Monday, January 22, 2018

Are stories that never end really made to last in popularity?

It must be my month to be quoting from Steven Spielberg, seeing as I quoted him in a post just last week.
I never thought I'd be saying this, but I'm getting tired of The Walking Dead. I was so into it for years, and now I just am kind of tired of these characters clashing with each other and the whole "zombie" thing. It's more or less an apathy of sorts that's settled in. It's weird because I thought that my fervor for all things zombie was unquenchable. And here's the thing: my malaise is visible in Star Wars too.

I'm not really excited for Star Wars: Rebels to return with all new episodes to finish out its story arc of getting the rebellion started and to cap off the series. I'm not really excited for episode 9, and I'm not really excited for "Solo," which is going to tell the backstory of Han Solo. Hmm. I'm also wondering if other people feel that way about things that never end. So far, the Marvel stuff has remained immune to the malaise. I'm super-excited for Avenger's: Infinity War and for The Black Panther.

But there's the argument that Star Wars is fundamentally different too. I mean, Star Wars is nothing without the "war" part...and maybe that's why it fails in my head. A war has a beginning and an ending and George Lucas told that story. These new films just destroyed the happy ending that we got in Return of the Jedi so that there could be more war. Presumably, it'd have to be a never-ending war or there's no more movies that could be made, right? Does anyone actually want to sit through movie after movie of a never-ending war? How fun is that? And what if Disney doesn't go in that direction? What if the war ends? Then what kinds of stories could you actually tell that are entertaining in the Star Wars universe without some kind of "big bad?" If there was such a story, why didn't they start telling it at the end of Return of the Jedi instead of creating the hot mess that is The Force Awakens?

It makes me wonder if stories that never end (are open-ended so that there can always be more story) are really made to last. If I'm at all a "canary in the coal mine" example of a person's tolerance, I'd say that in general, the answer is no. I'd say people appreciate endings, but then, I'd most likely be wrong. For example, have any of you heard of the Dr. Who, South Park, the Simpsons, and Supernatural on the CW? These four series are examples of one that seem to have no end to them, and they are immensely popular. So maybe there's something wrong with me in that I have some kind of upper threshold for consuming the same old stuff over and over again.

I don't know why I'm feeling this way about my staple of "junk food-esque" entertainment, but I am. Maybe, it's just the winter blues. Who knows?


  1. If you think about it, the original trilogy of Star Wars was a happy ending to the war, but Lucas' next trilogy was an unhappy ending. I'm assuming the current trilogy will also wrap up and probably with a happy ending.
    A good series can go on for a long time, but some start to grow weary. I'll admit I prefer the stand alones to the mythology when it comes to X-Files. I mean, at some point, Mulder and Scully have to stop the alien virus from wiping out all life on earth, right?
    And why the Simpsons continues, I have no idea. That series ran out of steam many, many years ago.

  2. Welcome to my world, lol. The Walking Dead has just been repeating itself for years. The Simpsons peaked 18 seasons ago but no one seems to care. There's not a single movie I'm really excited about, though I'm curious about Black Panther and the Pacific Rim sequel.

  3. Just because something is ongoing doesn't mean it doesn't have complete stories.
    Which is why Marvel is working so well, right now. They have very concise story arcs. Some of them are interwoven, like the infinity stones going on in the background of other stories, but each arc is complete within itself.

  4. It's a phase. You're burned out. You've had these shows and movies going for so long that you're reached your saturation point. Go ahead and put these aside for now. Find something new.

    There will come a time when you'll want these stories again. It might take a year. Or two. But they'll feel good again to you. They'll be interesting once again. And you'll wonder how you ever got bored in the first place.

    I've experienced this phenomena before. I had it with Star Trek. I was done with Law & Order. I stopped watching. And then one day I caught one on something or other, and I was right back into them. I just needed the time away.

    Do stories that never end bore us? I think we just reach a point where we've been storied out. But their season will come again.

  5. Without SouthPark incl., I enjoy the randomness of the others. I do not have to have watched previous episodes. I love the flow that winds around.

    Saturation? Simpsons did that, but others didn't. Well, Supernatural has to let those boys age and have a life.

  6. I always end up disliking shows without a feeling of progression. I soured on the Walking Dead after season 4 as I could see we'd gotten on a treadmill of no progression. It's what makes shows like The Wire, Mr Robot, and Breaking Bad among my favorites. I usually only good for 2-3 season on any show unless I see it building to an end. Even with all last season's problems, this is one of the reasons people will tune in to season 8. It's story with consequences and it is going to end. That's how all shows should be made.

    For some reason I don't have that problem with South Park (don't judge me!). It's the same thing over and over but I think comedies get a pass.

  7. All shows will end one way or another. Then years later, they will be brought back in a reboot.