Posted on June 3, 2016
American Horror Story started it, as far as I can tell, but Fargo and True Detective have picked up the idea of telling a new story, with new characters but in the same vein every season. I know some people think of this as cutting off your nose to spite your face but it does solve a very real problem with modern television shows: living too long to go out with grace.
Breaking Bad accomplished this with short seasons. It was on for five years but only produced 62 episodes. A normal, network TV show would have been over a hundred eps by the end of season five. And that’s the goal. Ultimately, it’s not about story or quality, it’s about syndication. Make 100 episodes and everybody gets paid.
Better Call Saul only comes to us in 10 episode chunks.
I can’t help but feel like the end is so ugly that it diminishes the beginning. Castle started out as an intriguing and funny take on the standard procedural everyone under 60 has gotten so tired of, but it has ended up a punchline, with its star’s waistline expanding to mirror the bloatedness of the show. Every major character has been kidnapped twice, shot twice and been suspected of being the killer at least once.
So Castle won’t be remembered with the same love that we have for Breaking Bad. Rather, it will get tossed in the same file as Wings, According to Jim, Smallville and 2.5 Men. Well, that’s not really fair. 2.5 men was never any good.
In other words, guests that overstayed their welcome and left the bathroom a stinking mess on their way out.
But shows like AHS and True Detective and especially Fargo, are more like reading a new book by the same novelist every year. New story, new characters but same story telling style. And it’s awesome.