How do I know? Well, the surest sign was the spanning of a story across three different shows in the CSI franchise. All three of them are having the same story cross over between the three shows over three nights. Miss a night, you miss the story. Don’t like the show? Tough. Take it like a man and watch anyway.
It’s not a new trick. I remember comic books doing this most of my life. As far back as I can remember, comic books ran a single story arc across multiple titles. Sometimes they’d unify the continuity of the titles. For instance, Spider-Man had no fewer than three titles back when I first recall reading them. But none of them were consistent in continuity, so when something came across all three titles, the writers had to huddle up and make the story make sense for the title and where it occurred in their time line. In the 1990s, things got flat ridiculous. And when you kill off a character? Well, that creates mayhem, ala Superman and its multiple titles, circa something like 1992.
But with three separate shows on the same network in the same franchise, nothing has to be so dramatic or difficult. I’m sure the coordination of the writing is challenging. I did notice, however, the association of the three franchises with one another did nothing to elevate the suck-factor of the first episode. (My wife and I stopped watching the Miami version of this show because it became … well, sucky.) So having the characters cross over didn’t help the show at all; it still sucked.
But it’s all right. It never helped the comics the way they wanted it to, but maybe it will help the CSI franchise. It certainly hooked my wife. She’s watching it right now, as I type this, and there are two more on tap.
What cheap TV tricks do your shows use to keep you tuned in, engaged, involved in the show? Which ones really burn you up? Which are you fond of?
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