Episodic vs. serialized

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by 11Alive, Sep 14, 2020.

?

What format of show do you prefer?

  1. Episodic

    13 vote(s)
    41.9%
  2. Serialized

    9 vote(s)
    29.0%
  3. No preference

    9 vote(s)
    29.0%
  1. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Speaking of this, we had a locally developed drama that aired over 8-10 episodes per season with 4 seasons, but it was a half-hour show. Because of this, I never felt it left enough room for character development as it was always over before anything interesting could develop. It was also an episodic show with a light story arc. The format always drove me nuts for a drama, but I suspect it due to was due budgetary reasons as they were limited in how they could do with their funding.
     
  2. amp

    amp Commander Red Shirt

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    I think the difference is how we watched tv shows in the 80s and 90s versus how they are consumed today.

    Back before DVDs and streaming, you had to catch the show when it aired each week. There were VCRs, but they were hard to program and relatively few people taped shows to watch later. I recently heard a well-known show runner say that, according to network research, in the broadcast era even dedicated viewers only caught about 1/3 of the favorite shows during their original airing. So the reset button was a necessity. The writers couldn't risk big changes every week that would confuse viewers when they eventually tuned back in.

    But today serialization is a plus. When an episode ends on a cliffhanger or with a major plot point unresolved viewers are much more likely keep watching the stream. Shows that reset each week just aren't as bingeable.
     
  3. Gordie

    Gordie Captain Captain

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    I haven't read through the entire thread, but will give my opinion on the OP's question.

    I prefer episodic. With serialized, you have a basic idea of what's to come, yes, there may be surprises but you have a general idea of where the show is going. Take PIC for instance. The first season is what would have been a 2 part TNG that they stretched out into 10 episodes and we knew what lay ahead.

    I like episodic with an overlying story arc(s). Like TNG, Star Gate, X-files etc. This way you are constantly introduced to new aliens, planets and characters. Some of those characters become fan favorites and then become recurring roles. Barclay is a perfect example. You also get different and new writers showing their stuff.

    Not to mention, going back the 22 episodes per season would keep people employed longer in a hurting industry. And I just don't mean the actors, but everyone behind the scenes.
     
  4. JulieYBM

    JulieYBM Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    A 22 episode season is too grueling for the short production schedules. Just pay staff more.
     
  5. BillJ

    BillJ Canon Warrior Premium Member

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    Many shows don’t even make back the money spent on them, so paying more isn’t an option for most.
     
  6. Gordie

    Gordie Captain Captain

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  7. Grendelsbayne

    Grendelsbayne Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If you forced me to choose one and only one style of formatting I'd go with the hybrid style of shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc.

    But fully episodic shows (like Star Trek or Black Mirror) and fully serialized shows (like Stranger Things or the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) are also among the best shows I've ever seen. I don't buy into the idea that any of the formats are in any way superior or inferior to the others. No more so than novels are inherently superior or inferior to poems or paintings are to videos.
     
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  8. Gordie

    Gordie Captain Captain

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    Yes it would have to depend on the show for me. I prefer episodic for TV sci-fi which was what I was originally commenting about. But as mentioned serialized works better for certain shows.eg Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, The Last Kingdom etc.
     
  9. galleywest

    galleywest I'll get you, and your little dog too! Premium Member

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    I agree with this. Some of my favorite episodes of TNG are often these "filler" episodes that give me more insight into characters who don't normally get a lot of screen time, or into the lives of the main characters. Data's Day is one of my all time favorite episodes of anything, and it's a great example of this.
     
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  10. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In Trek I had my fill of episodic stand alone episodes and planet of the week stuff years ago. I loved DS9 for a lot of reasons but not least because of the ongoing storytelling. There was still plenty of room to focus on different characters and tell unlinked stories.

    I suspect we'll get a more episodic approach to the Pike show which, as most of the other shows are serialised is, I suppose, fine. There's room for some variety.

    Outside of Trek ? I'd probably still pick serialised.
     
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  11. BillJ

    BillJ Canon Warrior Premium Member

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    Thanks to Discovery and Picard, I've definitely had my fill of serialized Trek. :p
     
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  12. Admiral Jean-Luc Picard

    Admiral Jean-Luc Picard Commander Red Shirt

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    I prefer episodic, but with a sense of continuity, and with character and story arcs than can span multiple seasons. Examples of this are DS9, Enterprise, the Stargate shows, Fringe, Gotham, and so on.

    To me, serial means no stand alones. Stranger Things, Surface, Legion, Lost in Space (Netflix), The Umbrella Academy, these are serials.
     
  13. maneth

    maneth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Depends on the definition of serialized and episodic.

    Some character development is necessary for me to really enjoy a show. Actions need to have consequences. The big red reset button on VGR is the main reason why I don't really like the show as much as other Treks I've seen. The episodic character of TOS I can deal with as a product of its time, but it seems to me that the only character who got any development on VGR at all was Seven.

    That said, a mix of both is usually more satisfying for me. One of the reasons why I like Babylon 5 so much is that it had a lot of both. Some episodes were more stand-alone, with maybe just one or two lines as nods to the greater story, whereas other episodes focused more on the main arcs. Often with a mix, so that the A story could be episodic and the B story serial (sometimes with a C and even a D story thrown in).
     
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  14. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    All of this. ^ Data's Day is literally the TNG equivalent of the Dear Dad or Radar's Report M*A*S*H episodes

    I was posting about this in another thread not long ago, that one of my favorite groupings of episodes to revisit are the hanging with the family type ones Data's Day, Lower Decks, Hollow Pursuits, Family & Lessons.... & maybe In Theory. Nothing particularly special going on in these, just the crew & their relationships in some uncomplicated one-offs. That type of production is a valid currency in television imho, & we really seem to want to be rid of it in modern times.

    But that's the comfort food tv in my book though, not to mention it's actually useful for giving the writers some liberty to go outside the overarching narrative once in a while. Cut loose so to speak. In that way, that kind of episodic tv is less restrictive, which I think is a notion being overlooked today. Heck, even Cause & Effect is sort of in that realm. It's mostly comprised of just poker gaming & chilling with the crew.
     
  15. Earl Grey Tea

    Earl Grey Tea Ensign Red Shirt

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    I kind of like both.

    But episodic has a satisfying conclusion every time. It just feels good to have a complete story from beginning to end.
     
  16. jackoverfull

    jackoverfull Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It’s possible to do this while being very serialized, as they used to on Babylon V. And I really wish they did.