Julia Houston On Plot Arcs

By Christian
January 11, 2001 - 11:59 PM

Over at About.com's Star Trek Fans, Julia Houston has put up this week's feature article, writing about the nature of episodic television and why the next series should avoid having too strong a story arc. Here's a snippet:

Episodic television has become the mainstay of the medium, much more familiar to general audiences than continuous stories, with the exception of soap operas. Miniseries, which began in the '50s but didn't really hit their stride until the '80s, like Dune and television shows like Twin Peaks, X-Files, and Babylon5 have recently impressed science-fiction lovers with the possibilities of long story arcs. In particular, some Star Trek fans and detractors have been avid for more plot arcs, and have been bashing Voyager and other such episodic television for "reset buttons" and "lack of continuity."

Now, there is no question but that episodic television can get sloppy. With different writers going after their own visions and impressions, and the shows' all being created by committee, momentous events can be too easily ignored in later episodes, continuity can suffer, and genuine inconsistency can, and does, occur. As a consequence, some fans are loudly demanding longer story arcs, and there are rumors circulating that the next series will have a Babylon5-like (or soap opera-like) plot, weaving its way through the seasons.

This isn't a good idea.

The full article, entitled 'Oil/Water; Plot Arcs/Episodic TV', can be found right here.

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