Yeah, well, patience is a virtue Yoda. And I am not a virtuous man. See here’s the thing – I firmly believe that a storyteller must hook you from the very first line. Or scene. Or level. Whatever the case may be. Some storytellers apparently disagree however. As more and more frequently we see a semi-thought out concept and some characters thrown in front of us. The writers haven’t figured out what to do with them yet though, and often the result is…well, shoddy. Here is my list of seven stellar stories with shoddy starts (gotta love that sibilance!)
7. Uncharted 2
I love this game, truly I do. But Uncharted is a series about epic set pieces. Fighting your way through moving ships and trains. Fighting in a collapsing building. Pursuing the bad guys by clinging to the back of their jeeps. I’m not referring to the train over a cliff here – that was awesome. But why, oh why would a game with epic set pieces open with a stealth section. Stealth games done well are fantastic (see entirety of the Metal Gear Solid series.) But Uncharted doesn’t do them well. Uncharted does them boring. Stick with it though, and you’re in for a hell of a ride.
6. The US Office
I cannot possibly count the number of laughs this show has given me. And I’m not talking chuckles. I’m talking full on tears-running-down-my-face-oh-my-god-I-can’t-breathe kind of laughs. Yet it started as a clone of it’s UK sibling. So much so that fans of the BBC’s show knew what was going to happen before it did. Luckily, the show found it’s feet in the second season and brimmed with optimism. Except for, you know, Michael being mean to Toby. Which admittedly provides some of the series’ best moments.
5. The Dresden Files
I am currently hooked on this series, having picked them up on the recommendation of a friend. I got those dreaded words from him though – “Stick with it Noel. It gets so good.” So I picked up Storm Front. Book One. And was entirely underwhelmed. Wizard. Chicago. Helping police. Yeah, fine, alright. He poked. He prodded. I picked up Fool Moon. He’s got some werewolf friends now. Cool. Book Three. There’s a knight with him and a war and things are heating up and woah did that ending just happen and where’s book four I need it now. Butcher delivers an epic tale with loads of rich characters, but it takes until the end of book three for the real story to start. The first three books are basically act one of the larger story. But why did it take three books?!
4. Kingdom Hearts
Disney and Final Fantasy were two very distinct entities until Kingdom Hearts came along. They came together to form something entirely epic. Of course, you had to slog through a confusing mess filled with stained glass windows to get there. Not to mention hours of wandering around gaming’s most boring island. Come on guys. We all know that Destiny Island sucked. We didn’t even get to meet Donald and Goofy until we left here! Exploring the Disney-inspired worlds once you slog past it is so worth it though!
3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
This show gave us a badass heroine and a lovable team. Songs galore in ‘Once More With Feeling’ and some of the best season finales ever aired. So you’d be forgiven for forgetting that this show started out ridiculously over-the-top. Yet for its flamboyance, Buffy also had contenders for television’s most boring villains. I can’t stress enough how much I hate it when a show this good makes me insist that my friends persevere. Perseverance should not be part of enjoying a story!
2. Parks and Recreation
This show has maybe my favourite cast of characters ever. But it starts with no Ben. No Chris. And brutally boring Brendanawicz. Not to mention Leslie just transforms into a totally different person in season two. For no reason. They started off trying to clone The Office, and it shows. But when they utilise the characters fully and let them play against one another – sheer brilliance. Just go to YouTube and search “Ron Swanson.” This fictional character has a plethora of videos dedicated to him. I’ll tell you what I tell everyone else – start with season two.
1. The 100
Cards on the table. I started this show a couple of weeks ago. I’m two episodes away now from being up to date. Everybody told me the same thing – it gets good. So I stuck with it. I couldn’t even sit down to watch the first few episodes. I would only put them on when I was doing chores. In the background. Angsty teen drama galore for at least seven episodes. But what a turnaround. Season two and three are both amazing. Characters are unrecognisable from who they were in season one, and those changes are earned. So many difficult choices have to be made. I’m so invested in these characters – I was genuinely heartbroken by some events in the third season. I kind of don’t want to finish season three – because then I’ll have to wait three months for my fix.
All of the above are awesome stories that risk putting off potential fans by not reeling them in. Hell, I’m sure I’ve missed some good shows because I wasn’t patient enough. So, storytellers – ye be warned. I may not wait the next time!