I'm not getting TV's concepts right now. I understand with the success of shows like "Lost" the networks are looking for a serial hit, but there's this overthinking involved: TV is taking movie ideas and trying to stretch them into seasons worth of material.
Just like when a movie takes an SNL skit and tries to make it an hour and a half, TV is taking a two-hour premise and making it 22 episodes (roughly 16 1/2 hours), and that's just for one season. Since TV wants to get to at least 5 seasons so they can sell syndication, you're talking a 2-hour premise hoping to be made into an 82 hour extravaganza.
The latest to do this is Fox's "Drive," taking several characters and putting them into an illegal cross-country race. Seriously, if this show is any more than racing and doing cool things to win the race, I'll be bored. If we start getting into involved backstories and subplots, it's going to fail. 2-hour premises are meant to be exciting, fast-paced narratives.
We've already seen the 2-hour premise fail on TV: ABC's "The Nine," which was about 9 strangers who survive a bank robbery, and the mystery around it was, "What happened in the bank?" sounded like a great idea until you realized that you wouldn't get any real answers for as long as the show ran. Obviously, had they blown their load early, there would have been no more mystery. So it shouldn't be a TV show.
Huh, sounds like "Lost," right? Well, people who still religiously watch the show like me know that "Lost" is not a 2-hour premise. "Lost" requires seasons to tell, and not knowing everything is much of the fun. And this season has been rocking pretty hard. "Saturday Night Live" recently had a joke that falls under "We think America feels this way, so we'll reinforce that perception regardless of the truth." Amy Poehler on "Weekend Update" says, "Lost has been renewed for a fourth season. When the writers were told about this, they responded, 'Oh crap.'" Yes, well, I suppose "Saturday Night Live" has been fresh for more than thirty years; they should know.
The 2-hour premise goes also for "Prison Break." Long before the dismal Season 2 began, fans like me were wondering how this premise could go beyond a season, or whenever the prisoners escaped. The answer is that it couldn't. Actually, Season 2 could have been great with some better Season 1 planning. There were too many characters getting broken out in Season 1, and we found out that some of the characters we loved in Season 1 were better as prisoners and should have stayed that way. Producers showed too much obligation to keep strong character actors around for the next season when their stories should have ended in Season 1. Also, "Prison Break" played chess with several characters who could have strengthened Season 2 and killed them off. They ran out of options for storylines. Anyway, looks like it's been successful enough to have a third season. I'm probably not going to watch.
My examples aren't the only ones. We've seen other shows like "Reunion" take a movie premise and try to go a full season with it, and NBC's "Windfall," about interconnected people who win the lottery. Those shows were also tiring to watch, for all the same reasons.
In sum, TV...come on.