Least year was my best reading year ever. An insane number of books. This year…not so much. Blame it on the fact that I was in production. Or juggling multiple development projects. But, really, you can chalk it up to the fact that I’ve been watching a lot more, catching up on film & television. Yes, I’ve been watching a lot -but, surprisingly, enjoying very little. Or maybe it’s not all that surprising.
Among the shows I’ve watched over the past few months and enjoyed:
The Good Place (seasons 1-2)
And then roughly four times that number of shows I started and abandoned. Finding a good genre show has been especially tough. Why? Well –
Yes, yes. BIG ASS budget. Yes, yes. Stellar casting. Yes, yes plenty of buzz. But is it any good? Do I LOVE THE CHARACTERS? More often than not – no.
In all fairness, there are plenty of sci-fi shows I’ve yet to watch – the new Star Treks namely. And, like most, I am particularly looking forward to checking out the new Picard series. But, really, given the number of new genre shows that get released on a monthly basis, you’d think the batting average would be somewhat better.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. Every show will have its fans and your mileage may vary. I’m just coming at it from the point of view of someone who has produced 350+ hours of genre television, written 100+, showrun 100+, but, more importantly, has been a HUGE sci-fi/fantasy/horror fan all of my life. And, interestingly enough, it would seem that I’m not the only one who has grown tired of the recent wave of dark, dreary, mean-spirited entertainment. Certainly audiences, but not the decision-makers. Not yet anyway.
Which strikes me as altogether bizarre. As new shows crash and burn and executives scramble to figure out how to produce the next big hit, I’d suggest looking at what has already been a hit – and why – then reverse-engineer. Take Supernatural for example, a series that has run a mind-boggling 15 seasons. What’s the secret of its success? Is it its supernatural underpinnings? Its monster-hunting premise? Or, perhaps, could it be the brotherly bond at the heart of the show?
Stargate: SG-1 ran for 10 seasons. Why? Was it the cool wormhole effect? The creepy alien villains? Or, maybe, could it have been the camaraderie at the core of every episode?
What about Star Trek? What do its various incarnations have in common besides spectacular visual effects and awesome spaceships? Well, there are the various crews at the center of each series that feel very much like a family.
Oh, come to think of its, there’s one more like variable. All of the afore-mentioned are also a lot of fun.
Hmmmm. A fun genre show. Imagine? That couldn’t possibly work outside of the shows mentioned (Supernatural, Stargate: SG-1 and Star Trek). And Star Trek: Atlantis, Farscape, Doctor Who, The X-Files, Firefly, The Orville, Stranger Things, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and all those DC Universe shows.
Yep, the secret of successful television will remain a mystery.