Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tv Series: The Gamechanger

I have been thinking about tv series theory a lot lately and I am sort of setting up my own theories doing so. Things are still shaping up and they just need time. However, I decided that I would start of with sharing some of the terminology I have been coming that has already shaped up.

One of the most important things that has been wandering in my mind is the gamechanger. It is about something that changes the premise, goal or the means to the goal the series is taking. Perhaps I will be able to make this into something more quantifiable later on, but for now it's a rather abstract and it requires a lot of feeling. However, let me get into some examples.

Star Trek: Enterprise has a Gamechanger at the end of season 2, when a ship of exploration goes to war. The actual game changer is the event in which the Xindi attack.

Chuck has a Gamechanger when the events leading to the Intersect 2.0 (I find this one hard to pin down, though. I think there's more going on than just a game changer as well).

Battlestar Gallactica had a gamechanger just about every midseason finale and every season finale.

Other series, don't have a gamechanger.

The Gamechanger is the event that leads to changes in the series. However, the event itself is not what makes it a gamechanger. The fact that after that things do change, is what makes it a gamechangers. It can also be hard to say whether something will be a gamechanger until the events following it are shown.
A good example would be the death of a character. For one show, this might mean that the whole dynamic of the show changes, while in another little might change at all. In the latter case, it isn't a gamechanger while in the first case it is.

Also, while a gamechanger is usually planned, it can also just happen. The loss of a cast member (for any reason) can be an unplanned gamechanger (think 8 Simple Rules). It is hard to think of a different way a gamechanger can be unplanned, but I am pretty sure that there is one out there.

There are multiple reasons that the gamechanger focuses on the event causing the change rather than the changes themselves. One reason is that this is not at all about a gradual change. Instead, it's about a sudden change in the series, which is caused by something. Another is that gamechanger itself is usually a big event in the series and already drops its hints even before you can be sure it is going to be a gamechanger. Of course the way in which I started thinking about it also plays its role.

So, this was tv series theory installment one. I hope you liked it. For me, thinking about certain events as gamechangers really changed the way I looked at some finales.

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