Arc vs. Filler Episodes or How to Make a Show with No Consequences

Discussion in 'Transformers Robots In Disguise / Prime Discussion' started by Deceptijohn, Feb 26, 2011.

  1. Deceptijohn

    Deceptijohn Metallikato Master

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    When Darkness Rising first hit everyone was talking about how Cliff's death showed this show was not going to be your usual kids' show and would have real consequences, but this latest episode(Con Job) got me thinking about how new characters/ideas get introduced into Prime and then removed in the same episode leaving us with the same status quo after every episode.

    I am finding this a disturbing trend as it's already getting old and we're only 3 eps into the regular season and there is no sign of anything resembling a main story arc. Prime looks to be embracing a "monster of the week" format rather than any kind of real attempt at telling a continuing story. Now there are plenty of episodic shows that are enjoyable enough, so I'm not saying they couldn't carry on in this manner and make something entertaining, but the TF universe has so much more depth to offer and it would be a shame if it is not exploited.

    In all probability this is just a further extension of my own desire to see TF Prime rise above the "cartoon for kids" level of storytelling/attention to detail. But I won't apologize for being an adult fan who wants a more intelligent treatment of the material than the usual kids' show offers. It is totally possible for them to take this show to a level that can offer adults layers of complexity, while still entertaining kids and selling toys.
     
  2. Stune

    Stune Well-Known Member

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    I for one am totally okay with the format as long as the episodes we get don't suck, and so far they've been consistently good, though, inline to the expectations that I've set. For someone else, this show may not work.

    I do wish they'd get to a Main Plot thread and carry that for a few episodes, but we're getting some very nice character development in the ones we're getting.
     
  3. Da_Razorsaw

    Da_Razorsaw Highwire ownz j00

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    No storyarc? What about Megatron's resuscitation, Starscream's struggle to stay in power, and the inevitable return of Dark Energon?
     
  4. shroobmaster

    shroobmaster Well-Known Member

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    We're getting 26 episodes a season, not every episode will be moving the main story arc.

    There's nothing wrong with standalone episodes to develop characters, the first 6 episodes moved the plot already and after only two standalones people are already complaining about filler? Nigga please
     
  5. Ribieconvoy

    Ribieconvoy It's pronounced "ribby"

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    There's probably no apparent story arc 3 episodes in because we're only 3 episodes in.
     
  6. KnightHawkke

    KnightHawkke A Man, Who Does Not Exist. TFW2005 Supporter

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    don't forget the eventual repair/rebith of cybertron as a story arc, now that is going to take some time.
     
  7. Pravus Prime

    Pravus Prime Sorcerer

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    I'd venture a guess in that this will be more like BW in that it'll meader around for a while then start breadcrumbing us to the finale.
     
  8. Deceptijohn

    Deceptijohn Metallikato Master

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    That's a cop-out imo. If they had spent the first 3 eps really digging into the characters so the audience would be more invested in them when it was time to get into the meat of the season's arc then okay, but what we've gotten is a series of vignettes that could be interchanged with no loss of continuity (short of the one link back in the form of the malfunctioning ground bridge).

    I think the best example that I can think of to illustrate the kind of show I would like Prime to become is Avatar: The Last Air Bender. It had a clear arc to every character and plot line that was introduced slowly and developed consistently over the entire run of the show, with each layer adding to its complexity and emotional depth. It was entertaining for kids while not pandering to them and offered enough depth to also entertain adults. It is probably the most satisfying US cartoon of all time. Shame they botched the movie so bad.
     
  9. Da_Razorsaw

    Da_Razorsaw Highwire ownz j00

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    But they HAVE laid the seeds for a over-arching plot. I just said so earlier in the thread.
     
  10. Deceptijohn

    Deceptijohn Metallikato Master

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    All we know is Megs is in stasis which is convenient because they can bring him out for any reason at any time, so no tension there. Starscream isn't struggling to stay in power, I don't see anyone challenging him for leadership, his plot is waiting on Megs to wake up and the ass beating he will get then, again no tension there. As far as we know there is a single shard of dark energon left in existence(in starscream's possession).

    There has been no development showing that any of the things you mention are in any way going to be major plot points for a season arc. Of course they could be, but there has been no story dealing with it. And that's my point they are not using each week to advance ANY major plot, just dropping interchangeable vignettes on us.
     
  11. Chris McFeely

    Chris McFeely Well-Known Member

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    It is in no way a crime or an indicator that the show is being written to a lower level that huge world-spanning story-arcs have not been developed three episodes after the pilot of a series, especially with 52 episodes guaranteed and plans to stay on the air for at least two further years after that. Maybe just have some patience and appreciate strong character- and situation-based writing?
     
  12. Deceptijohn

    Deceptijohn Metallikato Master

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    I hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Or....the secret to happiness is low expectations. :) 

    I am of the opinion that what we have gotten from Prime is already better than the two movies that have been released. I have definitely found things to enjoy, but that does not dampen my desire to see this show become more than it has been and everything it could be. All it would take is a decision on the part of the creators to step out of the mindset of making a show for kids in the typical mold, and to use this opportunity to take the franchise to a new level of storytelling excellence. There is a lot of meat on the TF universe's bones, but all we seem to ever get is the skin.
     
  13. shroobmaster

    shroobmaster Well-Known Member

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    Are you serious? The first five episodes were a movie with an ongoing story arc, then episode 6 showed us Megatron being found again and Starscream taking leadership.
    Theres two episodes with nothing related to the main arc happening, and even then, episode 8 had the bulk of it's major plot point of a failing space bridge related to episode 7's Scraplet showing they do have a good sense of continuity.

    Sounds like you're just being impatient as hell, I mean did you watch Animated or Beast Wars even? Those two had alot of "unrelated to main arc" episodes, did you ever watch any cartoon at all? THey do that all the time, not every single episode can be about Megatron and Dark Energon.
     
  14. ComicGuy89

    ComicGuy89 Well-Known Member

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    I understand what you mean, but if one were to compare Transformers Prime to the majority of cartoons out there, it is already leagues above most fare. Most shows out there are treated to the current same format, really, in that they usually have an explosive opening, and later on fill the first season with filler episodes. Later seasons build up even more and are usually superior. For example, Transformers Animated had a great opening, followed by a season of one-shot villains to a great finale with Megatron. That was later built up to make superior second and third seasons.

    Everything from DC Animated Universe shows, to every American Transformers cartoon to Power Rangers/Super Sentai to most anime I've seen, to even primetime live action shows like CSI, Smallville and the Mentalist seem to follow this format. Indeed, in my opinion, I feel thankful that at least Prime's filler episodes still have a lot of substance and are individually enjoyable.

    It could be better, of course, but so can everything, really. I feel at least, that within the current constraints of their time and resources (having such a short development time), Transformers Prime has given us material that is leagues and leaps beyond many other shows. Better this than running out of plot halfway too soon.

    My 2 cents. :thumb 
     
  15. Deceptijohn

    Deceptijohn Metallikato Master

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    Once again, I'm not hating on the show. I like it. It is aces. I just want what I want and make no excuses for it.

    And shroob I've watched a shit-ton of cartoons and that's my problem. If there had never been a Macross, Space Battleship Yamato, FOTS Dougram, AT Votoms or Evangelion etc etc, I might not want Prime to be more than it has been up to this point. Unfortunately my standards are higher than they were in the 80s. My expectations however are at an all time low so it's all up from here. :) 

    The bar in the US has been set very low when it comes to animated programs. As I said above the only one I can think of that exceeded my expectations for a US show was Avatar: The Last Airbender. The creators of TF Prime have an opportunity to really make something above and beyond the usual expectations for a "kids' show". I just want to see that happen. End of line.
     
  16. ComicGuy89

    ComicGuy89 Well-Known Member

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    You did mention in an earlier post that "the secret to happiness is low expectations". I think it does apply in this case. Based on the target demographic of the show, I don't think Transformers Prime can do quite as much as the other shows you have mentioned.

    You would like Prime to rise above the level and create an arching story, but I think that TV shows that rely too much on story arcs simply cannot work very well for kids. Beast Machines, for example, may not have succeeded well due to many factors, but a key one was it's overarching style that prevented people from jumping right in.

    Heck, in fact, even adults complain too much when their "mature" primetime TV shows don't allow you to just jump in. There's always this "no head, nor tail" mentality that prevents people from watching such shows because not everyone is that keen on doing research before jumping in like we are.

    I admit, I have not watched Avatar (I plan on doing so one day) so I can't compare on that level :) . Again, don't get me wrong, I know you love Prime and simply wish for it to rise above, but I'm just stating my points.
     
  17. Deceptijohn

    Deceptijohn Metallikato Master

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    I don't think anywhere in this thread I have said "I expect this show to meet X criteria", if anything I've illustrated how I don't expect it to based on what we have seen so far, but I wish it would. I expect more of what we have gotten, which has been fun, but nothing extraordinary. This thread is just about challenging the creators to take this chance to break the mold and set a new paradigm not only for TFs but for US animated storytelling as a whole.

    And man, you need to get on some Avatar, that was an amazing show.
     
  18. ComicGuy89

    ComicGuy89 Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, I know what you mean. I would just add though, that the creators are actually creating something revolutionary with Prime, making a kid's show that is smart and witty, mature and occasionally violent, with amazing action that does not go out of its way to solely promote merchandise. Such shows are actually pretty rare, its just that we adult aficionados usually watch only such shows, thus it seems rather the standard for us.

    In my opinion, I don't think it's fair to say that Prime is not extraordinary. I feel that it is, just simply in smaller ways than others. It may not fully break the mold of the animation ghetto, but it's taking some significant steps there, at least.

    I would also add, that if most live action primetime shows cannot reach anime's level of storytelling, it's not that easy for a US animation to do so. However perhaps that is the charm of watching American television. An apples and oranges thing.
     
  19. Da_Razorsaw

    Da_Razorsaw Highwire ownz j00

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    Avatar had episodes unconnected to the main plot too, you know.
     
  20. shroobmaster

    shroobmaster Well-Known Member

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    And characters that didn't join the main cast.
     

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