Now I’m suppossed to be working on reading lists but I think this needs to be said. One of the weird things about serial fiction is that somewhere along the line you need to remind people what the story is. If you have ever seen a wrestling program you will hear the commentators go over the pertinent story lines and conflicts several times during the approved time slot. If you have a 30 minute or one hour long show, you need to dedicate a fraction of your time to let people know what happened in the last episode and what will happen in the next one. Some people blame it on the fact that we are living in an ADHD generation of people who can’t concentrate. I think it’s actually because these moments are designed for the non dedicated fans. If I’m seeing something like Burn Notice which I love I know what’s going but if my parents catch an episode a week they really need the extra narrative help and even then I need to explain stuff during the commercials. If I suddenly start watching a soap opera, I will be just as dependent on my grandparent to provide necessary information to understand the story at its current point.
Now I don’t have a problem when the show itself tries to give extra info when it comes time to help the audience know more about the story. Think about an episode of any epic anime. Let’s take DBZ as an example: Trunks is about to fight Cell in his perfect form and they already took way too long to stand still and scream to raise their power levels. The climactic clash is stated to beign and then Trunks starts brooding in a flashback about his troubled and tragic childhood. Sure it’s important for character development but people want action. As a fan I scream at the animators/directors for this action but I can respect the fact that they want to emphasize this part of the narrative. It’s filler for us, something DBZ Kai corrected and saw that many fans will actually prefer to see a show with technically less material.
Now, we can’t all love every moment of every installment of every show but there are some moments that just make you declare shenanigans on the people responsible. Those damn dirty clip shows just recycle footage in a way that just makes you hate the fact that you just actually wasted time seeing that. I focus on this type of episode because I recently caught some old Power Rangers reruns and bam clip show. In the Jungle Fury season clip show they basically went in order of the key epsiode up until that point in a gameshow format that would actually show the clips to see if the rangers and villains had answered correctly. Just today I saw the one for the Dinothunder series, where they did a clip show of every form of power rangers highlighting how the team was brought together, how they got their sixth ranger and how they beat the bad guy. It was done as a video diary for the current rangers to see if anything had happened to Tommy, yes that Tommy from the original mighty morphing variety. I can kind of understand why they did this, this was the tenth season of Power Rangers and the fact that Tommy was a series regular and this was just after they did the Forever Red episode where all the Red Rangers of every season came together in a super crossover extravaganza of awesome. It was designed to get people who had no idea how much Power Rangers had changed back on track. Perhaps the weirdest part is that I actually enjoyed the program. Maybe it’s because I wanted to satisfy the nostalgia factor from all those seasons I loved so many years ago, More importantly, it might have been because it wasn’t in the traditional serial reading/viewing order. If I was seeing this episode as it came out and wanted to see how the rangers would rescue Tommy who was captured at the end of the last episode I would be pretty pissed that they went with a clip show on like the sixth episode of the season of every other form of Rangers. So yeah, deny my curiosity for closure with a clip show and my fist shall be shaken angrily at the ceiling.