting to the head of the conspiracy only to have guy get killed by the "real" conspiracy head. Seriously, this last time it looked like some rogue unknown agent type pulling all the strings for his own personal benefit (which hardly made any sense) and now some mystery man offed him just when he got caught.

Now that I think about it the Castle thing is really starting to piss me off
SPOILER:
Really, nobody could have just said "so and so took money, and now he wants to be president" Nobody could have just copied and mailed the documents to a reporter or two, once the murders started? What a crappy resolution to the big conspiracy.
#15
Old 10-02-2012, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Skald the Rhymer View Post
The show's in its fifth season, and Jane still hasn't caught his family's killer. I, for one, think they'd have been better off having him do so early on. The problem with Red John is that he's so improbably powerful that he breaks the suspension of disbelief. He has multiple acolytes willing to kill and die for him; he is always ten steps ahead of the police and two steps ahead of Jane; he once brainwashed a woman into believing he was a ghost. For Red John to do all the things he does, he'd have to be Professor X, MacGyver, and Jack Bauer all rolled into one. Watching the show on DVD, I grew to dread the arc episodes.

But that's just me. Is The Mentalist better for its continuing central story? Worse? What other TV shows can you think of that are significantly helped or harmed by their myth arcs?
I agree that the Red John stuff got ridiculous. There have been other TV shows with the omniscient serial killer but The Mentalist is one of the biggest offenders. It would have been a pretty good end to the arc with the episode when Jane killed the guy who was supposedly Red John. The show could have easily continued on with the case of the week and maybe sometimes showing Jane feeling a little aimless now that he has had his revenge.

But instead of leaving the somewhat ballsy season finale alone and continuing from that, the next season started with that wasn't actually Red John that Jane killed and it was too ridiculous for me and I gave up watching the new episodes. I might watch the reruns on TNT, but I just got too annoyed by the show to bother keeping up with new episodes.
#16
Old 10-02-2012, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by silenus View Post
The poster child for arc-bad is, of course, X-Files.
X-Files 'arc' would have been better had it actually been treated as an arc, rather than a thrown-together hash of whatever ideas happened to cross their minds when they wrote a mythology episode.
#17
Old 10-02-2012, 06:14 PM
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I think that the criterion is, in order for a series-long arc to work well, the end of the show has to be planned right from the beginning. Take Babylon 5, for instance: JMS knew going in that the show was only going to last 5 seasons, and after that, the story would be wrapped up, and it would end. But when you've got a series-long arc without that level of preplanning, you end up having to either stretch the arc implausibly, like the OP is complaining about in The Mentalist, or you have to put in a lot of low-quality filler, like in the post-rescued-from-cancellation 5th season of Babylon 5.

I also think that most TV shows would be improved by use of the word "yclept".
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#18
Old 10-02-2012, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
I think that the criterion is, in order for a series-long arc to work well, the end of the show has to be planned right from the beginning. Take Babylon 5, for instance: JMS knew going in that the show was only going to last 5 seasons, and after that, the story would be wrapped up, and it would end. But when you've got a series-long arc without that level of preplanning, you end up having to either stretch the arc implausibly, like the OP is complaining about in The Mentalist, or you have to put in a lot of low-quality filler, like in the post-rescued-from-cancellation 5th season of Babylon 5.

I also think that most TV shows would be improved by use of the word "yclept".
I thought about using hight instead, but it didn't seem quite as jackholish. Thoughts?
#19
Old 10-02-2012, 06:33 PM
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I liked yclept because I recognized it, and it made me feel simultaneously smart, pretentious, and douchey. Hat trick!
#20
Old 10-02-2012, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by iftheresaway View Post
I liked yclept because I recognized it, and it made me feel simultaneously smart, pretentious, and douchey. Hat trick!
I think you have the order backwards.

Returning to the topic, I think Star Trek: Deep Space Nine got much better once they brought in the Dominion (at the end of the second season, I think), and slowly the show became the story of the Alpha Quadrant's version of World War II. Makes me forgive the loads & loads of characters, something I ordinarily dislike. By contrast, Voyager was ultimately an artistic failure* because it refused to commit to what should have been its believable arc: the slow breakdown of the ship & crew as they attempt (and fail) their hopeless voyage home.

Last edited by Skald the Rhymer; 10-02-2012 at 06:45 PM.
#21
Old 10-02-2012, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Skald the Rhymer View Post
What I have heard of it makes it sound quite similar to The Mentalist, though (except that Castle seems not to be the asshole that Jane superfically is, and clearly the female lead is comelier).
Castle's female lead may be comelier (although I find Ms. Tunney not at all un-comely), BUT, the secondary female on The Mentalist (Amanda Righetti, aka Grace Van Pelt) is about as close to the perfect woman as I have ever seen!
#22
Old 10-02-2012, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by BrotherCadfael View Post
Castle's female lead may be comelier (although I find Ms. Tunney not at all un-comely), BUT, the secondary female on The Mentalist (Amanda Righetti, aka Grace Van Pelt) is about as close to the perfect woman as I have ever seen!
Oh, Robin Tunney is quite the cutie; it's just that the brief snippets I have seen of the Kate Beckett actress show her to be an absolute knockout.

As for Amanda Righetti -- sorry, not seeing her as actually hot. I'm sure she has a nice body (not that the series shows it off, which I am actually glad for); certainly her clavicles are nice. But her face is just...so so ... and she doesn't rev my motor.
#23
Old 10-02-2012, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by BrotherCadfael View Post
Castle's female lead may be comelier (although I find Ms. Tunney not at all un-comely), BUT, the secondary female on The Mentalist (Amanda Righetti, aka Grace Van Pelt) is about as close to the perfect woman as I have ever seen!
Oh I'm with you there. She is amazing. And her husband is some ugly shlub who is my age. Go figure.

As for the Mentalist, I'll spoiler since it seems a few in this thread are catching up with the series:

SPOILER:
I thought the Red John story came to a nice well done conclusion with Jane killing him (Bradley Whitford). Coming back into the next season and finding out that Jane didn't think it was Red John. Arc continues. I lost interest in Red John after that.
#24
Old 10-02-2012, 07:34 PM
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Oh I'm with you there. She is amazing. And her husband is some ugly shlub who is my age. Go figure.
So there's hope for me yet?

YAY!!!
#25
Old 10-02-2012, 07:37 PM
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In The Mentalist and Castle, I hate, HATE, HATE the story arc. Both seem to be dreamed up by failed soap writers. Worse, they seem to take us away from the very thing that made us like the show in the first place.
#26
Old 10-02-2012, 07:42 PM
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B5 is what came to mind immediately for me, and the threat of cancellation forcing JMS to wrap it up in S4. These days when a "season" can be nine episodes, it's a miracle there are any arcs at all.

What was the first series to start using arcs? At the time B5 aired I remember being astonished at such a concept, but I was in my twenties and pretty dumb so it may not have been the first.

From the series I've seen, BSG was the most successful at utilizing their arc. They must have had a very firm commitment from the network.
#27
Old 10-02-2012, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
I think that the criterion is, in order for a series-long arc to work well, the end of the show has to be planned right from the beginning.
I would disagree with this. I think that the key thing is that at the beginning of a show, the writers have a clear idea of the main players, their motivations, and to a lesser extent what resources they have at their disposal. They can of course obfuscate some or many of those details from the viewer, so long as they have things in order behind the scenes. Battlestar Galactica and The X-Files ended up having unsatisfying resolutions largely because while the heroes had well defined motivations, their antagonists did not. Their motivations were given more or less retroactively to fit (often poorly) with what came before. If you have an ending predetermined from the start, though, that can be massively restrict a show's flexibility. You can't get rid of an actor who isn't working out or drop a boring plotline if they're central to the ending of the series, after all.
#28
Old 10-02-2012, 09:12 PM
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White Collar does the arc thing right. Each episode moves the arc along, and most of the threads of an arc are wrapped up each season, with maybe just one or two left hanging to help form the next seasons arcs. This is far better then Castle, or most other procedurals, where they milk a single arc for multiple seasons with little or no progress on it each episode.

Quote:
Returning to the topic, I think Star Trek: Deep Space Nine got much better once they brought in the Dominion (at the end of the second season, I think), and slowly the show became the story of the Alpha Quadrant's version of World War II.
I really liked DS9 as well. They struck a good balance between episodic episodes and arc episodes, with the setting and character changes even in the episodic episodes effecting the show.

And they did something I'm not sure I've seen anyone do since. That is: have a really large stable of recurring guest-characters that would keep recurring and developing their own arcs through entire seasons or even the entire course of the show. I think that did a lot to make the course of the series seem "real", and I wish other shows would pick up on it.
#29
Old 10-02-2012, 09:12 PM
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You need some kind of maguffin to drive a procedural show into interesting directions, but I do agree that sustaining a thin mystery too long can get frustrating. I think the conclusion of Monk's arc should've been a warning sign that you shouldn't build them up to ridiculous proportions that won't satisfyingly pay off.
#30
Old 10-03-2012, 01:40 AM
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The head honcho at The Mentalist swears the team is going to make a big breakthrough on the Red John case this season. (I hope that he doesn't mind if I decide I'm NOT going to hold my fucking breath on that one.) I don't really hate the Red John mytharc so much as I marvel at the breathtakingly wide difference between how much the head honcho imagines I care about it and how much I actually do. He'll look at a Red John-based episode and say, "This is the heart of the series," while I'll look at the same episode and say, "Jesus Christ, not this shit again."
#31
Old 10-03-2012, 07:06 AM
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Agree that Red John has become too mythologically powerful, and that that story arc should be wrapped up. What I like most about the show is the dissection of the con artist techniques of manipulation. And that, even though Jane usually behaves obnoxiously, he has a good heart underneath, and mostly improves the lives of the victims and even those of random bystanders. He could keep working with the CBI after the Red John arc is wrapped up because he finds it entertaining, and it keeps his active mind engaged.

Hated the Castle arc...that show needs to stay as a light-hearted romantic comedy with mystery.

NCIS does story arcs pretty well -- they are mostly wrapped up in a few episodes or within a season. They may come up again in later years, but in a way natural to the characters.
#32
Old 10-03-2012, 08:47 AM
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I think a good thing to do is to have a secondary character maintain the arc. Like on Royal Pains -- you have Boris with his clandestine trips to Cuba or wherever and his possibly sinister Euro connections which may explode into a !conspiracy!, but Boris is not around all the time, and the main characters aren't saddled with this shit on an ongoing basis like Beckett is on Castle. "Oh, I'd love to have a normal life, if only I could figure out who killed my mother . . ."
#33
Old 10-03-2012, 09:52 AM
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Notice how much better this week's episode was, without any arc, without the Captain, without the family...just the two couples and their problems. Plus Beckett in just a bra! And a line that proves ABC doesn't have a Standards & Practices department any more.
#34
Old 10-03-2012, 10:02 AM
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I agree with the assessments of both the Mentalist and Castle, I'll also throw in Burn Notice, even though it's kind of a stupid show, they keep getting to the head of the conspiracy only to have guy get killed by the "real" conspiracy head. Seriously, this last time it looked like some rogue unknown agent type pulling all the strings for his own personal benefit (which hardly made any sense) and now some mystery man offed him just when he got caught.
I am now convinced, after said assassionation, that they are just making it up as they go along. I still watch it tho because I love the characters.
#35
Old 10-03-2012, 10:16 AM
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Yeah. I mean, I'd watch Burn Notice if it were just 42 minutes of Bruce Campbell drinking mojitos.
#36
Old 10-03-2012, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Skald the Rhymer View Post
Rhymer Rule # 19834 (prohibiting any express or implied criticism of Lauren Graham and/or Amy Palladino)
I'm Sorry. I had no idea you were such a fan of Evan Almighty.
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I don't think you can eliminate the GG arcs and have it be the same show. They're all character arcs anyway: just the things that are going on in Lorelei & Rory lives (and to a lesser extent the lives of Sookie, Luke, Lane, Paris, & Emily as well), rather than being an ongoing quest. Character arcs bother me not; they're the best sort.
I was thinking of the interminable "Rory gets a rich boyfriend/drops out of college/moves in with her grandparents" arc. I was cool with other character stuff and don't really think of that as "arc", but that one felt like it was, and it would have been better dealt with in just a couple episodes. It went on too long and made me hate Rory a little bit, whereas before I quite liked her character.
Quote:
On review, I'd say that while Buffy had no myth arc, it did have one multi-season one: seasons five and six are pretty much one long story.
True enough.
#37
Old 10-03-2012, 10:23 AM
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I think you have the order backwards.

Returning to the topic, I think Star Trek: Deep Space Nine got much better once they brought in the Dominion (at the end of the second season, I think), and slowly the show became the story of the Alpha Quadrant's version of World War II. Makes me forgive the loads & loads of characters, something I ordinarily dislike. By contrast, Voyager was ultimately an artistic failure* because it refused to commit to what should have been its believable arc: the slow breakdown of the ship & crew as they attempt (and fail) their hopeless voyage home.
I agree with both of these points.
#38
Old 10-03-2012, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by silenus View Post
Notice how much better this week's episode was, without any arc, without the Captain, without the family...just the two couples and their problems. Plus Beckett in just a bra! And a line that proves ABC doesn't have a Standards & Practices department any more.
Well don't keep us in suspense man, what naughty things did ABC let the characters say? (I don't watch Castle on a regular basis)
#39
Old 10-03-2012, 10:51 AM
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It was a line that probably sounded ok on paper:

Castle: "She's like the Terminator of sexpots."

Beckett: "What, she just keeps coming?"
#40
Old 10-03-2012, 10:59 AM
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White Collar does the arc thing right. Each episode moves the arc along, and most of the threads of an arc are wrapped up each season, with maybe just one or two left hanging to help form the next seasons arcs. This is far better then Castle, or most other procedurals, where they milk a single arc for multiple seasons with little or no progress on it each episode.
I agree--they do a really good job of mixing the main arc in with the episodic stories.

Breaking Bad is all arc, and it's one of the greatest shows ever, IMO. It remains to be seen if the conclusion will live up to the journey, but I have faith.

Fringe is an interesting example, as an X-Files grandchild. It started off with fairly episodic, Monster-of-the-Week stories, and they were very well done. It was a good show as it was. But it has become almost entirely "arc" and I think it is much better for it. (I know peoples' mileage varies on this.) Of course, its ratings are abysmal and perhaps it might have been able to draw more viewers and a longer run with episodic stories, but then again maybe it wouldn't have. As it is, we are getting a great multi-season arc and--hopefully--a satisfying conclusion.
#41
Old 10-03-2012, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skald the Rhymer View Post
Returning to the topic, I think Star Trek: Deep Space Nine got much better once they brought in the Dominion (at the end of the second season, I think), and slowly the show became the story of the Alpha Quadrant's version of World War II. Makes me forgive the loads & loads of characters, something I ordinarily dislike. By contrast, Voyager was ultimately an artistic failure* because it refused to commit to what should have been its believable arc: the slow breakdown of the ship & crew as they attempt (and fail) their hopeless voyage home.
I never watched Voyager, but I did watch Deep Space Nine and I enjoyed the whole Dominion War storyline. And I've watched The Mentalist and it is completely implausible how many allies Red John supposedly has. It would have been far better for him to have been Bradley Whitford's character and for the show to have dropped any mention of him thereafter.

By the way, as for Lost, it seems clear that in the first season, the writers did have some idea how they wanted the story to go, but its popularity meant that they had to keep it going for far too long and introduce too many plot elements that were left hanging at the end. Someday I hope someone releases the original storyline that they started with. I'll bet it's a lot more coherent than what we ended with.

Last edited by Dewey Finn; 10-03-2012 at 11:10 AM.
#42
Old 10-03-2012, 11:11 AM
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I think in House the sexual tension between House and Cuddy throughout most of its run was a good arc, but it became very bad when they finally let it be resolved. I am not a "shipper" and generally find romantic subplots in non-romantic series annoying (for example, CSI), but I think House and Cuddy had good chemistry--as long as there was no actual romantic relationship. Once they got together it was IMO the beginning of the end of the series.
#43
Old 10-03-2012, 11:15 AM
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I have stopped watching The Mentalist, Castle and Burn Notice because of their stupid arcs.

I wonder why they have the. I guess that many viewers want something "big" to happen in the shows. That is really unfortunate for me. I always prefer the small stuff. Especially in Burn Notice, the smaller the thing they are helping out with in Miami, the better the episode.
#44
Old 10-03-2012, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by silenus View Post
It was a line that probably sounded ok on paper:

Castle: "She's like the Terminator of sexpots."

Beckett: "What, she just keeps coming?"
I was expecting worse. I know 2 Broke Girls and Two and a Half Men are on CBS, but they get away with much worse.
#45
Old 10-03-2012, 11:26 AM
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No kidding. What 2.5M gets away with is amazing. Just goes to show that we've gotten old, sad to say.
#46
Old 10-03-2012, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Diceman View Post
As for the OP, I grew bored with the X-Files after a while, for precisely this reason. The alien conspiracy stuff got way too paranoid; they were so advanced and obviously far ahead of Mulder and Scully; it was like the police force of Monoco trying to defeat the entire United States military.
Well, the problem there is a story arc that comes out more like a story pretzel because the writers make it up as they go along with no clear overall direction. When you keep painting yourself into a corner and cutting holes in the wall to get out of it, eventually you sever too many load-bearing elements and the structure falls down on you.
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#47
Old 10-03-2012, 02:01 PM
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Quoting Steve MB: "Well, the problem there is a story arc that comes out more like a story pretzel because the writers make it up as they go along with no clear overall direction. When you keep painting yourself into a corner and cutting holes in the wall to get out of it, eventually you sever too many load-bearing elements and the structure falls down on you. " = Lost. The writers said they weren't just making it up as they went along, but they were lying. (they can sue me; I'm still bitter).

Everything I had to say about Castle & the Mentalist, I said in my previously mentioned thread. to sum up - just let Castle & Becket be Nick & Nora Charles. The Mentalist should have let the guy Jane shot be the real Red John. Simple as that. Both shows have wonderful lead actors and fun supporting characters, & both are harmed by their big bad arcs.

ETA - someone above asked when "arcs" became common. Hill Street Blues was the first show I became attached to that had multi-ep arcs mixed with story of the weeks.

and "Two & a Half Men" gets away with being so filthy because it makes money for the network. "Two Broke Girls" shouldn't be getting away with being so filthy.

Last edited by well he's back; 10-03-2012 at 02:03 PM.
#48
Old 10-03-2012, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. jp View Post
I have stopped watching The Mentalist, Castle and Burn Notice because of their stupid arcs.

I wonder why they have the. I guess that many viewers want something "big" to happen in the shows. That is really unfortunate for me. I always prefer the small stuff. Especially in Burn Notice, the smaller the thing they are helping out with in Miami, the better the episode.
People do demand them. Go look at the thread for last seasons Grimm. The early episodes were all monster of the week, and half the comments in the thread here was about "I hope we start getting back story and a nice long arc soon."
#49
Old 10-03-2012, 06:49 PM
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Even though I said above I thought the Red John story arc was getting a bit old, and that Red John was too powerful to be believable, but I realized I did get hooked into it when I found myself speculating the Bret Stiles, the leader of a Scientology-type cult, could be Red John, and toting up the evidence pointing to him. So, even though I prefer the stand-alone shows, I have gotten hooked.

As opposed to Castle, where I've disliked every episode of the "Who killed Beckett's Mother" arc.
#50
Old 10-07-2012, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
I'm Sorry. I had no idea you were such a fan of Evan Almighty.I was thinking of the interminable "Rory gets a rich boyfriend/drops out of college/moves in with her grandparents" arc. I was cool with other character stuff and don't really think of that as "arc", but that one felt like it was, and it would have been better dealt with in just a couple episodes. It went on too long and made me hate Rory a little bit, whereas before I quite liked her character.
While I was less than pleased with the Rory-drops-out-of-Yale arc, I thought it was entirely in keeping with her character. She was always oblivious to what was going on in her own head, and needed some long-term intensive therapy.

That said, that arc about half a season long--maybe two-thirds of a season. Seemed reasonable, if only because "Rory drops out of college for one week" isn't a story arc at all.
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