What was your most hated "reset button" in a episodic tv show?

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Skipper, Feb 28, 2020.

  1. Skipper

    Skipper Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2016
    In the thread about the last Picard's episode there has been the usual discussion on the merits & demerits of episodic vs. serialized television. As you know, the episodic formula at its most extreme means nothing that happens in a episode can effect the overall continuity of the tv show and at the end of the hour everything is reset to the status quo. So, ideally, you could watch the episodes of a similar show in whatever order, because there isn't an overall arch or something similar (in reality it's quite difficult to have a "perfect" episodic tv show, because real world events can effect its structure, like an actor who leaves the series).

    A plot-driven episodic tv show is perfectly enjoyable because the focus is the story and not the characters (like, I don't know, Law & Order). The problem arises when there is the occasional character-driven episode. In the episodic format the protagonists can't ever change, whatever happens to them. So you can have the most dramatic and world-shattering story, and you can be sure that in the next episode everything will be back to square one.

    One of the most egregious example that still haunts me today is an episode of C.H.I.P.S. where one of the protagonist, Poncherello, falls in love with a girl, they plan to marry, but then she is killed by a drunk driver and he is devastated all in a television hour. And in the following episode everyone is happy and easy-going like nothing is happened AND SHE IS NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN! Try to imagine something similar in today tv. I was only 12 at the time, but still I thought that was one of the worst reset button EVER.

    So, in your opinion, what was the most insulting reset button in a tv show? :)
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
    Qonundrum likes this.
  2. MrPicard

    MrPicard Jean-Luc's Loving Husband Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2019
    Location:
    Jean-Luc's Bed
    I was ready to mention "Bobby Ewing under the shower" but I guess that wasn't in an episodic show... although it DID reset an entire SEASON instead of just one episode. Talk about taking things to the extreme, lol. Dallas never recovered from the scandal, at least not in my opinion, and I'm a HUGE fan of the show.

    I can think of another example that applies somewhat even though the show itself isn't episodic most of the time, and that's The Walking Dead's CDC episode at the end of the first season. They do make a few tiny passing references to it later on the show but the whole thing is buried SO quickly that it just baffled me. (I recently read that Robert Kirkman WANTED for it to get buried the way it did because he didn't like the CDC's involvement because he wanted for the characters to not think about what caused it and rather how to survive in it. While I can see the reasoning behind this I still think it's annoying how the episode teased and mentioned details - such as the French working in their labs also - which were then never picked up again.)
     
  3. Spectre Of The Fun

    Spectre Of The Fun Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2018
    Location:
    Marooned in the American Midwest.
    I wasn't catching CHIPS as regularly by season 6. I do remember this but I didn't worry so much about Ponch losing Lovey Kravesit to a drunk driver.

    The real heart of any CHIPS episode wasn't Jon or Ponch it was always Grossie anyway. This one is no exception. Did Grossie's guitar lessons and singing ever get mentioned again after this episode? If not that would be devastating. It would be just like episodic writers and producers to never mention Grossie's singing and guitar playing again.



    But seriously Skipper I get your point. I have to say that despite the shortcomings of episodic TV I prefer it to serialized shows.

    I like good story driven shows that aren't held down by serial stuff that makes it dull on rewatch. The price you pay is the reset.

    In recent years I have gotten into The Virginian from the 1960's. A third season episode has the Virginian's fiancee die of illness and it plays out just like the CHIPS episode. The Virginian was never going to be allowed a recurring love because he needed to be able to romance new weekly guest stars. Likewise Betsey was only allowed to get married when actress Roberta Shore quit the show and was written out. If not for her departure I'm sure that HER fiancee would have been killed or exposed as a heel to reset Betsey for more weekly romance.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
    Skipper likes this.
  4. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    That absolutely still sticks out to me. In a sense that's almost worse because it was a serialized series. You expected that events from prior episodes would carry over. To wipe out an entire season was possibly the worse decision they could have ever made. Everything---gone. And fans at the time enjoyed a lot of the storylines from that season.

    And at the time I don't think they were totally clear that everything was wiped out. It was so sudden. Pam basically says she had this dream he died, she married Mark and Bobby basically quickly told her it was all a dream. 10 seconds of dialogue and poof, gone. I don't think it was quite clear everything was wiped out. At the time fans probably had to deduce that truly meant everything---even storylines that had nothing to do whatsoever with fans. I wouldn't blame fans if for a few moments they were confused wondering why that would affect Ray and Donna adopting a deaf boy, or Jamie and Sue Ellen being victims of a bombing, or the whole Angelica Nero storyline, or Mandy Winger and JR parting ways.

    I have to admit, even knowing what I know it's very jarring. One time I tried to watch the last episode of the prior season--the one where Bobby is "killed" and then watch the first episode of the reset season and it flows very badly. I guess they were hoping fans would forget a lot about that prior season. Like Dusty Farlow showing up at the end of the previous season and now he was nowhere to be seen--or Ray suddenly buying a new house out of nowhere (in the dream season his old house was flooded--which now never happened probably causing issues because I imagine the set was dismantled), among other things. And the one element they did preserve from the dream season, the dramatic drop in oil prices, was not an issue at the end of the previous season. They also preserved the Wes Parmalee storyline (though he was named Ben Stivers in the dream season) I guess making Pam clairvoyant.

    I stuck with the show, and after a while you were able to forget the dream debacle as the show moved on. But I can see why a lot of fans just jumped ship. There has to be better ways to bring Bobby back. I figure even saying he faked his death (very effectively) and going overseas for treatment would have been better. A bit cliché maybe--but then it was a soap opera. It would have still been a stretch but at least it wouldn't have negated an entire season of the show. And it would have added some good soap operish storylines like Pam is now married to Mark and Bobby is back---and Jenna and Jack were starting to rekindle their friendship which would have been an issue again with Bobby's return. Not to mention what of Sue Ellen, and how does Jamie's death affect Cliff since they had reconciled? A total miss IMO.

    I know, I'm pretty passionate about this topic on Dallas. Dallas is another of my favorite shows. The dream season, and the abrupt cancellation of the 2012 series without a satisfying conclusion (or a conclusion period) are two things that drive me nuts about Dallas--and there are a number of continuity errors in the 2012 series I've been picking up on as I've been doing a rewatch of that series currently (ok, I won't get going on that because that could be another page of issues).
     
    Spectre Of The Fun and MrPicard like this.
  5. MrPicard

    MrPicard Jean-Luc's Loving Husband Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2019
    Location:
    Jean-Luc's Bed
    I completely understand, Dallas IS basically my favorite show (does this board have a Dallas thread? If not, it should. lol), at least up until the dream season. The continuation I really really tried to like but it wasn't for me, I quit after the first season.

    The rest of the original series that comes after season 9 just falls so FLAT for me as a whole, the writing declines on a steady basis, and Victoria Principal leaves at the end of season 10 and then Linda Gray leaves the next season (which is NO NO NOOOOOOOO for me because Sue Ellen is my second favorite character on the show) and things just aren't the same anymore. I hardly ever even watch the show beyond the dream season. And then there's also Knots Landing where Bobby remained dead. The way I was told, the Dallas writers completely screwed the Knots Landing ones over because no one had even told them that Duffy was coming back and that Dallas would basically be using an atomic plot bomb device to nuke season 9 from orbit (I guess for the Dallas writers it was the only way to be sure).

    I mean I'm only a (TNG) fan fiction writer but even I can come up with a LOT of other ways to bring Bobby back than erasing an entire SEASON. WTF. I would have found it FAR more interesting if he had come back at the end of season 9 and had had to deal with everything that had happened in the meantime. THAT would have given room for some REALLY GOOD character development for everyone involved. But nah. They completely messed this one up, and they deserved the backlash they got for it. I mean sure, the Angelica Nero plot wasn't the greatest and I can see why Larry Hagman apparently complained about the writing in season 9 (it's still a nice season tho IMO) but to dismantle it the way they did... bad idea. BAD IDEA.

    I can't deny that I do love how Dallas is famous for both the best (Who shot JR) AND worst cliffhanger (Bobby under the shower) in television history tho. :lol:
     
    Spectre Of The Fun likes this.
  6. Spectre Of The Fun

    Spectre Of The Fun Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2018
    Location:
    Marooned in the American Midwest.
    It's ok by me as I am also a huge Dallas fan. Hell I even enjoy the late seasons even though great characters leave but the overall story is stripped to the core which is JR, Bobby, Cliff and sons living up to their father's legacy.

    Yeah I think I will watch Conundrum Pts 1 & 2 (JR meets a demon or too much booze?) today followed by JR Returns ("if I'm dead I've gone to the right place").

    Right on Damian.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
  7. Skipper

    Skipper Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2016
    I admit I never watched Dallas, but even I heard about of the "Dream Season". But it seems that even a part of the eight season was a dream. Had they ever specified exactly from what moment it was all a fantasy?
     
  8. Spectre Of The Fun

    Spectre Of The Fun Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2018
    Location:
    Marooned in the American Midwest.
    I'm in if a thread happens.

    I do but I understand why you don't. I stop after JR Returns. I didn't like the 2012 continuation.
     
    MrPicard likes this.
  9. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Location:
    Space Massachusetts
    Any point of Roseanne or The Connors, they just redo whatever history there was to fit this week's storyline.

    A season 9 episode of MASH takes place in all of 1951, even though seasons 1-4ish were 1951 and had a very different cast. But MASH played lose with the timeline anyways with like 5-6 Christmas episodes in a three year war.
     
    Greg Cox likes this.
  10. Skipper

    Skipper Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2016
    It seems to me more a case of loose continuity than a reset button.
     
  11. Redfern

    Redfern Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    Conversely, one of the best "reset" buttons was that golf ball in the final minutes of "Newhart". Struck in the head, Newhart's character Dick Loudon blacks out. Waking in the dark, he switches on the light, revealing he is, in reality, Dr. Robert Hartley, the lead character from Newhart's earlier popular series, "The Bob Newhart Show". Not just a season, but the entire "Newhart" series is revealed to have merely been a dream of the psycho-analyst.
     
  12. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    When it was originally on the air I was a bit too young to understand a lot of it. I used to watch the Dukes of Hazzard when it was on and then Dallas was on next (I was usually asleep by the time Falcon Crest came on). I did know enough that JR was the guy everyone loved to hate. I guess it's kind of like how Hitchcock got you to root for the villain. A real life JR would disgust and horrify me. But on TV I couldn't help but cheer on JR when he really nailed someone. And JR had a gift for nailing people in the worse possible ways and enjoying it like I might enjoy chocolate mousse ('ah, the sweet taste of your misery and suffering that I totally caused, mmm, tastes so good, bwahahaha).

    Anyway, so, my roomates watched the reruns on TNN back in the 90's and I of course got hooked. It's funny, that show was so long I started watching it during the 2nd season in my junior year of college, and then I watched it 5 days a week and it still took until a year after I graduated to cycle through the entire show. I always joke with people that I only had to wait a week to find out who shot JR though. :lol:

    I'm sort of a continuity junkie. I comment about that a lot with Star Trek. And I guess that's what got me into Dallas. "Dream Season" aside, Dallas was typically pretty good with continuity during the original run. Sometimes things that happened would have consequences years down the line. The 'dream season' was very jarring, but eventually it sort of reset itself. There's no doubt the quality started declining in the writing. And by the end most of the original cast had left. The new characters were ok, but Cally Harper was no Sue Ellen (though I did find her more likable as she toughened up) and April Stevens was no Pam (and she sadly met a tragic end). It was a bit surreal when Cliff Barns joined Ewing Oil with Bobby and JR finagled his way back in--and for a brief time they co-existed. I'll never forget a scene where Bobby just had a battle with Carter McKay from WestStar (actually one of the better latter season characters) and there was Bobby, Cliff and JR standing together basically as allies. It was a serious surreal moment. Eventually Cliff would battle JR again though Cliff and Bobby were still on friendly terms by the end (in fact Cliff, who was also friends with April was badly shaken when she was murdered after marrying Bobby).

    Which leads to one of the issues I had with the revival series. Even if you discounted the two reunion movies, which the new series did for some reason (I'm not entirely sure why it was necessary but I digress), at the end of the original series Cliff had finally taken control of Ewing Oil by himself but had otherwise settled his disputes with the Ewings. During the show in fact, he even admitted to Miss Ellie that Digger might have been wrong after all. While he would never be able to make peace with JR, he no longer had an issue with the rest of the Ewings. The show basically dismissed all of that and now he's twisted with vengeance. Even ordering the bombing of an oil rig his daughter is on while pregnant to cause Ewing Energies trouble. Even old Cliff from the original series would never stoop to attempted murder. He was kind of the lovable loser. He would do almost anything to get at JR, but intentionally, knowingly harming people just wasn't his MO. And then pretending his mother started Barnes Global (which I guess was at one time Wentworth Industries but the show isn't very clear about that) and that Katherine left Cliff things in her will at her death---that made no sense as she despised Cliff--she would sooner leave her shares and jewelry to charity then Cliff.

    But I will say I was somewhat impressed they carried on a year and a half after Hagman died. They managed to pull off a Dallas without JR. I only wished they allowed them even an abbreviated season to close things out. They didn't announce the cancellation until after the last episode had already aired and they were led to believe they would get a final season---everyone with the show seemed shocked at the sudden cancellation.
     
    MrPicard likes this.
  13. UssGlenn

    UssGlenn Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2003
    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    In the third episode aired from the end of I dream of Jeannie, was written as the series finale, Dr Bellows finds out about her being magical and her bottle gets broken, then Tony quits NASA and they decide to move away. Then at the very end of the episode it turns out it was just a nightmare Tony was having.
     
  14. CaptainXaviOfEarth

    CaptainXaviOfEarth Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2020
    As the above replies already state, I think it’s Dallas by a landslide.

    I hated The X Files for how it would reset between episodes. They would have life altering events happen to them, to then completely not address or revisit them again (aside from the serialised episodes). In reality, you wouldn’t stop talking about any single one of these cases all year long, nevermind 24 of them a year.
     
    MrPicard likes this.
  15. XCV330

    XCV330 Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2017
    Location:
    Crime Story season 1 was one of the greatest tv shows ever filmed, certainly one of the most realistic crime shows. Former Chicago detective Denis Farina played a Chicago detective. He got to work with John Santucci, a former career criminal that Farina himself had arrested. The budget seemed bottomless, the music was perfect and Michaed Mann seemed like he had another mega hit on his hands.

    Then came Crime Story season 2. What had gone from being one of the best noir series ever made, turned into a fucking joke with the the main bad-guy, Ray Luca, surviving a nuclear bomb, and sending the hard-knuckle Chicago crimefighting force eventually to Madeuparaugua in central america on one bumbling misguided adventure after another, as the series had jumped from Chicago to Vegas to some attempt at a 60's Miami Vice. It didn't work and by the end of the season with yet another ridiculous cliffhanger, everyone was ready for it to just stay dead, and for the most part, unremembered.
     
    Gary Mitchell likes this.
  16. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    Yeah, that whole episode was pretty surreal.

    "I Dream of Jeannie" was pretty consistent for the most part considering shows in the 60's generally were not. But there were a few inconsistencies--early it was said genies lost their power after getting married, which did not end up happening. Her family in the first season supposedly weren't genies and later they were. But in a lot of ways it seemed to follow a larger universe thread. It was another show I enjoyed, oddly another show starring Larry Hagman as well, though it a far different role. I loved the running gag with Dr Bellows always on the brink of finding out about Jeannie but never being able to cross that bridge. I was always a bit disappointed Hagman didn't appear in the two reunion movies. "I Dream of Jeannie" just wasn't the same without Hagman. During his Dallas run he seemed to want to distance himself from that role, though later in life he seemed to embrace it more (JR was always his favorite, and I can't blame him, but he was good as Major Nelson as well).
     
    Qonundrum and MrPicard like this.
  17. Redfern

    Redfern Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    Derailing the topic for a post since you mentioned "I Dream of Jeannie".

    I may have watched a few episodes "first run", but like many of us, I caught it during its initial rounds of syndication, during the early 70s. I caught it on a daily basis and enjoyed the frivolity. Well, not knowing how many seasons existed or how many episodes, I caught a segment involving Jeannie (in her miniature state) getting trapped within a safe, one destined to be launched to the moon. Hijinks ensue, but by the episode's conclusion, Eden's titular character is not freed from the secured storage device as one would have expected. the last scene depicts the safe loaded upon a Saturn booster and the rocket launches, headed for the Moon. Tony Nelson stands behind a chain linked fence in shock, almost to the point of tears, having failed to rescue his friend. His last words are, "Goodbye, Jeannie."

    The next day during that time slot (I think, maybe 11:30 AM, just before the midday news), some other sitcom was aired! What?! That's how the show ended?! How utterly cruel!!!

    Years later I learned that was NOT the series' conclusion, but merely part 1 of a three part story. What I saw was merely episode 77, episode 16 of the third season. The show would run for another 62 episodes before it was cancelled. But for whatever reason the local TV station dropped those reruns for another show, leading 11 year old me to believe Jeannie had been entombed upon the Moon, forever lost to Tony Nelson.
     
    Damian likes this.
  18. XCV330

    XCV330 Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2017
    Location:
    Hunter, another good crime show from the 80's actually did do its best to deal with rape in a very surprising two parter (for the time). But then they continued on with the reset button, only to bring it back up again a couple of seasons later.
     
    Skipper likes this.
  19. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    IIRC it was actually a 4 part episode. There was a code he had to enter into the safe and apparently they had a fan contest where a fan could pick the code. Hagman I guess had to voice it in post-production since the episode had already been filmed so you don't actually 'see' him saying it as he enters it in.

    Like Dallas, I have the entire IDOJ series on DVD. I ended up getting the entire series for about $25. The only thing is the first season is colorized--and not well. I usually prefer to see things as they were originally filmed anyway, but they made it worse because it wasn't the greatest job. I wish they just left it be, esp. if you're just going to do a halfway job of it. Usually I just turn to color off on my TV when watching the first season.
     
    MrPicard likes this.
  20. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Location:
    Northern Ontario, Canada
    I think it was actually very common to have these kinds of stories back in the day. Been rewatching Highway to Heaven recently, and in the the 2nd season, Mark Gordon finds what he believes to be the love of his life, and they're all set to marry. But she finds out she has an incurable illness with only a few days left to live. He loses her and is distraught, but as per your example, it's never mentioned again. I think it's just the nature of the storytelling from back then rather than a deliberate reset.