With some shows, the writers have even engaged in such discussions and it’s possible the reactions of viewers have influenced future episodes. (Although not always: Buffy’s creator Joss Whedon said to his fans, “I’m not giving you what you want – I’m giving you what you need.”)
We’ve heard TV types say that ‘each week we’re making the equivalent to a movie’ (but half an hour shorter). Now of course we’re hearing TV shows being compared to serialised novels. A natural equivalence, when you think about it. And explains why I couldn’t get into The Wire the first time I tried: I was trying with an episode part-way through Season 4, with no explanation as to who the hell the characters were that I was watching.
The second time I tried, by sitting down with 4 seasons of the DVDs & starting from the beginning, the show made perfect sense.
… It occurs to me I should be comparing TV, then, not to a serialised novel but to *a series* of serialised novels.