Created By: Unknown Troper on January 29, 2008
Troped

Sliding Scale of Season Transition Fluidity

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Basically, how much of the series' premise a season transition changes, and how noticeable it is to the audience.

Sailor Moon is firmly at one end of the scale - each season is basically its own series with the same protagonists, but with a different title, Big Bad, and Plot Coupons. (And remember that R was a Post-Script Season.)

By contrast, Stargate SG-1 is more or less tied together: except for the transition between season 8 (which resolved the Anubis, Goa'uld and Replicator subplots) and Post-Script Season 9, the seasons are not disjoint, have multiple ongoing arcs tying them together, and season finales are basically "more climactic" versions of regular two-parters. Xena: Warrior Princess feels even more as a whole, Or So I Heard.

The new Doctor Who is somewhere in the middle: each season is essentially a self-contained arc, and so far every season transition brought either a new Doctor or a new companion, but at least the Doctor never stops travelling and the series never pretends that it's over. And there are some overarching subplots as well, like the Face of Boe one.
Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • January 30, 2008
    Shilvara
    God Mars has 3 seasons. Now, the transition between first and second is quite abrupt. But, the transition between second and third is much more fluid. Still not perfectly fluid, but way less abrupt, in any case.
  • January 30, 2008
    Earnest
    Quick question: Would purely episodic series like Star Trek TNG be entirely on the "fluid" end? Or should it be the neutral point/not on the scale since it basically has no arcs?
  • January 30, 2008
    scooter007
    But if you have ZERO arcs, and you put ZERO at the center of the scale, what do you put on the other end? I mean, how can you have a show with NEGATIVE story arcs?

    That's my pedantic way of suggesting TNG's "no arcs" would be at the actual end of the scale, btw.
  • January 30, 2008
    Native Jovian
    I think episodic series wouldn't be on the scale at all...
  • January 30, 2008
    thatother1dude
    So would a true Myth Arc be the highest on the fluidity scale?
  • January 30, 2008
    Earnest
    Well, wouldn't Reset Button happy series be negative arcs? At least TNG acknowledged previous character development.
  • January 30, 2008
    fleb
    We have to take a page out of the Kinsey scale-- those without arcs to speak of get an X.
  • January 30, 2008
    Sikon
    I think it's not necessarily related. A series can have Negative Continuity and still have abrupt season transitions. Take Drawn Together: usually it has Negative Continuity, but "The One Wherein There Is a Big Twist" had actual continuity, as the first season ended with the housemates stranded on a desert island and the second season began from there. Similarly, the third season ended with the housemates being sent home because the show may be canceled.

    However, I think a truly episodic series would rank on the very end of the scale.

    This is how I view the scale:

    (fluid)
    • Status Quo Is God on the series level, including Negative Continuity, if seasons finales don't pretend to upset the status quo (most sitcoms probably qualify)
    • "Adventure of the week" series without arcs (TNG)
    • Series-long Myth Arc
    • Multiple smaller arcs not directly tied to seasons (Stargate, except for season 8 -> 9)
    • Self-contained seasons with some overarching plots (Twenty Four by virtue of its format, new Doctor Who)
    • Purely self-contained seasons
    • Highly distinct seasons (Sailor Moon)
    (abrupt)
  • January 30, 2008
    scooter007
    That looks good.
  • January 30, 2008
    Sikon
    Well, since I was the OP (forgot to login), is it ready for launch or do we need a better title?
  • January 30, 2008
    ShayGuy
    Sailor Moon isn't the extreme end, post-Zordon Power Rangers is.
  • January 30, 2008
    thatother1dude
    @Shay Guy: really those are litterally different shows
  • January 31, 2008
    Earnest
    I'd say this is launch ready. My only suggestion at this point is to name it something a wee bit shorter than Sliding Scale Of Season Fluidity, just plain Season Fluidity or Arc Fluidity would be really easy to slip into a sentence "This series has no Arc Fluidity" or "That episode broke the show's established Season Fluidity".
  • January 31, 2008
    Jhiday
    Sailor Moon did get some Arc Welding, with the manga tying all the bad guys together (the villains from Super S & Sailor Stars are also tied together in the anime IIRC).
  • January 31, 2008
    Sikon
    Yes, but the Arc Welding occurred only the manga. In the anime, the fifth season began with a six-episode arc about Nehellenia's revenge, but this was independent of the main story and was a product of Overtook The Manga (as well as to explain Saturn's re-emergence, as her plotline deviated from the manga). They did connect it with the main story at the end, though, when Galaxia proclaimed that it was her who freed Nehellenia, as a Xanatos Gambit to force all the Sailor Senshi out of hiding.

    I'll launch this today.
  • February 1, 2008
    Ununnilium
    This seems like a pretty vague concept.
  • February 1, 2008
    Earnest
    It actually makes a fair bit of sense; it's whether or not a show has arcs, and if it does if they're seasonal or long running.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=8qoqtuyk