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To Watch or Not

I just finished watching the one and only season of Terra Nova on Netflix and I have to say that I’m disappointed that the show had been cancelled. However, at the same time I can understand why.

I watched it everyday for about a week, doing two to three episodes a day and I enjoyed every minute of it. It was fun and exciting and interesting with characters I would have liked to continue watching for years to come.

When it was on television though, I didn’t watch it. I was part of the reason that it didn’t survive past it’s maiden season. Why? Because there was too much to do to sit down and watch a show every week. It just didn’t become the priority that television in the past did. The story, while interesting, wasn’t enough to keep me waiting for a week for it to return. And if it had done the mid-season break that is so popular right now among tv shows, I probably wouldn’t come back at all.

This is true about a lot of shows that have the intertwining plotlines that require you to watch it from beginning to end. If you miss one episode, you give up because now you don’t know what’s happening. Also, later episodes will spoil the episode you missed which takes away the thrill of watching it. I’m not a man who likes his spoilers.

The same thing happened with No Ordinary Family. I caught an episode when it was on and enjoyed it a lot but didn’t really understand what was going on so I moved on until I could get the whole story on Netflix. Sadly, it too did not survive to see another season.

It seems to me that some shows just work better if you watch them in succession quickly. Stretching out a story means you risk losing your audience. Take the second season of The Walking Dead. Many people complained that it was slow and kind of boring. It lost viewers to it. Then, I watched the entire second season on Netflix within a week and I found it was so much more enjoyable.

Of course, if some shows work out really well in large quanities, then it stands to reason that the opposite would be true, right? Right. There are some shows that I’ve watched entire seasons of in the course of a few days and now I have a hard time watching them again. Sitcoms are especially bad for this.

Big Bang Theory is one of my favourite shows on right now, but I can miss an episode and not care. I haven’t even watched more than one episode since season 5 simply because I’ve seen it all before. Now I’m not saying it’s a bad show. I’ll still watch it when it’s on and I have nothing else to do. I still laugh and love those affable nerds.

Then there are other shows I can’t watch at all anymore like Undergrads. I thought it was funny and refreshing and entertaining, but then I sat and watched the entire season in one sitting. By the end of it, I hated every character in that show. They were all idiots and I was a bigger idiot for wasting my time watching this show.

It’s sad that some of these quality shows are disappearing. Maybe they should just forego television and just sell the DVD sets. Ah, but then that would be taking a big risk because if it’s doing poorly on television, they can pull the show. But if you want to sell the DVD set, you have to finish the whole show, put together special features, market the product, and hope that people will buy it.

Maybe a compromise? Release one episode on the internet or television and hook the audience with it. Then tell them if they want to see the rest of the story, they have to buy the DVD set. The audience can then watch it at their leisure. I think I would be more apt to buy DVD sets then.

In any case, if you have Netflix, I would recommend Terra Nova and No Ordinary Family if you enjoy your sci-fi. I promise, neither of them end with an overly elaborate cliffhanger but it will leave you wishing you could have more.

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