Two days ago I went to a finale party for True Blood. Having never ever seen more than a minute of the show, the finale left me utterly confused. Maybe because I was confused I was able to ridicule and pick it apart more than deserved, maybe it just is really cheesy, I don't know. I was in a room full of devoted fans, sitting on the edge of their seats, dropping their jaws at every plot twist, and there I sat, trying extremely hard to not break the silence with my laughter. When the Queen, after making her sacrifice, headed into the woods and walked towards her lord and I saw a bull lit romantically in the moonlight I could barely contain myself. I watched the Queen and the bull walk closer and closer to each other. My mind immediately pictured them on the beach running towards each other, and in the meadow skipping and smiling, the cow mooing.
"I'm drinking a diet coke with LIME!" - I let out a giggle.
"Hold me for fourty?" - I let out another.
To sum up, I thought the show was pretty awful, acting, writing, effects and all. But this isn't my point at all.
I was talking with a fan who has seen every episode of True Blood and he told me he thought the show was awful. He finds the show horribly cheesy as well yet he continues to watch it, eagerly anticipating the next episode. Why is this? He finds as much fault in the show as I do, yet religiously continues to watch.
Several years ago I stayed home sick and ended up watching a soap opera, one of the worst of it's kind, called Passions. This show was absolute garbage. Horrid horrid acting, completely implausible stroylines, and tension so dragged out you would have to watch all week to hear one sentence. I watched this show for four years. Whenever I was home sick I would watch it and when I couldn't because I had school, I would read up on what I missed. There was an addicting quality to it. I was stuck with a sick curiosity to see what the hell the writers were going to come up with next. Passions had witches, the Vatican, tsunamis, stolen babies, orangutan caretakers, mermaids, and a web of characters so oddly intertwined it would take almost 10 minutes to explain. The show was finally canceled last year after already being taken off regular cable television and switching to being shown only on direct TV. The show no doubt entertained me and kept me interested but in the same breath I thought it was absolutely horrible. So this leads me to the question I've been rambling on and on trying to get to.
Despite how horrible a show may be, If it is entertaining and addicting, is it a success?
As a writer I'm constantly fighting myself for more original ideas and revising and revising toward perfection. But what if writing doesn't necessarily have to be really good but rather just addicting, whatever that means? If my goal is to get people to watch my show then should I spend less time worrying about if there are plot holes and instead spend my time working on hooks? I'm taking a TV Drama writing class and I want my drama to be good but i'm not sure if I can be catchy. Is good writing inherently catchy though? If a show is well written and enjoyed is it going to have the same amount of people tuning in once again to watch it as would a horrible show with curiosity grabbing cliffhangers? If I wrote an amazing show that somehow got no fan base it would be cancelled. This has happened to several well written shows. Yet, I wouldn't want to write something like Passions either.
How much does good writing actually matter when deciding if a show is good? What are the best qualities of your favorite show? Really entertaining? Well written? Makes you think? Shocks you? Looks amazing? Great effects? Piques curiousity? What is the most important thing?
It's probably just different for everybody but I wish there was a formula for writing good television.
I just found this article on line that is very fitting.
It is fun to hate sometimes.