A while back I posted Hart Hanson's old essay about how to deal with notes on your script and the personality archetypes that might give those notes. A commenter asked if there was a list of writer or writer's room archetypes. I bailed on the request, but today Ken Levine delivers a great partial list at least...including 'Dr. No' and 'Mr Back In A Second'.
And Jaime Weinman at Macleans offers up some nice analysis of why new dramas need to click right out of the gate whereas comedies need some time to grow.
Obviously there are many dramas that get better in the second season, but there are just as many that never live up to the promise of the first season (Desperate Housewives) or even the promise of their super-expensive pilots. Dramas often depend heavily on their basic premise or storyline, which means that the writers have more freedom in the first season, because the premise is still fresh and the story ideas are plentiful. As the series goes on, the premise has to be tweaked and stories are harder to come by, and that's why you wind up with Season 2 storylines like Elisha Cuthbert vs. a Cougar (24).In today's TV world, where there are more networks, more competition and less incentive for a network to stick with a show, a show has a tremendous advantage if it can be really, really good -- at its best, really -- in its first season.
I get what Jaime's saying, but I contest it wasn't always that way. I was thinking back on my fav one hour TV series of the past fifteen years or so and realized that I'd watched none of them right from the pilot. Northern Exposure, The X Files, Buffy, The West Wing, Sopranos, Veronica Mars, and even House I didn't really 'discover' until near the end of the first season or beginning of the second year. And though the first seasons of all those shows were okay, it was the 2nd and 3rd year that they really began to sing. Why? Because like a lot of the comedy programs Jaime references, these shows were also allowed to grow.
Gotta run....thanks to NYBro for visiting and Happy Birthday JP!