I have this problem; I think the DSM-IV classification is “nerdrage.” I get so invested in a series—book, TV, film—and its wonderful setting, awesome characters, gut-churning plot-twists that as the inevitable conclusion looms, I look at the chaotic state of the series’ universe and panic. The ending can never be perfect enough! I’m not ready to say goodbye! I want more!
Well, ideally that’s why I’m stopped before the final act. Unfortunately, far too often, it’s because something or a huge accumulation of somethings has so jarred me from what I thought the series was all about that I throw my hands in the air and surrender.
Here is my embarrassing list of series that I really should have finished by now. This will be spoileriffic, but obviously I don’t know how it all ends so NO SPOILERS PLEASE:
The Wheel of Time: Book 1 was fun, in a “my first hero’s journey epic fantasy quest saga” sort of way. Books 2 and 3 were amazing, and seriously: BALEFIRE. How can you not get excited about balefire?! But then Books 4 and 5 passed, and I would be hard pressed to tell you a single thing that happened in them. Lanfear might have made a snippy remark. But I’m trudging along, because there are crazy artifacts around the world, and I want to see them mess people up, and can we get some more BALEFIRE?!?
Then pritty pritty desert princess Aviendha shows up and nearly gets hypothermia in Book 6 and can only be revived by Rand’s sweet, sweet lovin’? Really? REALLY?
That may have been the first time I ever threw a book at the wall in rage. It wasn’t the last, but it was definitely the end of that particular weave of the wheel for me. Sometimes I think I owe it to myself to know how it all ends, but then I realize I was only a third of the way through the series, if that, and would have to re-read the 6000+ pages I’d already invested just to recall what in all the hells is happening. Because all I remember? Balefire, too many demons to remember, secret wind tunnels of death, balefire. I think I’ll stick to those memories.
Battlestar Galactica: I hadn’t quite reached breaking point on this one, but I do remember planning our days around the delivery of each subsequent Netflix disc so we could gorge on four episodes at once. Netflix only had half of the final season available at the time, though, and that last disc with the half season finale was fairly treacherous. Congratulations, Starbuck, you found Earth. Too bad it’s probably located halfway inside our expanding, dying sun at this point, and frankly, even that’s less screwed up than your marriage.
We’ll finish this one, but I want to rewatch it from the beginning. Relish the early days of Adama/Roslin. Mostly I want to know if those crazy old kids make it out okay, and I want to find out who’s the final cylon (NO I DON’T KNOW PLEASE DON’T TELL ME OKAY).
Harry Potter: This one’s through no fault of Harry’s (or J.K.’s). I read the first five books; watched the first five movies. I even read Book 2 in Russian (Garry Potter and the Secrety Room). No, the only strike against HP is that Books 6 and 7 had the misfortune of being released while I was wading through a wizarding morality tale of my own called Lindsay Smith and the Deathly Online Gaming Addiction. I’ll finish this, but only once I find a nice box set of the books.
Dude, where’s my son?
LOST: I endured the circuitous dialogue. I forgave them for killing Juliette (because, really, no one dies on that show in any meaningful way). I accepted the time travel madness of season 5. I think what really did me in was the show’s tendency to use five characters where one would do. This led to the ever-growing hierarchies: ah, but it’s not the Tail Section, it’s the Others! Oh, it’s not the Others, it’s the Dharma Initiative! Oh, it’s not Dharma, it’s these crazy militants on a ship! Oh, it’s not the militants, it’s PHYSICISTS! No—MONKS ON AN ISLAND! But wait there’s ANOTHER conspiracy group who have spent thousands of dollars in airfare just to prove some guy who’s dead is really dead, except he’s alive except for when he’s not, and it’s not really him anyway, because really Locke is the Monster is the Jacob is the Richard is the Man in Black is the Man in White is a polar bear is Christian Shepard is dead but not really.
Mind you, I only saw snippets of the final season so I’m probably horribly wrong in all of these assumptions, but it’s just too much. Any time the show painted itself into a corner, the solution was to introduce twenty new characters who Knew Things but still provided no real answers as to the show’s greater truth.
I finally asked J to spoil the ending for me and tell me what happened in Season 6, but he said he couldn’t explain it if he wanted to. I guess I’ll either Netflix this one (agony!) or find a nice write-up online.
What series have filled you with the Wrath of Nerd? Do you regret not persevering, or do you consider yourself lucky to have escaped when you did?