I came across an interesting article in which someone argued that Hollywood could learn a thing or two from Aristotle: I wonder if studios have forgotten that summer films used to feel summery: Jaws was released on 20 June 1975, and the central tension of the early part of the movie is between those who want to keep the whole killer shark thing quiet in case it upsets the tourists at the start of the summer season, and those who think that the tourists will be pretty upset anyway when they see a disembodied head bob out of a boat. Would the film have been as successful if Steven Spielberg had been able to use more footage of the mechanically temperamental shark? Probably not: it’s the fact that we scarcely see it that gives it such a terrible menace. If we can’t see it, it could be anywhere. Worse, it feels like it’s everywhere. It’s hard to dispute the wisdom of Aristotle. In The Poetics, he lists the elements a drama requires in order of importance. Plot is first, then character, then dialogue, right the way through to the least important element: spectacle. This is the opposite way round to the priorities of film production studios, who routinely specify the action sequences they require (for merchandising purposes) before the script is even begun. In other words, spectacle dictates plot. No wonder the blockbuster needs a reboot. Note that he isn't rejecting characterization or dialogue; just arguing that if they aren't in service to something that makes sense, nobody is perhaps going to care anyway. So, Aristotle's prescription for good drama was, in order: 1). Plot first 2). Characters 3). Dialogue 4). Spectacle last Consider how much more satisfying it is when a character struggles for tangible reasons (like uniting the galaxy through persuasion and consent in Mass Effect), rather than moving through a cyclical melodrama of things going wrong, and reacting repetitively/aimlessly, as in some modern shows. In some drama plot has been thrown out of the window in favor of just placing the characters in the most melodramatic situations. Take a show like Lost, which had no ongoing plot, revealing it had no logical direction all along and was just stringing the viewer along with emotionalism and soap opera dynamics. This leaves a bad taste with the viewer, and certainly does not provoke the kind of awe that, say, Babylon 5 did. Perhaps melodrama is the wrong term, but basically I feel some dramas have gone in the direction of "soap opera" in order to hook viewers, but it ultimately does not satisfy the realist part of the mind - unplanned twists just for the sake of melodramatically revealing secret identities and the like. Take the reveal of the final five Cylons in BSG - a show that is a good drama in other respects, never had 'a plan' - it was clear that five random characters were picked just to fuel a bit of soap opera about them revealing/not revealing their identities; it occurred in a completely contrived manner which might as well have been Merlin popping into the room and telling them. Or a superhero show like Smallville where there is endless soap opera flip flopping over whether to enter a relationship and reveal a secret. I hope Discovery avoids this (we have enough of it on TV) and tends toward the more realist structure of the plot devices being grounded in the reality of the setting - i.e. realistic dangers, natural disaster, biological problems, political crises, scientific crises, military crises, etc, what do you think? I would not want to have a Klingon on the crew in disguise and have them stretch it out for seasons upon seasons like some shows do.