You invest years into a show. An hour a week--maybe around a hundred hours overall. Talking about it with your friends. Thinking about it, imagining a dozen different scenarios about how it’ll all play out. And then you get to the ending, and…
It’s not satisfying AT ALL.
And that might just be the polite way of saying that it sucks.
This has happened so many times to every viewer. Ask most TV fans about the amount of finales that blew, and you’re going to get a long list. Ask that same person how many finales were awesome, and watch them struggle to name more than three.
There’s a great recent example of a show with a disappointing finale. I don’t want to name any names, so let’s just call it Shame of Shrones. People have been anticipating the ending to this show since 2011. Way longer than that if you count the books. And then, like so many other series, many people were pissed about the last few episodes.
So what did upset fans do? Shrug it off? Sure many did, but many others did something fascinating: they took action.
A group started a petition trying to get Shame of Shrones producers to re-do the ending with better writers. Over a million and a half people signed said petition.
Of course nothing was re-shot, but it does show the power of people’s voice and how much we feel cheated when we don’t get a satisfying ending to something we invested so much into.
A lost cause
Of course, making a great finale isn’t easy. Writers and filmmakers work hard to make an ending that is satisfying, conclusive (wrapping up any loose threads), true to the characters/ story, memorable, and economically feasible. A multistory order.
But when the show Lost was heading to its finish line, fans we’re not shy at all about posting their possible endings on message boards. And some of these fan hypotheses were godawful, some of them were great. They accomplished all the things an ending wants to do.
Weeks prior, reading some of these theories made me excited. I, along with many others, couldn’t wait to see what route the writers and producers took.
And then the ending came...and regardless of how you feel about it, it was clear that they did not do all these things. There were a ton of loose ends left unanswered (check out this video for a list of them), characters acted untrue to themselves, and none of it really made any sense.
There were many beloved fans theories that would have delivered an ending way more satisfying. And now instead of the show being thought of as a triumph, it’s thought of generally as “an interesting show...but don’t get your hopes up for the end.”
The question is this: why does this happen?
Why does a great show often have such a terrible ending?
How do shows like Six Feet Under and Breaking Bad escape this trap?
One huge reason is that sometimes the person who originally created the story is not the one who finished it, very true for both Lost and Game--sorry Shame of Shrones.
Producers who step in aren’t as motivated to give a great ending, because by the nature of an ending, there’s not going to be another season to watch anyway, and money is often the bottom line.
And they typically tend to not be as creative or as invested as the creators of the show were and not as much as the fans who spend so much time loving it. It’s just the producer’s jobs.
Six Feet Under and Breaking Bad are different because the people who created the show are the ones who finished it, and they had a vision they were working towards.
Choosing your adventure
This is changing though. Fans are starting to get more of a voice in what they see, what they watch, and what happens in a series.
With the birth of a lot more streaming sites, fans are getting more options, so networks aren’t able to just shill out anything they think can make easy money. If the fans are dissatisfied, they are definitely going to go elsewhere.
Artists are starting to get more control. The original writers who had a direction in mind are getting more of a say, instead of producers who are just looking to make a few bucks and then jump ship.
And choice is starting to evolve in other ways. Look at Black Mirror’s “Bandersnatch” a show aimed at giving choice to viewers through a "Choose Your Own Adventure" type interface. It's a great example of television not being done "at you" but instead "with you."
On the bright cide
This is exactly what Cideshow wants to help push more into the world.
Our format is cutting out typical network executive and producers.
They are being replaced by the fans who love and adore the shows. They will be the ones who decide which shows get picked up and which continue, and the fans will even have the power to make decisions of the direction of certain shows.
We’re also giving the artists full artistic control, so that their true complete visions can be seen.
We’re making the site as interactive as possible, handing as much power as possible to the viewer, thus removing the middle-man between the viewer and the creator.
We’re launching in just a few months, with several original shows, and we want this to be a platform that’s as satisfying as possible to all viewers. We aim to make this not a passive viewing experience but an active one. A platform where you won’t be wasting your time because you’re going to be part of the process. All petitions will be granted here.