What’s it that makes an important TV present? Clearly, this can be a subjective concern however, in my opinion, there are a variety of widespread themes that signify a well-liked and intriguing present that’s nicely acquired by modern audiences.
The primary, and apparent, attribute is the presence of robust characters: unique, distinctive, partaking characters. Assume Home, Dexter, Walter Bishop. Awkward, uncommon, fascinating characters which can be able to partaking the viewer no matter intricate plotlines (weird medical mysteries, domesticated serial killing, mad scientist who takes son from a parallel universe) and which have the potential to kind charming relationships with different characters.
This brings us onto the second signal of a profitable TV present: character relationships which have scope to develop. Think about Home interacting with Wilson: greatest buddies and co-dependent however with scope for rivalry, bickering, betrayal, and even flirting. Watch the Son of a Coma Man or Birthmarks episodes of Home to see how advanced, unpredictable and profound a relationship between two very totally different characters might be. Or watch Walter Bishop of Fringe work together together with his son (nicely, type of) Peter: a gradual constructing of belief, connection and dedication over many episodes, earlier than the shattering of emotional bonds as the reality is painfully and inevitably revealed. Or how about Peter Burke and Neil Caffrey in White Collar? They’re the fed and the con artist, but in addition a lot extra: rivals slowly turning into buddies towards a symphony of belief and distrust.
The exhibits talked about above are additionally good examples of a latest pattern in direction of ongoing arcs mingled with snappy standalone tales. There are numerous methods through which this mix is achieved, starting from the arc-light exhibits with maybe a couple of minutes of arc growth at the start or finish of every episode – the USA community exhibits, reminiscent of Burn Discover and White Collar, are masters at this system; to exhibits through which the overarching story options closely in a handful of episodes, intermingled with true standalone episodes – Fringe is an efficient instance of this method, as is Supernatural and Physician Who. One other variation is the character arc which tends to be much less advanced than the plot arc however can nonetheless present some ongoing growth and curiosity to complement the story of the week, and right here Home is an efficient instance with the latest Huddy storyline (one which divides opinion like few others) being developed over a variety of episodes. On the different excessive, in fact, are the exhibits which can be solely serial-based, the place the continuing story is the main target of every episode. Misplaced was an important instance of that method however whereas it managed to draw a considerable and really dedicated fanbase, it’s unlikely that many future exhibits, or networks, will probably be courageous sufficient to start out on this journey. There are numerous latest examples of Misplaced wannabes, reminiscent of The 9 and Flashforward, failing to ignite adequate dedication amongst viewers to justify a slowly rising storyline. And as extra such exhibits fail, the much less viewers are prepared to take a position the time and curiosity in exhibits whose payoff could by no means come because of cancellation. For this reason a mixture of arc-story with standalone episodes is a vital aspect in profitable new exhibits as a result of, whereas there are variations on the theme, the mixture of a fast decision to the story of the week, with a extra slowly growing plot or character arc each instantly engages after which retains the viewer.
A ultimate aspect widespread in at the moment’s well-liked TV exhibits is a refined mixture of drama and comedy. US TV exhibits are masters of this, from the wit of White Collar to the black humour of Breaking Unhealthy. The most effective of drama, it appears, is barely intensified by a contact of comedy. If we are able to chuckle in addition to cry, or be gripped with suspense, or pleasure, or mental satisfaction, then all of these experiences develop into extra significant. If the humour provides one thing, reasonably than undermining the moments of drama, then it’s a helpful addition and one that may make a present far more than the sum of its components.
So: character, relationships, ongoing arc plus story of the week, and a contact of dramedy equals a present with potential, or at a present that I, and it appears fairly a couple of others, will take pleasure in watching.