FOMO – the fear of missing out, has become such a ubiquitous part of the vernacular that it has gone into being editable for new scenarios. I have come up with one of my own: FOGO – the fear of going off-the-rails (cause I want that to work real bad)
So much of the best media inevitably gets bad at some point. That does not mean everyone will agree, but a general consensus comes out and says it gets bad. Just ask fan of Game of Thrones or Star Wars. In both of those cases there is a general idea of when people stopped liking them or found them lacking (for more Star Wars as an example of how that might not be nearly as true as we think go read The Enjoyment Gap. It’s good). I never watched Game of Thrones, and I think Star Wars has always been kind mediocre so those are bad examples. A better example is the last season and moreso last episode of Breaking Bad.
Breaking Bad is a good show. It is one of the few TV shows that feels like reading an excellent novel. Unfortunately it hit a road block after season 4. It had to find a way for Walt to lose and make it believable. To me it doesn’t succeed at that. It introduces too many new characters that feel far less interesting, compelling, and just plain dumb that Walt losing feels like a stretch. The best example of this is the use of the biker gang. They are just such bland stereotypes that it makes the previous villains look incompetent and Walt an idiot. I think the biker gang is supposed to contrast the previous groups by being openly criminal about their activities, and how hiding and fighting for a normal life has made Walt a weaker person than someone in his position should be, but that’s not really explored. Also, leaving a vital clue out in the toilet as reading material is too easy. But that’s not the real moment that killed the show for me. It was how they dealt with Walt’s death.
Walt has always been a bad guy. That’s clear from season two. He’s doing crime for himself and no one else. Therefore it makes sense for him to die at the end. Crime does not pay after all. The way they accomplished that though is lacking. He ends up dying from a self inflicted gun shot wound to the side after setting up a remote activated mini-gun… I’ll say that again “a remote activated mini-gun.” Because, you know, Walt always used guns to solve his problems before. However, what makes this worse for me is that there was such an easy solution… use the explosive rocks from season one. When he made his literally explosive villain debut he used science and his brain. Bringing that back would have felt more like Walt at the end, and it could even be he calculated wrong and killed himself in the process. It would double up on the hubris theme it is going for.
Okay, maybe Breaking Bad is not a good example because it feels like missed opportunities, not getting bad. Dexter, then! Dexter is a much better example.
Dexter goes down hill pretty immediately at the start of season six. The world feels less alive. The villains get magically less compelling, and the drama feels far more calculated to feel desperate than it truly is. They too even miss opportunities for the allure of easier stories. The characters also feel like shells of themselves or do not make coherent choices or communicate that these wrong choices are supposed to be bad and out of character. However, it does one thing right. It gets what the whole show has been about: Dexter needs to be alone in order to keep everyone he cares about safe. None of the supporting elements are there. The writing, etc, but it gets the show.
There are also numerous examples from the dozens of Netflix series that had one story to tell but got more episodes so they had to come up with more stories. Stuff like Daredevil, Jesssica Jones, 13 Reasons Why (I assume), Marco Polo (remember that show? It was pretty good, right? The second season was not, though). The thing those shows, and the two I talked in more detail about above, the reason they got bad for lack of a better word is that they backed themselves into a corner.
That backing into a corner is what many saw happened to Star Wars. The Last Jedi, for good and ill, gave the series a status quo that was hard to come back from. Any direction, even the Duel of the Fates script, had to contend with in an impossible way. The way Rise of Skywalker handled it certinally left much to be desired by fans. It had no easy solution. Hence, backed into a corner and had got cut up on its way out, like most series.
This all leads me to the series that I have fears about. All I have ever mentioned are pieces of media that we can look back on. But new stuff is made every day, and it could go bad. There are many new series I like. Teenage Bounty Hunters. Umbrella Academy, the Good Place (yeah, it’s over, but i don’t know how it ended so it could still be bad in my mind), Brooklyn 99 (it is a real classy move of them to scrap everything once the protests hit. That team really cares about their product), One Piece, and My Hero Academia. But out of those one stands out.
I refrain from calling currently running media my favorite because of this reason. But, I must concede that My Hero Academia is my favorite manga. It mixes the love of superheroes with Shonen storytelling so well that it feels natural. It gets my love of X-Men, but gives me a consistently good story to go back to. All of that said however, every time I pick up a new volume I am terrified. It’s still in the early 20 volume range. Classic failures like Bleach and Naruto didn’t get bad until far into that run. Only that’s not what makes me upset. What terrifies me is that I won’t know it. I mean the current villain-focused arc is not the most compelling, and is hard to tell what the inevitable aim of it all is, but it still has a good focus on the characters.
That. The focus on the characters is what I keep coming back to with all the series and movies that have gone bad. Walt isn’t Walt F the end. Dexter might be Dexter, but the rest of the cast still isn’t. Similar thing to Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Star Wars for some people. Those people stop acting like who they should be. That’s the death nail for so many. It’s not just being backed into a corner. It’s about realizing why the character is in that corner and how they would get out.
I’m cleaning house and selling some media. If you would like to buy comics, manga, or cards I owned and used follow this link: https://ebay.com/usr/connorfahy1013 say you’re a reader and I’ll be happy to discount any item for you!
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