Maybe I'm too obsessed with Shark Tank (and it's not the only show we'll be talking about today, don't worry it's strictly an abbreviated Shark discussion tonight), I know that it's just another dime-a-dozen reality show, but it's fun, and last night I actually had more fun than I had before. Last night I sat there, paused the show after each entrepreneur was introduced, and bet on whether or not the entrepreneurs were going to get their money. I don't know if this was a good or bad thing, but I was right every single time (no, my being right has nothing to do with some super-strength, it's doable by anyone paying attention).
Okay, so I do know, my being right was both good and bad.
We're going to deal with the bad first. The problem with knowing the outcome is that part of the show ought to be suspense. And what's worse than that is that if the audience knows almost immediately whether or not the Sharks are going to buy in, the Sharks do too and everything that follows is just show.
Of course, that's the good part too. If there's no suspense in whether or not the entrepreneur is going to get cash then your focus can shift to other things. One of my big complaints with the show has been that some of the Sharks (Kevin O'Leary, I'm looking at you) are rude and/or downright mean to these poor entrepreneurs. Some of that distress is instantly eliminated if you know that the entrepreneur is going to get any cash. I mean, look at him – dressed like that with such a incredibly foolish idea – how did he everything that he could get money? The guy must be off his rocker. Looking at the show that way makes it more fun, the question is no longer "will the entrepreneur make a deal," it's "how exactly are the Sharks going to dismiss this guy," and that's a far more open-ended question.
It may be that O'Leary comes off as mean as he does because he's not willing to act the part of the not-yet-knowing-what-he's-going-to-do Shark. I really don't think that is the only reason he comes off as so heartless, I tend to think that it could be that his heart is two sizes too small as well, but it does make him more palatable.
Elsewhere, or more accurately elsewhen as the other show we're talking about is also an ABC show, there was Defying Gravity. Last week on Screen Time, Erin Medley asked about whether or not the show could possibly continue for an extended period as the past (half the show is flashbacks) has to eventually hit the present. The show, at this point, isn't structured as Lost initially was, with flashbacks just being snippets at various points in time in the characters lives. In Defying Gravity, the flashbacks all occur in the period between when the potential astronauts started training and when the spaceship launched. That time period is far more finite than Lost's, and has to eventually come to an end – and probably not as far in as the magic 100-episode mark.
So, what are they going to do? The mission the characters are on is scheduled to last years on end, and on the off chance the show does they're going to have to figure out something else to do in place of the flashbacks.
I, sadly, don't think the show is ever going to have to cross that bridge, but I am terribly curious about what they'll do if they manage to get there. They could just eliminate the flashback formula, but so much of the show at this point is flashback-based that seems hard. They could also push the flashbacks back to before the folks entered the program and do it in more of an original Lost one character a week way. That would seem like a pretty good choice and certainly a far better one than extending the astronaut training portion by an infinite amount. The characters all certainly have a pre-training backstory, some of them already are clearly fascinating ones, so why not explore that area.
Either that or just do an entirely alternate reality from Beta's point of view thing. That choice I can't even speculate on though because at this point we still have virtually no idea what Beta is and the show doesn't seem to want to explore the question all that much. I just hope they have answer to the question of Beta, I hate it when great stories fizzle because the producers have no idea where to go with them.
I really do hope we get the chance to find out about Beta and what the show will do when the past meets the present – interesting things are happening and they could only get better.