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Showing posts from May, 2010

Story Goals and the Lost Art of Brevity

TV news just in: US networks have this week cancelled Heroes and Flash Forward. Why? Well, both shows had seen their viewing figures drop significantly. The reasons put forward for their respective slumps were a lack of direction in the former and a lack of brevity in the latter.

I liked Heroes. I watched the boxset of the first season and found it mesmerising. The second season was scrappy, no doubt marred by the writer's strike, and the third season just felt directionless. In any drama or work of fiction viewers need to feel there is a universal end-goal, a sense that the events (and the characters) they are following will reach some satisfying dramatic conclusion. (Soap operas are the only exception to this. They just go on and on and on - which is why I can't watch them - a dramatic phenomena I don't feel capable of explaining or understanding!) Sure, each individual season of any long-running drama has some story arc for viewers to follow, but it's usually just on…