Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Respect the Writer

Tonight (Wednesday) sees the final installment of the current Line of Duty story. It's been an excellent series and one of its many strengths is that each episode has ended on a gripping cliff-hanger. But, even more commendable, there have been NO irritating "next time...." trailers shoe-horned in before the credits. 

Sadly such restraint is rare on TV these days because the "they" (producers? directors? programme controllers? who?) seem unable to appreciate the power of the cliff-hanger to create tension and anticipation, further amplified by having to wait a week to find out what happens. Not only is the "next time" trailer unnecessary it's detrimental, as it immediately releases the suspense the writer has worked so hard to achieve. 

Please, please, please, whoever you are, learn a few basic lessons about suspense from the master,  Alfred Hitchcock: "There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it."

And for pity's sake, have some faith! If the writing is good enough, the audience WILL return to watch the next episode.