Would You Repeat That, Please?

Hollywood and most moviegoers thrive on sequels, or prequels, or franchises, or …

William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk. Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Sequels. Prequels. Changing timelines. Franchises that go on forever. Moviegoers, and Hollywood, love a good series.

The subject of sequels prompted me to pull the first of several (way too many) series from my DVD collection. After pulling 19 cases (yikes!) from the shelves, the marathon began. Nine movies later, and I’m still staring at a stack of films. Definitely too many, but so much fun to watch for the second, third, or 10th time.

Why do we love a sequel (or a prequel, or a timeline change)? The same could be asked of television shows and books; and yes, I collect those, too. Television networks want a long-running hit, not only for current ratings but for syndication efforts going forward. Or has that changed in the era of streaming services? Authors are hoping for a successful series of books as a way of collecting royalties for years to come, and publishers look to a hit series as a money-maker and as a way of drawing readers to their other titles.

For Hollywood, it comes down to one word: money. Then we have the average moviegoer; could it be we enjoy a sense of comfort, a feeling of welcoming old friends on the big screen and eventually into our homes, of knowing both the character and (thinking we know) the actor? For the majority of us, not counting the fanatics who define the word, we simply enjoy the familiarity of characters, settings, and scenarios.

My favorites don’t include horror/slasher films, like Nightmare on Elm Street or Saw, etc., so I’m not sure of the draw for those. I’d love to hear from someone who enjoys these films and has watched the growing number of sequels for such movies. Drop me a note at jteller@ogdenpubs.com.

7/18/2019 2:03:21 AM

Franchises allow for longer form story-telling than a normal movie's running-time. However, buyer beware: If you're VERY lucky, they're not as awful as the sequels to The Blues Brothers or Ghostbusters. That's why the TV series of creators like Joss Whedon and Rob Thomas are usually more appealing to me than movies. And I think that once artists like them know their new show's been picked up, they can created some pretty rewarding multi-layered narratives. This rarely happens with movies. Take the Alien series, for example. Two very good films, then four awful films (yeah I know, Whedon was involved in one), and then two prequels that I thought were better than the original two. Then again Townes Van Zandt (with an able assist from Willie and Merle) told us more about Poncho & Lefty in two minutes, than most filmmakers could manage in two hours.

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