The first season syndrome

There are very few shows on TV that I’ve ever gotten really excited about right from the get go. When I watched the first episode and was instantly jonesing for the next one like  junky. It usually takes a while. When my dad asks ‘how was it?’ my reply is usually, ‘I’ll give it a few more episodes’.

I have a point, I promise, stick with me.

The question is, what are these shows missing? It’s not plot, it’s not acting talent or good directing, those things are there. If they weren’t, the show would just be abandoned… so what is it that I find myself waiting for? What am I giving them time to find before I make my final decision? Maybe it’ll help if I give you some example of shows that had ‘it.’


The Unusuals

The Blacklist

Commitment. Not to the plot or the story or any of that sort of thing, most good shows land on their feet on this score, I’m talking about a total commitment to the characters. To what they’re like and who they are, how they behave and what their back story is. In the beginning phases of these things there are a lot of different departments and individuals who have to come together to make the show run… and if just one of them doesn’t commit 100% to who those characters are, then the audience can tell. We can feel it, there is a flatness there, because no one wants to be backed into a corner on anything, they want to keep their options open. In so doing, they suffer from first season syndrome.

How is this relevant to anything?

I think all manner of human endeavor is like this. Even if there are no other people involved, you’ll do it to yourself. You’ll try to keep ALL your options open and often, in trying to leave yourself all possible paths what you’ve done is field a flat option. The answer for us, like the creators, writers, and directors of your average TV show, is to commit! Pin it down and know it inside out and then launch with all the beautiful confidence of someone who can see how it’s going to end. If you don’t believe it, how can your audience? Yes, a part of it is about being prepared, but lost of people are prepared, lots of people have planned it all out… but they don’t commit. They don’t front up with absolute conviction and dare you to doubt them!

4 Comments on The first season syndrome

  1. Yes and yes! I like the term Jonesing very much…
    Keeping our options open is an innate human characteristic which makes commitment scary and dificult for some of us. Great little post.

  2. OMG the Blacklist had me totally hooked!!! I am hanging out for it to come back on!! :-)

  3. Did you write this for me? I love having open options but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and commit 100% to one option and make a good go of it.

    • I think there are a lot of us out there who do this exact thing! It’s natural to want to keep your options open, it doesn’t mean you’re weird or a coward or anything negative, but it might be something we need to look in the face and decide if it’s the best this for ourselves and our businesses.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.