The Corner

This is the End… My Only Friend…

Looks like BSG is scheduled to end with the fourth season.  Reacting to the news earlier this week that Lost’s producers have set an end date, Ross Douthat had a sharp post on why TV shows need expiration dates, and I think he’s basically right.  I’d add, though, that now that we’re expecting many of our TV shows to act more or less like filmed novels, we also ought to expect them to end like novels.  Yes, there’s always that odd mix of emptiness and elation that comes with finishing a truly engrossing book, but no one ever seriously complains that their favorite novel should have gone on forever.  No, we’re basically comfortable with the fact that our favorite authors finish one book and eventually go on to write another.  I don’t see why we should treat TV any differently.  Ron Moore, I presume, will go on to do something different and, with any luck, equally interesting, just as Deadwood’s David Milch is starting up a new—and quite different—series of his own. As much as I understand becoming attached to a favorite show, I think we ought to think of TV more as an author’s medium where a producer’s obligation is simply to good storytelling rather than to perpetuating a certain set of characters in a particular situation. 

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