The Dangers of Franchise Longevity

X-Men cover

Thanks to franchise longevity… she didn’t die, of course. Phoenix was worth so much more alive.

In the article The Dangers of Franchise Longevity, IO9 contributor lightninglouie examines the trend for popular series, for example the Simpsons and the X-Men, to eventually lose the unique quality that made them special and popular and end up as stereotypical as the rest of the media morass in their genre.

“There is a big danger associated with longevity, and it’s not what you’d think. Often you hear about creators losing sight of what the franchise was supposed to be about and going off on a bunch of pointless tangents. But I don’t think that’s the real risk at all. The big concern is that the people who are in charge of the thing will turn it into what they thought it was supposed to be all along.”

LL singles out other series falling into this, but I suppose the one that stings the most, to me, is Star Trek, going from its origins as a pseudo-intelligent study of the human condition and optimism for the future, into a senseless space combat franchise full of 50-year-old sci-fi gag tropes.  Read the article.

One thought on “The Dangers of Franchise Longevity

  1. It’s unfortunately in the nature of entertainment media to continue to use “what works”… this is the basic idea behind a franchise, after all. That means preserving popular characters, revisiting popular settings and storylines, ​continuing to work with the production teams that provided that popularity, and trying not to rock the cash boat.

    Unfortunately, that means eventually wringing the life out of the franchise, as you can make no substantive changes and preserve all the elements of the franchise at the same time.

    It is possible to improve a franchise, making changes to characters that don’t work well with others, or replacing production elements like writing or SFX. Unfortunately, that usually requires spending additional money for an uncertain payoff, and that amount of risk-taking has become anathema to those who hold the entertainment purse-strings.


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