Why do so many network dramas seem to blow it after one season nowadays?
It used to be that shows wouldn't really hit their stride until a season or two in. Is it because shows are so high concept nowadays?
"Revenge" got all sorts of accolades in Season 1 which then promptly vanished.
"Lost" was able to regain momentum eventually but people were put off by Season Two and "Heroes" ... that just became a mess.
Are shows created with too tight of a noose around their core concept to allow them to evolve? Or are they only written with one season in mind.
I'll add "Desperate Housewives" to that list which never received the same goodwill as it did during its first season.
The networks are still clinging to outdated formulas and they have ridiculous censorship standards. Also, they're slaves to their advertisers. Cable tv doesn't have any of those restrictions, which is why cable shows are so good these days.
REVENGE was a one-season show due to its concept. It should never have been extended. If they wanted a multi-season extravaganza, they should have stuck more closely to the story structure of THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, upon which it was purportedly based.
Television has the power to entertain, instruct, blah, blah, blah. But its most important power is that by which it destroys nearly everything it touches.
Mad Men is still pretty great OP.
Revenge is the type of show that cable does well. Because there are never in real stakes. It's a multi season show at 13 episodes a season like cable, but on network half the shows are filler.
I agree, R4, but "Mad Men" isn't a network show.
Some shows would be better off treated this way from the outset. i.e., All parties know it'll be one season so let's go all in, create 13-14 strong episodes and leave it.
Downton Abbey does well with multiyear sweep, because it's set across such an interesting historical moment and has so many characters. But Revenge? There's only so much that can be done with that.
Same with Glee, I have to say. Well, ok, two seasons for Glee. One to have a hit, and two to ride it out with great guest stars etc. Then put it to bed.
R7 But Ryan, you do manage to create a lot of nice small moments.
It's interesting to compare US television with the UK. They seem okay with short-run series and with long gaps between seasons (Sherlock).
Are the Brits just more willing to watch something new?
Once you have a hit, there are a dozen different departments jumping in to ensure continued success. It becomes less about the story and more about extending careers in front of and behind the scenes.
British TV isn't ruled by advertising and demographics.
As long as the show is getting decent sponsors, US TV will squeeze every last drop of blood out of it.
I think the problem with a lot of these shows is that they're based on a "hook." They're as much about concept as characters and once the initial concept plays out it's really difficult to continue even with interesting characters. It's the same reason movie sequels rarely ever do as well as the originals. (See: 24, Prison Break, Desperate Housewives, Revenge)
I think another problem is that shows are being pitched an in development so long that the first season ends up being really well mapped-out with no real thought given to what happens if the show is actually successful. Shows like "Lost" and "Heroes" both suffered from this sophomore slump. "Heroes" never rebounded and "Lost" lost a big chunk of its audience, though it was arguably a success.
Heroes was great in S1. IIRC, the original concept was that new heroes would replace the original heroes each new season, but the original heroes were popular so TPTB nixed that idea. The second season was just awful and the writers' strike that year didn't help. Heroes would have been better as a mini-series. The problem with American network TV is that there are too many episodes to a season and the networks/showrunners never let the shows die a natural death.
One could argue "Once Upon A Time" fits this trend too... though imho, it only really fell apart in the final couple of episodes in Season 2 (which were AWFUL)... and it remains to be seen if they recover in Season three, or just continue sucking like Heroes did.
Obviously, a lot of those first year accolades for mediocre programs are paid for by the networks. Huge positive two word reviews with exclamation marks written by a nebbish in his cellar with his own blog. None of it matters.
Its called bad writers and in essence shitty shows on a fundamental level.
I mean Revenge? That show is garbage to begin with. How could they stretch any quality to two seasons or three?
Lost is an inherently good story but it was a case of bad writers. They didn't have answers to factors they were introducing into the show and with a sci-fi show answers is everything. Its also ridiculously serialized - it may work more today with online streaming.
Many of the shows that blow up were high concept. You can only stretch shows like Revenge so long. This is why the networks are full of cop and medical shows. There is always drama and little burn-out.
What television needs is one good series about engineers.
They can talk about building bridges, stress and strain calculations, the Calculus of infinite series and rust. Wouldn't this be a nice change from the standard cops and robbers and medical shows?