Yes, I know, today is Friday, hardly the day for a Throwback Thursday. I had this idea, though, and didn’t want to wait a week. I have talked about the benefits of creative collaboration in multiple posts, and I have talked about watching the old TV show The Pretender. Their team of writers did a great job of advancing single episode and season/series long story lines, but there are a couple of times that they went too far.
On two occasions, they partnered with a show that was on the same network in an adjacent time slot to write a “crossover” episode (or pair of episodes). They had Jarod join up with one of the Profilers from “The Profiler” in his quest for good and justice. On the surface, this sounds like a good idea. What happens, however, is that you get a two part episode that spans two series. This means that in syndication (or when you own it on DVD), you only get part of the story each time. This isn’t as simple as a one-off where Laverne and Shirley or Mork shows up on Happy Days (remember those episodes?), this is a true crossover where the storyline continues from one series to the next. You do a disservice to future fans when you leave them hanging until and unless they dig up the episode of an entirely different series.
One other thing where the creators overthought things was when they made an episode titled Donoterase. I bet half of my readers just read that as Do Not Erase. That was the origin of this episode – the creators wrote Do Not Erase on a whiteboard and somebody didn’t see the spacing. Ultimately, the creators took this episode (all about how the Centre had stolen and stored Jarod’s genetic material for future use and eventual cloning) and decided that they would create a place called Donoterase (pronounced Donna-tuh-rah-see). I kept waiting for the exceptionally clever “twist” moment when some main character would realize that a file named donoterase.txt was actually named that way because it was an ultra-important file about Jarod, his DNA, and the secrets of the Centre universe and the name was telling the users to keep it around, but that moment never came.
Collaboration is good, but occasionally keeping things simple is the best approach. Speaking f collaboration, here’s a comic that my buddy James Climer put together as a result of a “fill in the dialogue” contest. Enjoy.