Tonight, A. and I finished the last episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I forgot how good it was, the end of that series, particularly the rendition of "My Way" on the horn, crossfaded with the show’s anthem. One of the things that has been bouncing all over the ‘net today is the end of Lost. Honestly, I don’t give a shit – gave up on that show after three episodes. What does interest me though, is something I noticed watching DS9, which, tangentially, is connected to the end of that series as well.
There are a bunch of flashbacks in that last episode of DS9, which jump across a number of seasons. The show happened over less than a third of my life – it was something that I can link, season by season, with things that were going on, in my world. Now, A. and I got through the whole thing in what, a little more than half a year? It was still enjoyable, but less remarkable. The digitization of episodic shows have changed the viewing interaction – that doesn’t increase or decrease the production values, cast, or writing, but it does change the way those things affect you.
I guess I have come to realize something that is a pretty big negative about the "on demand" phenomena. The art (or entertainment) which one absorbs in an episodic manner (which is part of the enjoyment) becomes less relevant, or, at least, less poignant, looking back, because there is no waiting for the next episode. I’m not advocating cutting back to network schedules and commercials, but there must be some sort of medium in here somewhere…
This is something the Losties can relate too – they had to wait for that episode – happy or not, they slogged through seasons to get to it.
I had a similar revelation finishing the last of Stephen King’s Dark Tower novels. Without delving into spoilers, the circumstances of that last book impacted me because I had been reading those characters half my life – I was invested in what happened to them, in a way I don’t think I would have been if I sat down to read the whole thing in a weekend. Same with Dune, or Wheel of Time, or Game of Thrones. I’ve read entire series end-to-end, and thoroughly enjoyed them, but they were not as poignant as the ones where I slavered after the next book’s release.
Fiction is part of our familiar world – when it grows as we grow, it affects us, just like atmosphere or what is in the water. It changes us, over time, as our perceptions and interests change, over time. I wonder how that ebb and flow will be altered, as attention spans grow ever shorter, and the crap to chrome ratio reverses itself, before it is all meaningless drivel, with an occasional high point of land sticking out here and there before it is eroded.
Content may be king, but patience is the government-in-exile.
|Originally published at delascabezas.com|