Serialized Fiction

Yesterday I was talking about bit about how the end of this season of Lost was very good, while the beginning was very slow (duh). I’m sure that the creators of the show may say that the beginning was slow on purpose because it was all buildup, and that if you go back and watch them again you’ll understand why they had to be that way to set up the ending to be so good.

Related, today Good Comics writes about DC Comics’s Countdown, which isn’t quite starting off with a bang. He says:

Serialized fiction does not work that way […] An individual comic, if it is bad, does not suddenly become good because it tied into a bigger story.

You can choose to tell a graphic novel, or you can tell a serialized story. If you tell a serialized story, you have to live and die with each serialized part of the story. If they are bad individually, then they are bad. The story as a whole might very well be good, but that doesn’t make Countdown #51 good because Countdown #25 might be. [Countdown’s issues numbers count down from 51 to 0, so 25 is still six months away.]

I tend to agree. You can’t make a bunch of TV episodes that are really slow and don’t go anywhere and expect people to trust you in October and wait for a payoff that won’t air until April or May. For a movie where the payoff is only two hours away, that’s fine, but a week between episodes is long enough that you really do have to judge each episode on its own.