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  1. #1
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    Should creators of TV shows have an ending in mind when starting the project?

    I loved hearing that the creators of Chuck had a 5 season plan for the series. They knew where they wanted it be when it ended. I am sure that the storylines changed somewhat over the years, but the stuck to how long they wanted the show to be.

    I think that TV shows might benefit from planning like this-- storylines won't be dragged out forever, there could be better continuity, and shows could end in a good place and not have to wait until they " jump the shark".

    Do you think that shows would be better off with a certain time frame in mind?

  2. #2
    Battle Troll DJ Doena's Avatar
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    Most shows have a sometimes more detailed, sometimes less-so plan for the first five years, because that usually the timeframe for which they are pitched. Because realistically, most shows don't live that long.

    The problems begin when the show is suddenly becoming really popular and leaves that timeframe. Smallville is such an example, for it was never foreseen that it would be on the air for more than five years. They probably even only planned for four to finish with high school.

    Supernatural had a five-season arc ending exactly where it ended. And then they fell into a hole until they figured out what to do next.

    Babylon 5 had a precise arc for five seasons (still one of the best shows that were planned out beforehand). But it also shows what kind of monkey-wrenches can happen. Originally it was never intended that Sinclair would be replaced by Sheridan. Also the orginal first officer was supposed to be the mole, not Talia Winters. And the announcement that the show would only get a fourth season with JMS quickly wrapping up the Shadow War AND the Earth conflict only then to get a fifth season after all and having no true story left (which got us the awful telepaths arc).

    Sticking to their guns is also not always recommended. The ending we got from How I Met Your Mother was filmed at the end of season 2. And back then it would have been fitting. Even at the end of season 3 and maybe season 4. But beyond that the actual ending spit in the face of everything the show told us in seasons 4 to 9. It degraded the mother to a broodmare, it undid all of Barney's progression and despite of years of showing us how Ted and Robin don't fit together it mashed them together just because.

  3. #3
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    i guess my question is when networks give the okay for another season, and there is just not enough juice left in a show, should the makers of said show end it anyway?

  4. #4
    Battle Troll DJ Doena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BethHG View Post
    i guess my question is when networks give the okay for another season, and there is just not enough juice left in a show, should the makers of said show end it anyway?
    The showrunners usually don't have that option. They're not the bosses of things. Even when they create a show the contracts usually force them to give up a great deal of control over it. Even if they'd said we want to end it, if the network thinks it can squeeze a few more years out of it, the showrunners will just be fired and replaced.

    And as a showrunner you'd also need the personal integrity to say "this story is told, let's finish it" and not see the buckets of green the network is dangling in front of your face.

    And even if you had full creative control and did end a succesful show on a high note, it could be that this action gets you informally blacklisted because you just killed a money-maker.

  5. #5
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    I figured that. I really hate that it always comes down to money every time and not the quality of the product.

  6. #6
    Posting Pro Aurora Moon's Avatar
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    I agree that a lot of TV shows would had fared so much better if they had known when was the best timing to end it, etc. And if they wanted more of the same show, why not do a spin-off?
    like, a lot of TV shows have side characters and the like... so while the main characters' stories were done, why not focus on the side characters now.

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