... why do people love things that go on forever? One answer is simply this – it gives them an axis around which a lot of socializing, meeting, and creativity happens. It’s reliable as well as stimulating, and it makes our natural community building easy. Next time you wonder why something won’t end, remember how many people don’t want it to.
The image featured above the post is — appropriately enough — Doctor Who, which has survived, thrived, and re-engineered itself for only slightly fewer generations than James Bond. Fitting as a place for me to start my commentary, too, since my own Who fandom started as a kid with the local PBS outlet screening the show and has continued right up to the present day.
Given that, I'd be the biggest putz in the world to come out waving flags against the idea that some things really should go on for as long as possible. But I still also believe that some things deserve to be given a proper frame — that they should have a definite beginning, middle, and end, and some thought should be given to how long the product can be prolonged outside of that frame without it denaturing itself.
I like Doctor Who in big part because each time the show is restarted, it's almost a new show. Same basic framework, but it has the freedom to bring in new castmembers, new ideas, and, yes, a new Doctor who has his own peculiar little spin on the ball. (My favorites remain Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker, but the recent crop of post-reboot Doctors have all hit the spot in one way or another. And I hold out hope that Tilda Swinton can be dragooned into playing a one-off female incarnation. A man can dream.) Likewise, I'm in for Berserk for the long haul, in big part because there has never been a part of the story that did not seem in some way focused on hurtling everyone towards a single, definitive destination.
What I'm less enamored of are things which can be delivered in a single succinct package, but for whatever reason, aren't — e.g., the one abominably long fantasy novel that's being chopped into multiple thousand-page installments, for instance. Such things smack to me more of the author simply not wanting to subject the work to any measurable degree of discipline. The fans love it, but the fans also deserve not to be told that an aesthetic which favors length and breadth over depth and focus is going to be good for them.