There are many shows that rumble on season after season, and there are some shows that stop abruptly part-way through their entire multi-season story arc. Examples of the latter are Heroes, Dollhouse and, to an extent, Legend of the Seeker. Other shows such as Chuck and No Ordinary Family are also teetering on the edge of termination while there may be still much mileage in their plots.
I have been thinking about this since the last couple of posts on this subject and the more I think about it the more I have come to the conclusion that TV shows (especially sci-fi and fantasy ones) have become the 21st century comic book. The parallels are clear – they are both planned as an ongoing storyline with multiple arcs that will play out over many editions/episodes, and they often involve multiple writers at different stages of their lifecycle. But is there a way to adopt more of the comic book approach and so revive failing shows that show potential?
I am not sure why the studios insist on ending each season of a TV show with a cliffhanger ending. It has been happening for many years, and most shows these days insist on ending one series with a cliffhanger as if to bait the viewer to ensure they watch the next season.
If you look at the overall picture for some of these shows, the international releasing and DVD sales are significant and they have large, loyal followings that – theoretically – would warrant the continuation of the show. However, there seems to be another deciding factor in the mix that indicates a tipping point for the cancellation of a show.