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SpoilerTV - TV Spoilers

SpoilerTV's Weekly Round Table: 81st Edition

10 Mar 2020

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Hello and welcome to a new edition of SpoilerTV's Weekly Round Table! Joining us this week is Giulia Del Buono (GB), Milo M-J (MJ), DarkUFO, SarahR (SR), Lisa Macklem (LM), popcultureguy (PC), Naomi Anna (NK), Katherine Meusey (KM), Bex W (BX), Jennise (JH), Lip (PS), Alejandra Molina (AJ), Beth Whitley (BW), Jamie Coudeville (JC), Zandarl (DC), Jennifer Panzera (JP), Angela Niles (AN), and myself (ZF). You just have to sit back enjoy the read and join the discussion in the comment section down below.

Note: This week's Weekly Round Table includes spoilers of The Magicians: Season 4.
The news that came out this week is that The Magicians will not be coming back for a Season 6. The last episode will be coming out in April. Do you think that leaving a cancelled show’s planned arc as is, even unfinished, is best, or should the endings be altered to leave a more polished finished?

Giulia: I always try to go back to how consistent the story is. If a storyline doesn't seem adequate for a given character or a given situation, I think it would be best to wrap things up in a more cohesive way; but, if the story requires a more open or unfinished ending, I wouldn't mind. Life is unpredictable, so having the chance to explore that in a fictional world, it's super interesting. I love endings that make me linger on the numerous possibilities, because that's how life works. The important thing, for me, is that it has to be consistent.

Milo: It depends on the show - sometimes a good ending can be worked in, but I'm still gutted about The Magicians' cancellation. It's been consistently one of my favourite shows for the past few years now, and given that we're already losing a lot of shows this year, one more is a buzzkill. But the main thing I want to avoid is a cliffhanger that will never get resolved, I'd even take an open-ended ending like Counterpart last year.

Sarah: I think for any show and fanbase, it's better to give the show some form of ending even if rushed. An ending will allow cast and fans to get some form of closure and being able to eventually move on. As someone who has watched shows with no ending and endings, I feel happier and content when shows are given an ending. I mourn (yes I do, I'm very weird) and then move on. Unlike shows where there is an abrupt end to the story with no conclusion, I constantly look for news for a revival or reboot. So, in my opinion, an ending (no matter how rushed or bad) is better than no ending at all.

Lisa: I think it's definitely better to give fans closure. Certainly, the trend in the last few years has been to announce a final season - which doesn't guarantee closure either, depending on the show and the writers! I think that there are few things more annoying than being left with a tantalizing cliffhanger. From a purely practical point of view for networks and studios, if they want good syndication or even streaming numbers, many people won't even start a series if they know going in there is no closure.

Katherine: I think it matters what the show is and how they end it. Some shows can work with an ambiguous ending, and some really need something concrete. Since the trend has been moving more toward announcing at or near the beginning of the season whether or not it a show will be ending that season, so the abrupt announcement that both The Magicians and Hawaii 5-0 ending rather abruptly was a surprise. I wonder what kind of endings we’ll see on those shows.

Bex: I personally think if a show has low ratings while still being made, it looks like cancellation is a serious threat, and there’s time before filming the final episode, the series/season shouldn’t end on a cliffhanger at all. I’m not saying everything has to be tied up in a perfect bow, because you want to leave some things open for a possible further season, but at least give closure, some kind of conclusion, to the big season arc.

Castle had two different endings, from my understanding, for the series finale, one for if they were picked up, and one for if they were cancelled. I believe this was just a few extra seconds tacked on to the end when the show was ultimately cancelled, but the showrunners had a plan in place.
I’d like to see more of this from first season shows, and also from shows hitting high season numbers but with considerably lower ratings than past seasons.

I’m tired of being left unsatisfied by a cancelled show and its cliffhanger ending.

Jennise: One of the great changes in the current TV landscape is the fact that more networks are giving showrunners a heads up with regard to impending cancelation. I'd much rather the showrunners take their arcs to a satisfying conclusion. The, IMHO, smart showrunners, design their multi-season arcs in a way that leaves the audience satisfied if the show doesn't come back for another season. There shouldn't be any rushed rewrites to get everything done, unless the cancellation is unexpected, and happened in the middle of a season.

Supernatural is a good example. Looking at that initial 5 season story arc, each season was designed such that, if the show had been cancelled between seasons, the viewer didn't feel like there were story questions that would never be answered. The story questions of the season were tied up.

Alejandra: I think the endings should be altered to give the audience some kind of closure. Often with sudden cancellations, the audience becomes angry, especially if said episode was ended on a cliffhanger (an example of this was back when Lucifer got cancelled in season 3). I think it's better when the networks renew a show for a final season so that way writers can plan ahead, but if a show gets cancelled the season that's currently airing they should be told with time so writers can tweak some stuff.

Beth: This is a tricky one because if the writers have not submitted their scripts and there is room to rewrite, they should give it a proper ending. Now if they were blindsided and scripts were distributed, that falls on the network in my opinion. Finding out your show is ending cannot be easy as a creative team, so I find it to be a no-win situation most of the time.

Jamie: I'm gonna go with option 3 here. I think when a show hits their 5th season they deserve to have a final season to wrap everything up. That way they can keep their story arc but only alter it a bit so that it is wrapped up within the final season. The fans deserve that much. Shadowhunters only got 2 episodes to wrap everything up and were forced to push a whole book in those 2 episodes. It would've been a lot better had they gotten a wrap-up season. I'm not sure how closely The Magicians follows the books and how much was still planned, but I think they probably could've wrapped it up in a season. The writers did say they wrote the finale as a series finale because they knew there was a chance of cancellation, but still.

Jennifer: I think that networks should always give showrunners a heads up if cancellation is likely, if they can. For long-running shows, I think it's even more important that the writers are given ample time to wrap things up properly. When fans have been invested for a long time and the cast and crew have put in so much time and effort in a project, a head's up a couple episodes ahead of time is the least they can do. If a showrunner has that warning and still writes a cliffhanger however, that's on them, and they should be the ones answering for the fans' disappointment.

Angela: If they can find a way to polish up the endings, and everyone involved wants to do so, fine. But that’s a lot easier said than done, of course, and while it’s frustrating sometimes when canceled shows leave things open-ended, sometimes there’s not much that can be done about that.

[Spoilers for The Magicians: Season 4] Last season of The Magicians stirred up a bit of controversy when they killed off the main character. Do you believe that the main character (of any show) is required for the show to thrive, or is it an acceptable option to let some of the other characters shine through and give it a new edge?

Giulia: No, I don't think it has to thrive just because it's the main character. As I said in the previous answer, life is unpredictable and bad things happen to anyone. Why should TV shows steer away from that? Storytellers always try to make characters interesting and appealing to the audience, and that means giving them something juicy so that people can respond to it. A lot of people are imperfect and lead imperfect lives, so it makes sense for characters on a show to shine, not just the main ones.

Milo: No. At least for me, while Quentin was a great character - The Magicians for me is showing me this season that the series has been more enjoyable when it's Margo and Eliot centric, my two favourite characters on the series. This was never just the Quentin show - I rewatched some of the earlier episodes from Season 1 (most of the second half of the season) this week with my cousin who hadn't seen it before, and although he's the main character it feels like an ensemble even from the start - but it's just bad writing if your main character is the only interesting character on the show and the rest can't hold their own. Thankfully The Magicians could, and I'd happily watch four more seasons without Q, even though his death hurt a lot and was one of the most emotional moments of last year.

Sarah: I'd say it would depend on the show and the other characters. In the case of The Magicians, I've not watched since season 1 so I can't say if doing this has caused problems or not. Other shows could survive without its main character if the show is new (in its 1st or early 2nd season), people haven't had enough screen time to be fully committed to a character. A show probably wouldn't survive without the main character if the main supporting characters aren't as popular or well developed enough to hide the empty space left behind.

Obviously, this is only my opinion and could be very wrong.

Lisa: Whether a show can survive the death of the "star" really depends entirely on the individual show. Lots of factors to consider, including whether it is an ensemble cast - so many leads - or whether another character has come to the fore. Again, from a practical point of view, if the actor wants to leave, should that point the entire cast and crew out of work? From a storytelling point of view, if even the lead can die, it ups the anxiety over the other characters and puts them in real peril - see The Walking Dead....

Katherine: This is again one of those “it depends on how they do it” things, and whether the show is strong enough character-wise to survive. I was really upset when they killed off Quentin on The Magicians because I wasn’t sure that the other characters could “survive” on their own. Quentin was the one the other characters revolved around, in the books as well as on the show. While I’m not sure how well they’ve succeeded, I’d like to have given them more time to see. I don’t think a show like Buffy, could have survived without the central character, which might explain why they brought her back to life.

Bex: Depends on the show. I can’t speak for The Magicians, but to return to Castle, had they killed Kate Beckett as rumoured I wouldn’t have watched any of a season without her (as it is I barely watched any of the show’s final season). This viewer signed up for Beckett and Castle solving crimes and shooting each other love eyeballs. No KBex? No Bex.

TV deaths are why I tend to prefer science-fiction shows. Death isn’t always so permanent in that genre.

Jennise: If something isn't working, fix it. Although, if the title character of a series isn't working it's usually fixed before the first season starts. Personally, I don't believe any actor is more important than the story. It also depends on the story. If it's an action story, it diminishes the suspense to put a major character in jeopardy because, they're the lead. They won't die. Using a recent example, Roswell, New Mexico left Max unresponsive on a cave floor. I don't understand how people can be so upset and worried about his fate. He's a major character in the series. It may take a few episodes, but he'll be revived. I'm looking forward to seeing how it all will play out, but worried? I'm just not. So, the prospect that shows are willing to kill off a lead character (especially if it makes for an excellent story) I am all for it. After Angel killed off Doyle, I was never able to take the survival of a major character, on Angel, for granted. Because of that when Fred's life was in jeopardy, I couldn't assume they'd find a way out of it. I had to tune in and find out. I LOVED THAT!

Alejandra: It depends on the show. There are shows that made this work, like The Vampire Diaries or One Tree Hill, but still, without the main character, there is a big hole in the show that can't easily be filled. Most of the audience became attached to the main character at some point. I feel like when there are several main characters the show might have a chance to go on, but in cases where there are two main characters, taking one away makes the show pointless.

Beth: This is a loaded question. In season six of One Tree Hill, two series regulars departed who were a HUGE part of the story. But, the characters they brought in for season 7 refreshed the series and I ended up loving them more than the originals. There are other times where it is just not sustainable, no matter how hard the show tries to cover for the actor that left. In the end, I think it comes down to luck, the right casting and how the writing falls into place to fill the gap.

Jamie: It really depends on the show. With shows like Castle, it would've been incredibly weird because the title character is so important. And I agree with the choice of Hawaii Five-0 to end things because the main actor wanted to stop. But with shows were several characters get loads of screen time it can sometimes work. Though, often this happens when the show already has quite a few seasons under its belt, at which point the writing isn't all that great anymore.

Jennifer: I think, as with everything else, it depends more on the how and the why than the what. In other words, for the good of the show and the story, nothing should be off the table. However, it should be done for the good of the show and story, not for shock value or to solve a short term problem, and it should be handled with care. The motivation and execution make all the difference. Although it's weirder if the show is named after the character. Like, what if they killed Chuck midway through Chuck? That's just awkward.

Angela: I think a lot of that can depend on how strong the surrounding cast is, and whether the show hinges heavily on the main character or is more of an ensemble cast. If it’s the latter, and you’ve got people who can still carry the show without the main character there, then you should be okay. If it’s the former, then yes, I think it can be tougher. Not necessarily impossible, but tougher.

What TV character death scene still touches you, no matter how much time passes?

Giulia: Will Gardner on The Good Wife. I still cry thinking about it. What an ending for a great character. That made perfect sense, and it also gave the show a new creative direction that made season 5 exceptional.

Milo: Sticking with The Magicians, which I feel could answer to every question here, I still miss Quentin even though the show is thriving without him. Black Sails' send-off to Charles Vane was another highlight in how to kill off such a badass character - and Zach McGowan was really missed on that show, even if the surviving characters more than handled their own. And of course, His Dark Materials handed the death of Roger so emotionally it still leaves its mark even though book readers knew it was coming, the show did a brilliant job in recreating that scene from the end of The Northern Lights.

DarkUFO: One of the last scenes in the LOST Series Finale. Jack dying in the jungle with Vincent the dog laying with him.

Sarah: This is hard! I've seen lots of characters die and do not like watching these characters leave. I have a few, Haley Hotchner, Lt Colonel Henry Blake and one I'm not 100% sure comes under this question from the show Critical Role (Twitch). I'll not name that character but I'll say to all of you on here who watch CR, its heartbreaking! As for Haley, it felt unfair to me that she died all because a serial killer wanted to hurt Hotch in the worst way. The reaction from the other characters when the gunshot goes off is really the scene that hit hard.

Lt Colonel Blake was almost home free, the last time we saw him, he was happy to be going home to see his family. Later, Radar walks into the OR and tells everyone that his plane was shot down and the Lt was dead. The silence afterward made the death settle in even though it felt impossible that it happened. It felt weird that he would never be on screen again and to me, it was like he had died in real life!

Lisa: I know I'm going to get this wrong because I'm answering in a hurry. There have been plenty of times that I've been left screaming at my tv - and refused to carry on watching a show... I also tend to watch shows with a high kill count! Ianto on Torchwood is a good example of a show I refused to watch more of - I joined the fan campaign to get him back, helped decorate the set in Cardiff with letters to him, and even visited the site! The final season of Game of Thrones was brutal. Ned (first season) and then Ser Jorah, Jaimie, and Daenerys. The Walking Dead - so, so many - Glenn, Hershel, Tara, Enid, Siddiq - but the one that really touched me and shocked me was Carl. Also? Killing Carl was stupid. And I know there's a lot more - one final one - Charlie from Lost (for DarkUFO).

popcultureguy: With this type of question, I always go back to Joyce’s death on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I remember sobbing my eyes out in my dorm room when “The Body” aired. Another one I thought of this time was Juliet’s death on Lost. Or, deaths, really, given my girl basically died three times (lol).

Naomi: The character death that I just can't shake is Ned Stark from Game of Thrones. GoT really dropped the ball towards its ending, but the shocking deaths of beloved characters early on were spot on TV. Ned's death was so harsh and undeserving, plus it kick-started all of the other events of the show.

Bex: Tasha Yar’s death in Star Trek: The Next Generation will always stick with me because it was so completely unnecessary and a waste of what could have been a great character. Her goodbye scene to her friends still makes me emotional.

Leo McGarry in The West Wing, because of the passing of the great John Spencer.

Jennise: I hate these questions. My recall is never up to the job and invariably, I forget one that tops the ones I do remember when I first answer the question. Since I mentioned Fred, I'll go with her death on Angel. It hurt my heart. Doyle on Angel because it was a real shock. (I confess to checking my fellow writers responses for reminders.) Joyce on Buffy the Vampire Slayer There was so much reality and raw emotion in the writing and performances in "The Body" that I was a complete basket case.

Lip: Many, the first that came to my mind right now is Laverne on Scrubs. Carla’s goodbye to her is just heartbreaking.

Alejandra: There are two so far: Allison Argent in Teen Wolf, she had so much character growth and at the time was one of the strongest, complex female characters in TV and her heroic death will always stay with me even after all this time. The second one is Quentin Coldwater's death in The Magicians. This one is hard to talk about, mainly because I very much disagree with the way the whole thing was executed, and some of its implications, but Quentin was a very dear character to me and I related so much to him, so seeing him die was devastating.

Beth: Thankfully it was undone in the second coming of the show, but Michael Scofield's death in the original iteration of Prison Break hit me harder than any character death I have ever experienced. Here was a guy that fought so hard for his family and in the end, he didn't even get to be with them for the end result. Like I said, in 2017, Fox blessed us with a re-do, but I still remember how I felt utterly heartbroken when Michael died and I had to live with it until I got lucky enough for a reboot!

Jamie: Lexa on The 100. That one still feels like a punch in the gut.

Zandarl: Xena's death in the Xena Warrior Princess finale. The executive producer himself has always admitted he made a mistake by ending how he did and as it approaches 20 years since it ended, a lot of fans still can’t bring themselves to watch the episode where she was brutally beheaded and her body displayed for a distraught Gabrielle to see.

Jennifer: Ugh, I'm blanking. I'm going to be annoyed with myself as soon as this is posted and I remember them. Buffy has a bunch - Joyce, Tara, Spike, Anya; rewatching that show is kinda brutal. The dog from Revenge was sad. That's all I've got right now.

Zoé: Absolutely any time an animal dies, and I feel a punch in the gut. As for people... Clara Oswald from Doctor Who and Arthur Pendragon from Merlin are the only two times I've cried during TV shows. The latter was so devastating that I cried myself to sleep (on Christmas Eve, might I add, because BBC was evil), only to wake up the next morning thinking it was all a dream, so I started to rewatch it, realized it wasn't a dream...and promptly cried some more. Those of you who watched Merlin understand my pain.

A lot of shows seem to be ending this TV season. Which one will you miss most and why?

Milo: The Magicians! I wasn't kidding when I said this show could be an answer to every question here. Seriously, it's been my favourite fantasy show for a while now, and I'd also throw in The 100 and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - they're seasoned veterans now so a new year without new seasons of each show is going to be a difficult prospect, but at least they're all getting what hopefully should be a satisfactory ending rather than being abruptly cancelled.

Sarah: I've not been actively watching any of the shows that are ending this season but I am going to miss Arrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. because I love some of their characters.

Lisa: It seems like half the shows that are ending are the shows that I review! So, I'll stick mainly with those. I think it's likely a tie between Madam Secretary and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I think neither show ever really got the love it truly deserved. I think in today's crazy political world, we really need MS more than ever to show how it COULD be done. S.H.I.E.L.D. has brilliantly re-invented itself time and again. Maybe it will re-invent itself again on Disney+ - which makes me sad because I will likely never see it as I just can't afford another tv service. Of the other shows I review, I'm happy to see Arrow come to an end - it died a slow and very painful death. Anyone who knows me is likely shocked that Supernatural wasn't first on my list. I still love many things about this show - and if this question had come up 10 years ago, it would have been first by a long shot. However, here again, there's been a slow slide and a long decrease in the quality of the show. I also have absolutely no faith that the current showrunner can deliver a decent ending - this entire season has been a mess. So, I'm dreading the end of Supernatural, not because it won't be on the air next year but because it won't get the send-off the show and characters and fans deserve.

Katherine: I’ll miss Schitt’s Creek because it was so completely original. It was fun to see the writers and producers play the characters they created and how it played out. And despite the fact that the show is ending, I’m not afraid of how things will end up.

Jennise: Not really, of the shows that I watch, all of them feel like they're ending at the right time.

Lip: I will miss How to Get Away with Murder the most. It’s a show that feels very timely and fresh, and there isn’t a mystery show on TV as captivating as this one. Also, Viola Davis was absolutely perfect in the role of Annalise Keating.

Alejandra: Definitely Better Call Saul. This spin-off from the Breaking Bad writers was just as brilliant, from visuals to the writing and the way characters are developed as well as the hard decisions they take and how they have to face the consequences.

Beth: I was fine with the shows of mine that I knew were ending until last week when I was blindsided that Hawaii Five-0 would not be getting a farewell season. Finding out that we only have a few more eps before the end so abruptly has been tough. The show is near and dear to me, so I am feeling all the emotions and having to do it quickly to get ready for the end.

Jamie: Is it bad that while a lot of my shows are ending, I won't actually miss that many of them? I feel like that's bad. I'll miss Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., though. The thing is, most of the shows that are ending were shows that I used to love, but lately the writing just hasn't been that great anymore. Though I am excited about their final season because that means we're gonna get some unexpected twists.

Jennifer: I'd definitely have to say Schitt's Creek, because I just found it and now I'm losing it already and it's still so good. The Good Place had an uneven last season, but it still had some fantastic episodes, and I'm still going to miss it so much. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is also a hard one to let go of, and then Arrow, The 100, Supernatural - there's a lot of show's I've been watching for ages (intermittently, in some cases, but still) and having them all go at the same time is a weird feeling. But in a way, all these endings are good. It'll give me a push to go find new series to love. Except for Schitt's Creek, which I should've listened to everyone about and watched earlier.

Angela: Criminal Minds, definitely. I’ll miss How to Get Away with Murder, too. The fandom discussions for both shows were fun, I loved writing for Criminal Minds for this site, both shows have been part of my regular TV viewing for much of this past decade, so yeah. Couple big holes being left here.

Zoé: The Good Place just ended, but I'm missing it already! I think the shows like Supernatural and Criminal Minds, which I don't watch regularly anymore, will be interesting to see end. They've just been going on for so long, and it's going to be weird having no more new episodes. But the show I'll actually really miss is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The show has been a major part of my life since the very first episode aired in 2013, and I'm still here despite the ups and downs. It's probably the show I'm most passionate about. I hope the characters live on within Marvel and the various Disney+ shows, but only time will tell.

That wraps up another round table! Feel free to drop your thoughts in the comments below. See you next week!