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Subject: Is there a stigma against episodic television?

Written By: musicguy93 on 12/31/15 at 11:30 pm

It seems like nowadays people treat episodic television as some lower form of entertainment, while praising serialized television. Personally, I don't agree with this mindset. First off, episodic television is great for comedies. Second of all, there were many successful shows in the past that had both the elements of serialized and episodic television. An example of this would be The Sopranos. Sure each season was tied to a specific storyline, but each episode explored unique themes and ideas. As a result, individual episodes were able to stand on their own and carry their own weight (the pilot episode almost feels like a short film), but the storyline wasn't sacrificed. Another example of a drama that was relatively episodic, yet high quality, was House M.D.

I find that a lot of shows in the 2010s want to be completely serialized. The problem I have with this that the individual episodes rarely stand on their own. Every episode seems to be left at a cliffhanger, and it moves at a pace where you can't really relish the themes and subtexts of the individual episodes. I'm not saying I dislike all the shows in the current wave of serialized television. I am a huge fan of the first season of True Detective. But this whole mentality of serialized = higher quality is a bit pretentious to me. I feel like there needs to be more of a balance struck. I don't see why we can't have a mix of shows that are serialized, episodic, or even a mix of both.

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