In today's world TV shows are becoming just as good, if not better, than most movies hitting the big screens.If you look at how many "A Class" movies come out each year, how many screens they can fill and number of people that can see them in theatre, you'll see how limiting it is to make it big in the movies... it's a tough market out there.
However, TV opens a lot more channels for people to get their shows out there. Literally. You have your staple channels in the states (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX) and then you move on to the channels that actually make good shows (AMC, HBO, FX) and you begin to find a plethora of high quality entertainment.
In my opinion it was the show starring Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in 24 that re-birthed the television screen. That first season of 24 showed that you could carry a TV show through 24 episodes and keep peoples attention, plus have them asking for more. From there we saw the series start pouring out: Lost, The Office, Scrubs,
CSI Miami, Grey's Anatomy and more. 24 helped recreate the little screen, plus rekindled Sutherland's dying career.
Big TV execs began to see how valuable these TV series were becoming. Stringing seasons out to keep their viewers hooked, signing crazy web deals, DVD/Blu Ray Sales, action figures, collectibles, you name it. Execs were loving how their TV stations were bringing in the viewers in massive numbers again, as if people had never heard of a TV before. Not to mention the push for shows to get syndicated (which means you have enough seasons you can sell off to as many networks as you can). This was also the downfall of a lot of TV shows as well.
Every good story needs an ending, just like it needs a beginning and middle. Take for example Heroes. That first season was excellent. I loved every episode of that first season, except the last. They completely threw that show out the window when the cheerleader didn't save the world and Sylar somehow lived. Look at Scrubs, the last season of Scrubs should be tossed in a dumpster and forgotten about. When half your cast doesn't come back to the show and you no longer use the original set, that plays like a character, you should shut down production. I don't think I should even get into Lost, I loved that show up until the last season. It felt so rushed and out of place. I loved that they wanted to get to an ending in the show, but I personally don't think they pulled it off.
All of this brings me to Fringe. Another Abrams project. I've really enjoyed Fringe since we first started watching it, but it's getting to be too much. **SPOILER ALERT**
With Anna Torv playing THREE Characters (Fauxlivia, Bellivia and Olivia) and everyone else playing two characters with their alt-universe selves, I'm left with the feeling that the show is now destined to spiral downwards. When you push a good thing too far, you'll eventually push it over the edge. They could have really aimed for this show to end in 3 seasons and with talks of it not getting renewed, we actually may never see an ending to this show. Joshua Jackson's character still has some mystery, as does John Noble (who I think is the best character on the show), but the mystery is beginning to fade, the plots stretched and the lines of conflict are beginning to get so dis-jointed and out of focus I wonder if the writers still know what Fringe is about.
I'm under the impression in creating art for other people's consumption, that you need to leave them wanting more, not wishing there was less. Get to your point quickly, flirt with the story line for while, don't tease too much and then finish it off strong. A great story needs an ending. Too bad TV execs only see the dollars in stretching out a story and don't actually care about telling it well.
Ah well, that's just my opinion anyways. Cheers,
Matthew A. Hawkins