Fangirl Thursday: Look for the Hope

It’s been an emotionally draining, depressing, and frustrating few weeks in various fandoms. It seems TV show after TV show has been doubling down on the idea that shocking deaths make for good television, without thinking about what certain deaths might mean for large groups of their fans. And even if characters aren’t dying on your favorite show, chances are it’s still gone into darker territory this season. It seems almost every show I watch has dealt with heavier material this year. Even the usually light Brooklyn Nine-Nine ended with an atypical life-threatening cliffhanger this week. (Even though I think we’re all 99.9% sure Holt’s going to be fine.) And the offerings at movie theaters aren’t much better lately, with superheroes fighting each other all over the place.

In short, if you feel a little beaten down by the media you’re consuming lately, you’re not alone.

There’s a tendency to judge the quality of a piece of media by how serious it is. Most of the “prestige dramas” we hear so much about are incredibly heavy and often bleak. So people often stick with television shows that make them feel hopeless and upset more often than not because they think that’s what “good” television is supposed to do. They think that walking away from a TV show when it starts to feel oppressively negative says bad things about them as a viewer instead of bad things about the show that made them walk away. Because a good drama can never be “too dark,” right?

WRONG.

It’s not just okay to walk away from a TV show when it starts negatively affecting your emotions on a consistent basis; it’s smart. There’s nothing wrong with putting your mental and emotional health above a television show’s ratings or your reputation as a fangirl or fanboy. Even if you loved a show for years, if it’s making you feel miserable or triggering you in some way, you’re not less of a fan if you stop watching something that’s not good or healthy for you anymore.

This trend of prioritizing shock value above quality character development needs to stop. This is especially true when the shock value comes from killing or traumatizing characters simply to show that no character is safe and that the world they inhabit is awful. If a character dies, that death should mean something—and not just that anyone can die. And if a character is put through a traumatic situation, it should be treated with care not just in that moment, but in all the moments that follow it. Death, beatings, torture, and rape shouldn’t be added to stories only to get people talking or to show how horrible a person or a society is. They should resonate thematically; they should carry weight not just in one episode, but throughout the rest of the series. They should matter.

It seems that, all too often, TV shows are creating stories around moments of darkness. But as a viewer I’m always drawn to moments of light. I can handle dark television, but that darkness needs a spark of light at some point, or else it just becomes overwhelming. I can handle harsh and cold worlds, but they need some warmth or else I don’t want to visit them anymore. So I look for the hope. I look for reasons to believe in the basic humanity of a show’s characters and in the sincerity of the relationships they form—no matter how small they might be. And if I can’t find those things, I remind myself that it’s okay to stop looking and start walking away.

There’s a fine line between compelling dramatic television and “torture porn.” And it seems that line is getting finer every day. I can’t tell anyone what’s an acceptable threshold of darkness for them; while I might see moments of hope on The Americans, others may be too disturbed by its violence, and I can completely understand that. All I can say is that you don’t owe it to anyone to start watching or keep watching a show that makes you feel bad.

Many of the recent deaths on television have been so hard to take because of how deeply they affected people in groups that are already marginalized—groups that need more hope given to them instead of more hope taken away. If The Fan Mail Project has taught me anything, it’s that the deep connections we form with fictional characters matter and can help us learn to accept and love ourselves. So when a character we’ve connected with or feel represents us is killed or traumatized in some way, that isn’t something we can just ignore or get over. It hurts us on a deeper level than many people can understand—even many creators of media. But there are also many of us who do understand it. Look for the hope, and remember that sometimes that hope isn’t found on the show itself, but in the people around you who will help you work through what happened on that show.

There is light to be found in the darkness. Look for the hope. It’s not always easy to find—and it may not be found where you expect it—but it’s always there.

If you need a place to vent your frustrations about a TV show going too dark or a character meeting a fate that was too grim, this post’s comments section is a safe space for you to do exactly that. And please don’t hesitate to recommend more hopeful media for others to consume or to discuss shows that find the right balance between darkness and hope.

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16 thoughts on “Fangirl Thursday: Look for the Hope

  1. Apologies, folks, but when Katie writes great stuff like this, I get carried away.

    Good art makes you think. Good art makes you feel . . . yet that feeling doesn’t have to be depression. Yes, I think art should illuminate the human condition, but once again, it doesn’t have to illuminate the worst about us. I also think art should seek to elevate as well. Sometimes it does that by showing us where we are; sometimes it does that by showing us where we could be.

    I enjoyed “Battlestar Gallactica” when it came out. It did look at some dark topics, but one of the reasons I liked it was because it considered the long term effects of these things. People didn’t just bounce back after one episode. I haven’t watched “The Americans” yet. I watched the pilot when it came out, but I was pretty invested in “Justified” at the time, and I realized I couldn’t handle another show of that intensity. I know some people who can’t watch these shows because the events stick with them in a bad way. So, Katie, I love your point that we shouldn’t watch something because we think we’re supposed to. If it’s bad for you, step away.

    After BG, we saw a lot of sci-fi that went dark and twisty for the sake of dark and twisty. Yes, sometimes TV should make us feel bad — we to see what we are capable of, what we do to each other. However, we shouldn’t wallow in it. As you say, Katie, we need the hope, too. We need to see the best of what we’re capable of, too. I want to see relationships, not just survive, but thrive under hardship. I want to see people rise above the darkness that surrounds them. Show me the light. Show me hope. There needs to be light and hope.

    It’s ok to enjoy TV. I love pulp shows. (“Leverage” I’m lookin’ at you.) I love knowing that everything will be wrapped up at the end of the show. I want the puzzle solved. I want the good guys to be victorious. I want the bad guys to lose. Sometimes I want to laugh. (Ok, I like to laugh a lot. I’ve been told I should come with a warning label.) We can learn through hope and laughter.

    So, thanks to our own personal Snow White (that would be you, Katie) to remind us about hope. (For those of you wondering, I function as provider of snark and obligatory comments about Colin O’ Donoghue’s hair/sexiness. I also throw in random Doctoberfest mug references. Look for this to turn into a drinking game.) I sometimes think of NGN as our own little therapy sessions as we realize, “OHHHHHH, THAT’s why I reacted so strongly.” It’s also a place to celebrate the shows we love and the insights that we have.

    So, yes, watch Flash to see a fun, optimistic hero (with Cisco and his awesome naming), but still looks at complex issues. (Seriously, Barry Allen’s struggle with his mother’s death.) Plus, Jesse Martin.

    Is everyone caught up with “Eli Stone”? Victor Garber. Singing and dancing. Did I mention Victor Garber?

    Thanks, Katie, for our own little corner of happy. 🙂

  2. I wish that you would share your insights with producers and writers. It sometimes seems that shows emulate one another because their themes take on a familiar themes or actions. It IS difficult for fans/viewers to see the same tragic events happening through all of the shows they are viewing. I enjoy many of the new super hero series; but some evenings I realize that I have watched several hours of characters beating and pommelling each other. I look forward to your readers recommending some quality lighter fare on tv.

  3. This is a great piece Katie. I think I have been lucky that I have enjoyed many years of watching TV without feeling betrayed by my shows, but my heart grieves for those who have. Usually my disappointment is caused by the networks canceling a show, or an actor that gets himself fired (*cough* Robert Downey Jr *cough*). Maybe I am just good at choosing carefully, but more likely it stems from the fact that I am part of the ethnic and social majority (although I do have that woman thing going against me). It’s easy for me to find something else I identify with if something doesn’t work for me, but not everyone has that luxury. I have never really liked the argument in fantasy and sci fi that things like race and sexuality “don’t matter” for the characters in the future. Media isn’t FOR the characters. Media is FOR the viewers, and it exists now, and now we need to accept that how characters are represented in media DOES matter.

    I think I have learned over the years that I am ok with darkness as long as I can find that thread of hope. I can watch the Americans because despite the darkness, we can see the main characters becoming better people. Its dangerous and stupid for them to be better people, but I can at least connect to them. What I don’t enjoy is a past moral main character going the other way. I find no hope in people giving into greed and selfishness, so I try to avoid those. Also typically I cant watch shows that have a major focus on the villain characters (Gotham, Jessica Jones, Daredevil). I like heroes. I want good to win!

    For those feeling like mainstream TV isn’t giving them what they want, I highly recommend they look outside of the mainstream. A few years ago when I was feeling pretty distant from most TV shows available I got really into web series, and I HIGHLY recommend anybody that need a dose of happy to watch “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”. That show brought me more joy that pretty much any other show has in recent memory. I like the whole idea of web series in general because they are less worried about appealing to the masses and it’s a lot easier to find variety.

    • I am the kiss of death for a show. If it I like it, it will probably be cancelled. (I assume everyone here is cancelling out my bad tv voodoo for OUAT, Flash, etc.)
      Firefly. Gone.
      Pushing Daisies. Gone.
      Eli Stone. Gone.
      Almost Human. Gone.
      Chuck did get closure, so that’s good. (Nerdlings and Geeksters everywhere should watch Chuck. You’ll especially love it if you’ve ever worked retail.) I could continue, but it’s depressing.
      I DVR’d all of season one Agent Carter and waited until it had been renewed before I watched. I didn’t want to get hooked if it was cancelled.

      Everyone’s dark tolerance is different. I can usually tolerate more dark in Sci-Fi than other genres. (I am somewhat of a Sci-Fi junkie. Ok, I’m a total Sci-Fi junkie.) I think, too, it depends on the type of darkness.

      Great point about web series. (I always wanted a web series of the adventures of Spike and Andrew.) There’s a lot of innovation there.

  4. I have a lot of thoughts here so I’m going to attempt to break in into a few different sections depending on what people are in the mood to read.

    GENERAL THOUGHTS
    This has been an exhausting two months for me as a TV fan. Yes, a large part of that centers around one show which will be discussed shortly but even with shows I don’t watch, I see fans who are hurting and watching the characters they love going through horrific things. It’s gotten to the point where deaths, particularly those of female characters and POC, are becoming entirely too routine and losing the impact that a well-crafted death should have on a series. No one is saying that characters can never die. But I can’t agree more with your statement that those deaths should have purpose. They should not simply move the plot forward but honor the life of the character that came before it.

    I actually seem to watch less dark television than I used to but I admit to not being entirely certain whether that is because my definition of darkness has shifted or the shows that pride themselves on being bleak and depicting the world as 100% awful at all times simply aren’t very good or are no longer catching my interest. Many are emotionally heavy but fortunately, the “torture porn” type shows are becoming less common in my viewing (again, with the exception of one show).

    There needs to be balance. There is a place for darkness and grimness and violence on television. But there isn’t a compelling reason to wallow in that darkness, in my opinion. Feature it, but don’t make it the center of a show. Show the moments of connection and the innate goodness of some of your characters. Show characters desperately trying to do the right thing in a world where it is difficult. That’s far more compelling television to me.

    VENTING (lots of spoilers for s3 of The 100, some for GOT and BSG)
    Which leads nicely into my complaining. As I brought up last year in my post about ditching Game of Thrones, I loved the first two seasons of The 100. Yes, it’s always been a dark show and I know many find those seasons difficult to watch for good reason. But I could always see the hope and the strength of the relationships behind all of the terrible things thrown at these characters. I saw everyone’s unwavering trust in Clarke and the solid bonds between the characters. These characters were able to hug each other and save each other and fight together. They had to work as a team and they did. Mount Weather broke a lot of the characters but had they been given a chance, I think they could have healed together and come out the other side stronger.

    But that is so far from what happened. I still love these characters so much but for a lot of the season, I have spent more time angry about the direction the show is taking than being excited. I have a tiny amount of hope that tonight’s episode may be the start of that turning around but that hope feels dangerous right now.

    This season has been poorly written. Not even factoring in the problems surrounding Lexa and Lincoln, which were plentiful, this season still would have been a mess. It’s gone for misery over quality. I know the show was praised for being willing to force these characters into awful positions. I’ve praised them for it in the past. But it was because they handled it well and kept their commitment to the characters and their development first. Scenes have been filmed and later cut that would have at least made some attempt to show character motivation and were deemed unimportant. The groundwork wasn’t laid for any of the terrible things they are doing to have any resonating impact other than horror and exhaustion for the fans. Actors shouldn’t be desperately searching for a way to play the character in way that is consistent with what they’ve done in the past. They shouldn’t say they did the best with what they had. That’s shoddy writing. And to cloak that in darkness and think it’s quality is ridiculous.

    Then you get into the actual issues surrounding Gina, Lexa, and Lincoln’s deaths. Gina’s was a blatant example of fridging that I was not accustomed to dealing with on the show. Lexa’s hurt so many people by playing right into an old and destructive trope. And considering what Ricky had to shoot for Lincoln’s death and the overly graphic, slowed-down bullet and blood nature of it, coupled with the behind-the-scenes issues was just gross feeling. And that’s not even counting the horrifying torture porn that was Raven’s entire character in the last episode. Lindsay Morgan was incredible but the scene of ALIE returning every bit of pain Raven had ever experienced to her in just a few seconds was utterly horrifying. I had such a visceral reaction to her screams and in all of my TV watching, I can think of only two other things that have even come close (Shireen’s death on GOT and Sharon’s rape and the fallout on BSG). It wasn’t a good reaction to invoke and that’s coming from someone who loves being strongly emotionally affected by her fiction.

    I want these characters to be a team again. I know they can be. But I’m tired of seeing this show leave so many of my fellow fans emotionally drained. There have been bright spots in the season. The kids got a fun sing-a-long in the first episode. Lexa swearing fealty to Clarke was gorgeously done as was the consummation of their relationship. Everything surrounding Marcus Kane and his relationships with Abby, Indra, and the Blake siblings has been wonderful. But those moments are too few and far between. It’s enough to keep me going for now, but it won’t be forever.

    RECOMMENDATIONS
    Now that I’ve gotten a season’s worth of complaining out of the way, I have a few shows that find the right balance (for me) between light and dark as well as a few other shows that just make me happy to watch.

    The Americans really is getting this balance exactly right. It’s dark and grim at times and last week’s will break my heart when I watch it. But it honors it’s characters and the connections they’ve made with each other. It emphasizes those connections and how they’ve changed everyone involved.

    Penny Dreadful also nailed this balance in s2. It’s a dark show and I know it won’t be for everyone but there were so many moments where Vanessa’s kindness took center stage. Scenes that did little to move the plot forward, just allowed these characters to find or demonstrate the connections they’ve made. It was in her friendships with John and Victor and her feelings toward Ethan that we got to see Vanessa as someone worth fighting for. We understood why these characters were risking everything to keep her safe and why she fought as fiercely for their happiness and safety.

    My next three aren’t necessary full of violence, death, or the usual markers of “prestige TV” but are emotionally heavy to watch and deal with some harsher subject matter. Definitely not what I would consider light viewing.

    I’ve gone on at length about it so I’ll only briefly mention it, but the moments of connection and love found in the second half of s2 of You’re the Worst remain some of the best I’ve ever seen. It starts as a relatively light show about pretty terrible people but the turn into more serious material was so well done and so moving. The were weeks where I physically hurt after finishing the episode but there were others than made me sob at the sheer beauty of what I just watched.

    Rectify is one of the most beautiful explorations of humanity, in all it’s good qualities and bad, that I have ever had the pleasure to watch. It’s slow and there are times where these characters are extremely frustrating because they are so human and are in a difficult situation and naturally don’t always deal with it perfectly. But there are other times where the show highlights all the genuine goodness of which people are capable. It makes me feel deeply with every episode but it’s a good kind of emotional draining.

    Call the Midwife makes me feel good after watching with every week but it asks you to care so deeply and that can be its own kind of tiring. Every week, characters (usually women, given the premise of the show) are shown to be in difficult situations. But every week, they are approached with such love an kindness, not just from the nuns and midwives but from the show itself. This show allows its guest characters so much dignity in even the worst situations and it does the same for the main characters. There is friendship and love to be found in and around Nonnatus House and it is beautiful.

    Sitcoms tend to be my go-to for happy viewing. Parks and Rec and most of Brooklyn Nine-Nine show up regularly if I need a pick-me-up. Playing House is always a complete delight as is Bob’s Burgers. In the hour-long realm, I have to echo Tempest’s recommendation of Eli Stone because there is singing, dancing, and Victor Garber. And even if you’re not watching either show, I think the joy that Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin brought to the Supergirl/Flash crossover would still be infectious.

    • I love that you brought up the Supergirl/Flash crossover, because it was just so joyous. And I think it was because it represented all that is good about fandom. It’s about connecting on a special level with another person. And Barry and Kara are two unique individuals that feel alone in their superhero-ness. They got to come together and find another person that related to them in a way nobody else could. It was so refreshing to see superheroes working together and helping each other out in a time when it feels like everyone wants to pit the superheroes against each other (as Katie said). I am so thankful for The Flash for giving me a lighter superhero show to enjoy. I haven’t connected to Supergirl the same way, but I am happy it’s out there!

    • First of all, virtual hug for all the TV trauma.

      Happy-to-watch TV — Life is hard. Sometimes you just need fun TV. I miss USA’s “blue skies” programming and some of SyFy’s lighter fare. It annoys me that stations don’t seem to understand the concept of balance. Yes, USA, you can give us Suits, but that doesn’t mean you have to abandon shows like Psych, Monk, White Collar, and Burn Notice. I’m glad SyFy’s embracing the more traditional and thoughtful sci-fi, but I MISS Eureka and Warehouse 13. I miss shows that did fun well . . . shows that I could unwind to.

      • I agree! Fun TV is important. I really need to watch Psych because it just sounds fun and I loved USA’s “blue skies” programming. Or at least the little of it I watched. I’ll be sad when the era ends with Royal Pains’ final episode this summer.

        • Yeah, I have not been liking the direction USA has been taking for the past few years of bringing in darker shows and trying to darken other shows that started off light like White Collar and Burn Notice.

  5. I guess I don’t watch the shows that have fared the worst… but I’ve heard about some of it and 😦

    I didn’t pick up with Gotham after the hiatus this season because it just got too dark for dinner time viewing. My hubby would probably be happy to have kept watching, but he’s fine with watching Supergirl instead. We’re not big fans of either show, so for casual viewing pleasure I’m going to go with something cheerful.

    We’ve been watching Sons of Anarchy for months now, and boy, is that show bleak! I can only handle one episode at a time, and when we took a long break from it I considered not even bothering to finish up (they killed off so many of their lead actors they had to keep reworking the opening credits – I bet Kurt Sutter won’t make the actor’s names so prominent in the credits in future shows!) But SOA was pretty bleak from the very beginning, and modeled (at least to start with) on Hamlet, and I know how Shakespearean tragedy works. (We only have a couple of episodes to go – wondering who if anybody will survive at the end. My bets on the guy who had cancer and only a few months to live at the beginning of the show!) But at times it’s just overwhelming, knowing that half of the sh!t hasn’t even hit the fan yet, and when it does, it’s going to make the blood that has already been shed have been for nothing, and yet more blood will be shed. Not my favorite.

    I can handle some tragedy in my shows, but I prefer it to be for a purpose. Or at least logical within the story that they are choosing to tell. There was a tragic death in You Me & the Apocalypse that broke my heart, but it made sense, and it pushed a character towards some other characters which pushed the story to where it needed to go. Without the death both characters would have been happy but very dead, more than likely, in the aforementioned Apocalypse. So… It worked for that particular show, that had its own particular (British, gallows humor) tone.

    I don’t mind the anti-heroes and a touch of darkness but I generally stay away from the shows that are too violent, that kill off more characters than they keep. I need to keep myself in balance.

  6. I remember reading another post about the oppressive darkness of certain shows on this site. I’m not sure if you wrote that or not. But I agree with what the post said as much as what this post said. I can’t watch a show that doesn’t have a positive element worth rooting for. Otherwise, it’s an exercise in needless stress and frustration watching something go from bad to worse. Scandal is getting that way for me lately with the dark lows they are taking the Olivia character down to along with a number of other characters on the show. Are there any sympathetic or moral characters left on Scandal? I think Marcus and Susan for the most part are it.

    adventuresintheherenow, I agree with you about Sons of Anarchy. Whatever light the show had in the midst of its darkness in the beginning faded away, more so during its last few seasons during which violence was done more for shock than as an organic progression of story or character. There was nothing left in the Jax character worth rooting in the end. Even after his realization of how he had been manipulated by his mother into carrying out his misguided revenge, Jax kept on killing people left and right adding more bloodshed in his wake before he put himself out of his misery. He even killed his mother. Though the reason for it was understandable, I wish Jax could have chosen to let her live instead, wanting to punish her with exile and not wanting to be a killer anymore.

    Unlike Sons of Anarchy, The Americans has some light in its darkness that burns bright four seasons in. It shines through the Jennings family moments, the love and trust Philip and Elizabeth have for each other as spouses and partners, Nina’s bond with Anton, and Stan’s connection with Henry which eases his pain of loneliness. Those things make the darkness bearable and strengthens its purpose as a stark reminder of what is at stake for the characters. That’s how light and darkness should be used on a TV show, and why one cannot work without the other.

  7. This is such a great topic, Katie, and thanks for the thoughtful, articulate writing on it. I avoid some of the bleaker shows on TV. I find that my tolerance for shows that fall on the wrong side of the fine line you describe gets less and less as I get older, and especially since I’ve had children. However, I have followed with interest the fan reaction to some of the recent TV character deaths (or teased deaths, in the case of TWD) and I think you provide a great perspective.

    I have a few recommendations of shows that I think strike a terrific balance between dramatic, sometimes dark events, and the power love and light.

    Fringe – I loved this show. It got off to a slow start and never really escaped or fulfilled the Lost/X-files hybrid branding FOX gave it. The first season is just pretty good; the characters come off a little stiff for no good reason, and the cases of the week aren’t always compelling. However, it starts to find itself late in the first season when it introduces some key character connections and sets up the overarching mythology, which involves an alternate universe. I don’t watch the Flash, but whenever I hear raves about the Earth 2 story I think, “I miss Fringe – Fringe did the alt universe thing SO WELL!!” The storytelling in Seasons 2 and 3 especially is outstanding, but ultimately, the bonds the characters form on this show are its real strength, and hope and love (friendship, familial, and romantic) emerge as its most essential ingredients. It also has an offbeat sense of humor, and the great John Noble is just Emmy worthy throughout.

    Treme – This one is not for everyone. It chronicles some difficult and very real issues. The pace is slow, and it helps if you already have affection for the cuisine and music of New Orleans. However, the overriding message of hope and overcoming adversity is undeniable. The show chronicles the lives of a large group of diverse characters as they pick up the pieces of their lives in New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The premise is depressing. A lot of folks in New Orleans already had the cards stacked against them, and then the hurricane made everything immeasurably worse. Sad things happen on this show, many of them reflecting real life events. However, Treme also makes it clear that the unbreakable spirit of New Orleans’ residents and their love for their one-of-a-kind community is stronger than any dark force. The performances are superlative, especially those from The Wire vets Wendell Pierce and Clarke Peters, as well as Khandi Alexander, Kim Dickens, John Goodman, Melissa Leo and David Morse. Many of these characters fight for good, and hope and redemption are found again and again. A beautiful show.

    Better Call Saul – Yes, it’s a Breaking Bad prequel, and yes, there are tie ins to Bad throughout the series as the characters first connect with some of the local drug traffickers the audience first met in Bad. Also, embedded in the show’s premise is that it’s going to chronicle how small time lawyer Jimmy McGill gains success by eschewing his morality and building an unethical law practice that helps criminals like Walter White, so (maybe?) we know the story ends on a dark note. However, the marvel of this show is that the Breaking Bad connections feel like the least essential part, and that there are glimmers of hope throughout. This show is extremely interested in exploring morality and choices. Jimmy is a good, lovable guy. He’s relatable. He’s funny. He’s scrappy. Does he cut corners? Sure. But the show wisely makes his straight laced, successful (though ailing) older brother Chuck one of the main characters, and meticulously explores how Jimmy’s childhood and Chuck made Jimmy who he is. The series also has one of the most relatable female characters on TV in Kim Wexler. How many shows have a competent, professional woman character whose career is portrayed very realistically, and where that career is a major component of the overarching plot? Season 2 of Saul is doing this with seeming ease as it continues to build out its cast of realistic and relatable characters who care about each other and are really trying to do the right thing. The show is also a marvel of technical craftsmanship, with incredible looking and sounding montages, as well as artistic shots of Albuquerque strip malls and hot dog stands that are somehow as beautiful as New Mexico desert landscapes.

    • Fringe — yes, absolutely, Fringe. Everyone was just brilliant. Walter Bishop is a tricky character, but Noble pulled him off beautifully. The special 19th episodes (animated, musical, etc.) always fell close to my birthday . . . I felt like I got a birthday present from Fringe every year.

      • So your birthday must be coming up? Happy birthday!!! I had forgotten about the special 19th episodes. Man, Pinkner and Wyman and co. were so creative! It also strikes me, in thinking about Fringe (and the other two shows I mentioned) how important it is that I as a viewer feel like the people making the show love the characters as much as I do. I don’t want to feel like the producers see the characters as a means to a point they are trying to make about the darkness of the world or the shock value they want to create.

        The producers of Fringe LOVED those characters. Walter was tricky. He had made HUGE, world-altering mistakes. But we loved him, and it was never suggested that he was beyond redemption, and he was never subject to perverse suffering in order to achieve it.

  8. Thank you for this post, Katie. You bring up some very points in this. I find the whole reaction to a fictional on TV, kind of interesting. It’s not a real death, the actor or actress if still alive. I understand the reaction when it’s your favorite that gets killed off, but sometimes I think the reaction is too extreme.

    But if it’s not my fave and generally, I’ve found with the TV shows I watch, it’s not my favorite who dies, so I’m not really affected the same way someone else might be. I feel like I’ve had a nice streak when it came to watching Revenge. All my least favorite characters died. So, there were no tears there.

    I think the thing to remember, is that whoever dies, the story still goes on. Just because character A dies, doesn’t mean the story is done. There’s still more story to be told. I think sometimes, we just need to get out of our fangirl/fanboy goggles and enjoy the story as whole, in order to understand why death happens in a story arc. We need to look at the bigger picture.

    I always say, if you as a fan, are not happy with the show anymore, stop torturing yourself. Watch something else. That is why we have TV with different shows, on many channels.

    But I would also hope that a fans’ love for a character, you love the show more that you’re willing to see what else happens in the story too. I could never just stop watching a TV show because a character died because the writer in me would always, well, what happened after that?!

  9. Pingback: Hold on to Happiness | Nerdy Girl Notes

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