Evolution of Plots & Story Lines

posted in: Miscellaneous | 7

In the past year and a half, I have never watched more TV series in such a short space of time in my life before… And, I’m not even a TV-loving person.

My next confession: I didn’t even watch that many TV series… BUT (yes – I do have a point to make here), I couldn’t help but notice the gaping difference between the story lines of older tv series as compared to the newer and most recent ones.

My mind’s been conditioned to following a story line that is sophisticated, tying up every loose end, and I wasn’t even aware of it. I’d say it’s because most, if not all, current TV series’ plots are so well thought-out and addresses each issue in an attempt to imitate life as we know it. I think our expectations have subconsciously escalated. We’ve become so blind to this evolutionary process that we can only appreciate it once we step back and take a look at it right from the beginning.

When I started watching Charmed and Smallville from the pilot episode, as much as I loved both series, I was often left disappointed because of some loose ends; things that mysteriously (excuse the pun) got solved on their own by the following episode. I’ve started watching the famous Friends again this month (whose pilot is much older than Charmed and Smallville) and find a large number of loose ends floating everywhere, resurfacing every so often if you pay close enough attention.

Interestingly enough, these irregularities haven’t stopped me from watching the series, or made me any less interested in following through with them. If anything, it sort of added a sense of lightheartedness to the story line; making the journey less stressful for the viewer.

The one positive aspect about older plots, perhaps not a positive side for every body, is that these plot holes and loose ends are a sharp reminder of what is real and what isn’t: we’re watching television; we’re watching something that is not real.

This begs the question: should television imitate real life?

It has started already; with flawless plots and the opportunity to closely follow each character, with a voyeuristic view, through the series of events that make up their life.

And just because it started already, it doesn’t mean it’s for the better. What do you think?

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Freelance digital copywriter; animal-lover; reader; photography enthusiast; and a tea drinker.

7 Responses

  1. CaViE

    I think as years went on, writers started to make plotlines more and more like allegories to real life. Whereas in the nineties a story simply existed to be a story, now it exists as some form of commentary, or even as art. Original series the likes of Breaking Bad simply must introduce and resolve every plot point because for the purposes of story, nothing is created that is not done intentionally so. Before, a simple plot device was introduced and forgotten because, well, nobody cared about it as much.

    I like where we’ve come with regards to both television and movies. I enjoy being able to pick part storylines and see what’s really going on. I particularly enjoy watching a really well executed movie and appreciating everything I know went into making it, plot-wise.

    But no, television does not have to imitate life. I’m sure there are a lot of shows that don’t. But if it didn’t at least try then we wouldn’t get really great shows the likes of the aforementioned, as well as, say, How I Met Your Mother. 🙂

    • Saajida

      Even back then story lines existed as a form of art. I agree, nobody cared about it as much as we do now.

      I also enjoy having to pick apart and appreciate certain story lines and the effort that went into getting them so perfectly balanced (a very small list of series I thoroughly enjoy) 🙂

      I suppose yes, if it didn’t try to imitate life then it wouldn’t be as great… but to what extent should it and does a line exist.

      Thanks for your comment, it’s been an insightful read 🙂

  2. Alan Howard

    I’m not much of a TV watching person. But I sort of like the older series perhaps because they are more human….both in the message they conveyed and the holes and subplots that get lost. It reminds me that people built or made the series and it isn’t real. Still I enjoy it from time to time. And you have made me want to go back and watch Friends for the first time in years.

    • Saajida

      More human… that’s an interesting way of putting it.
      Aah, go ahead. Give it another watch 🙂 I’m enjoying it so so much.

  3. darrelhoff

    hey there, I really enjoyed this piece. I am a fan of Suits and Arrows and my goodness they have indeed made the story line so complex. pretty difficult to follow. I like what you said about some things being open ended. By the way I watched The Monuments Men last night. was such a feel good film! 🙂

    • Saajida

      Thanks 🙂 I also enjoy Arrow and my husband LOVES Suits! Yes, the story line is very life-like in a sense that every beginning has an end.
      Ooh really? I’m gonna give that a watch soon! Thanks!

Your thoughts?