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Agents Of SHIELD: Pilot

Agents Of SHIELD Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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#81 DWF

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 04:52 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 28 September 2013 - 04:22 PM, said:

^^  :o

View PostNeuralClone, on 27 September 2013 - 07:02 PM, said:

View PostRJDiogenes, on 27 September 2013 - 06:54 PM, said:

Not only that, but there was no shocking death of a major character.  It's almost like they had an adult audience in mind.  Probably just a mistake.
I'm not sure what to make of these comments. You make it sound as if the other content you described is somehow not adult in nature and that shocking deaths are somehow intended for a childish audience. I couldn't disagree more with that if that's what you intended to say. I don't know if that's how you intended to come across but that's what I got out of that.  
That's pretty much what I meant. As part of the whole D&G trope, the (allegedly) shocking death of a major character has been a terribly overused gimmick.  In comics especially, it has become an unbearable cliche, but it's been pretty bad in TV and movies, too.  Even good shows like Lost would abuse it from time to time. And then there was Serenity.  It got so bad that even Stargate and Enterprise resorted to it-- Stargate by killing Dr Frasier (as the "celebration" of an anniversary episode!) and Enterprise by killing Trip (in the "Valentine to the fans!").

As a storytelling device, it can be as effective as anything else when done right, but as a cheap gimmick to make the show look tough and edgy to the adolescent audience, it's just cringe-worthy.

The deaths on Enterprise and Stargate happened towards the end of both shows and Heroes wasn't an anniversary ep. of Stargate it was a two parter in the seventh season.
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#82 FarscapeOne

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 06:28 PM

"HEROES  PART2" was their 150th episode, and was toward the end of their 7th season.  At that time, they were not sure if they would be renewed, and the "LOST CITY" two parter was meant as a backdoor pilot to get ATLANTIS going in case they needed to pass the torch.

#83 FarscapeOne

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:29 AM

I enjoyed the pilot.  I liked the introduction if characters, and as Christopher pointed out, it's refreshing to see a group of characters that are genuinely be the good guys.  Particularly Caulson.

I look forward to the season.

#84 SparkyCola

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 04:00 AM

I too hate the arbitrary killing off of characters - it just isn't necessary and to me it's a really cheap and easy way of exploiting the audience's emotional attachment to the characters for the sake of 'drama'. Stargate killed Daniel too, and Avengers Coulson - even if they do come back to life afterwards.

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"Somebody really wanted our name to spell out SHIELD"

Am I the only one who thought that line was funny? I love dry, deadpan humour though... I thought there were loads of funny moments in the show...

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#85 Christopher

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 07:16 AM

^It's unwise to say that anything in fiction "just isn't necessary." It depends on what a particular story needs. There have been instances in stories I wrote where I saw no other choice but to kill a character off, even though it broke my heart to do so.
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#86 SparkyCola

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 10:56 AM

^ I agree there are times and places when it is appropriate and just...right. One way or another. But personally, I feel that it shouldn't be used as a tool for 'shock value' - Wash in Serenity is a prime example.

Sometimes they can pull it off, like Kate in NCIS. Other times you feel sure they're just doing it to prove that they can, and to me that's simply not a good enough reason.

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#87 Christopher

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 11:41 AM

View PostSparkyCola, on 29 September 2013 - 10:56 AM, said:

^ I agree there are times and places when it is appropriate and just...right. One way or another. But personally, I feel that it shouldn't be used as a tool for 'shock value' - Wash in Serenity is a prime example.

But even shock can be useful, even necessary, in a story. Killing Wash raised the stakes and made the climactic action far more intense both for the viewer and the characters, since it drove home that any of them could die next. That was a case where the story would've been far weaker without the shock. So I consider it the right choice in that particular context.
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#88 Omega

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 12:39 PM

Like all art, the goal is to provoke an emotional response in the viewer. Death may provoke the desired emotional response. So you can criticize it on two levels: does the death in fact provoke the emotional response desired by the artist? And is that emotional response desirable by the viewer? I suppose that's the difference between "competent art" and "art I like". The emotional response I got from Wash's death wasn't so much shock as it was fear. Trip's, on the other hand, gave me no response at all.

I, on the other hand, killed R. Daneel Olivaw because it served the thematic needs of the story. Provoking emotion was secondary. So I'm probably not that good an artist. :)

Anyway, I enjoyed the show. A little cheesy, a little hollow, but it has enough potential that I'll give it a second look. It definitely didn't grab my family enough for that second look, though.

#89 Christopher

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 01:04 PM

View PostOmega, on 29 September 2013 - 12:39 PM, said:

The emotional response I got from Wash's death wasn't so much shock as it was fear.

That was part of it too. I was genuinely afraid for the rest of the cast, and that made the climax so much more powerful. I thought it was a brilliant and gutsy move on Whedon's part.


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Trip's, on the other hand, gave me no response at all.

I doubt many people would hold that one up as a good example of a character death. The main response it evoked in me was "Are you kidding me?"
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#90 SparkyCola

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 01:24 PM

To me it's on a par with making you jump in a horror film. Sure, loud noises make you jump - but it's a cheap shot. It's easy to do. Anyone can see that killing off a lovable character will upset the audience. But entertainment is more than "art for art's sake" so it doesn't need to get emotional reactions just because it can - and if a story can't survive without being propped up by a major character death to add some drama, to me that's a major criticism.

I get that sometimes it doesn't hurt to have a reminder that characters are not death-proof just because they are the main characters, so that the risks they run are meaningful and their choices have more impact. That is valuable, true. But it should be used sparingly, not as a 'must-do' activity for every film or series.

It's one of those things where I don't think there is a "correct" opinion - some people think death adds greatly to a piece, others just find it gratuitous. It makes a big difference to me how it is dealt with afterwards too though - NCIS did an excellent job of not forgetting Kate, and showing a genuine and believable response, the effect it had on the team being more than just 'being a bit sad for a minute or two then moving on'. If you don't have time to deal with a death fully in the time constraints- you risk de-valuing that character's contribution to the lives of the other characters and the story as a whole.

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Edited by SparkyCola, 29 September 2013 - 01:24 PM.

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#91 Christopher

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 02:15 PM

View PostSparkyCola, on 29 September 2013 - 01:24 PM, said:

To me it's on a par with making you jump in a horror film. Sure, loud noises make you jump - but it's a cheap shot. It's easy to do. Anyone can see that killing off a lovable character will upset the audience. But entertainment is more than "art for art's sake" so it doesn't need to get emotional reactions just because it can - and if a story can't survive without being propped up by a major character death to add some drama, to me that's a major criticism.

Again, you're trying to cast this as a blanket generalization, something that's the same regardless of context, and I'm sorry, but that's a completely illegitimate way of defining it. It depends on the story. What's a terrible idea in one context can be brilliant in a different one.


Quote

But it should be used sparingly, not as a 'must-do' activity for every film or series.

And that's a straw man. Nobody has said it's a "must-do." Just the opposite -- we're saying it should be used when it's appropriate, when it works.
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#92 SparkyCola

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 02:27 PM

^ No, I'm not making a blanket generalisation... I thought I made that clear. I've said many times that there are times and places when it's appropriate.

We're talking but you seem to think we're arguing. We're not. I'm not arguing your posts point by point or making counter-arguments, merely making my own comments and observations. There's no "straw man" about it to be perfectly blunt.

But wow did we ever go off-topic. I only realised when I saw "The Consultant" which implies Coulson was a Level 7 agent prior to his death.



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#93 Christopher

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:04 PM

^The video's blocked on copyright grounds.
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#94 NeuralClone

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:40 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 28 September 2013 - 04:22 PM, said:

That's pretty much what I meant. As part of the whole D&G trope, the (allegedly) shocking death of a major character has been a terribly overused gimmick.  In comics especially, it has become an unbearable cliche, but it's been pretty bad in TV and movies, too.  Even good shows like Lost would abuse it from time to time. And then there was Serenity.  It got so bad that even Stargate and Enterprise resorted to it-- Stargate by killing Dr Frasier (as the "celebration" of an anniversary episode!) and Enterprise by killing Trip (in the "Valentine to the fans!").

As a storytelling device, it can be as effective as anything else when done right, but as a cheap gimmick to make the show look tough and edgy to the adolescent audience, it's just cringe-worthy.
Wow. I get what you're saying but I don't agree with your rationale for why it's a childish storytelling technique or that it's intended to appeal to the "adolescent audience." The subjects you brought up in a previous post about rape, death, etc. are all valid adult subjects for a show or movie to deal with. I don't at all agree that their inclusion in a story somehow makes the storytelling less refined or geared for a younger audience. That's exact opposite conclusion I would have come to. The way it's handled, on the other hand, may be rather poor.

Breaking Bad, for example, has killed multiple characters in very shocking and alarming ways but not killing them would have felt artificial and forced. Because of the story being told, they had to die. George R.R. Martin, and likewise, Game of Thrones, often kills characters in the same way. He hates killing his characters so much that when asked to write an episode featuring major deaths, he declined because he didn't want to go through killing them a second time. But he'll kill them if it's necessary for the plot and if it makes sense in a given situation. It may not be pleasant and it may not be comfortable. However, settling for anything less than their death would feel forced and take readers/viewers right out of the story.

Lost abused it from "time to time?" More like Lost was one of the biggest offenders. Deaths were all gimmicky deaths on Lost. They introduced an entire group of new characters in season 2 with the only purpose of systematically killing off every single one of them and to waste air time. None of the characters introduced in season 2 (except for the all powerful and unstoppable Ben) survived through season 3. There was little to no purpose to those characters. They even treated main characters the same way by the end. They killed them simply because they thought it was a shocking way to pull people in.

Torchwood is another great example of a show that intentionally did things to pull the audience around. Multiple characters were killed simply because they seemed to think it would get a reaction from viewers and not because it made much story sense. That's also a show that frequently included sex and violence simply because they were allowed to show it on BBC3. They often appeared to come up with a violent scene or a sex scene and then develop the story around that instead of having those scenes naturally flow from a given story.

I don't agree that Serenity's deaths were cheap and gimmicky. I thought they were very effective story-wise and dramatically. It raised the stakes. It was clear that the characters were at a point of no return and that none of them may have survived. Death in war is random and often pointless. If you suddenly make it so characters can survive situations where it wouldn't make sense for them to survive, you suddenly get pulled right out of the story.

I agree that in the wrong hands shocking deaths can feel gimmicky and forced. They need to flow naturally from the story and they need to serve a purpose (the deaths themselves may be pointless, though). But I strongly disagree with the rest of your points.

Edited by NeuralClone, 29 September 2013 - 03:48 PM.

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#95 DWF

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 04:11 PM

View PostNeuralClone, on 29 September 2013 - 03:40 PM, said:

Lost abused it from "time to time?" More like Lost was one of the biggest offenders. Deaths were all gimmicky deaths on Lost. They introduced an entire group of new characters in season 2 with the only purpose of systematically killing off every single one of them and to waste air time. None of the characters introduced in season 2 (except for the all powerful and unstoppable Ben) survived through season 3. There was little to no purpose to those characters. They even treated main characters the same way by the end. They killed them simply because they thought it was a shocking way to pull people in.

Lost doesn't count since they were all dead to begin with. :tired:

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Torchwood is another great example of a show that intentionally did things to pull the audience around. Multiple characters were killed simply because they seemed to think it would get a reaction from viewers and not because it made much story sense. That's also a show that frequently included sex and violence simply because they were allowed to show it on BBC3. They often appeared to come up with a violent scene or a sex scene and then develop the story around that instead of having those scenes naturally flow from a given story.

Well that accounts for the first two seasons. And hundreds of people have died on Doctor Who over the years, including three companions well I say three the fourth was somehow brought back, which was a shame since Peri's death was pretty dramatic.

Still I'd be worried if anybody on Agents Of SHIELD hook up with somebody let alone another memeber ofteh cast, then I could somebody being killed off, Whedon for some reason doesn't like couples.
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#96 NeuralClone

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 04:35 PM

View PostDWF, on 29 September 2013 - 04:11 PM, said:

Lost doesn't count since they were all dead to begin with. :tired:
Without turning this into a "problems with Lost" thread, nah, they weren't dead to begin with. That was probably the original intent of the showrunners but people guessed it too easily so they came up with the other explanation instead later on. Whatever the case, Lost definitely counts because at the time the episodes aired, it was assumed that characters were actually alive and were dying. The deaths were almost always included in season finales or other big "event" episodes. The intent was to shock viewers without much thought about the story ramifications.

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Well that accounts for the first two seasons. And hundreds of people have died on Doctor Who over the years, including three companions well I say three the fourth was somehow brought back, which was a shame since Peri's death was pretty dramatic.
The issue I have is more with how the characters died rather than the fact that they died. I'd argue that only one character death in Torchwood actually had a purpose (one of the ones in Children of Earth) and the others were all gratuitous and felt forced. If they had come up with better ways for the character to die and if the deaths actually felt like they fit the story, I doubt I would have had as much of a problem with them.

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Still I'd be worried if anybody on Agents Of SHIELD hook up with somebody let alone another memeber ofteh cast, then I could somebody being killed off, Whedon for some reason doesn't like couples.
Heh, yeah that would be my biggest concern as well. Couples on Whedon shows are Bad™. No idea why. Dollhouse didn't really seem to go that route oddly enough. But that show didn't really deal with regular people for the most part either. The main characters either drank away their ethics/morals and had almost no life outside of work (e.g., Adele) or they were sociopaths that couldn't connect with regular humans (e.g., Topher). Or, they were Actives and were given their personalities/relationships.

Edited by NeuralClone, 29 September 2013 - 04:50 PM.

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#97 Christopher

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 06:09 PM

View PostNeuralClone, on 29 September 2013 - 03:40 PM, said:

Lost abused it from "time to time?" More like Lost was one of the biggest offenders. Deaths were all gimmicky deaths on Lost. They introduced an entire group of new characters in season 2 with the only purpose of systematically killing off every single one of them and to waste air time. None of the characters introduced in season 2 (except for the all powerful and unstoppable Ben) survived through season 3. There was little to no purpose to those characters. They even treated main characters the same way by the end. They killed them simply because they thought it was a shocking way to pull people in.

One of the reasons I lost interest in the show in season 2 is that it seemed they were killing off characters based solely on audience response -- characters the viewers liked got to live, and characters they didn't like got killed off, regardless of whether it worked well in-story. It felt arbitrary and mercenary.


View PostNeuralClone, on 29 September 2013 - 04:35 PM, said:

Couples on Whedon shows are Bad™. No idea why.

Isn't it obvious? Drama comes from conflict and crisis. Therefore, happy couples generally aren't allowed on any show, Whedon or otherwise -- there always has to be a source of angst. So eventually most TV couples will face some massive crisis, breakup, or death. This is something that's often turned me off about romantic shows. Case in point, the original Beauty and the Beast. In its second season, Catherine and Vincent had pretty much worked through the fundamental issues of how to have a relationship (although I think it remained unconsummated due to the physical danger to her, but aside from that), and by all rights they should've been in a fairly comfortable and contented place, but the writers kept contriving one massive relationship crisis after another, doing all sorts of things to keep them apart and miserable, and it got so tiresome that I was actually relieved when they killed off Catherine and replaced her with a new lead that didn't have a romance with Vincent. (Although what I thought they should've done was to just let Catherine and Vincent have a stable, undramatic relationship and shift the focus to stories about the Tunnel World and its inhabitants. That was the most interesting part of the show for me.)

And then there's Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, where Clark proposed to Lois in the season 2 finale but the writers kept concocting one gimmick after another to postpone their wedding -- so that when they finally did get married early in season 4, the episode was actually titled "Swear to God, This Time We're Not Kidding."

So I don't see why this would be perceived as a Whedon-specific trope. It's just one of the rules of drama that stories need to be about crises.

And of course, back in the '60s and '70s, TV heroes had plenty of doomed romances for a totally different reason: because the network execs wanted them to be free for romances of the week. And so countless TV heroes had an astonishingly long string of tragic romances accumulating over the course of their shows. Heck, Captain Kirk witnessed the deaths of at least two loves of his life, one of whom was carrying his unborn child. So the trope of killing off protagonists' loves was commonplace while Whedon was still in grade school. The only difference is that by the '90s, TV had become more serialized so it was being done with recurring or regular characters rather than one-shot guest stars.


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Dollhouse didn't really seem to go that route oddly enough. But that show didn't really deal with regular people for the most part either. The main characters either drank away their ethics/morals and had almost no life outside of work (e.g., Adele) or they were sociopaths that couldn't connect with regular humans (e.g., Topher). Or, they were Actives and were given their personalities/relationships.

Topher was hardly a sociopath. He developed great compassion over the course of the series, and a profound sense of guilt, neither of which a sociopath would be capable of. He was just initially blind to the consequences of his actions, and had to learn to face that harsh reality.

You're also forgetting
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#98 RJDiogenes

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 06:28 PM

View PostSparkyCola, on 29 September 2013 - 04:00 AM, said:

Am I the only one who thought that line was funny? I love dry, deadpan humour though... I thought there were loads of funny moments in the show..
Yeah, I thought that was pretty funny, especially considering how many things SHIELD has stood for over the years.  :lol:

View PostChristopher, on 29 September 2013 - 07:16 AM, said:

^It's unwise to say that anything in fiction "just isn't necessary." It depends on what a particular story needs. There have been instances in stories I wrote where I saw no other choice but to kill a character off, even though it broke my heart to do so.  
Of course. Me, too. But in most cases it's just a symptom of the laziness and low standards that are prevalent out there.

View PostOmega, on 29 September 2013 - 12:39 PM, said:

The emotional response I got from Wash's death wasn't so much shock as it was fear. Trip's, on the other hand, gave me no response at all.  
The emotional response I got in both cases was disappointment that the writer copped out.

Quote

I, on the other hand, killed R. Daneel Olivaw because it served the thematic needs of the story. Provoking emotion was secondary. So I'm probably not that good an artist. :)
Er... you killed Daneel?  :unsure:

View PostSparkyCola, on 29 September 2013 - 01:24 PM, said:

To me it's on a par with making you jump in a horror film.  
That's a perfect comparison.

View PostNeuralClone, on 29 September 2013 - 03:40 PM, said:

Wow. I get what you're saying but I don't agree with your rationale for why it's a childish storytelling technique or that it's intended to appeal to the "adolescent audience." The subjects you brought up in a previous post about rape, death, etc. are all valid adult subjects for a show or movie to deal with. I don't at all agree that their inclusion in a story somehow makes the storytelling less refined or geared for a younger audience. That's exact opposite conclusion I would have come to. The way it's handled, on the other hand, may be rather poor.  
Well, yes, specifically the way it's handled. There was a time when these subjects were tackled on television and movies in a mature fashion, but pop culture is in a rather grindhouse phase right now. You mention Breaking Bad, which is a show that stars a drug dealer; then there's Dexter, which stars a serial killer; and The Shield, which was lurid, Cops-style trash. Then there's genre stuff like nuBSG and SGU and on and on; to say nothing of countless movies.  The point of my list in the original post was to point out the current requirement that characters be thoroughly corrupt, and how that contrasts with what we've seen in SHIELD.  Any show that features characters that aren't thoroughly corrupt-- e.g. Warehouse 13 or Eureka-- are dismissed as "fluff" or "cheesy," while the adolescent stuff is praised as "dark" and "edgy."

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Lost abused it from "time to time?" More like Lost was one of the biggest offenders.
Well, okay, I was being generous.  They were pretty bad.  :lol:  Although the show itself was really good, up until the end.

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I don't agree that Serenity's deaths were cheap and gimmicky. I thought they were very effective story-wise and dramatically. It raised the stakes.
Others have made that argument and it may be true.  Perhaps it's just in the context of the times that it looked like a cop out. We'll see how it stands up over time.
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#99 DWF

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 06:33 PM

View PostChristopher, on 29 September 2013 - 06:09 PM, said:

View PostNeuralClone, on 29 September 2013 - 03:40 PM, said:

Lost abused it from "time to time?" More like Lost was one of the biggest offenders. Deaths were all gimmicky deaths on Lost. They introduced an entire group of new characters in season 2 with the only purpose of systematically killing off every single one of them and to waste air time. None of the characters introduced in season 2 (except for the all powerful and unstoppable Ben) survived through season 3. There was little to no purpose to those characters. They even treated main characters the same way by the end. They killed them simply because they thought it was a shocking way to pull people in.

One of the reasons I lost interest in the show in season 2 is that it seemed they were killing off characters based solely on audience response -- characters the viewers liked got to live, and characters they didn't like got killed off, regardless of whether it worked well in-story. It felt arbitrary and mercenary.


View PostNeuralClone, on 29 September 2013 - 04:35 PM, said:

Couples on Whedon shows are Bad™. No idea why.

Isn't it obvious? Drama comes from conflict and crisis. Therefore, happy couples generally aren't allowed on any show, Whedon or otherwise -- there always has to be a source of angst. So eventually most TV couples will face some massive crisis, breakup, or death. This is something that's often turned me off about romantic shows. Case in point, the original Beauty and the Beast. In its second season, Catherine and Vincent had pretty much worked through the fundamental issues of how to have a relationship (although I think it remained unconsummated due to the physical danger to her, but aside from that), and by all rights they should've been in a fairly comfortable and contented place, but the writers kept contriving one massive relationship crisis after another, doing all sorts of things to keep them apart and miserable, and it got so tiresome that I was actually relieved when they killed off Catherine and replaced her with a new lead that didn't have a romance with Vincent. (Although what I thought they should've done was to just let Catherine and Vincent have a stable, undramatic relationship and shift the focus to stories about the Tunnel World and its inhabitants. That was the most interesting part of the show for me.)


You must've forgotten that Vincent and Catherine had a child so yes their love was comsummated and in any event Linda Hamilton wanted off the show, so her death only added to the tragedy of their love affair.
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#100 Omega

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 08:11 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 29 September 2013 - 06:28 PM, said:

Quote

I, on the other hand, killed R. Daneel Olivaw because it served the thematic needs of the story. Provoking emotion was secondary. So I'm probably not that good an artist. :)
Er... you killed Daneel?  :unsure:

Uh... yeah, sorry to have spoiled my own story. I assumed anyone here interested already knew about it. Don't worry, much more happens that I haven't spoiled. :)



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