Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Profound disappointment at the finish line

by Rick Blechta

Everyone likes being told a good story. They provide so much enjoyment and make the outside world melt away. If the tale really resonates with you, you might find it still in your thoughts for years. It could even have the power to change your life.

For me, it’s money well spent to buy such a book, but you don’t even have to do that if you’re a library user or if someone loans it to you. Or maybe it’s a TV show or movie. In this day and age it’s easy to just turn on one’s computer and stream it. Let’s face it, the only investment you actually need to make is your own time.

Put like everything else in existence, there’s a flip side to this coin. You run the risk of getting to the end of what you think has been a great story and the book, play, TV show has a less than satisfactory ending? For me, my immediate thought is I’ve invested all these hours for what? This ending is crap!

I spent about ten hours over the past week watching a series called The Alienist on Netflix . I was initially attracted to it because it takes place in 1896 in New York City, and I’ve always been interested in that location during that time period.

And for ten episodes, I wasn’t let down. The production had a uniformly good cast and the location shots were fabulous. (Who knew Budapest looks so much like NYC in 1896?) and the plot was pretty good. Of course a serial killer is on the loose and it’s up to the alienist (a precursor of the modern psychiatrist) to sort it all out. Everything was moving along tickety-boo until the climax. The thud as the series stumbled and fell at the finish line was nearly audible. I don’t remember ever being so let down by a story. Seriously.

I was all set this week to talk about this show and suggest that anyone interested in period crime fiction should watch it. But that has to change to, “Don’t bother wasting your time.”

Okay, folks, question time: What book/movie/TV show has provided the biggest let-down ending for you?


Frankie Y. Bailey said...

The ending of "The Sopranos" still divides fans into camps -- love it, hate it. I'm still not sure how I feel about be left in limbo. Rather like that short story about the lady or the tiger. Fascinating to think about and debate -- but frustrating in that there is no answer.

Rick Blechta said...

The Alienist had a similar sort of ending. The mass murder really didn't appear or have much to do with the inner workings of the plot until the final episode. I was reminded of that old canard about someone completely unknown in a plot, stepping out of a closet when the great detective reveals the culprit. "And he was in the closet the whole time!"

Sybil Johnson said...

I admit to being disappointed with the ending of the first season of "Wayward Pines". It deviated from the books the show is based on. I didn't watch the second season.

Rick Blechta said...

I doubt I would commit the time to watch a second season of my show, either. You sometimes have to wonder how things can go astray when there are some pretty good writers working on the show. I have friends and relations in the movie business. They tell me it's most often the director and producer who cause productions to wander of the reservation.

Charlotte Hinger said...

Rick, I've written a couple of passionate blogs about books with indefinite endings. This is so infuriating that I never buy another book by the author. I can live with unhappy endings or endings when the villain does not get his or her just deserts, but when a writer seems to just stop writing I feel cheated.

Rick Blechta said...

AS you rightly should, Charlotte!

Eileen Goudge said...

I had mixed feelings about Season 2 of “Goliath.” Loved, loved, loved Season One and mostly loved Season 2, but was disappointed by the ending. Billy Bob Thornton is always worth watching—he’s a great actor. Just wanted more of a sla-dunk finish.