Compelling TV

Posted: April 19, 2006 in General, Movies/TV/Music

I just finished watching Cowboy Bebop for the third or fourth time (I don’t remember). It’s just such a great series. The last three episodes just make you wish there were more.

Of course the last three episodes that are so strong wouldn’t be nearly as strong if there were more. I think one of the biggest reasons this series is so great is because of scope. They knew pretty much from the beginning that there were only going to be 24 episodes. This means that the whole production could be planned out with a proper ending.

This is rare in US television where a series is renewed until it doesn’t do well in the ratings (usually because it jumped the shark long ago). Then it just doesn’t get renewed one year.

Occasionally the writers/producers may have a chance to finish things up. Buffy was sure that the 7th season was the last, Angel knew about 3/4 of the way through production that the 4th season was its last. Firefly got a major motion picture, and The Pretender got two made-for-TV movies.

Unfortunately, even this knowledge didn’t really provide the same kind of compelling TV that Bebop did. Buffy’s series finale was fairly lame. Angel’s was decent, but felt more like there was more to come. The Pretender wasted the TV movies (apparently there was to be a third which might have been better), because none of the loose ends were tied up. Firefly was the only one that came even close to a proper bookend to the series.

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