My online friend Nick B wrote about long-running shows that sort of have continuity but don't age their characters much - as he put it "If there's a flashback to 10-year-old Homer playing a Nintendo 64 what the hell am I supposed to do?"
October 1, 2018
This is what I wrote in the comments:
I think also of the "reset switch" or whatever it is, on Star Trek and other serialized shows, where they'd have a "bible" and could get many talented writers in on the fun without burdening them too much with needing a deep knowledge of what went on before.Funny to see that parallel. Also makes me think of "Age of Ultron" where The Vision replies to Ultorn's "[humans] are doomed!" with "Yes... but a thing isn't beautiful because it lasts."
To wax philosophical (and to quote myself, which is probably gauche): In my "So You're Going to Die" comic, I say "As creatures who live only a few levels beyond our instincts, we like things to be consistent. Stasis may be boring, but predictability is safer than chaos. And we want to extend that desire for predictability for as long as we can imagine, which is forever."
I feel like this is what's going on with these shows. It's funny, because it's such the opposite of the "character arc" that is thought to make good literature. (Though in real life, I'm a much bigger fan of "show me an interesting idea every week" than worrying about or even believing in meaningful qualitative personal growth - probably to my detriment)
That's a lesson I'm not sure if I'll ever take in. It's hard to see change and growth as not being a refutation.
Corroboration and plenty of it.
Melissa and I watched Touch of Evil last night. It's sometimes a little hard to follow, and bits come across as racist, but it's also exploring the racism of the time, and a lot of the film's message about accountability and the power of white men in USA culture are especially timely.
One great exchange, emphasis mine:
Quinlan: Our friend Vargas has some very special ideas about police procedure. He seems to think it don't matter whether killers hang or not, so long as we obey the fine print.
Vargas: Captain, I don't think a policeman should work like a dog catcher in putting criminals behind bars. No! In any free country, a policeman is supposed to enforce the law, and the law protects the guilty as well as the innocent.
Quinlan: Our job is tough enough.
Vargas: It's supposed to be. It has to be tough. A policeman's job is only easy in a police state. That's the whole point, Captain - who's the boss, the cop or the law?