Monday, May 23, 2011

What Should Have Happened

It's that time of year when all the network TV shows are having their season finales.  This past week I've watched cliff hangers with heroines sprawled in a pool of their own blood and heroes taking the law into their own hands.   Some of the shows will have us wait all summer to know who lives and who dies.  Some of them have emotional tension being carried over to the next season.  One of my favorite shows, Justified, has left the hero pondering his professional career and his relationships with his pregnant ex-wife and fellow marshals.  Now I have to wait until next winter to see what happens there. 

But I often wonder when these important last episode of the season occurs on TV shows if I would have written it different.  I think 'this is what should have happened.'

The heroine bleeding from gun shot wound is a little cliche for me.  I like the ending better if she shots the bad guy but the circumstances are questionable.  We know she's not going to die but if its her professional life on the line it will make for some interesting drama as she tries to get out of trouble.

I loved the season ender Mentalist, but shouldn't Red John have been someone we know?  Shouldn't he have been visible in an earlier episode?  

Blue Bloods didn't let me down with the Regans handling the murder of their family member like the good cops they are.  And then the satisfying scene of the family dinner wrapped up a great freshman season.

I finished watching the Showtime series, The Tudors, a few weeks ago on DVD.  I wish they wouldn't have ended the series with Henry.  Of course, how many movies have been made about Elizabeth?

I also recently read The Count of Monte Cristo on my ereader.  I loved the movie with Jim Caviezel and especially the ending.  The book ended completely differently.  Though I really enjoyed the book, I liked what happened in the movie better.

I can't help but thing about the ending of my books and wonder if readers finish them and then ponder 'what should have happened.'  I write my romance books in series but each book is a complete story about a different set of lead characters.  Each ending is complete with the HEA.  On the other hand, my fantasy series in a continuation of an epic tale progressing from book to book.  Each ending has to satisfy the reader yet leave enough questions to convince them they must read the next book.  The ending is a fine line between what should have happened and what might happen in the next book. 

I've read books where I hated the ending, including some fantasy series of multiple books where I loved it until the last few chapters.  I hated that the tale didn't end the way I wanted it to end.  I could make a list of what should have happened.  I won't name them here because I don't like to do that to other authors or ruin a book for someone interested in reading it.

Can you think of some books you loved right up until the ending?  How about movies and TV shows that don't follow the tale you've imagined for the characters? 


  1. I don't think that way. I don't believe in reader interpretation. I believe that whatever the author writes is what is real and true and correct within the story. (Though I do wish that a certain someone hadn't died in Harry Potter.)

    Seriously? Getting shot is cliche? I don't see it. The thing is, a season finale isn't really an end. It's more like a cliff hanger chapter ending. So getting shot, in my book, is a great end to a season.

  2. Oh man, so many books and movies that had me right up until the end. I've read several books that seem like the author lost interest in them for the last two or three chapters, or wrote themselves into a corner.

    I'm with you on the getting shot being cliche. Happened on Castle, and for me I know that character's not actually going to die, so it's silly to me. Basically we're waiting until next season to see the outcome of the character not dying.

  3. I get very frustrated with the sexual tension/"will they or won't they?" ending, in a TV or book series. You can only let a couple get right up to the edge of whatever (sex, declaring their love, overcoming what keeps them apart, etc.) and have something pull them apart so many times before it gets old, especially as a cliffhanger.

  4. Getting shot or kidnapped as a cliffhanger is like Pam Ewing waking up to find Bobby alive and in the shower. BORING!

  5. I always hate an ending that seems too neat and tidy. I like to have something to think about.

  6. I think you watch cooler shows than me...