Rejoice, one and all, for Heroes returns on Monday with its season premiere.
Truth be told, I'm only in the process now, on my trip to San Jose, of watching the DVDs of season one. Although many, many people whose opinions I respect told me it was a good show, I've assiduously avoided watching it until now (I caught an episode on the BBC while in Amsterdam, and got hooked). After I thought about it a bit, I realized that I'm afraid of getting hooked on yet another television show which promises intricately crafted plots, complex characters and real development of the story line, but fails to deliver after I've invested lots of emotion into it.
The X-Files is the archetypical example of this effect. The show noticeably and apparently consciously jumped the shark somewhere around the season 4 premiere. It was as if the producers suddenly decided that they should just make as much money as possible while driving the show into the ground.
This seems to be the problem with most television serials: either it does poorly in the ratings, in which case it is unceremoniously dumped without resolution (Quantum Leap, Firefly), or it is a big hit and the show is continued, often with different writers, until the point when all fans have finally jumped ship (X-Files, Twin Peaks, Dark Angel).
I'm hesitant now to get involved with another show which has this problem. I was a devoted fan of Smallville until it jumped the shark in season 5. Prison Break, which I adored seasons 1 and 2, is gleefully continuing into season 3 and possibly for another 3 seasons beyond (how long can you stretch the premise of a prison break?). 24, which was magnificent in seasons 1 and 2, has reached the point of absurdity in that every year a new, urgent 24 hour crisis arises that only Jack Bauer can stop. I understand the new Battlestar Galactica has pretty much withered on the vine. I still have high hopes for Lost, but I'm in the 'wait and see' mode right now.
Come to think of it, I can't really think of any show that I've seen ended satisfactorily. I'm probably missing something, but does anyone else know of some sort of good dramatic series which has been brought to a satisfying conclusion? Or, alternatively, which shows that 'jumped the shark' or were driven into the ground bothered you the most?