Awesome Possum wrote:
For all genres of pre-planned series, things like Band of Brothers; John Adams; Lonesome Dove; I, Claudius; House of Cards (BBC version at least), also expose the absurdity of this supposedly critical opinion.
Aren't they actually Mini-series, a show with a set number of episodes with a known conclusion? They're basically just long movies that are broken up over several nights or weeks. An actual series can run for years, so having some room to work with is a better idea for them.
The key phrase was "overarching pre-plotted storyline from the beginning to the end..." The miniseries is the only format that actually fits the description. It's true that poster only meant Babylon 5, but that's merely failure/refusal to consider all the evidence.
The term "arc" has mostly fallen into being used solely as referrring to a character transformation, but in well-written series, like Wiseguy (which I remember being the pioneer) pretty much had the arcs planned, and the arc included that vilely quotidian plot. All plans of course were subject to change in the process of execution. It can be difficult for outsiders to decide whether there were forced changes to a plan or a simple failure to plan. That too makes the statement that "narrow plot-focused writing produces mediocre drama" dubious.
I'm not quite sure what "room to work with" could possibly mean in this context. I clearly see that an episodic approach is valid, since so much of life is occasional episodes punctuating the daily routine. But life as a melodramatic, endless serial with constant transformations and retransformations, and thematic revolutions, and what not, seems like a fundamentally flawed notion of drama, indeed, of life. What exactly do you want room to write?