Most series’ remain in production for one season or sequel too many
Over years of watching TV, movies and reading book series, it has been my experience that when a beloved saga comes to an end, it becomes a necessity to fill that void in my life.
Suddenly, there is a time slot available that I once refused to schedule anything during. The first stage of this grief is denial. I refuse to believe that the show has ended, watching the last season finale over and over again until I have to admit to myself that it’s over.
Finally, I accept that this beautiful story is over, put down my remote or book and understand that it is time to make inner peace with the situation. There is now a new decision to make. Will I find a completely new obsession or will I do my best to recreate what I am now missing?
I think that problems start when these “re-creations” begin. When “Friends” ended, and the spin-off, “Joey” (Don’t remember it? Neither does anyone else) went into production, the result was a disappointing, watered-down version of a show we wanted to hold onto as much as possible. Trying to
make something new into something that you once truly loved is not going to help ease the pain. It’s like a bad on-again-off-again relationship.
One of the major series that I have had these experiences with is Harry Potter. When I heard that J.K. Rowling was writing a screenplay to complement “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” a textbook from the Harry Potter series, I was slightly exasperated.
I realize that the chances of this film being successful (at least at first) is very high. Harry Potter’s fan base alone will be enough to make the movie more than slightly successful.
Indeed, people will be curious as to how Rowling will take such a slim volume and make it into a full length motion picture. The movie will have to invent a plot and more characters that have incredible potential to captivate its audience.
Then, of course, there is the question of whether or not the movie will really have a connection to Harry Potter at all.
Even though the textbook is based in Harry’s world, there is not a necessity for a connection between the new movie and the completed series.
But I wonder if most audiences will recognize that. If it is not the case that the two are connected, will people be disappointed?
I believe that most people will be unless by some miracle J.K. Rowling is successful in inventing new characters. This is unfortunate. I think that people look for things to continue when it would be better off if they merely accepted their ending.
I guess the question I seek to answer is this: is it okay to stretch a plot and its characters to their absolute capacity or should you end it while it is still worthwhile of everyone’s time? Personally, I believe in the latter. It is a bit like overstaying your welcome in someone’s house. People run out of things to say and it’s just awkward. I will use Harry Potter as yet a further example of what I mean.
As far as I’m concerned, there are very few options as to what happens when a series lasts longer than it really should. First, there is the series that crashes and burns, clearly expecting to continue but unfortunately gets cut off leaving loose ends all over the place. We wonder where these characters went and what will become of them in their alternate dimension. It makes us sad, but we accept it because, frankly, we have no choice.
Second, there is the series that peters out almost pathetically. It gets moved from Tuesday night primetime to 9 p.m. on Fridays. As much as you try to remember to watch it when it is actually on, that time slot is not going to work for you or anyone else.
We need to say goodbye before the show officially ends and we actually care what happens. Just give up on it when we still can, instead of the show giving up on us. Third, there are series that everyone is so attached to that they struggle to stop watching.
No matter how stupid they know the show actually is, they cannot tear themselves away. It is a terrible addiction that many of us have faced.
This is how people end up watching American Idol. My apologies if you are planning on still watching strong for season thirteen.
Perhaps there is a larger connection to this phenomenon, however. As college students, we hate to leave school every spring, but we know that we get to return in only two short months.
A new season will begin and we get to see how it plays out. If we were to attend the same college for ten years instead of four though, it might be like a TV series that needs to end.
We would end up leaving college with a bad taste in our mouths, disappointed at the ending instead of wishing there were more adventures to be had.
Mary McDermott is a junior English major from Westborough, Mass. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.