"Begin the unnecessarily slow-moving dipping mechanism"

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Here's a list of things that can seriously curb my enthusiasm about TV series. Unfortunately, I have recently started watching a series in which all of these things seem to occur excessively.

  1. Scriptwriters that don't know the difference between "mystery" and "convoluted plot".
  2. Minor plot elements that seem insignificant after they have been dealt with turn out to be major parts of some great master plan and/or conspiracy two seasons later without any prior clues to that effect.
  3. A simple storyline is made complicated merely because a character is behaving uncharacteristically out of character.
  4. Storylines that would not exist at all if a character hadn't time-travelled into the past.
  5. Erratic character behaviour is disguised as "character development".
  6. More than one dead character turns out not to be dead at all, and/or is resurrected from the dead.
  7. More than one character turns out to be merely a figment of someone's imagination.
  8. A character has more than one doppelganger, or more than one character has a doppelganger.
  9. Characters who have superpowers that could make the entire storyline obsolete, if only they weren't too stupid to use them properly.
  10. A supposedly super-intelligent villain whose inconsistent action and/or blatant incompetence allows the heroes to escape.
  11. A supposedly super-intelligent hero whose inconsistent action and/or blatant incompetence allows the villain to escape.
  12. One storyline is repeated after a while with different characters.
  13. A character changes from being a good guy to being a bad guy to being a good guy pretending to be a bad guy to being a bad guy pretending to being a good guy pretending to be a bad guy and is finally revealed to be a bad guy after all. Well duh, big surprise.
  14. A likeable character with a central role in one season is relegated to an insubstantial B-plot in the following season.
  15. A kickass female character in one season behaves all mushy and emotional in the following season.
  16. Characters who remember and forget what they know and/or can do depending on which stunt effects might be more optically impressive.
  17. A character appears out of nowhere in a later season and is revealed to have been an integral part of the plot all the time from the very beginning.
  18. An entire season's worth of episodes turns out to be just one character's dream, an alternate reality that ends up being erased, or is otherwise invalidated.
  19. All characters are revealed to be connected in some way, or, even worse, related to each other.
  20. Pointless and/or pompous voice-overs from know-it-all characters.

11 Comments

Recently started watching? Now, I would like to know if my guess was right...

I never fail to marvel at the extent to which we humans, (and please note that I am including myself in the "we"), want/need/crave entertainment to the extent that we sit for hours watching TV shows of which we have many critisisms; the characters are not true to themselves, the plots make no sense, or offend with grisly details of ghastly murders - we know, of course, that these are not real people doing real things, but stories made up in the heads of people probably not as amart as we are. And yet we continue to watch, and criticise. We could just as easily, at ant time, turn off the TV and turn our attentions to more productive things. That would - no question at all - be the better choice.

Jann: So you think that watching TV shows is a waste of time anyway, and we all should just take a hike instead. Then please, just do it. Horst took the time to analyse several TV shows and listed the mistakes that make a good story bad. Which I think is a very productive (!) thing to do.

And what is your point when you tell us that "these are not real people doing real things, but stories made up.."?
I think you have no case there. If you were right, that would not only mean that you would only recommend wathing reality-tv-shows and the news on TV. (We could argue about how much of the news we watch on TV is fiction too, but that's another story)
So, reading fiction books is just a waste of time too?

Barbara: I think you have misunderstood my comment.
Horst said, "I have recently started watching a series in which all of these things seem to occur excessively." A series. So he's talking about one series. One series which has all 20 of these faults occurring excessively. It would seem that there is not much left to like, but if Horst still enjoys this series, despite all its faults, then it makes sense for him to continue watching it. I'm all for people doing things they enjoy.

I see nothing wrong with watching TV, and have my own favorite fiction shows which I look forward to each week, and which I enjoy very much. But I also find myself watching shows that I don't enjoy, or no longer enjoy, shows that have some of the same faults Horst mentioned, as well as some he didn't. Example: I find myself, every week, watching "Criminal Minds," even though I hate all the blood and gore and torture that go on in that show, and don't even find the main characters, the good guys, very interesting.

In my comment, I was musing on the vagaries of human nature, how we crave entertainment, sometimes to the extent of watching shows we do not really enjoy.

My point was this: if a television series has so many things wrong with that we can't or don't enjoy it, then we might better spend our valuable time doing something that we *do* enjoy, perhaps reading a good book, fiction or otherwise.

And please note, that as I said at the beginning of my earlier comment, I was including myself in all the "we's."

And, you know, Barbara, it's nice to hear from you, nice to hear your opinion. I think Horst's blog would benefit if you posted comments here more often.

Well, it's not Lost, even though a lot of that would be true for Lost. I'm pretty sure it's Heroes.

Apart from the guessing, I think your points are valid, even though I don't mind the majority of what you point out as flaws.

Jann: Thanks for explaining your point again. I really misunderstood you. Sorry, for my rather harsh reply.

Barbara: Think nothing of it. And I meant it when I said that I would like to see more comments from you. :-)

Well, I mainly started watching it because Ali Larter was using KDE for her webcamshow in the first episode. Ever since then it's gone downhill :)

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