So I had a pretty length discussion over this with a friend today. Needless to say, I now have enough material to write a long-ass post with.
You all know I’ll just make it another average one, but hey, the possibility is there at least! In this post I’ll mostly be talking about my experiences with this regarding anime series, but I’m sure it can be applied to other media as well. I am of the opinion that, on average, a short series has much higher overall quality than the long-running series almost everyone knows. (Decent examples here would be Naruto, Fairy Tail, et cetera.) But why is this?
Let’s take a look. First, the main question. Why do these series span hundreds of episodes, with still no finale in sight? Most obvious answer here is milking. Keeping a successful show running for extended periods of time results in greater profit. Fans stay hooked, and there’s enough time for other people to pick up on it as well. What better way to stretch the lifetime of a series? Fillers (episodes unrelated to the plotline), in-episode stretching (for example through flashbacks), and unnecessary development in the plot, or whatever they decide to show us.
Furthermore, if you take a closer look, these 500+ episode series fall more or less into the same genre. Fantasy, or whatever you want to call “epic magic battles”. Because that’s basically what the shows thrive on. Their plot is stretched out over such a long period of time, that it can’t possibly hold anyone’s attention. “Epic battles” are cool to watch and get people hooked, but sadly they don’t add much of value.
Shorter series do the complete opposite. They run on their often strong plots and good character development. Where in longer series you often see lots of flat character, or God forbid, trope characters, the shorter ones tend to do a lot more with its characters. They often don’t have enough time to feature a 50-character main cast, so they can put a lot more detail into the characters they do feature prominently.
Of course there’s lots of exception to this, and you can’t really compare anything to each other. In the end though, I’m of the opinion that longer series generally are for “dumb watching” (you know, brain on zero and eating up that entertainment), and shorter series are more engaging. Thick intricate plots, tough subject matter and characters you can connect to.
This post doesn’t do the topic justice, and it probably is a bit biased, but I got a guest coming over soon so I’ll cut it here.