Scratching the ‘Surface’

Originally published at Pop Quiz, Hotshot, a blog at The York Dispatch:

A few weeks ago, I finished up the DVD collection of “Surface,” a weird-mystery TV show obviously greenlit after the success of “Lost.”

As with most sci-fi shows, “Surface”was
dead in the water shortly after its debut and canceled not long after.
The same thing happened with “Invasion,” another big-budget sci-fi
extravaganza that debuted in 2005.

And the same thing happened to “Firefly.”

And the same thing happened to “Night Stalker.”

And to “Veritas: The Quest.”

And most recently, “Daybreak.”While
“Daybreak” never caught on with the viewers, I liked the idea. It was
sold as a show that had an end. In essence, it was a mega-sized
mini-series.

Word is now that the folks at the helm of the slightly foundering “Lost” are working with ABC to do the same thing.

The two are both working on setting an end-date for the series. Rather than have the show peter out a la “X-Files,” they’re working to build it up to a (presumably) mind-blowing, knock-your-socks-off conclusion.

As a fellow with extremely limited time to watch TV, I like this
idea. Rather than drag fans along through season after season of
near-climaxes, why not tell viewers up front: We’ve got a 100-episode
plan for this series. Stick with us, and all your questions will be
answered.

For shows like “Surface,” which I didn’t even consider watching
during its original broadcast, I might have committed if it was touted
as an 13-episode mini-series. In fact, the accidentally final episode
of “Surface” was enough of a conclusion for me. At the very least, you
knew where the characters stood and had a picture of what they went
through.

And it certainly was interesting enough that I would have jumped at a chance to watch a sequel mini-series.

Maybe television executives should start thinking in the direction of “24” – create a story just big enough to fit in a DVD collection and see what happens from there.

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