I have always held the belief that most shows run for just too long. Shows rarely end at their peak, because a show on it’s peak is an opportunity to make a shit-load of money. Therefore, it’s usually slightly after the peak, in which a show will usually quietly end before things get too bad.
Producers of a TV show will rarely end it until the show starts to get extremely negative reception. If it’s not getting really bad reception, then there’s money to be made – right? It’s totally understandable, from an economical point of view. However, just one bad series can really bring down the quality and reputation of a great show – such is the case with Prison Break, 24 or Lost.
A couple days ago I left a questionnaire up about your favourite TV show, and how long it had been running etc. (Which garnered a grand total of eight replies! One of which was me.) I asked to you tell me if you think that the show had been running for too long, and if you would like to see it brought back. I learned several things from this; the main thing being that you shouldn’t ask people if their favourite shows have been running for too long, because they are obviously going to be biased and say no (except for me.)
See, looking at the statistics (people moaning online) it seems that most, if not all TV shows are considered to have run slightly too long and “should have ended a season earlier” or something. In fact, there’s usually only a few people that think otherwise – people who consider it their favourite show. Everybody who replied said that they were happy with how long their show ran for, which honestly was not what I was expecting.
Several replies feature Doctor Who as their favourite show, which is a show that has been going on since the dawn of time. They all said it had not been running too long – and you know what? I kind of agree with them. Doctor Who is a rare case of a show being genuinely timeless, it has been reinvented several times throughout several generations and has been incredibly successful through and through. I’m not a huge fan of the show, honestly, but I will admit that it probably won’t get old any time soon. The reason for this is that every episode is a new story – shows like Prison Break or Lost are tied to a constant overarching storyline, which obviously hinders how much they can do with the show, therefore how long it can run.
The trouble is, TV Shows can’t really win. They are destined to eventually burn out in a disappointing end. No matter how amazing a TV Show is, people will get tired of it eventually; leaving only the true fans to stick around for the shit. There is no indication that the next season will be bad, until it’s on the air, by which point it’s too late and the quality is compromised. I do not consider Prison Break to be a bad show because the last season was not very good, but it definitely lowers the overall tightness of the show.
People are always going to moan, aren’t they? People even complain that The Wire perhaps went on a little too long, and that just says it all really, doesn’t it. Shows will always fall because our nostalgia vision refuses to let us see that Season 1 of Dexter isn’t really that much better than the rest – but we will constantly talk about how the show has declined since then, comparing new seasons to our idealised version of the first one.
But I’m in a glass house right now, so I don’t really want to throw any stones.
I’d just like to thank the people who replied to my survey for this post, it means a lot, and your contribution made the third paragraph.