HOLLYWOOD—Seriously, this is something we’re going to have to think about America? Why do some of the best TV shows have their greatest outing during their first season? Think about that for a second because some series are great, but they always have those seasons with hiccups or that are subpar compared to the first season or later seasons.
I mean HBO’s “True Blood” stellar first season, a bit of a struggle after that. “Breaking Bad” amazing first season that was hard to live up to the hype, but managed to end strong as it culminated. “The Sopranos,” another series with a first season that was excellent, but that final season was a mixed bag. Same with “Game of Thrones,” “Empire,” “This is Us,” “Revenge,” “Lost” and so many others. What does this say about the world of TV?
It says if you have a stellar first season that continues to build and build and build it is going to be difficult to top that or live up to the hype for the next season. I remember when the FOX music “Empire” debuted I was in literal awe. I mean each episode was a treat, and seemed to top the previous episode in a way that left the audience wanting more and more. Come season two, the series didn’t come anywhere close to topping the fantastic first season.
The same with “Game of Thrones” that killed off a main character in the first season making it clear to the audience similar to “The Walking Dead” that anyone and I mean anyone could die at a given moment people. Does it mean writers should reserve a bit of mystery and tension for the viewers for subsequent seasons or are we in a situation where those filler episodes each season or during some seasons cause more lackluster storytelling that limits the punch that the series had up to that point?
It is a loaded question and the only argument I can make is that you cannot drag a story longer than what it should be. That is like “This is Us,” where the first season delivered a stunner every single episode, if you were not balling your eyes out, you were stunned with a development that you did not expect, but after six seasons the drama came to an end this week on NBC. Was it satisfying? To a degree, but nothing compared to the first season.
With great TV sometimes, it is sometimes dragged a lot longer than what it needs to be. You need to know when it is time to end a series and not stretch it for the sake of simply stretching it. The networks are responsible for this in their goal of bringing in as much revenue for the series as they possibly can. The more people that watch, the more likely advertisers want to ensure ads for their brands or products are televised because it means exposure people! However, you start to dumb down a stellar series for the sake of earning a buck or simply having filler episodes. Sometimes with great TV, you might only have 1 to 2 solid seasons. You don’t have to have 10-12 where the audience starts to say really, it’s still on TV: I’m looking at you “Grey’s Anatomy.”