I don’t like sitcoms in general. It’s not that I’ve no sense of humor at all. I do. It’s very small, harsh and (as one friend put it) sanguine.
But another reason I generally don’t like sitcoms is that they’re weak, very weak, on what I go to almost any art for.
Tell me a story.
No matter what else, I need a story to engage my mind and emotions. My tastes in this are pretty child-like. When I want a story, I want interesting characters, a good guy, a bad guy, a concrete problem for the good guy to solve, a bad guy who has a real motivation for thwarting the good guy, and if the story is long, I want a certain development and learning in at least the main character over a period of time. Ideally, the lessons the main character learns should be those lessons that contribute to him solving the problem.
I loved the first movie Highlander. I hated the rest of the franchise with a bitter passion. The story had been told and it was just capitalizing on a franchise. (Obviously my tastes in this sort of thing aren’t common, or it wouldn’t have made the money it did).
I don’t watch television because in general TV shows are not set up to have a concrete story arch. You have to leave it open for them to continue potentially indefinitely. Of course, there are exceptions. Many Doctor Who episodes work around this pretty well, with several episodes telling a discrete story. Avatar: The Last Airbender did a brilliant job with the storytelling, but it did have a definite end. (Notice that a lot of the stuff I like is written for children). If that were the norm for television, I’d have TV, I really would.
I liked The Incredible Hulk TV series pretty well. It also was very strong on storytelling. Thing is, a series of short stories under a single premise does have its limits.
It’s not that I don’t ever like series, or a series of stories set around a single character or premise. I’m a Sherlock Holmes fan, and I really enjoyed the Callahans stories. I have to admit that I lost a bit of interest after Callahan’s Secret, even though I really did love the characters. I’ve read every single Discworld novel and short story so far published. I’ve read all the books Heinlein ever published. But out of the thousands of books I have read in my life, getting into a series is the exception rather than the rule. Mists of Avalon was amazing. All the tie-ins? Blegh.
I hate movie sequels as a rule, unless it was a story told over several movies.
I know from a marketing perspective, the success of the Discworld Series, the Star Trek franchise and many, many other series that have generated a fandom cause producers and publishers to look for The Next Big Franchise. It’s where the money is. I understand that.
But my inner three year old is plumped down on a pillow with a frown and a pout saying, “Tell me a story!“