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Serialized vs. Episodic TV Shows

Postby anachron » Jun 16th, 2009 @ 6:53am

Which do you prefer: serialized TV shows like Lost or 24 where a singular arc runs throughout the entire season and each viewing is dependent on the last or episodic shows like Burn Notice and House where each episode has a clear beginning, middle and end and is loosely related to the others?

Personally, I prefer episodic shows because they are easier to get in to if I want to start watching them.
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Re: Serialized vs. Episodic TV Shows

Postby LiQuid » Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:04am

I go out of my way to watch shows in order from the beginning, so prefer the serials, which are usually more heavy and fulfilling. Even most episodic shows still tend to have overarching plots or character development that lends itself to being seen chronologically though. I still watch a lot of those types of shows too (i.e. both of the ones you mentioned). I figure between DVR, Hulu, torrents, and TV on DVD there's no reason to skip/miss episodes anymore.
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Re: Serialized vs. Episodic TV Shows

Postby robulus » Jun 16th, 2009 @ 11:26am

I prefer a mix of both. Episodic shows are good for a quick TV fix, encapsulated story, can catch it any time, even in reruns. Even if they have story arcs, they tend to be loose enough that I don't have to watch religiously to follow (i.e. House). If I try to follow too many serial/arc shows, my enthusiasm for them gets watered down. Also, if a serial show starts to go downhill *cough* Heroes *cough* I feel a sense of commitment to keep watching; not wanting to have wasted the time invested up to that point. With episodic shows, if it starts to suck, I just bail and don't look back.
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Re: Serialized vs. Episodic TV Shows

Postby kenzo » Jun 16th, 2009 @ 1:32pm

Fantastic!
Last edited by kenzo on Aug 23rd, 2016 @ 5:58pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Serialized vs. Episodic TV Shows

Postby Michael Betts » Jun 16th, 2009 @ 8:58pm

I think what makes TNG, and similar episodic shows, so great is that they are essentially a series of short stories that use consistent characters. Each episode is contained, but the characters evolve over time.
Stupazing.
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Re: Serialized vs. Episodic TV Shows

Postby Info » Jun 16th, 2009 @ 9:59pm

I like serialized pretty much exclusively. It bothers me when a show can't decide most of all though. Like in Big Bang Theory one character had a girlfriend for 3 episodes or so, then they decided to stay together but not live together, and the girl was never seen again.

io9 talked about this the other day too, from a quote from a Torchwood writer: http://io9.com/5288693/did-jms-ruin-television-sf
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Re: Serialized vs. Episodic TV Shows

Postby G-Nitro » Jun 17th, 2009 @ 9:15am

I tend to prefer Serialized for the same reasons as kenzo stated, mostly due to being an anime fan and enjoying the story arcs. I do at times like some episodic shows such as South Park, where most of the time it doesn't matter what is going on.
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Re: Serialized vs. Episodic TV Shows

Postby SexyJosh » Jun 19th, 2009 @ 5:38pm

I like the idea of Serialized shows in the sense that you get to delve into a story that takes more than 45 minutes to tell. I only wish they would start to contain them more to one to maybe two seasons (like in the UK or Japan) so that there isn't such a barrier to entry (ie: LOST).

Episodic has it's place and is great for those shows where one off stories are fun, but we've been watching those types of shows for so long. Having something with an over arching story to keep coming back to feels way more gratifying in terms of character and story development.
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Re: Serialized vs. Episodic TV Shows

Postby Lopsidedown » Jun 21st, 2009 @ 3:33pm

I prefer the shows that do a mix of both. Burn Notice, for example, worked for me at first because I didn't need to know the overall Burn-arc in order to watch and enjoy the out of order reruns. But now that I've recently bought them on dvd, I can enjoy them all over again for the arc on it's own.

I find that shows that are exclusively serialized are tough to go back and watch again. Why bother watching an fraction of an overall 24 season? Or Lost?
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Re: Serialized vs. Episodic TV Shows

Postby Eleazar » Jun 21st, 2009 @ 11:34pm

Lopsidedown wrote:I prefer the shows that do a mix of both. Burn Notice, for example, worked for me at first because I didn't need to know the overall Burn-arc in order to watch and enjoy the out of order reruns. But now that I've recently bought them on dvd, I can enjoy them all over again for the arc on it's own.

I find that shows that are exclusively serialized are tough to go back and watch again. Why bother watching an fraction of an overall 24 season? Or Lost?


I agree completely, I like having a good balance. I don't want to feel completely out of the loop if I miss an episode, but still have a strong and prevalent story. That is probably why I like Stargate so much, they do it perfectly. They rarely had episodes that were completely reliant on previous episodes, but still had a strong prevalent over-arching story.
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