Saturday, January 13, 2007

TV: Will Veronica Mars ditch season-long dramatic arcs?

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I wouldn't normally point my browser to Michael Ausiello's page over at, mainly because the guy seems to live for spoilers. I don't have any use for TV or movie spoilers, and I'm baffled by those who do -- why would you want to ruin the excitement and intrigue? Anyway an item on NeptuneSite led me to Ausiello's page and the following bit of news.

Ausiello quotes Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas as saying that, if picked up, season four of the show will lean toward more self-contained episodes instead of a season-long arc, like we've seen in seasons one and two.

"Our fear is that the big mysteries are keeping casual TV viewers away, and it's very difficult to engage Veronica in a multi-episode mystery without making it extremely personal," Thomas said. "Season 1 was built around the mystery. Veronica's best friend was dead. Every series regular was intertwined with the mystery. Without replacing the cast with each mystery and/or killing Wallace, I'm not sure we can devise enough personal connection to a case to keep the momentum we had in Season 1."

So, there you go, from the man himself. I don't know what to think about this. Can it be that hard to keep decent dramatic arcs going? Buffy did it for seven years.

I mean, the implication is that the CW network and the series' creators want to cater to the people who don't watch the show instead of loyal fans. That's pretty disappointing. But, some said this was going to happen for season three, and that hasn't been the case. Sure, this season's mystery arc was wrapped up in the first half of the season, unlike in years past, but it still has been a great season full of surprises, great writing and acting. Plus the show had record ratings for its winter finale episode, mainly because it wrapped up a half-season arc. That's proof that dramatic arcs do bring in ratings, so it's unlikely that Thomas and crew will toss out the arc concept altogether.

I'm sure Veronica Mars will still be a compelling, funny and smart series if renewed for another year, but those arcs are a big part of what keeps me watching. What do you think?


Anonymous said...

I dont think that self contained episodes are the way to go at all. Keeping a storyline going all season long is what true fans are looking for. So far it has been working. People like the show for what it is. Doing this as a way to boost ratings and increase viewers can backfire. For example, when Alias started doing self contained episodes in seasons 4 and 5, it started to go downhill and from there it was cancelled.

mike said...

I think you're right. I'm just not ready to give up on the show, even if the arc concept is ditched. It's still one of the most entertaining series on TV.

Chexee said...

Individual episodes will breake my heart, and honestly, I think it will sweep away most of the loyal fanbase and make people who might be drawn into the series by the still apparent charms of quirky dialogue, strong characters, and a quirky mystery sort of pase fans. To me, engaging dramatic arcs are what make a good show a great show, yet the shows with the most potential and the best dramatic arcs are always the ones that are on the chopping block by the networks. Barring cliche drama (Gilmore Girls, Dawsons Creek, etc ... no offense), The shows with the most engaging storylines (In my opinion) like Buffy, like Angel, like Veronica have always been those that have gotten, as Rob puts it "critical acclaim and commercial failure." I don't think ditching the part that makes it "critically acclaimed" is the way to earn better ratings and viewership :/