British television writer Jonathan Wright says that genre television’s current fascination with “mytharc” storytelling is ruining the genre. And he blames “Babylon Five” and its creator J. Michael Stracynski as the biggest culprits behind the decline.
In his latest column, Wright says:
“Back in the early 1990s, Straczynski, or JMS as fans know him, created Babylon 5. When it was first shown on Channel 4, it looked like a science-fiction series about a space station. The CGI was a bit shonky, but it passed the time.
Inexorably, though, it became clear that JMS, a control freak who wrote 92 of the show’s 110 episodes himself, had an overarching vision. It involved a portentous brew of big themes – politics, destiny, war, peace, love. If you tried to start watching Babylon 5 with series three, you were left hopelessly confused.
Wright says that shows since have all had a mythology storyline that runs through them, making it difficult for shows to win new viewers who may stop by to see what all the buzz is about. Wright says that it’s ruining the upcoming season of “Torchwood” because television has become too complicated and wondering, “what’s so bad about five not-so-epic-but-nevertheless-carefully-crafted-individual stories shown over five weeks –or possibly even six if you need to re-jig the schedules because of a major sporting event?”
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