Monster Of The Week

When I was young, I was introduced to a television show dealing with the supernatural, science fiction and the unknown. That late night introduction, sitting inches from the television, on the edge of my seat, keeping the volume as low as I could to avoid waking my parents, and being quite terrified; the whole experience shaped my taste in entertainment from that point on in my life. Even now I have a soft spot for that series despite growing up and becoming much more demanding when it comes to realism. That show was The X-Files, my first experience with the Unknown Monster-of-the-week formula.

Since then, many series have come by and I’ve been sucked into them for various reasons: Stargate SG-1 with its Egyptian science-fiction themes and great stories, Supernatural with the fantasy creatures in a modern setting, Fringe a great series closely following The X-Files example, Doctor Who with its wacky stories and general fun along with many others. You get my drift. I love these series where each week I tune in to watch the protagonists grapple with a creature or situation for one, maybe two episodes before defeating/resolving it and moving on. This is what I and many other people watch these series for.

Why is it then that the creators of these series feel the need to shoe-horn a half-baked, confusing and overall stupid ongoing storyline into these series. Looking back at the X-Files everything was excellent most of the time, but every now and then Mulders backstory would rear its ugly head and waste several perfectly good episodes of the series only to never go anywhere and never have any consistency. Mulder was a great character, the eccentric but brilliant agent with an open mind, frequently mocked but confident in himself enough to push through the ridicule and prove the haters wrong. It was great! We don’t need to find out what happened when his sister was abducted by aliens when he was a child. It’s NOT IMPORTANT. It’s nothing more than a plot device to give Mulder his motivation for the series.

In Doctor Who, each series has an ongoing story always culminating in the final two episodes, and as the series goes on these climaxes get more and more ridiculous. I mean, look at this crap:

Fringe is what set this whole post off in my mind. Previous series have centered around the conflict between Earth in this dimension and Earth in a parallel dimension. This was fine, up until now the writers have kept things classy with lots of little bits of plot development mixed in with the Monster Of The Week stories. In the latest series however, apparently having two dimensions isn’t enough, because now we have two dimensions in a seperate timeline.

Why? Why can’t you guys just give us our monsters? If I want to watch a series with excellent storytelling I’ll watch Dexter or Breaking Bad. I watch these shows each week for the monsters, not for the overall story. If you want to write an epic then please, find somewhere else to let off your creative steam, because these series just aren’t suited to big stories.

Anyway, this has been bouncing around in my head for a few days and driving me crazy so I had to write it down.

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