I’ve always thought of myself as a fan of scifi and fantasy, but I’ve come to realize that that’s not quite right. My favorite shows build a mythology.
It’s not that I need magic because monsters and spells and whatnot are cool – I just like the existence of magic because it implies there’s a whole world to discover, even if the world resembles our own.
And more than that, it needs to be a vast universe, one with far more mysteries than answers, one you can endlessly explore, because I don’t want a show to be a puzzle that gets solved. I want it to be real.
The shows that I like best always do that. Buffy and Angel, Doctor Who, Firefly. And it’s one of my biggest problems with Supernatural. They kind of go too big, learn too much about how everything works. It’s fine to have a little cosmology, a little knowledge about origins, but the only things we don’t know in Supernatural are basically details at this point. Even Dollhouse has this problem, because it’s about a global, apocalyptic conspiracy, and when it’s solved the show ends. There’s no point in telling stories in that universe after that.
I kind of disagree about Dollhouse - I think the tech is still out there, and who knows what other stuff the survivors of Rossum how up their sleeves. There is also a lot to explore in how various people react to the aftermath. I don’t think there is as much left unknown as the Buffyverse, but I do think there are more stories in that world.
I think as far as the general premise, my preferances are sort of like that but not entirely - think I like more answers than you do. Like, it always bugged me that JRR Tolkien left so much of the world unmapped. Or that GRRM is probably going to do the same (especially in GRRM’s case where there are people we meet who have been to those unmapped areas). I mean, I don’t need every detail, but I don’t like gaping holes in mythology or giant question marks on worldbuilding. I think the Buffyverse does a good job, except there are a few details I would want clarified - like how humans became the dominant species on earth.
But I agree with the idea that shows the build mythology have a kind of extra something that sets them apart from the rest of the things in their genre.
I think what I like as much is shows that manage to uncover more and more layers and depth to whatever the premise was. Maybe not as crazy as Umineko, but things where you can’t imagine how big things get or how deep things go when you start. Of course, some shows do that and end up failing (Umineko lost us completely) or rushing it and ending up making it unbelievable.
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: We work the cases that SHIELD hasn’t classified: The strange, the unknown. It’s not just spy vs spy any more.The whole world’s in on the action.
- Torchwood: Torchwood: outside the government, beyond the police. Fighting for the future on behalf of the human race. The 21st century is when everything changes. And Torchwood is ready.
- X-files, episode one: Agent Mulder has developed a consuming devotion to an unassigned project outside the bureau mainstream. Are you familiar with the so-called "X-Files?"
- I believe they have to do with unexplained phenomena.
- More or less. The reason you're here, Agent Scully, is we want you to assist Mulder on these X-Files. You will write field reports on your activities, along with your observations on the validity of the work.
- Angel: Our rates are low, but our standards are high. When the chips are down, and you're at the end of your rope you need someone that you can count on. And that's what you'll find here - someone that will go all the way, no matter what. So don't lose hope. Come on over to our offices and you'll see that there's still heroes in this world.
Mark Z. Danilewski (House of Leaves)
A summary of Joss Whedon