Homework assignment: How much serial is serial? Seriously!

Categories: Watching TV

Written By

March 17th, 2009

With Chuck and Heroes in reruns, rather than a festive discussion about how St. Patrick's day is celebrated around the country around the world, or actually talking much about some stellar performances of shows on Monday night  the comments shouting match du jour is a semantics debate over what's a serialized show.

And it really is semantics, and because there's a better way to qualify this than semantics: relative rank!  Rank from 1-10 the ease which episodes can be watched an enjoyed without seeing the previous episodes.  Zero means that for all practical purposes you can watch all of the episodes out of order and it will make no difference. A 10 means you're completely and 100% lost and can't enjoy any of it.  I doubt we will see many ones or 10s.

I didn't give this much thought and you can pick nits with my absolute rankings, but it was just to showcase what everyone already knows.  Heroes and Lost are a lot more serialized than House and Chuck.  I wasn't attempting to do this justice and I am aware that there are lots of different cases, but the general case is that Lost will always be more difficult to enjoy having not seen previous episodes than Chuck and House.

There are indeed cases with some shows where it depends on the focus of the episode.  Supernatural, for example, is quite often mostly a procedural, but it has certain episodes that focus mostly on the major serialized story arcs.   I was torn between giving it a four and a five.

 
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