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Old May 19th 09, 16:06   #1
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Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?

I hope this doesn't sound pluggy, I'm honestly just trying to start an interesting discussion topic... but I'm an aspiring novelist and one of my most inspiring writers is JMS--in particular for his brilliant execution of the idea of an entire saga with a story arc rather than episode to episode or year to year or book to book--and I wanted to know what other people thought of how unique his style was compared to everything else and how it could be improved. B5 is the only TV series I can think of that ever even attempted a solid, structured, pre-planned, beginning-middle-end, overall story arc. Just about every other series ever written goes week to week or year to year (and that goes for most book sagas too!). Tons have some kind of vague plot structure duct-taping along haphazard story lines depending on where the writers decided the plot should head while sipping coffee over lunch break (cough, battlestar, cough), but I can't think of even one off the top of my head that said "THIS IS AN 5-YEAR 110-EPISODE STORY AND IT ENDS LIKE THIS AND IF YOU WANT MORE AFTER THAT TOO DAMN BAD BECAUSE IT'S ALL OVER NOW CUZ THAT'S WHAT 'PLOT' MEANS."

The tragedy of having to wrap up so much of the structured B5 plot a year early then doing "Life after B5" for the fifth year to me demonstrated how good the idea could have been if it was given full faith instead of only 4/5ths achieved (or less if you consider JMS could hae done much better if someone had supported the project from the beginning with a normal budget). I can't even think of another instance on TV in which such a concept was achieved to that extent. Even in sci-fi/fantasy novels this isn't done much... Here's a young prodigy who saves the galaxy, END. Oh wait, my book sold! Okay... now heee's... on a remote planet 537 years in the future! Okay, noowww they gotta build a time warp tardis and find some other stuff to do cuz there's nothin' goin' on anymore because I only prepared for one book and now you want four...

Pratchett wrote in the forward to the first Discworld book: "Since this is a reprint by popular demand--gosh--of the first book in a series that will, eventually, contain at least ten [(there are 36 now)], there's a very good chance that you already know what happens after this book, which is more than I did when I wrote it. / Discworld is not a coherent fantasy world. Its geography is fuzzy, its chronology is unreliable...." Imagine if Pratchett had planned for 36 books. I'm trying to do something like that, to apply an overall structure to prose (particular comedic prose like Discworld / Hitchhikers) in the way that JMS did to TV, and I'm wondering if anyone feels there are any comparable examples in any fiction or tv or movies or books anywhere out there that attempted or achieved something similar to the brilliant overall structure of B5....?

Last edited by squish; May 19th 09 at 16:09.
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