Prison Break/Lost Plots versus Heroes/24
Here's my amateur theory as to why I think Prison Break and Lost are in dire trouble while Heroes and 24 aren't.
Prison Break and Lost have forseeable endings. The escapees will either get back or will be found innocent of their crimes. Plot over. The Lostees will discover the mystery of the Dharma Initiative and reconnect with the real world. Plot over. The screenwriters are forced to prolong these two plots over as many seasons as possible to bring in the advertising dollars. They do they by introducing filler segments (ping-pong contests and flashbacks and sideplot twists) in order to do so. By the very nature of their storylines in the first season the writers have already written themselves into a corner which they can't get out and have doomed their respective shows.
24 and Heroes on the other hand are different because there is no forseeable ending for either. In 24 Jack Bauer can continue to save the world season after season after season. Eventually, like Survivor 14, people will get tired and tune out until the ratings drop and the sponsors go away. As long as the writers can keep it interesting 24 may survive for a few more seasons but the writers haven't written themselves into a corner because there is no plot arc. Similar to 24, in Heroes, the plot arc (of saving the world from Evil will always be an open one. The writers can write season after season of Heroes fighting Villains; introduce new heroes with conflicted personal backgrounds and new villians with interesting powers. The show can go on and on.
Sorry for my verbosity.. typing at work .. so kinda rushed.. I think you get my point though.
The plots for PB/Lost are finite whereas the plots for Heroes/24 are not thereby jeopardizing the fanbase and ratings for PB/Lost.
Agree or disagree?
lost could have gone the way i thought it would in the first season: the others attack the castaways and lay siege against the caves (does anyone still live there). then they could have gone with the dharma group in the next season. then a split in the castaway camps for season 3 (locke vs the jack). and so on for the future.
heroes i liked because they have a deadline for this seasn's plot: nyc is going to get blown up or not on day xx.
24 they can take one season at a time like you said.
never saw an entire ep of prison break.
I don't think Prison Break is quite as far gone as Lost just yet. I don't see how it can feasibly stretch beyond this season, but it's got enough legs to last out the final three episodes.
Wow... I just thought of something cool while reading your above post.
Originally Posted by russellmz00
Seeing that Lost is pretty much wrecked.. it would be nice if some creative souls could create their own Season 2+ plot ideas. Beginning at the time you describe (when they reach the caves). Wouldn't that be cool.
I like the idea involving the Others laying seige against the Castaways in the caves. That would be cool.
Splitting the camps (Locke vs Jack) would be tres cool. Almost "Lord of the Flies" cool.
Another cool idea involves having the Castaways on the island with Savages. Survival amongst themselves and amongst the Savages. Some great violent scenes can come of this.. but probably not the best idea for prime time TV.
This is what scares me about Prison Break. In order to keep the dead corpse of a show alive they are going to have to introduce a whole new plot swing -- which will probably involve a new set of characters.
Originally Posted by Mike O'Malley
This could be good. It could be bad. It will probably be bad.
I agree with your post though. They have stretched this President conspiracy theory thing out a little too far which means they will have to end it soon. Once they do that, what else is left other than a new plot swing?
they had sawyer reading a copy of watership down. i was totally sure how they were going to have the season finale too: the others lay siege to the caves and are using superhuman strength to rip the rocks the castaways blocked the cave mouth with. then, pipkin, er, i mean charlie, would remember kahaar's nest, er, i mean the collapsed tunnel that lead outside. then hazel and dandelion, er, i mean jack and kate would go outside, find the big dog, er, i mean the invisible monster and lead it back to the caves where it would eat/scatter the others, with gen. woundwort, er, i mean ethan screaming that the invisible monster wasn't dangerous and they should stay and fight before facing the monster himself, and we never find out if he gets eaten or escapes to gather another more worthy group of others.
Originally Posted by DrDel
I gernerally agree with the OP; shows such as Lost or Prison Break need to be written for a fixed and finite number of seasons, then ended gracefully.
I'm still enjoying Prison Break, and I've read that it was intended to run only three seasons. I'm not that optimistic that there's enough meat left on the bone to extend the show another 22 episodes, but I'm grateful that there was at least some sort of acknowledgment that the series can't last forever. Lost, on the other hand, well they're just making that shit up as they go along.
The conspiracy theory meta plot in PB is/was the worst part. I really found the escape compelling (although they did their worst to stretch it through to the season finale.) It was only when they dropped it halfway through S2 that I bummed out.
No longer plays GeoSpark
PB was pretty disappointing for me - every old-time TV plot cliche out there, all rolled into an interesting premise that was made redundant by a boring-as-batshit lead. Something kept me watching to the end of S1 though - not sure what. It was like watching a few episodes of "The Bill" - after a while you realise you're being manipulated and it loses all its appeal. 24 on the other hand is also blatent manipulation, but for some reason it's does a better job of hiding it. Perhaps because I never get tired of seeing Jack Bauer kill people. It's the usual story - good characters and writing win out over "high concept" every time.
X-Files was the grandaddy of the broken meta-plot. The show had a strong start with Mulder's sister and the rest, but it never came back together after the movie.
I agree about Lost, but haven't seen Prison Break. It just seems like all American shows are milked for all they're worth as long as humanly possible. Creativity and new shows are not prioritized or given a chance. Even productions like the Sopranos are running longer than they were originally scheduled for. Media companies here need to learn that just because something only runs for a season or two wouldn't mean it's a failure. But nobody likes to take risks.
Prison Break has been easily one of the best shows of the season IMO. S2 has been really good.
For me prison break is a show that often goes from great to uninspired in one episode. I have the feeling it could/would have been really good if each season was only 10 episodes (like originally planned) - but now the coincidences add up, and the stories get a bit drawn out.
Still curious how they will wrap it up though, and it has it's moments where it's really good and intense.