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*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.



Wherein I engage in some writing that is about as focused as a coked-out
nine-year-old with ADHD (or whatever it's being called this week),
trying to explain the plot to the first Mission: Impossible flick.

There are certain advantages to not starting a show right from the beginning, as it seems is now the only way what with these new-fangled DVD sets.

I've seen a lot of comments lately about a number of returning shows where, despite them being absolutely amazing, viewers still feel the need to rag on them for having the temerity to grow and move forward. I especially see a lot of complaints that Veronica Mars isn't just like it was in the first season. Well, that's because time passes, doesn't it? Things change. Hell, the very fact that the first season happened means you can't have it just like the first season again.

That's not the point (so easily do I get sidetracked).

Where was I? Right. Not starting at the beginning. Now the mass of uber-serialization seemingly started by the likes of 24 (I don't blame them, I blame the copycatism. Most other series fail this miserably) makes it a little more difficult to jump into something, but people don't give themselves enough credit anymore, to be able to pick up a thread and figure out what's happening. A good "previously on" or some deftly handled exposition (easier said than done, I know) should take care of it, but that's not what I'm on about either.

Picking up on a series late gives you a unique viewpoint. One where you don't necessarily think you know the show better than the people who've been creating it for two or three years already. One where you don't take all the goodwill the writers have built up with you and throw it all away over a three-second shot at the end of an episode that you really don't know what is going to happen with it (I'm looking at some snarky BG fans).

you jump on a show late and you really dig the frak out of it, you think it's amazing, but it's at a point where maybe the long time fans think the quality has suffered. You don't you just got here. You love it and you want more (enter the DVD sets).

I first started watching Homicide: Life on the Street quite late (to my great shame, because I now regard it as one of my favorite TV series ever). By the time I got there, fans where dissing cast changes, writing quality, even the opening credits. I thought nothing of this. I still don't. I went back and saw the preceding seasons and found them amazing, but not a better or lesser amazing...just a different amazing. As such, I think I get more enjoyment from my entire collection of Homicide DVDs than people who came in at the beginning and perceived some decline.

Now, the requisite Sorkin reference.

To sidetrack some more before I get where I think I'm going, I thought Studio 60: "The West Coast" delay was significantly better than the preceeding episodes. It was less trying to impose importance on an unimportant setting and more about making a TV show and being those people. More like Sports Night. As maybe it should be.

I saw a lot of whining from West Wing fans going into the third season (seemingly the most frequent point where fans take greater ownership of the show than they really have a right to). I'd been with the show from the start and thought that the third and fourth seasons where just as astounding as the first two. A different astounding, as it was no longer a rookie presidency. There was growth. There was change. If that change wasn't there, I'm sure those same grousers would be arguing that the show had become static.

The biggest problem in these situations, I think, is that the show isn't new anymore. You can't get that back. Just like a relationship (unless you find a way to induce some kind of amnesia in your girlfriend). Though sometimes, she's just gone psycho on you gotta break it off (Nip/Tuck in my case).

It's that eternal struggle between comfort and variety. They don't coexist much. Like my friends who won't try a new restaurant because they might not like it. "Well, what if you did like it? More?"

Man, talk about unfocused.

So, if you haven't watched Veronica Mars, don't put season 1 on your NetFlix, just watch the next one that comes on (and put on your NetFlix. Or just buy it. Buy it).

Of course, I don't really recommend this with The Wire, for instance.
©2024 Michael Patrick Sullivan
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