Posts Tagged ‘sitcom’

tv show formulas = poll

November 13, 2008

What was originally supposed to be a rant about certain types of TV shows, eventually evolved into a basic primer on three categories of shows that everything pretty much falls into these days:

Terrorist/Mission of the Week
This type of show seems to be the most prevalent, probably because it requires less writing skills. You get the show, usually some kind of Action/Crime/Supernatural theme, and every week there is a new terrorist, or a new krypto-freak, or a new mission. Every week is different, and it happens week after week, and 80% of the show is focused on this. The other 20% actually has some plot elements weaved in, probably about an overarching secret organization, plot twist, or an unexplicable connection between all the terrorists/missions, to keep users from tuning in to see what may happen or probably may not happen next week. I dislike this show the most, mainly because it seems like they stall you for 80% of the show with really crappy writing, and dump you with a couple minutes of actual plot development, which is almost always a cliffhanger. In fact, in this week’s Knight Rider, there was this line (I swear!): “You rhyme like a white boy and not a Beastie Boy.” *shakes head* If all that crap was taken out, you’d probably end up with a 1 hour season. Obviously, although I dislike this, the general public must love it, because CSI is consistently on top. Examples: Smallville, X-Files, Fringe, CSI, ER, Chuck, Knight Rider.

Situation of the Week
This category shares a lot of similarities with the previous one, but is different enough to warrant its own category. The difference is that the weekly situations don’t pretend to be a part of the overarching plot, if it even exists. Usually you’ll find this in sitcoms. These situations ARE the show, hence they are usually better written. If there ever is a plot, it’s almost always a love interest. These shows are easy to watch out of order, and easy to pick up. Very TV friendly, although it seems to be a dying genre. Examples: Friends, Big Bang Theory, Seinfeld, Family Guy, Futurama, Simpsons.

Really Long Movie
Ah yes, now we come to my favorite type of show. If you were to watch all these episodes back to back, cut out the commercials and their respective transition scenes, title screens, and credits, you’d have a TV show that flows on forever like a really really really long movie. This type of show is very enjoyable to watch as a season, but very hard to watch on a weekly basis, because, well, you want to know what happens next, and a week is a long wait. Plus, a lot of plot elements are forgotten in a week’s time (thank god for ‘previously on…’ recaps). Problem with these shows is that they aren’t usually TV friendly. Audiences that pick up in the middle of the season will miss out on a lot of plot elements, and watching episodes out of order will really mess things up. A lot of people who hear about these shows too late just don’t have the time commitment required to catch up. Examples: Friday Night Lights, Heroes, The O.C., Lost.

I know, I bet you can almost just label these categories as Action, Comedy, and Drama. Well, they do usually seem to fall into these categories, but there are some shows that like to break the conventional formulas and blur the lines, incorporating lots of elements, like Desperate Housewives and Entourage, and I just wish more would. So I’d like to take a poll, as I’m always curious, and I want to test out the new included poll feature in WordPress, and see what type of show the general public seems to like the best. And I know I’m probably missing something, so the 4th option includes groundbreaking formulas and whatnot.