Seriable: My 10 Hopes for Serialized Television In 2011

2011 is upon us, which means another year of serialized adventure and mythological pursuits for followers of the small screen. Here are 10 of my hopes for the year ahead.

1. For The New Serialized And Mythology TV Shows Not To Suck Beans.

It would be another shot in the arm if the likes of Game of Thrones, Terra Nova, Locke & Key, Alcatraz, Falling Skies, The Cape, and others didn’t suck. If these new seriable shows can hit the ground running by offering something that is fresh, interesting and, most of all, entertaining, then not only will they have a good chance of being loved by devoted fans, but they will have more chance of staying on the air. Which is what this genre needs – more of our shows staying on the air. I’m particularly looking at Game of Thrones and Terra Nova, perhaps the most high-concept of the upcoming seriable shows, to be the standard-bearers. But I’m also hoping that the others become gems.

2. Fringe To Get A Fourth Season.

Creatively, the show deserves it. But as viewers of tellyboxes know, this is a cut-throat industry were quality all-too often comes second to hard-cold numbers. But with the move to Fridays the show has a genuine chance of carving out a new home – one that might actually be a better fit than Thursdays. Hopefully the fans will tune in and make it difficult for Fox not to give it a fourth season. While nothing is guaranteed, I kinda get the sense that the network really likes Fringe from a creative standpoint. If Fringe becomes competitive in its new Friday slot, we could yet see the ‘impossibilities’ continue beyond this season. And on a wider scale, should Fringe return from the Friday ‘graveyard’ in one piece, it could drastically change perceptions and pave the way for more seriable shows to be successful on nights where they haven’t been in the past.

3. More Quality Serialized Concepts.

2011 is set to be an interesting year for serialized television with some exciting new shows set to debut, but the supply needs to continue. This means fresh ideas, interesting scripts, and the studios and networks being willing to invest financially and creatively in bringing these projects to life in 2012 and beyond. For every LOST that passes on, a new story exists in the minds of someone, somewhere. Let the creativity continue.

4. Serialized TV To Get More Recognition.

While Breaking Bad and LOST (to name two) have been regular receivers of prestigious awards such as the Emmys, it would be great if more shows with a serialized or mythology slant could receive recognition in 2011. While I’m sure Mad Men will have a good year, I’m also hoping that Fringe receives some well-deserved love.

5. Doctor Who Split Season To Work.

By now, it’s fairly well-known that the upcoming sixth series of Doctor Who will be split in two blocks, airing spring and fall. My hope is that this experimental split-season works as well as executive producer and writer Steven Moffat thinks it will. Doctor Who is one of the returning shows that I’m most anticipating in 2011, and my wide-eyed excitement has only increased since the Christmas Special. So I really, really hope that the gamble pays off and makes for an even more enjoyable Who experience.

6. Next LOST.

LOST ended more than half a year ago, and despite a fall of promise, a show has yet to take over the crown. You might ask whether the genre needs a new Lost? While I don’t believe we need a duplicate or a ‘pretender’ (which will only crash and burn like all the rest), I think it would be good if a serialized show could do what Lost did in terms of being both a critical and ratings success, while gaining a passionate fanbase to boot. This kind of success inspires creativity and confidence in others. Will that show be Terra Nova? It’s too early to say, after all, who expected Lost to be as big as it was before Desmond Hume went off the reservation on that fateful day? Whether the ‘new Lost’ comes from our current crop of shows (Fringe?) or arrives in the fall, or the fall after that, I think it would be good if the space vacated by the island monster is filled.

7. The Walking Dead To Fully Justify Its Potential.

Perhaps I’m being ultra critical? If so, it’s only because I really enjoyed the first season of Dead but believe it can do better. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not sure that the first season was quite as satisfying as some have claimed (at least for me) – especially in retrospect. And to be honest, I think the super-short 6 episode season had a bearing on that. So with a longer 13 episode season this year, I think the series can kick-on to  a new level. And hopefully the rumored new writing structure will have a positive and not a negative impact (fingers crossed on that one). To give you a current example – look at Fringe, a show that has genuinely improved from season to season. If Dead can show this level of progress then it will be able to hold a candle to the excellent Breaking Bad.

8. Breaking Bad To Keep On Doing Its Thing.

Season 3 was amazing. My hope is for the fourth season (beginning this June) to continue to crank up the dramatic tension and weave our characters through fantastic stakes and deadly humor (or should that be ‘deadly stakes and fantastic humor’? Hmm). I’m not sure how creator Vince Gilligan and pals will top last season, but if anyone can, then they can-can.

9. The Cape To Breathe New Life Into The Superhero Genre.

Because in terms of the small screen, I think we need this show to work. The Cape has the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of Heroes while creating an interesting and unique world of its own. I like the ‘gallery of rogues’ idea that the creators have talked about, and what’s not to like about Summer Glau having a starring role? Fingers crossed it all goes well.

10. The Event To Turn It Around.

It’s all too reminiscent of FlashForward, I must say. But I sincerely hope that The Event can avoid the trap door and start telling compelling stories with interesting characters that will make people want to watch week in, week out. It wont be easy, ten episodes is usually all you can ask  before people start making up their minds about a show’s worth – asking anything more than that is really asking something of them. So far The Event has spluttered and needs to use its down-time to rework characters and the stories they’re telling. It’s about heart; make us care about these people, let us into their minds, make the stakes interesting, heck, maybe even make us laugh from time to time. Each show is different, and Event already has established its world, but there are glaring things that I think the show needs to do if its relaunch is to be anything more than a goodbye tour. Is it too late? I really hope not.

Those are just some of my thoughts. What are your Seriable TV hopes for 2011?

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  1. kaitlin says

    I hope The Cape lives up to my expectations and yours.
    Summer Glau and fighting equals me glued!! Consider this top of my list! there just isn’t enough compelling tv with female ass kickers on these days. Nikita is okay if you don’t want plot, ot acting or anything other than pretty people beating on each other…and so I watch it! This looks better.

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  2. cortexifan says

    I too would like a fourth season of Fringe and then beyond. Can’t wait for Jan 21st. It also would be great if the show and its cast could garner a few awards.

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  3. says

    Oops! I’m not sure how comments for this post got closed, but it appears that it did. Apologies to anyone confused or wanting to comment. Re-opened.

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  4. says

    I think 2011, the first entirely Lostless year, turned out to be pretty great serial TV wise. Okay, the first half of the year wasn’t up to much but then Breaking Bad whooped some ass, The Walking Dead came back and Homeland and American Horror Story turned out to be two awesome shows.

    Terra Nova may have sucked but it turned out to not matter that much, at least for me. It’s a damn shame though, a new mega hit serial on a mainstream network would have been great.

    There’s a certain joy in being a fan of a show that not many people watch or even know about — Homeland for example, Breaking Bad at point — but there’s a similar joy to being part of a massive group of fans, like the enormous Lost fanbase.

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