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Old October 1 2012, 08:18 PM   #175
Sindatur
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Re: Ewww.. SGU let's have some freaking protocol

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
RoJoHen wrote: View Post

And this makes me wonder why writers don't plan that kind of stuff out. Instead of stretching a 13-episode story arc across 20 episodes, why not tell it in 13 and then come up with another story arc for the back half of the season? Treat the narrative like two separate seasons instead of one long season that you need to fill out.
Er, because you've just massively increased the writers' workload without any pay increase.

I think people forget that this is a job you get paid for, not something you are doing for fun. That's also why hardly anyone is planning out shows seasons in advance. JMS' Babylon 5 is notable for being the rare exception to that. But the vast, vast majority of shows are only planned out at a very skeletal level when they start, if at all. The showrunner might know how they want to end it, but may have no idea how to get from A to B.

When you begin, you also don't necessarily know if you are going to get 13 episodes, or 20, or 26. Hell, you might get canceled after two! It's very hard to plan in that kind of unpredictable environment. I try to be appreciative of the work that must go into that sort of adaptability.
If you don't know how many episodes you're getting, I can see planning an arc to be a problem. But if you know you're getting 20 episodes, how is it increasing anybody's workload? They're still writing the same number of episodes, just in a different way.

I'm not nitpicking SGU; I actually thought it was a great show, and I enjoyed the characters and stories for the most part. I'm just speaking in general. If you know you're being given a 20-episode season, and you want to have arc-based storytelling, make the most of those 20 episodes!
The complication that arises there, though, is, if you're a hit, The Network will force you to keep pumping out seasons. If you're a hit, it can be jsut as hard to negotiate ending after 5 seasons, as it for many many other shows to make it to 5 seasons.

So, if you have an Arc'ed Series, and know exactly how many episodes you need per season and how many seasons you need to tell it in (say 5 x 13 episodes), by the time S3 ends, you don't have much story left to tell, and if they want 3 more seasons, you are now stretching it out 50% longer than you intended.

It must be a real bear planning an arc, under these circumstances and "making every episode count". Additionally, you can't strip away all the "Character building" or "Slow Arc building" episodes, because those are needed in order to get the payoff on the "WHAM" episodes
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