I have been examining why some TV is just not working for me right now. Certainly in this age of peak TV, I have all the choices. But there are many days, where I basically cannot convince myself watch anything that isn't on Animal Planet. Now some of this is me being used to upping my reading in what used to be rerun time. Some of this is that, as we learned from Modern Romance, more choice can either paralyze us or make us really picky. So, sure, there is the luxury of twenty two things I want to watch, and anything that isn't really hit my exact mood well, it gets saved.
In addition to the above, I have noticed another trend. In the very episodic mystery of the week shows, there's a trend of a season long big bad. Something to dole out little bits of to make you feel like you can't tune in willy nilly you must watch every single episode because you might miss the teeny tiny clue that will probably lead them to a dead end in the next episode, but what if it doesn't?
And shows vary with their skill at this, because season long arcs are different that compelling mysteries of the week. Lots of people's feelings about favorite seasons of "Buffy" or "Veronica Mars" are wrapped up in their interest in the big bads.
But there's a second part to this trend that I'm seeing. It's hard to say how much it's wrapped up in love of certain actors, convenience, or lazy writing, but the season end happens, we think we have gotten the big bad, or are at least on the way to getting them, and then the next season rolls around and...escaped, or evidence was thrown out, or they resurrected, or came from another reality. It's possible that more frequent comics readers are more used to this. You can't really catch the villain, or if you do they escape from Arkham anyway, or show up in the next reboot.
For me, this is a problem. I know in real life stuff regenerates, recurs and is hardly ever wrapped up neatly. Why do you think I'm watching TV? I'm watching TV because I want the baddies caught, I want the mysteries solved, I want people to actually get smoochies with their love instead of constantly breaking back up. I want something good to happen to someone and for it to stay.
I peeked in on a few minutes of a show I am behind on last night, and let me tell you what happened. The big bad is still not in jail. The big secret is still a secret, but one more person knows. Maybe two. And there was one, one new character I didn't recognize. I love this show, and I'm not naming it out of protection, but also because this has happened with so many shows that this one in particular is really just a representative example.
Sure, some shows are there to provide tension and drama, but in the end, I find it's happening at the expense of ever getting any sort of justice or closure. People have issues with season two of "Veronica Mars" (um, as do I) but it's not because they didn't find Lily's killer. The love for season one was provided by getting an answer. I don't need everything answered, but I need a few more big bads to stay caught.