I just finished watching all of Lost in about a week and got into Breaking Bad about a month ago. I love these shows. They are so addicting and the writing is excellent. Before these shows the closest thing I ever came to watching a serial drama is Gilmore Girls. (Which is a great show too, but not nearly as addicting). I wish networks would take a chance and do more of these. They are a risk and there is only a limited amount of seasons that can be done because there has to be an end game in mind, but if done right they are fantastic.
A serial drama is a TV show that has a running script from episode to episode. I usually watch crime shows that have a different situation each week and usually have a couple of story arcs that run through part of a season or seasons, but if you miss an episode it isn’t a big deal. However if I missed an episode of Breaking Bad, I would be really confused. You may be able to catch up but something minor could happen that comes back to life 5 episodes later and you have no idea what is going on. If you have the ability to commit to a show like Breaking Bad or Lost, you are rewarded.
This is not say that the other shows are bad, but they lose the addictiveness. The other downside to a serial drama is that it is hard to pick up a fan base if they didn’t see the show from the beginning. For instance, my mother watched the season premiere of Breaking Bad and liked it, but she hasn’t watched it since because it didn’t really make any sense to her. She told me that she had to buy the DVD which I would gladly let her do because the show is one of best I have ever seen.
I don’t know about you but the best part of the crime dramas are the story arcs. They usually revolve around a character and they give you a reason to tune in each week. The problem is when they run on too long. The Nate Haskell arc on CSI lasted for over two seasons. That was way too long. It lasted the entire run of Fishburne’s existence on the show. The NCIS story arc with EJ Barrett, while annoying, thankfully only lasted for a handful of episodes. It may sound contradictory to say that an arc can go long if I prefer the serial style, but I don’t necessarily want to be forced into watching every episode of every TV show I watch anyways. I usually do but sometimes there isn’t enough time.
I can’t wait till the next Lost or Breaking Bad comes out. Someone needs to step up and take a risk because the same old stuff on TV is getting pretty old. The problem is, a risk will usually pay off huge like it did for Lost or it will fail miserably like so many other shows. Or if someone can make a show about a different drug business that is different from Breaking Bad I am in. There is absolutely no way it could be better but at least it could be interesting.
If someone knows of other really good serial dramas that are still on TV or have finished please feel free to recommend. These are the only two that I have seen and enjoyed them very much.