Archive for October 8, 2014


To continue my appreciation of the latest trend in TV programing. I’ve been thinking that this is really not brand new, for the approach has been used in the past. Remember Roots. Back then it was called a miniseries.

While thinking about Roots, I recalled an incident I experienced while living in West Los Angeles and working at UCLA during the late 1970s and early 80s. I was driving in Westwood when a small sports car caught my eye. I thought I recognized the driver, and when I saw his license plate, I knew I was right. The plate said KINTE and of course the driver was Alex Haley. I wonder if I should change my plate to README, but I digress.

Back on point. Another characteristic I find refreshing with this approach to TV programing other than the killing of characters is that they end, or at least being based on a novel, require an ending. With Under the Dome, I’m not so sure. The promise of an endpoint is refreshing when contrasted with the usual series fare which are endless cliff-hanger where you know the main character will survive, if not, what will they broadcast the following week? The endpoint, here, determined by ratings and not by storyline.

There is, of course, a parallel in the written word. As a reader, I tend to shy away from recurring characters in novels. For, as in a TV series, no matter how tight the situation may be, it will be resolved or else the author will lose the cash cow.

Yet, after stating the above, there are authors whose recurring characters I enjoy following. Here it’s the strong character rather than the story which draws my interest.

One character is Lee Child’s nomadic hero, Jack Reacher. Reacher’s lifestyle provides a fun read, although sometimes I wish he would stumble into a town where all hell doesn’t break lose. But, then again, why read such a story. I enjoy James Patterson’s Alex Cross stories. The character is so well developed, so full of strengths and weaknesses, that you can’t help loving the guy. Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden is also on my list of follows. Dresden, a modern-day Chicago wizard, breaks the mold of continuing characters for he has kind of ‘died’. Wizards provide much more flexibility than your average human.

These ruminations bring to mind one final example, but with a twist. For this author had a recurring character he wanted to kill, but his audience would not let him. The legendary author tried killing his illustrious character by having him plunge over a waterfall, but the public would not hear of it. Rather than meet his fate, the author was forced to have him survive and live on for more stories. The author – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and of course the character was Sherlock Holmes.

So there you have it, a long-winded appreciation of what I see as a new trend in TV programing, death and finality.

What do you think?

October 8, 2014 at 8:23 pm 1 comment


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