There is something incredibly sad about the fact that most of my favourite TV series do not survive beyond season 2 what about Pushing Daisies, The No One Ladies Detective Agency, Rome, and The Book Club, exception, yet still disappointingly short series The Tutors … there are obviously thousands of people who love watching these. Sometimes not exactly in the market they are produced for but hello—is there not something like the right to the end of a story?
Remember when your parents or siblings read you bedtime stories and they really could not be bothered, they would chose a really, really, and I mean REALLY short one, because ending the reading BEFORE a story ends was simply not an option.
I mean stories are vital for mental health and well-being, stories tell us about values and norms, they reproduce culture, help identity negotiations and if in doubt provide sources for ‘real-life’ references. Who of you has never used a movie, series, book, poem or song lyrics quote as a reference in a ‘real-life’ situation? Simply because: it exactly hit the point, was uplifting, helpful or just entertaining? Now do we as story consumers (or committed inter-actors depending on the theoretical framework you are living in) not have the right to closure? The right to know for sure what happens to the characters?
I love to spin the stories in my head in all kinds of directions, but I also need assurance, need to know that there is at least one reality out there that is manifested—written or visualized, in one form or the other, so I know when further spinning of a story goes awry, I can go back to status quo and know again what happened. Know that there is an ending and not a perpetual loop of possibilities.
Imagine 30 different versions of possible endings of Pushing Daisies constantly rummaging around your head, not knowing which of these would be the chosen one, the one that is materialized!
So here is my suggestion: Dear story-withdrawal-power-holding-boardroom-gurus, if you decide to cancel a series, which has a significant, if not a big enough, market, then you should offer the viewers an END. Produce 1-3 follow up episodes that (believably) wrap up the story (or at least the main plot lines). [Hey if you make it into a three-hour movie you might make even more money.] People have the right to closure. There is a concept ‘Need for Closure’ in psychology—just give me a couple of glasses of wine and I will spin this into an argument how neglecting closure is breaching Geneva Conventions!
Is it too much to ask? Really?