The Problem with "Castle" and "The Mentalist"

The problem is that they are dragging out their over-arching stories. Ok, I can put up with these entertaining procedurals having a long story arc - Kate investigating her mother’s murder on Castle; Red John on the Mentalist.
But both of these should be wrapped up by now! Castle’s kill-Beckett-because-of-her-investigation plotline is so convoluted I have no idea why they want to kill Kate now. Unless it’s to get her off the force so she and Rick can have a Nick & Nora Charles type show. (light-hearted investigations, make the best use of the male lead). Nah, prob not.
“The Mentalist” had a really fine season-ender last seasson wherein Patrick kills Red John, the man who murdered his family. Unfortunately, this season they say he killed the wrong man, & this season ender is also a Red John fake out. Enough! - even though Simon Baker did a wonderful acting job in both.

Why do writers try to sabotage their series this way? l

They have to. The network/producers want the same product to produce the same number of viewers to watch the same amount of commercials. If you complete an arc, there is no guarantee that the new arc will draw the same numbers. TV execs and writers are generally cowards. They will go for the lowest common denom. whenever they can.

It’s basic business. You generally don’t make money producing Art.

But I am so with you on the Castle arc. Wrap it up and Thin Man the show already!

In their defense, these guys are basically trying maximize a revenue stream. Would you call your mutual fund manager a “coward” because he doesn’t try whacky new investments?

Personally, I think the problem is one step up. They should wrap up these overarching storylines AND the series. Networks are too against the idea of closing up a show - for the same reasons they don’t want to end the story archs, of course, until they’ve sucked every dime out of it.

The problem is if they try to do it like on Burn Notice where the resolution of the arc leads to another layer. I gave up on that show after the second or third season because it was so convoluted and similar to the Castle arc, it seems like everyone knows what’s going on except the lead characters.

As obvious as this may sound, series long arcs worked for The Fugitive and How I Met Your Mother because the plotline is the arc but it fails for Castle where the plotline is wacky Browncoat writer teams up with uptight by-the-book detective. This is what killed Awake IMO. The plotline is a guy is living split lives and trying to function in both so as an arc (which one is real? why do yellow & blue investigations intertwine?) it works. The arc of this huge conspiracy that wanted him dead killed it.

ETA: How do you do a strikeout on this board?

del and /del. When in doubt, find a post that uses whatever you’re looking for and start a quote for it; that’ll show you the code.

Yes. But that is what he is paid to be. Same with the writers.

OK, it was an over-statement. “Conservative, cautious, and staid” would have been better choices.

And some of these story arcs just muck up the syndication.

I love to watch an XFiles re-run now and then as long as he’s chasing this week’s flavor of an alien/monster/mutant. But put on one of the conspiracy episodes and I’m all over the remote.

Yup. I watched the season finale of Missing last night - it would have been a wonderful ending for a one season TV show like they do in the UK, but then they had to do something to lead in to season 2.

Classic example of a show that shoulda’ been one season is “Heroes”.

I think most shows should try to do it all in one 24 or 12 episode season. Say goodbye and let the cast and crew move on to the next project. I think there would be a lot more creativity and excitement in network TV if the shows didn’t drag on long after their expiration date (I’m looking at you “House” and “Glee”) and the creatives had to use their imaginations more often to generate more original ideas.

Of course, my imaginary ideal network would probably go broke pretty fast because American viewers are conditioned to want more of the same.

Heh. Well, the Japanese and British do pretty well mixing single-season shows with long runners. I think it’s a matter of learning to tell the difference.

I disagree that this maximizes the revenue stream.

These long arcs are not why we watch the shows (IMO, and I admit I could be wrong).
I could give a shit who killed Beckett’s mom. I tend to tun off the Mentalist if it’s a Red John arc. I want witty dialogue with them solving crimes. When it’s the long arc, there tends to be too much drama.

It was the same with X Files. I loved the Monster of the Week. I hated the alien arc.

Am I alone here?

No spooje - I basically agree with you. I do enjoy some of the arc-stuff. Just let it run it’s course and end it already. Red John should be dead - He should have been the one Patrick killed at the end of last season, if the writers had any sense. but noooo. Yeah Simon Baker was brilliant in this season’s finale too, but still.

and I watch Castle for witty dialogue and fun interaction while the crew solves crime. not for DRAMA.

I disagre that he was brilliant in this finale - he did ‘fine’ - last season’f finale was excellent - this one had zero suspense to it. We did learn that, yet again, Red John has hooks into the FBI (‘when they found out, I found out’).

Oh I agree Simster that the episode was just dumb - partly why I started this thread. and while Baker was better in the better episode, I still found his acting remarkable last night.

I agree about both series. I’ve only watched Castle off and on, and of the episodes I’ve seen I much prefer the more light-hearted ones, and tune out more when it’s one of the ultra-serious ones dealing with Beckett’s mother.

The Mentalist I watched from the beginning, and really enjoyed it, including some of the Red John stuff. I absolutely loved the finale from last season. But when this season started back up and it wasn’t actually the real Red John that was killed I got really annoyed. I watched a few more episodes and gave up on it. They didn’t need to keep Red John as an adversary for the show to continue, especially since the Red John stuff only came a few times a season. They could have done stories about the fallout from Jane doing a vigilante killing, or how he was aimless now since his main mission in life was to get revenge, or something along those lines.

Maybe I’ll watch some of this season once it’s on reruns on TNT, but I’m definitely not going to go out of my way to keep up it.

I agree Castle could do without the whole conspiracy arc, but some series definitely do better using the arc format than just a simple “case/murder/monster of the week” format.

Castle’s whole appeal is Castle goofing off and stuff and Beckett pretending to be annoyed by it while they solve a murder. Does not need anything else.

Yet I can’t imagine that Supernatural would’ve lasted 8 years if they’d just stuck with “2 brothers hunt down a different monster each week” and hadn’t introduced more “arcy” elements. I know some people would’ve preferred it the other way, that’s fine, they’re entitled to their opinion, but I just don’t think the show would still be running without the arcs.

You’re not. I liked The Mentalist at first. It was the stupid story arc stuff that turned me off. I have no interest in their being some long-ass ever-more-complex storyline amidst the actual crime solving. It’s fun watching a show with one-off episodes, especially given how few dramas like that there are left. It had fun characters, a decent plot, and all that was for some reason subservient to this storyline that was too epic to ever end. At one point, I got to a Red John episode, and I just wasn’t willing to watch it. And that’s when I stopped watching at all.

Whereas Castle I watched about four episodes of before I bailed. Because it had awful writing. But I definitely agree that a story arc wouldn’t have helped.

I can’t, if the story arc is about the cops, and their personal lives. They should’ve kept that whole Benson’s-brother thing out of SVU.

I really liked the moment in the season finale of The Mentalist when Patrick discovers that he just had a roll in the hay compliments of Red John. I guess that I should have been suspicious when the hot girl just happened to show up at his door having bailed him out, but I was willing to chalk that up to sloppy writing.

I find the whole Red John business to be pretty much a waste of time. Maybe it would be different somehow if Patrick and the team appeared to be making even the slightest bit of progress in bringing him to justice. But as it stands, they are barely managing to keep their heads above water while the insanely powerful, preposterously well-connected, totally uncatchable chessmaster bats them all around at his leisure. Yawn.

I could deal with the fact that Red John was a very clever serial killer. But the series portrays him as a person with unending wealth with enough charisma to win hundreds of people to his side. As a elusive killer he was believable. As an evil genius, they’ve jumped the shark.

I agree that the arc should have ended with last year’s season finale. One drawback to these long-reaching tales is that so many series are cancelled without resolving the mystery. Or they are forced to wrap up a three year long story in the second half of one episode.