The Big Bang Theory: Bang, You’re Dead

Thanks to a minor yet unpleasant disruption to sleep, I wound up downloading and watching the final two episodes of The Big Bang Theory before 6.16am. Twelve years ago, in another world, I caught either the second or third episode on Channel 4. It was a comedy that might have been made for me, geek humour, about loneliness and isolation and the things I loved myself, and understood.

After twelve years, it’s not that programme anymore, but I still love it and it’s been the most consistent source of laughter, uproarious laughter, throughout all that time. Now it’s over.

It’s over because Jim Parsons wanted to leave, and do other things. Understandable, if dismaying. Good luck to him and all of them. Parsons has been the star, around which all has revolved, but in the process has drawn some of the attention that Kaley Cuoco has deserved. Of course I like her: she’s blonde, beautiful and sexy, but so much more important, she’s a gem of a comedienne, with timing that’s so absolutely to the point.

But I like them all, and I liked them for twelve seasons, which is not natural, especially for me, and now I’ll never again feel the fun of a new episode. This Friday ritual will never take place again.

The Last Series

The twelfth and final series of The Big Bang Theory actually started a week ago, though I didn’t find out about it until Saturday, by when there were already two episodes to download. The odd thing was, I didn’t watch the second of these until tonight.

It wasn’t that I’d found the first episode unfunny in any way. On the contrary, I laughed as much as I always do. And episode 2 was equally as funny. Call me uncritical if you will, but I’ve never found a comedy so well-attuned to what I think of as funny, and which has stayed so so long.

But usually I watch as soon as I’ve downloaded. That, however, was when The Big Bang Theory was going on forever, and there would always be more. Now there’s a finite number. Only twenty-two more. And I don’t want to catch up with the last one. Not watching means that some of the immortality survives, that there’s still always more.

How completely silly.

Tw*t Journalism

Not Crap Journalism, Tw*t Journalism.

Stuart Heritage doesn’t like The Big Bang Theory. Stuart Heritage absolutely hates that people like The Big Bang Theory when he doesn’t and they won’t do what he tells them and not like it, because Stuart Heritage is a wanker and can go fuck himself anally with a rusty hacksaw.

I think Stuart Heritage should be cancelled. Imagined what he’d feel like if I went on about it as much as he does.

I’ve met self-entitled four-year-olds who are not as big a baby as Stuart Heritage.

Jesus, they ask people to contribute to support things like this.

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bang Spin-Off?

In the quest to avoid spoilers for those few television programmes I actually want to watch, I may be going a little bit far. I was all enthused about The Big Bang Theory returning this Monday just gone, but it’s taken till today to learn that the much-dreaded spin-off show, Young Sheldon, started immediately after it.

Now the spin-off has a lot going against it. It’s a spin-off to start with. And it’s Sheldon at the age of nine, with none of the gang to bounce off. Which means child actors, and lots of them. And having to invent Sheldon’s family, of whom we’ve only ever seen his mother, frequently, and his sexy twin sister Missy twice, a bloody long time ago.

And Iain Armitage has to a) act well and b) convince us we’re looking at a nine-year-old version of Sheldon. And Zoe Perry, who plays Mary Cooper, has to live up to the performance of Lawrie Metcalf.

Basically, the words we are all groping for at the moment are “Hiding to Nothing”.

But apparently, the debut episode had incredible viewing figures, and retained more of the BBT audience than any other new show that’s been used to try and gain the benefit. Enough so that CBS  have already taken up the option for the additional nine episodes that make it a full season. In short, it’s an instant hit.

Is it any good, though?

I have now given the episode a spin. Yes, it made me laugh several times. yes, Iain Armitage does a good job, and yes, Zoe Perry looks and feels and acts like the woman who’s going to become Lawrie Metcalf, which is high praise.

I doubt very much whether the family group is ever going to be anything as strong as the geek gang, and there are very early signs that this set-up is going to have to tread some in deeper waters. The episode is built around Sheldon’s first day at High School, aged 9, a fish not so much out of water as out of a whole bloody ocean, but he’s at a school whether his dull, steadily drinking, don’t want to get involved father George is the football coach, and his older brother Georgie (George Jr) is both on the football team and in the same class as his little brother, and he’s already going through hideous embarrassment at it, of a kind that, because of his age and the vulnerability of the developing boy, cannot possibly be as unalloyedly innocent as the embarrassment ‘old’ Sheldon causes his peers can be.

And George Sr, who is completely absent in the BBT Universe, and is not missed by anyone, is already having a serious and sympathetic past painted in: he used to be a good coach with a good job in Galveston, until he whistle-blew on cheaters: he got fired which is why they’re here and he’s clearly on the downhill path that I suppose will be drawn out over however many seasons the concept can sustain. To the detriment of the comedy, because this is getting its sentimentality in early.

Fortunately, Young Sheldon has one very potent weapon against sentimentality, and that’s Missy, who will never knowingly be out-cynicalled, and who is being played by a child actress of casual brilliance in Raegan Revord, and she’s why I’ll tune in for a few more episodes. If they have the sense to give her a big role in each episode, this might be worth the time.

The Big Bang Theory season 11

An enormous number of people love The Big Bang Theory.

An enormous number of people hate The Big Bang Theory.

A lot of them hate it for being slick, professional and very popular. Others for laughing at, instead of with the geeks and nerds that form its bedrock. And others for betraying the science, fantasy, comics and SF of its earlier seasons by turning into a comfortable, domestic, relationship comedy, just like Friends.

All of these reasons are true, or at least undeniable.

Take the end of season 10: Amy has gone to Princeton for a Research Project. Riki Lindholme, who guested long ago as student Ramona Nowitsky, who was obsessed with Sheldon, reappears and tries to take up with him again. When she unexpectedly kisses him, he leaves the room, flies to Princeton, knocks on Amy’s door and, when she opens it, he’s there on one knee, holding up his grandma’s engagement ring, which was used as the season ending cliffhanger a couple of years ago.

Season 11 began last night in America (the show has been renewed through season 12). It picked up instantly from the previous season’s end. Amy’s answer is interrupted by Sheldon’s phone going: it is Leonard and Penny trying to find out where he is. He explains what he’s doing an that he’s still waiting for Amy’s answer…

So she says yes. There’s a comic but still touching moment when Sheldon blithely tells her that when Dr Nowitsky kissed him, he realised he only wanted to be kissed by Amy for the rest of his life.

Meanwhile, back in Philadelphia, Bernadette can’t celebrate the good news like the rest because she’s just discovered she’s pregnant again. This freaks out both her and Howard, who try to lessen their own worries by persuading Leonard and Penny to get pregnant too.

Raj, on the other hand, is bitter and twisted that everyone’s getting hitched but him. He expresses his concerns to Stuart at the Comic Book Shop. At least they’re in the same boat: but no, Stuart has a date tonight.

This is what the majority of the episode is about: relationships, domestication. There are only a handful of moments that go beyond this. Sheldon joins Amy and her microbiologist colleagues for a meal but is miffed that they only want to talk about her brilliance and developments, not his. Which is not about the science of either of them, but about Sheldon being Sheldon.

And there’s a bit where Sheldon consults Professor Stephen Hawkings by Skype – but it’s about his hurt feelings at being ignored in favour of Amy (Hawkings really is a sport about appearing in The Big Bang Theory, and he’s usually an absolute scream, being automatically deadpan).

An there’s a geek joke, which entirely justifies the objections that the geeks are now being laughed at. Raj is at the Comic Book Shop initially to buy an engagement gift for Sheldon and Amy, but changes his mind. What, he asks Stuart, do you have for someone lonely, bitter and twisted? Stuart sweeps his hand around: practically everything.

So what they say is true.

And yet I laughed immoderately all the way through.

Because it’s not the show it was in the first few series. Because it’s not geek oriented any more, and it’s softened and become more conventional. The socially inept geniuses have got together with a couple of gorgeous blondes. The fantasy/comics references have been greatly reduced.

But I still know these characters. I understand them and their concerns. The humour is still my humour, more so than any other comedy I’ve seen before, because I’ve been laughing at this programme for a decade now and I’m not tired of it, I’m not bored, it’s not as good as it used to be but it’s still better than anything else out there.

I know a lot of people hate the show, and they can do so for all I care. Offer a reasoned argument, stating why you think it’s not funny, and I’ll discuss it with you, but at the end of the day I’ll just agree to differ. More likely, you’ll just offer a slagging off, be it of the show or of the people who watch it, which I’ll treat with the disdain you deserve.

Another twenty-three episodes lie ahead. I’ll buy the Season 10 box-set as a self-Xmas present and delete all the downloaded episodes, and at Xmas 2018, I’ll buy the boxset of this series. I like The Big Bang Theory. I don’t need anyone’s permission to do so, and that, as far as I’m concerned, is that.

Five Finales

It’s not just the football season that’s over, barring the FA Cup Final, but the 2016/20117 television season is now over. Though I’ve enjoyed the latter perhaps a little more, I’m glad of the respite. The week has been shaped around various series for so long that the chance of a change is very welcome. I have things I’m looking forward to watching this summer now that I have free time.

The Big Bang Theory

My favourite comedy series ended its run a couple of weeks ago, with another classic season-ending cliffhanger. I remember the days when sitcoms just came in individual episodes that could more or less be shown in any order and certainly without inter-season cliffhangers. And I’m not just talking about the era before Whatever happened to the Likely Lads?

I realise that TBBT is and always has been marmite TV and I know plenty of people who either hate it or at least find it completely unfunny (my ex-wife couldn’t understand why I was laughing so hard, when we usually shared a very close sense of humour). But from the very first, I have got this show. It’s on my wavelength, I know its referrents, I am geek enough to get where everything comes from, and whilst the show has slowly adopted more prosaic tropes about relationships, marriage and now a baby, it’s still funny to me.

This last season has been the last of the three year contract it was handed, and I’ve recently learned that it’s been renewed for two further seasons (hardly surprising given that a spin-off, Young Sheldon, about Sheldon as a boy, has been commissioned: I am pretty dubious about that one). That suits me.

Overall, season 10 has been an improvement over the sometimes lacklustre previous year, though I can wait to hear the outcome of the cliffhanger, which is Sheldon on one knee, proposing to Amy, as a result of being kissed by Riki Lindholm (not the first thing I’d have thought of, admittedly, if I’d been kissed by Riki Lindholm, even if we’re talking about the real Mayim Bialik).

To be welcomed back, whenever it likes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

This one hit the end last week. Agents has struggled for audiences ever since it started and lives a season-to-season life-style, which was addressed for season 4 by a) making radical changes to the internal set-up and b) dividing the season up into three ‘pods’ or mini-seasons, widely separated and loosely linked. Another massive change of set-up has been trailed for season 5.

The three ‘pod’ experiment won’t be repeated, with the show not returning until January 2018, with a straight-through, no interruptions storyline.

Of the three ‘pods’, the ‘Agents of Hydra’ sequence in the last of these was by far and away the season’s strongest element, being genuinely creepy and, in the person of Fitz (another head-and-shoulders-above-the-rest season performance from Ian de Caesteker) incredibly thought-provoking on a personal level, since Fitz’s regret relieved was having his father raise him, instead of his mother, and what a bastard he turned out to be. If so great a change can arise from so seemingly small a change, what does that imply for me?

Though whilst de Caesteker was his usual excellent self, the real star of the season, acting-wise, was Mallory Jansen, as Aida etc. The range she was called upon to demonstrate, and her note-perfect performance, especially after she became human and had feelings to feel, was incredible. This woman deserves to be a star.

To be welcomed back, as a New Year treat.


This was the first of three DC series to conclude this week, and by far the weakest. Supergirl’s second season, which saw it transfer from CBS to the CW, was better than its first, though Callista Flockhart’s guest appearance in the last two episodes showed just how much the show has suffered from a lack of Cat Grant.

But better certainly didn’t butter any parsnips since the show’s first season set the bar very low. An appearance by cousin Superman, played brilliantly by Tyler Hoechlin, who channeled Christopher Reeve in his Clark Kent persona to magnificent delight, set things off to a great start, but I can’t say the same for his appearance in the last episode, in which the character was demeaned by being made to be weaker than and inferior to Supergirl. No. Just no. Not in any universe is that convincing and whilst I realise that Supergirl having her name on the show demanded she be the champion, this was crap that ruined any good work done this year.

To be honest, getting to the end of the season has been the only thing keeping me watching this series for the last couple of months, and unless and until people are going around shouting, ‘Oh, wow, oh, WOW!’ about season 3, Melissa Benoist in a short skirt and knee-length boots just isn’t enough to get me commit to forty minutes a week.

To be gently ushered out of sight

The Flash

This has always been my favoutite of the superhero series, because of the expert way it blended the sheer rush and excitement of speed and power with the darkness of the drama. That’s tended to slip more towards the basic Arrow package of doom and gloom and guilt, especially with Barry Allen having fucked everything up at the end of season 2 by creating ‘Flashpoint’.

Barry’s propensity to blame himself for everything is taking on quite Oliver Queen-esque proportions, which is a shame because it’s blurring a quite vital distinction between the two series. On the other hand, these two shows, and Legends of Tomorrow (which finished several weeks ago), have settled comfortably into the concept of the shared universe, not on the strength of continual guest appearances, but more the mention of each other’s members.

This year’s Tom Cavanagh as a Harrison Wells had the propensity to be extremely irritating, but turned out fun in the end, and his sacrifice to get everyone out of the death of Iris West worked surprisingly well, considering it could easily have been seen as a cop-out. And on a shallow level, kudos to the team that, when they finally followed up on the inevitability of Caitlin Snow’s comic book heritage, they put Danielle Pannebacker in a short skirt and high boots.

The finale gave itself a hostage to fortune with Barry sacrificing himself to imprisonment within the Speed Force. Whether this is a stunningly bold change of lead character or just as temporary as ‘Flashpoint’ was this season but with a much higher bar of credibility to clear when reversing this , it certainly creates anticipation for season 4.

To be welcomed back avidly, but cautiously


Ah, the daddy. In television terms, Arrow is where it all comes from, and it’s still been mister gloom and guilt for another twenty-three episodes. Season 5 has been a considerable improvement on seasons 3 and 4 collectively, but they set a bar so low that even a three month old baby could clear it.

Of the new team, Curtis ‘Mr Terrific’ Holt has been played as a joke which is a terrible approach to one of my favourite characters, whilst Rene has been surprisingly successful at a shitty character like Wild Dog. As for Artemis and the new Black Canary, neither of them has demonstrated enough personality to be interesting, let alone memorable. In this respect, Katie Cassidy’s return as the evil Black Siren of Earth-2 has finally made her interesting (and dare I say it, even sexy).

And the show has started, towards its season end, to repair the terribly manipulative splitting up of Oliver and Felicity, which was the point at which I decided that I didn’t care any longer.

I only watched season 5 for the closure in respect of the flashbacks, bringing these round full circle to the beginning of season 1, and that’s now taken place. In fact, Oliver’s final hours on the island, facing an implacable opponent on a kill-or-be-killed basis was neatly contrasted with the contemporary set-up, which was pretty much identical, giving us a chance to contrast Oliver-then and Oliver-now and measure his journey.

Whilst season 5 was better, it wasn’t so much better that I want to stay with it into season 6. On the other hand, the massive cliffhanger, with Prometheus detonating bombs all over Lian Yu so that everybody except Green Arrow might be dead, requires me to at least watch episode 1 to find out who lives and who dies. Given the cast announcements for season 6, Wild Dog, Black Canary and Black Siren are givens, so I may be able to avoid that by watching for news.

To be watched to see who survives, and then it’s on its own

So that’s 2016/17. Summer lies ahead. Maybe I can finally fit in that long-overdue Tales of the Gold Monkey re-watch?

The Fall Season 2016: The Big Bang Theory season 10


With The Big Bang Theory returning for its tenth season, and the last of its three-season contract, there was a debate yesterday over whether it would – or should – be renewed for an eleventh year that would place it alongside Friends and Frasier for longevity.

As you’d imagine, it was another excuse for those who don’t like the show, who’ve never liked the show or used to like it but think it’s gone off the boil to demand that it not be renewed, or that time machines be employed to ensure it never got broadcast at all.

One advantage of age, and losing your insecurity, is the wonderful ability to ignore these people completely. You don’t like, you don’t watch it. If you choose to watch it and don’t like it, it’s you, not me, who is the idiot. There are hundreds of other programmes to choose from, hundreds of which I don’t like: tell you what, I won’t interfere with your enjoyment of what you like.

Of course the show isn’t as good as it used to be, but it’s still plenty funny for me and the opening episode of season 10 gave me plenty of laughs. Much of it sprung from the unresolved ‘cliffhanger’ that rather limply ended season 9, on the eve of Leonard and Penny’s ceremonial ‘re-marriage’: did Leonard’s dad sleep with Sheldon’s mom?

The answer was no, but not before some prolonged wicked humour from Sheldon, waspish about coitus, genitals and defilement, and Beverley, Leonard’s mom, consumed with mutual loathing for her ex-husband.

And there was Penny’s family to meet for the first time: we’ve long been familiar with Keith Carradine as her father, Wyatt, but now we got to see her mother (Katy Segal) and her brother Randall (Jack McBrayer), newly released from prison at last and far more wiling to talk about his past as a manufacturer of illegal drugs than was his mother. They were brilliant.

And we still didn’t get to find out Penny’s surname!

The subplot with Howard and Raj was well below the rest of the episode and could have done with being postponed until next week. Frankly, I’d forgotten completely that Howard had apparently created perpetual motion and that the Air Force had immediately contacted him. That was built up, with more paranoia, which will hopefully work better when it has room to breathe in its own right.

I still enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to twenty-three more episodes between now and next May. The Fall Season starts here.


The Fall is falling into place

It’s been a quiet summer in many respects, especially this last fortnight when I’ve had a number of issues that have kept me away from the laptop. But the Fall season is nearly upon us and my regular round of television commitments will be resuming, and I haven’t made half the use of the summer months to catch-up that I had planned (though a recent few days off ill have seen me half way through the seventh season of Homicide: Life on the Street).

That’ll start to change soon, as the Fall line-up has been announced, and the weekly round of fitting everything in resumes.

First out of the blocks is my long-term favourite, The Big Bang Theory, starting season 10 as early as a week on Monday, September 19. This is the last of the current three-season order, so the season will count as to prospects of further renewal in 2017. Me, I’ll just be glad of the laughs to be had on Tuesday 20 September. This will only be a five week deal, after which the show will revert to its regular Thursday night/Friday morning slot.

Then Marvel’s Agents of Shield picks up the next night for season 4, with many changes. It’s also been pushed back an hour in the original schedule which, together with the cancellation of Agent Carter and the non pick-up of Most Wanted despite two pilots, suggests that I might have a slot needing filling this time next year.

Speaking of which, Lucifer will also be back on the 19, but we shalln’t be watching that any more.

Those are just the precursors: the remaining shows won’t be back until October. The DC line-up on the CW, now with value-added Supergirl, starts the first week of the month, with The Flash and Arrow on Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 respectively, with Supergirl (Monday 10) and Legends of Tomorrow (Thursday 13) bracketing them from the following week.

That takes care of the surviving shows from last season’s menu, but in the spirit of lose-one-gain-one, I am adding iZombie to my weekly fare, though the third season of that won’t air until ‘midseason’, so whether that means this side of Xmas or the other, I don’t yet know.

Six shows, five of them hour-long superhero dramas: you don’t think I’m getting to be a bit predictable, do you?

Crap Journalism – Would you pay for it? (nudge, wink)

When I started this intended-to-be-a-running-feature, I was envisaging exploding at least once a week and more often at the crap that populates the Guardian these days. But perhaps I’ve become much mellower, or maybe it’s because I nowadays really don’t have any interest in most of what they pass off as journalism.

To take a current example, there’s a piece on the website today about ‘Critic-proof TV’, listing various shows that are slaughtered by the critics but which people not only watch and enjoy but, in the case of Mrs Brown’s Boys, have actually voted Best Sitcom.

That’s the peg for the article, but among these critic-proof shows is my own favourite, The Big Bang Theory. And I simply don’t give a toss that the critics don’t like it. I have made up my own mind about this, and that is good enough for me. I do not need or find validation in people agreeing with me, nor feel any threat from those who disagree.

And it’s like that about so many things. So many features and articles that are completely unnecessary, or which are nothing more than fluff that pretends to an authority that would be spurious if it were at all relevant. Think that way if you want (or if you really do and aren’t merely maintaining an attitude in order to generate clickbait for the advertisers).

But today I’ve become conscious of a seemingly new feature. At the bottom of many articles on the website there is a new exhortation. If you’ve used this, it suggests, why not support it? And there are a list of links ranging from £25 to £250.

Yes, the Guardian is now so desperate for money that it’s resorted to asking its web-page audience to pay for what it reads.

Maybe that’s understandable, but what is unbelievable is that all manner of useless, badly-written, off-key, skewed and inconsequential pieces are being rated as worth £25 – at least – to be read. And the notion that this ludicrous piece of celebrity-lite smoke-blowing is worth £250 – yes, just consider that for a second, £250 – is the very definition of crap journalism.

The Guardian was once a worth-while and valid paper. It has turned into a pandering, increasingly right-wing piece of birdcage lining, where only the sports section, and the crossword are worth perusing. I resent the payment I make for having a crossword to plug away at at lunch, and I certainly wouldn’t pay £25 for anything the Guardian has published since Hugo Young passed on.

If I’m being asked to read Crap Journalism, then it’s they who should be paying me.

In Defence of Change

It can’t stay like this…

I still love The Big Bang Theory, even after nine seasons. I’m not stupid, I know it isn’t as good, as all-out funny as it was in the earlier seasons, but it still makes me laugh several times a week, and it’s the funniest thing I watch (given that the number of television comedies I watch totals one, that’s not hard to achieve, but among the number of comedies I’ve ever watched, for sheer amount of laughter and the fact that I can watch an episode for the fifth or sixth time and still laugh my head off, I think we can probably place this in the top one percentile).

There are plenty who disagree with me, including – if the website is anything to go by – a considerable portion of the show’s current audience. Their complaints take on a very samey aspect: they blame the girls. They blame Bernadette and Amy for taking the show’s focus away from purely geek humour. They blame the relationships on the show for orienting it more towards Friends and away from science jokes.

Stripping it down to its essential level, they blame Change.

Of course the show has changed. Penny is no longer Leonard’s impossibly out of his class wish-fulfilment blonde, they’ve been an item since mid-season 5 and this season they’ve been married. Howard’s no longer a sex-obsessed weirdo chasing woman who are out of his class – i.e., any woman – he got a pretty girlfriend, she married him and now he’s going to be a father. Raj got over his selective mutism and found that he could talk to women after all – though frequently you wished he didn’t – and now he’s got a steady girlfriend who’s part of the cast when she appears.

Even Sheldon has had a girlfriend since the start of season 4, and he’s not only declared himself to be in love with her but he’s also has sex with her this season past. Only once, it seems, but even so.

Of course The Big Bang Theory has changed. It has a regular cast of seven, it frequently splits its team down into smaller groups, running three plots in a single, 18 minute plus episode. It frequently splits the group into male and female groups (in which I constantly see the echo of Last of the Summer Wine and Peter Tinniswood’s Brandon family books).

Yet a large proportion of the show fans spends its time watching the show and denigrating it because it isn’t the same as it was in season 1. Not a single one of them can seem to entertain the thought that if the show had set its face against change, against growth, against evolution, and had opted to preserve its original set-up in amber, it would probably have been cancelled after about three years maximum because its audience (not to mention its writers) would have died of boredom.

Even sitcoms are about people, recognisable, human people. And people grow, evolve, change.

This reaction takes me back quite a long way, thirty years more or less, to Madness’s fifth album, Keep Moving. Loved the album then, love it still. But listening to it, I couldn’t help but pine a bit for the early Madness, the Madness of the first couple of albums: simple, jaunty, out for nothing but a good time, unsophisticated and fun. I missed having more of those simple, instant melodies that dragged you in by the scruff of the neck and made you bounce up and down.

But I also understood that for Madness to try being like that again would be phony. They’d evolved, they’d grown, their music had taken on a sophistication that would have been alien to them in the summer of 1979, but which was the inevitable result of their having been around from 1979 to 1985. If Keep Moving had been an album by a band that hadn’t learned a thing since One Step Beyond… it wouldn’t have been worth having. It wouldn’t have been worth listening to.

Now, I can understand The Big Bang Theory‘s fans aversion to change on one level. From the beginning, it’s been the geeks’ show. That’s what I recognise in the writing, in the humour: I understand it, it speaks my language. As it changes, as it moves away from sole concentration upon that heart, it leaves behind geeks who can’t change, who can’t get Pennys and Bernadettes, or even Amys, who don’t get any kind of social success for all their intelligence. It stops being for them as it gradually ceases to be solely about them.

Their resentment is, in this degree, understandable.

But I’m seeing it all over again with a different American series, exactly the same. I’ve been watching another few episodes of Person of Interest season 3. The series finale was shown in America on Tuesday night, and I have 38 more episodes to watch in the limbo of avoiding learning anything about what happened.

Season 3 has marked a change to the show. It began with a cast of four: Finch and Reese, Detectives Carter and Fusco. Carter’s story is over: she brought down the corrupt Police organisation, HR, but died in the process. Even before then, the series had added two new cast members, Sameen Shaw, who works for Finch on the same basis as Reese, and Root, a quasi-rival operative similar to Finch, who has a strange relationship with the Machine.

Where I am in the season, there is a corporation rapidly progressing towards switching on a machine very like the Machine, except that it will be controlled by them, instead of the Machine now controlling itself. A war of Artificial Intelligences is on the horizon.

And the number of PoI viewers who are continually complaining that the show isn’t exactly the same as in season 1, that it isn’t merely a ‘case-of-the-week’ game of guns, violence and sharp one-liners, is astonishing. Viewers hate Shaw, hate Root. They want nothing but Reese and Finch (of, and Bear, of course. Bear is an acceptable addition to the cast. Bear is a dog, incidentally).

Me, I’m loving the show’s growth, its continual intelligent exploration of its situation and its world. I’m loving the evolution, the interaction with the different characters. because this is what a show has to do: evolve or stagnate.

But so much of the audience resists that, decries it, howls down the slightest variation from a formula that they first saw and now cannot bear to be separated from. What is it about people that they can’t allow fictional characters to grow like the individuals they are supposed to be (if we are lucky and the writer is good enough) but insist on having them preserved in aspic?

Perhaps there’s a geek overlap? Person of Interest is a sharp, detailed, complex series with a well-developed mythology, and that’s geek territory. Perhaps, on the other hand, some of it is misogyny: girls have infiltrated our game and they’re spoiling it (have you seen these ‘girls’, they’re both flat-out gorgeous?)

I am always on the side of Change, in fiction: prepared, deliberate, logical Change. He not busy being born is busy dying, remember? Bring it on, and devil take those who only want today to be the same as yesterday, who would live out Groundhog Day for the rest of their lives, not realising that if they were ever to do so, that the end of their life would already had occured.