Previously On...

I’ve noticed recently that a lot more TV shows than usual are doing story arcs instead of being composed mostly of standalone episodes. Which I like, because I enjoy the idea of an ongoing story that can’t be wrapped up neatly in 43 (or 22) minutes.

However, it seems that the writers (or producers, or whomever) seem to think that every episode in a story arc needs an extensive 2-4 minute “previously” segment where they recap what’s happened in the story thus far. Is it really necessary? It’s annoying, and wastes precious time that could be used for actual story development. Take a hypothetical half-hour show, which really has 22 minutes of actual airtime. If they spend 2 minutes at the beginning doing previouslies, that’s 9% of the show they’ve wasted. Lame.

And are people really that stupid and forgetful that they can’t remember what just occurred last week? I can understand a short “previously on” segment if the show has been on hiatus for a month, but week-by-week?

I suppose there’s the issue of people who missed last week’s episode, but really, why waste time catering to those people? There are plenty of ways to catch up on missed episodes (legal and technically-illegal), and most popular series have their episodes re-aired later in the week.

Then again, I do like that more series are doing the extended story arc thing, so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much.