Jumping the Shark
I know I have done a post like this in the past. Time to resurrect it! "Jumping the Shark" is a reference to tv shows who outlive themselves and start relying on stupid plot tricks to stay on the air. It was coined after "Happy Days," which was hugely popular in the 70's, ran an episode where The Fonz water ski jumps over a shark. So instead of a show about high school kids in the 50's, which was why the show was popular, it deteriorated into a bunch of nonsensical episode (which also gave us Mork).
Kitty and I have been watching 2 shows that are on CBS; "Extant" and "Under the Dome." Since the season for both has just ended, Kitty and I have concluded that both will be taken off of our watch list. "Extant" had a lot of great promise. It had Halle Barry as lead actress and Steven Spielberg as a creative consultant. It started off as a decent sci-fi, but quickly deteriorated into typical network fare. It finally ended like "A.I.", a movie I REALLY hated (also a Spielberg production). The plot was muddled. The characters became people I didn't care about. The action was lame and typical "evil government with lots of tough guys in black carrying assault weapons." *YAWN*
I think I wrote about "Under the Dome" in an earlier post. I was really impressed with it. You were constantly wondering who would live or who would die. The plot seemed pretty fresh and it was based on a Stephen King novel. We really liked it! I think it was scheduled to be more of a mini-series as opposed to a full-blown tv show. That was its downfall. Since it became so popular the network had to start dragging things out. It was time to milk the cash cow for all it was worth. Soon we had the stupid improbably love affairs. Soon we had the ultra smart teenagers saving the day while worrying about how popular they were. Everyone starts blindly following the tough ex-military guy because he is sooooo uber smart! *YAWN*
I don't know how many people remember the show "Jericho" which aired several years ago (also on CBS). It became famous because there was such an outpouring of complaints from fans because the show was cancelled after 1 season which ended in a cliffhanger. The network decided to finish things up in a 2nd season. I watched it on Netflix because of the hype. I quickly discovered why it was canceled after one season. It takes a lot to make a potentially interesting plot of a small town dealing with the aftermath of a nuclear attack and turn it into a laughable drama. It had all of the cliches listed above, only worse. If nuclear war was happening, how many teenagers would be worried about who is still popular or who was still dating the cute boy? The world is going to hell! What should we do? Look for food? Stockpile water? No! Let's have a town picnic!
Do the network execs really don't get it why shows like "Breaking Bad" are so successful? People like me are sick of shows where the good guy always wears the white hat and survives until the next episode. The bad guy wears the black hat and dies a terrible death at the end. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Moral ambiguity is a good thing! Stereotypes are bad things. "Breaking Bad" also did the smart thing by ending on a high note. There was no shark jumping. Here's the story arc; beginning, middle, end. It's not based on ratings but an actual plot.