I’m a big fan of the comic adaptation TV series Lucifer on FOX. A recent episode did a nod to its sister show Bones relating Lucifer’s character to Brennan and Detective Decker to Booth. I think I would have been less disturbed by this if Castle had been a FOX show they could reference instead, but Castle aired on ABC.
The reason I was disturbed? Because the analogy feels far too apt right now.
I stopped watching Bones during its infancy because of the staggering amount of back and forth it took for the main couple to get (and stay) together. It was exhausting, and I just lost interest quickly.
Castle, likewise, was like Bones in that effect, and finally reached a point of no return for me where I said, that’s it, if they don’t hook up this season, I’m done, I don’t want another Bones.
But then Castle surprised me, and the season finale that year ended on a monumental kiss. Better yet, they handled the courtship and growth of the relationship from them almost entirely perfect, where everything that split them up, had them back together within the same episode.
That kept me engaged and loving the show all the way until its last season, which I decided not to watch because they started off going AWAY from the working formula and splitting the couple up. Even knowing they’d eventually get back together, I wasn’t interested in that storyline and chose to remember the show as simply having ended happily with their wedding.
I’m getting to the point now with Lucifer, a show I ADORE and that is far better written than it has any right to be, where I’m feeling that ultimatum creep up again—if they don’t stop with the repetitive ‘will they/won’t they’, I’m done. It’s boring and undercuts what is otherwise very good writing.
Romantic interest characters can get together, stay together, and live healthy and happily together without ruining a story, and in fact, the opposite is often what kills a show for viewers.
Similarly, I think one of the things I’ve learned the most over the years with my writing is how to cut through the clutter and avoid those kinds of pitfalls. Give your characters obstacles but don’t have similar types of stakes get in the way every time rather than coming up with unique and differing plot points. ‘Will they/won’t they’ doesn’t have to be the crux of every romance-driven story, and often shouldn’t be.
Maybe getting together, and even staying together, can be what comes easily in a story, and the conflict comes from what’s around them. That is unique and doesn’t rely on the same old tropes occurring repeatedly.
I hope Lucifer surprises me the way Castle did and ends this season, if it must be a cliffhanger, with resolution to the ‘will they/won’t they’ and moves onto something else next season. It is such a good show, and I hate seeing character growth diminished to tell the same story.
Any shows you once loved that fell into this pit of despair?