Serialized shows being shows where you MUST watch every show, in order, or you could get lost, (24, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones etc) vs “(Case/Mystery/Crime/Monster) of the Week” shows, which I am going to include shows that maybe dedicate 5 minutes progressing an arc forward, but mostly have a standalone beginning, middle, end wrapped up (CSI, Grimm, iZombie, Burn Notice).
Largely depends on the particular show, but if I had to choose I’d go with “_____ of the week.” Frequently I find the “big story” arc is just not that interesting, or worse, interesting but destined to go absolutely nowhere (I’m looking at you, X-Files).
I suppose what I really don’t like is shows that start out as “_____ of the week” but end up trying to become the other one. Shows that are serialized from the beginning, I either like them or I don’t; I give them 5 full episodes to “grab” me.
I don’t have a strong preference, but if a show is serialized, I’m not going to watch it if I don’t catch it from the start.
I prefer serialized, with the proviso that the writers should have a definite end point that they’re working towards, rather than just making it up as they go along. If the show’s really popular and you reach that end point, then you can maybe set up a new arc, or create a spinoff, or something. In other words, I prefer serials done right over episodic shows done right.
But this ends up working out to a preference for serials, because if a show isn’t done right, why waste my time watching it in the first place?
All that said, episodic works better for comedies. But I don’t watch as many comedies as I do dramas.
I prefer serialized. But…at some point a serialized show just feels like they are padding out what could be a 2 hour movie into 10-20 hours of show.
A good compromise between serialized and of-the-week is a show like Lucifer where most episodes have a case of the week, and it may or may not tie into the overall storyline.
Another issue is when one of those serialized dramas is cancelled by the network before the end point is reached.
Serialized in theory would be better. In theory, a lot of things would be better.
For mystery arcs, I have yet to see one that made any sense at the end, and I’m reluctant to give any more a try. (Not X-files, but Twin Peaks should be considered the originator of the “we don’t have a plan, and it shows” serialized mysteries).
When a Mystery of the Week show tries to add a season arc, they often ruin it too. CSI and the miniature killer comes to mind. Waste of time and energy.
I thought the first season of Veronica Mars was successful at combining a Mystery of the Week with a season-long arc.
I will say in watching reruns and back episodes, I vastly prefer “story of the week” shows like MAS*H or Cheers than BB or other serialized fare as it is far easier to just get into it for that one episode w/o having to figure out where in the series it is placed:
BB: Has he met Mike yet? I see Saul in the credits, but I don’t recall Tuco being in any Saul episodes. Jesse is whining about something, so that doesn’t help as he always whines… OK, this is season 2*.
MASH: oh, this is the one where Hawkeye bangs Margaret.
*Made up example.
I just don’t have the time to add more serialized shows to my schedule. And, it’s likely that I’m going to hear spoilers if I wait to watch it a year or so down the line. Doctor Who is pretty much the only show that I currently watch which has a season long story arc and it is still hard to avoid spoilers.