I have had this post lodged in my head for so long and never quite fleshed it out because I didn’t think I had enough words to explain my thoughts. Yesterday, it was announced that Mr. Robot would be ending with its upcoming 4th season and I figured I might as well try.
See, Mr. Robot was one of those shows that came in hot. There was so much buzz and critics and award bodies loved it so much. So much so that people who didn’t quite get it figured it was their taste that was skewed if everyone else loved it so much (aka me. I just figured a TV show shouldn’t feel like homework). As quickly as the buzz started is just as quickly as it died. Rami Malek won the Emmy and after that not a peep and people just weren’t as hype about the show anymore. So I think the show ending in Season 4 is a good idea and sets up the stage for my thoughts that in this day of excess TV and Netflix, shows should aim for 4 season shows and be done with it.
Don’t get me wrong, there are long running shows that are still enjoyable e.g my beloved Grey’s, Homeland, Shameless but let’s be real for each of these shows we can easily pick out the road bump seasons where you will find a lot of people say they jumped ship. Also, not every show is able to recover like they did. I also understand the business side of it. For those of you who don’t know, the goal of many a show is to get to 100 episodes which is syndication money. You get to have reruns and make money off of that. Residual checks and money all around for everyone.
But these times we live in, are a-changing. There is just waaay too much content. To the point where it seems like it is quantity over quality. A lot of deserving shows aren’t even getting the attention they deserve because there’s just no time. A lot more people are into bingeing and suggesting a show with so many seasons is basically a DOA sentence.
I think having a show for 4 seasons is the sweet spot for shows. If we are being flexible then maybe 5. I think it’s the perfect length of time to develop characters, grow them and leave on a high note. See, in the U.S we have the luxury of longer episodes vs. the UK. The UK has shorter seasons and shorter eps and they still deliver quality shows, so that isn’t an issue.
Look at shows like Empire, Suits or Walking Dead. Think about how you felt when they first debuted to how you feel about the shows now. Wouldn’t it be much better if the shows left on a high note with fond memories than everyone groaning with a new season? I think also that once a show has an end date, it gives writers much clearer focus to set out a plan and know exactly how to end it without the pressure of stretching it out to please execs.
Before I go on too long like a lot of shows, I am just saying that shows should consider condensing and mapping out shows within a 4 season span. That way they get to avoid the pitfalls that come with an audience with a short attention span with so many choices to pick from. You get to tell the story on your own terms, the audience gets peak-shelf work and before they can turn on you, poof the show says goodbye. I understand that it may be a strange idea simply because we don’t have many examples of it and are used to long running shows but I think the same way we adjusted to the 280 characters on twitter, we’ll adjust to it just fine.
P.S – this does not apply to sitcoms.
What are your thoughts? What do you think?