Doctor Who to Sherlock: TV franchises now have such devoted followings that casual viewers are alienated
The headline maybe overstates things a tad, but I'm very much behind the notion that 'fan service' -- which Mark Lawson identifies in other words on his Guardian blog -- can make for an impenetrable, elitist experience. Compare with the likes of Star Trek's various series, or even a show like The West Wing, which all come with rich backstories that colour in every episode, especially in their later series, but aren't difficult to get into at any stage; indeed, they encourage watching what came before as a pleasure, not a chore like revising for an exam. Fuck, even compare Sherlock with its far superior American counterpart Elementary. It's a balance, but TV writers seem to be finding it harder to strike, more so I think since the likes of Battlestar Galactica (which seems to be praised as much as derided for its deliberately labyrinthine plotting).