We had only been watching half an hour or so of the new Prisoner mini-series when Richard said, "I'm tired of these shows." Pressed for elucidation, he said "you know, shows where the whole thing is WHAT'S GOING ON?"
There certainly a lot of these cued on our DVR--Heroes, FlashForward, Fringe, with Lost coming back soon, yes? We were also fans of that canceled one about the people in the bank robbery and that other canceled one about the aliens in the swamp. We gave up on Dollhouse (Eliza Dushku as a robot, quelle surprise) and after Richard announced last night that he had Had It with Fringe, we deleted that, too. (I was done with that one weeks ago, but would contentedly play iPod Scrabble while R attempted to parse the increasingly careless storytelling.)
These shows are quite a risk, especially in the aggregate, as people get more conservative about just how many they can handle, and as even regular shows like Ugly Betty and Law & Order (Anita gets cancer and a boyfriend) up their serial quotient. The only show we follow where you won't get confused watching out of order is Modern Family. Stand-alone TV episodes are about as rare as stand-alone fantasy novels!
But the real problem is with those shows that ask us to trust them to eventually solve the mysteries that provide their premises. Lost in only watchable if you have faith that it is going someplace worthwhile. Let's hope it doesn't end like Alias, but the issue isn't so much that the conclusion needs to satisfy us as it is that we feel encouraged along the way. Wait, now I think I'm talking about religion.