I had planned a much longer post for today, but I was busy with something else, so here’s a quick link:
Dave Farland a.k.a Dave Wolverton has a great post about the importance of consistency in fiction. Found via Passive Guy.
I find consistency, particularly character consistency, incredibly important. Because while cool ideas and unique world building may draw me in, characters are what keeps me reading or watching. Indeed, characters suddenly acting out of character are my main reason for abandoning a series I used to enjoy. Though inexplicable characterisation shifts that throw me right out of the story happen far more often in series that are written by committee, i.e. TV shows and comic books.
The kiss of death for a TV show is usually when we sit on the sofa, look at each other and say in unison, “This makes no sense. This character would never do that.”
Sometimes, it’s just a hick-up, an inexperienced writer unfamiliar with the character handing in a script. But usually, the character inconsistencies start piling up, until one day you notice that none of the characters behave in character anymore and that you don’t even like this people.
In recent years, I have stopped watching Lost (halfway through season 2), Supernatural (I stopped within two episodes of season 5, but it started going downhill when the angels showed up), The Vampire Diaries (lost interest in season 2), Being Human (season 3), Torchwood (in season 2, long before Children of the Earth and the American travesty) and Doctor Who (and that was before the Doctor got married to River Song who is the biological daughter of his companion Amy and has Timelord DNA, which smells of incest) for exactly this reason. I fear that NCIS may be going the same way, because the inconsistencies pile up and the show just isn’t enjoyable anymore.