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Joss Whedon: So Cancelled His Thread Got a Sequel


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11 minutes ago, Ran said:

That’s aggressive.  Almost every great TV series you can think of was not created with a set and definite ending in mind. 

Yeah, and how many long-running TV shows have ended up with a satisfying, well thought-out ending? 

Of course, there's The Wire, The Shield, Six Feet Under, and every other show that had a great ending. But these are the exceptions. Most shows that initially start well end up dribbling along for a few seasons, getting progressively worse, before getting cancelled. 

And if writers weren't putting themselves under ever-burgeoning pressure to pull plot out of their arses three or four seasons into a proposed seven series show, there would be a lot less shite on our screens.

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27 minutes ago, Spockydog said:

Yeah, and how many long-running TV shows have ended up with a satisfying, well thought-out ending? 

Of course, there's The Wire, The Shield, Six Feet Under, and every other show that had a great ending. But these are the exceptions. Most shows that initially start well end up dribbling along for a few seasons, getting progressively worse, before getting cancelled. 

And if writers weren't putting themselves under ever-burgeoning pressure to pull plot out of their arses three or four seasons into a proposed seven series show, there would be a lot less shite on our screens.

There's certainly never been a sci fi / fantasy series with a satisfying ending.

I thought GoT would be the one but damn if that wasn't the worst of all of them.

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1 minute ago, Darryk said:

There's certainly never been a sci fi / fantasy series with a satisfying ending.

I thought GoT would be the one but damn if that wasn't the worst of all of them.

Dark was ultimately satisfying. It didn’t really make sense, but was well handled and cathartic.

I’ve never finished BSG. The furthest I got was partway through season 4 and gave up because I just didn’t care anymore.

I don’t really have anything to add about Whedon, apart from I guess this means they really aren’t going to make more Firefly. :P

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I think The Expanse series just wrapped up nicely. It's not the very end of the story as far as the books go, but it's the ending of a bunch of narrative arcs and satisfying.

I also though Dark made enough sense for me, but it requires viewing that story from the perspective of characters that are barely in it rather than the ones we follow 

15 hours ago, IlyaP said:

I marvel at this. I really do. I look at showrunners like Naren Shankar and David Kemper and Brad Wright, who all ran big, complicated shows, and still managed to behave professionally.

I didn't find out that Naren was involved with Farscape for so long but it made me happy when I finally did. Everything I see from behind the scenes on The Expanse makes it clear that he set the tone for the production, and that that tone is encouraging, collaborative and positive. If you want to learn something, people will work with you on learning it and they made a great series together as a result.

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1 hour ago, Spockydog said:

 

And if writers weren't putting themselves under ever-burgeoning pressure to pull plot out of their arses three or four seasons into a proposed seven series show, there would be a lot less shite on our screens.

But it's the network executives who mandate this -- they want cash cows to keep running. So blaming writers for it seems odd, and putting the hypothetical network executive as the potential "hero" rather than the actual "villain" is odder still.

The reality is that it's only relatively recently that we're seeing shows where writers come and say they want to do X seasons and done, and streamers and networks are behind it. (With the rare past exception, of course.) At least in the US. In the UK, things have been different, one season series -- limited series -- seem to have been a lot more common for longer.

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1 hour ago, Ran said:

That’s aggressive.  Almost every great TV series you can think of was not created with a set and definite ending in mind. 

HIMYM had a specific ending in mind that might have worked had the show ended after a shorter run… but they stuck to it all the way to the end and… it didn’t work as well as it could have.

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3 hours ago, sifth said:

Did it though? Nothing really gets resolved. Wolfram & Hart declares full scale war on Angel's group and sends an army to kill them. Angel makes a joke about always wanting to fight a dragon and cut to black. That honestly doesn't seem like a very satisfying ending to me. If anything that seems like the type of ending you give to a show leading into it's final season.

Going out in a blaze of glory against hopeless odds/a reminder that the fight against evil never ends is a pretty classic ending in fiction. I thought it was a really good ending.

1 hour ago, Spockydog said:

Yeah, and how many long-running TV shows have ended up with a satisfying, well thought-out ending? 

Of course, there's The Wire, The Shield, Six Feet Under, and every other show that had a great ending. But these are the exceptions. Most shows that initially start well end up dribbling along for a few seasons, getting progressively worse, before getting cancelled. 

And if writers weren't putting themselves under ever-burgeoning pressure to pull plot out of their arses three or four seasons into a proposed seven series show, there would be a lot less shite on our screens.

I think a lot of this stems from the fact that fully serialized TV shows have only been commonplace for the past 15 years or so; which is nothing compared to the 70+ years before where it didn't happen. And there's still tons of non-serialized TV shows out there, especially on the networks. Most of the classic TV show greats were just pulling things out of thin air every season, and it didn't matter if their endings were good or not. I think that mindset is still very present in the industry, even though it doesn't really work for serialized shows.

Anyway, as far as shows that had good endings that clearly were NOT planned from the beginning, a few that spring to mind are:

Parks and Recreation (Adam Scott's character wasn't even in the first season)

The Americans (at least to some extent, maybe entirely)

The Office (nothing was planned out more than a season in advance except early on that Jim and Pam would eventually get married)

The West Wing (change of showrunners mid-way through)

Breaking Bad (Vince Gilligan has been very open about this)

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1 hour ago, Ran said:

But it's the network executives who mandate this -- they want cash cows to keep running. So blaming writers for it seems odd, and putting the hypothetical network executive as the potential "hero" rather than the actual "villain" is odder still.

Well, I just think that everybody - writers, viewers, and network execs - would be better served if said writers, before pitching their fandabadozy idea for a new TV show, waited until they had at least a faint idea of how the plot might resolve itself.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Ran said:

From David Fury, the source of that information:

I get that this is the official story. It seems like a non-sequitur to me. I wonder if there wasn't something else going on.

2 hours ago, Spockydog said:

Yeah, and most of the shit flung at Lindelof over Lost was entirely justified.

Excuse me, the trolling went on for years. He was harassed off social media. Over a television show? Come on.

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18 minutes ago, Deadlines? What Deadlines? said:

I get that this is the official story. It seems like a non-sequitur to me. I wonder if there wasn't something else going on.

Excuse me, the trolling went on for years. He was harassed off social media. Over a television show? Come on.

Yeah, and that was why I said most of that shit. Specifically, his hack-like qualities as a writer.

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I think it’s way off base to say sci-fi never has satisfying endings. Dark was superb. Station Eleven had a good ending. TNG had a good ending. Altered Carbon Season one was such a good standalone I never bothered watching season two. Game of thrones’ broad strokes weren’t even bad it was just rushed and sloppily put together in a show whose first half was extremely meticulous and everything felt organic and earned until they didn’t follow book five and didn’t have books for six and seven.

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The Leftovers (by Damon Lindelof!) also had a fantastic ending.

I really don't see why SF/F shows are somehow supposed to be immune to having good endings, any more than shows of any other genre. 

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11 minutes ago, Ran said:

The Leftovers (by Damon Lindelof!) also had a fantastic ending.I really don't see why SF/F shows are somehow supposed to be immune to having good endings, any more than shows of any other genre. 

Watchmen was pretty good too. so was The Hunt.

41 minutes ago, Spockydog said:

Yeah, and that was why I said most of that shit. Specifically, his hack-like qualities as a writer.

And that justifies years of harassment?

No, no. You're right. People should totally keep that up. The endgame will be a cultural diet created not by people who have a vision or maybe a shred of talent; but by people selected for their ability to take abuse.  

Well done, Nerds. That'll do, Nerds.  

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I think it's not so much that sci-fi/fantasy shows struggle with having good endings and more "sci-fi/fantasy shows juggling tons of plotlines, characters, and mysteries." Yeah, Station Eleven had a good ending - it's also an adaptation of a short, relatively simple, critically acclaimed book that already had a satisfying ending.

I'm not trying to take away anything from the Station Eleven writers/showrunners. The show is still a great accomplishment. But it's a lot easier to come up with a satisfying ending to Station Eleven than Lost, BSG, or Game of Thrones. It's even more difficult than for complex sci-fi/fantasy novels, because the showrunner(s) are not just in charge of planning the plot of the show and (usually) scriptwriting, but are also in charge of production, usually direct as well, have to think about actors' contracts, have a studio interfering, etc...

It would be nice if more showrunners of these kinds of shows planned ahead. But it's naive to think that this is what studios care about when a show is being pitched to them.

I also really detest it when people call these writers "hacks" because they couldn't wrap up one of these shows perfectly or well. Yeah, I'm one of those people who doesn't like the endings to Lost and BSG - I'd even call the BSG ending bad (though somehow, I'm one of the 50 people in the world who thinks the Game of Thrones ending was pretty good). But that doesn't make Lindelof or Moore (or D&D) hacks. They're talented writers and producers; they still gave me seasons of shows that I loved. I didn't like much of Lost season 6, but since then, Lindelof has done The Leftovers and Watchmen, two incredible shows. Yet if some fans on the internet have their way, anyone who ever produces a season of anything with mixed reception should be banned from ever touching a TV show again and deserves to be harassed. It's idiotic.

In general, I'm just really disheartened by the vitriol in fandoms these days. If you create a bad season/movie/book, it's not just that you tried something and failed - it's that you're a shitty person, a hack, an idiot, you self-sabotaged on purpose, you're trying to destroy my childhood, blah blah blah. People need to get a fucking grip. Joss Whedon is a shitty person because of the shitty things he did, not because Buffy Seasons 6-7 fell flat.

For the record, though, the Angel ending is great.

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I uhh … liked the ending of Lost. Rewatched it recently and it works so much better without the weight of scrutiny on it, you can just relax and enjoy it. And the episode quality over all six seasons was incredibly high, there are very few bad episodes. Add in Watchmen, Leftovers … I’m totally on board with whatever Lindelof makes next.

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2 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

HIMYM had a specific ending in mind that might have worked had the show ended after a shorter run… but they stuck to it all the way to the end and… it didn’t work as well as it could have.

HIMYM becomes a poster child for NOT having more than the broad strokes of an ending laid out when you start.  Sure, it was a show seeking longevity (because that's still how things were done mostly when it premiered), but if they'd chosen to not keep taking the renewals...and if they hadn't put themselves into a box with the definitive ending in mind...there would have been a better chance of sticking the landing...that said, in retrospect, as much as I liked the Tracy character, Victoria really was the stronger candidate to be the mother...

(And the last 30 minutes of the show, the ending we saw?  It doesn't exist.)

 

And another show that ended strong, but no one ever remembers, was The Good Wife...

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