On May 23, 2010, the hit television serial drama, Lost, came to an end. While many fans were sad to see it come to an end (and frustrated with a lack of some answers), there was also a feeling of relief. After six years, Lost's plot would no longer be leaving us in the dark every week. While Lost was able to overcome this issue, most serials with promising plots barely last a handful of episodes. I think there is a way to overcome this problem.
Every year, as new shows drop like flies you hear a similar phrase: "What's wrong with tv?" When it comes to the television serial drama, I think the biggest problem is that the writers of the show keep too many secrets from the audience. I certainly don't think the audience needs to be told everything, but I do believe that more people would stick with new shows if they were told why those mysterious people are mysterious and if that "bad" guy really is bad. If the audience had a better idea of what was going on, they would know who to root for. If viewers know who to root for, I think it would give them a more emotional investment into the show.
I was one of the few people who stuck with NBC's The Event. My reason for sticking with it was to see what The Event ended up being (we never found out, other than a vague reference in the finale). I had no emotional investment in the show because I didn't know if I needed to root for the aliens, the President, or the creepy old guy, because the show never let me in on what anyone was up to. The characters didn't have to tell each other what was happening, but it would have been much more fun for the audience if the drama had been watching the characters figure everything out. Being left in the dark as a viewer just isn't fun.
Lets compare a television serial drama to sports. When I watch a sporting event, I know who I want to win. That's what makes sports fun to watch. I root for my favorite team and root against whoever they're playing. When I watch a game that doesn't involve my favorite team, I'm not emotionally invested. I may watch while playing on my iPhone or surfing the Internet. I don't really care if I get interrupted during the game. Serial tv needs to adopt the same mindset. Tell me who to root for. And tell me who the Yankees are and let me root against them.
I loved Lost and have the Lost DVD set to prove it. I wasn't the only one to love that show. Unfortunately, other promising serials can't make it past the first season. Letting the audience in on more plot secrets would help solve that problem.