Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Wednesday Chatter #14: When Fictional Worlds Keep Growing Bigger

Wednesday Chatter is a weekly feature at Ruby's Books where we'll be talking about anything and everything related to books and reading. Click here if you want to see what we talked about in the previous weeks

WARNING: Some bad words might be used in the following post. Don't say I didn't warn you!

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Hey guys! Happy Wednesday! It's been a while since I've been so excited about a discussion post. Before I go on with today's topic though, I want to say something. I'll be discussing some books, some movies and some TV shows here, some in a positive way and others in a not-so-positive way. This doesn't mean I don't like them or that I'm changing my mind about them, it just means that I feel these stories are good examples of the things I'm going to talk about. So don't hate on me okay? Okay!

As you all probably know, there's a Harry Potter play that will be published this July and the Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them movie is actually going to be a trilogy. The Potterhead in me is doing major happy dances. Disclaimer: When I first saw the teaser trailer for the movie, I cried a little. Just like I cried when I saw the first Hobbit trailer. I'm not even ashamed about that.

I was reading this article on Tor and it got me thinking. Everyone was ecstatic when the news of not one, not two, but THREE more Avatar movies were going to be made. I was probably the only idiot on the entire planet confused by that decision, because what else was there to say in that story, but I didn't crap on anyone's joy.

And remember the joy everyone felt when news finally broke out that The Hobbit finally got the green light and was going to be filmed? I remember that day. I went like this:

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That doesn't even come close to describing how I felt when I saw the trailer (remember, I just told you I cried!). Because in my opinion there should be no limits to Middle Earth. I always want to learn more of Tolkien's fictional world and I'm always happy when I find out there's another book out.

 photo tumblr_mu91xr74A01s7udfuo1_400_zpsa22c150d.gifAt the same time though, there are book series that are getting too big and that have me wondering where could the story possibly go now? I'm looking at you, Sookie Stackhouse. For me, it all depends on storytelling and POVs. If a book series is told solely from one character's perspective, I get tired. Because how many bad things can happen to one person?

Sure, you could think that the character is like Dean Winchester in the Season 3 Mystery Spot episode when he dies again and again and again in different ways. After a while, though, the plot becomes repetitive. 

We already know, with each crime drama on TV that someone dies a somewhat horrific death and a team of great detectives find the killer usually in one episode, unless it's a special villain and it takes 2, maybe 3 episodes to catch him/her. Of course, there's the "Big Bad" of crime shows, but those are few. Most of the time it's a bad guy killing a good guy and the cops catch them. Do I keep watching those shows? Yes, because even if it's repetitive, it's become part of my weekly routine. How could I not watch it?

Are there too-long series out there? Yep. Do people still read/watch them? Yep. Will they keep watching? Some might, some might move on to other shows and other books. 

I have found myself wondering "Really, another one?" when there's a new book or a new movie or a new season announced for a long-running story. Sometimes it feels as if the story is like "butter scraped over too much bread", to quote Bilbo Baggins. It's not about me not wanting more news from my favorite characters, it's that sometimes it seems like those news just make those characters lose their essence. It's different for book series where each book tells the story of a different character. Because then it becomes like a huge puzzle, like there's this huge world that I don't know anything about and it's in black and white, but as more books come out, pieces of that world becomes colored and why would that be a bad thing?

I personally have no issue with authors or movie/tv people deciding to make a world bigger and bigger. For example, I choose to ignore the fact that Sookie doesn't end up with Eric and it works just fine for me. Just like I want to believe that Xena ended with Gabrielle bringing her bestie back from the dead in season 6, instead of letting her stay dead to not release the angry spirits. In the same way I want to hug the scholars who discover more of Tolkien's work regarding Middle Earth.

But why is it that some people get mad when an author decides to write another book in a series? Or to renew a TV show? Sure, you might argue that with TV shows, that means that a brand new TV show won't be made. And you're right! How many times have we not heard the "ratings weren't as high as we wanted them to be" excuse for cancelling a show, while at the same time a show with less than good ratings is kept on the air? A lot of times. But is that really a reason to get mad over?

It's not as if someone is forcing you to read or watch something. It's one of the things that have always confused me when seeing people displeased by "yet another....." whatever. You can change the channel or not buy a book, you can not watch a movie. You can choose to ignore all the new trivia that Rowling gave us in the last years about the wizarding world, just like you can can choose to accept them and to allow your imagination to run wild with all that new information. But I feel like at the end of the day, if a writer wants to add more details to their work, it's their choice. Because it's their work. And no one knows that world better than the creator of that world.

What is your take on this subject? Should authors and movie/TV creators stop making their fictional world bigger or should we just choose when a world stops growing for us, without crapping all over everyone else's parade?


  1. I agree with both sides!! Like sure, an author or producer or whoever can CHOOSE how far they want to go with their characters/setting/spin-offs... and we can CHOOSE whether or not to buy/read/watch it. But when I get annoyed is when the quality goes WAY down and it's obvious they are just forcing it out to make that money. One series that I wouldn't be sad if it went away is- Pretty Little Liars. I mean, like you said, how many bad things can happen to one group of people. How many "A's" can there possibly be. Every time they out one, another one shows up. Just END!!

    1. Right? It's when the quality drops that I start getting twitchy too. PLL is just one example. Can we talk about a certain show focusing on anatomy? Because how many more doctors can die in one hospital and how many couples can break up without the show turning into a soap opera? Not that I have anything against soap operas, but you know what I mean!

  2. You're right; if people are happy with how a book/season ended, then they don't need to read/watch more when another installment is released. And as long as creators have something to add to their world, there'll be people who appreciate these new stories.

    That said, I think there's a difference betwen continuing a series and reviving it at a later date. The X-Files, for instance, had a fantastic first five seasons, a decent sixth to eighth, and then it jumped the shark. And then they brought it back to jump the shark again. There were some good episodes in the revival, but none that I felt were really good enough to justify resurrecting the show, and the ending of the season was clearly a setup for another miniseries. It was one thing for the show to keep going on past its sell-by date initially, but to further tarnish its legacy a decade and a half later does not make me a happy X-Phile (but, yes, if there's another miniseries I will watch the hell out of it, because I'm a masochistic Scully/Mulder shipper).

  3. I don't mind when series keep going for a long time as long as there's some closure in between. I don't want to read a 12 book series necessarily, but I don't mind a set of four trilogies (or something like that). It's kind of the best of both worlds because you get to keep enjoying the world that was created, but you don't have to keep waiting for the story to end.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  4. I mean, I can understand why people complain yet still keep reading/watching. I know that one I'm in a series, I feel this need to see it through to the end. If I don't, then I'll just feel like I've missed all these important things... it's hard to explain? And if I do actually stop reading/watching, well, then it means this series which one held so much of my attention and adoration has made me feel completely disenchanted. So yes, I can choose to stop, but that's not a pleasant way to end things, you know? So I do appreciate when a series ends before going overboard. Or if at least does what Nicole mentioned and has some closure points to give me an out without the disenchanted feeling.


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