Have you seen the show where main characters die? Few TV shows are so bold. Few TV shows have so many main characters.
With other shows, viewers pick a main character and root for them for the entirety of the series. Sometimes they enter perilous situations and escape improbably. In reality, they would have died.
In the show where main characters die, viewers pick a main character and root for them until they enter a somewhat perilous situation and die, even though they could have easily escaped. Or the audience roots for them until they survive a very perilous situation and die soon after when viewers think the character is safe.
Other shows often feel unrealistic. Their storylines seem manufactured to leave the audience with only positive emotions. The show where main characters die elicits positive emotions on occasion, but more often it delivers unpleasant feelings.
Because of its willingness to hurt its audience, viewers come to respect the show where main characters die. While other shows aim to please, the show where main characters die aims to fully pursue its internal logic even when the results are unpleasant.
Though viewers feel disturbed for a time, they are quickly able to let go of the negative emotions and root for another main character who is still alive. The audience feels dignified knowing that they and the series can move on after the character dies.
Other shows abandon their adherence to internally consistent states of affairs in order to directly satisfy the audience’s wishes, causing viewers to lose respect for the series and for themselves.
Fortunately, the show where main characters die does not submit to the wishes of its audience. Viewers can’t help but identify with certain main characters but the show does not adjust the trajectory of its characters depending on the audience’s sympathies.
In fact, to highlight its integrity, the show is more likely to kill or torture a character the more that viewers like them. Similarly, the show is more likely to sustain the life of a character, even when death would be reasonable, the more that viewers dislike them. He or she may eventually be killed, but only when doing so is consistent with the show’s internal logic.
Indeed, the show where main characters die remains surprising and exciting when its main characters die, thus successfully producing a narrative dream.
While other shows interrupt the narrative illusion by revealing that they are designed by creators weighing the audience’s reaction to potential storylines, the show where main characters die reveals that it is designed by creators who are primarily concerned with developing the show’s internal logic.
Wish fulfillment does not disrupt the dream.
So what will happen next season on the show where main characters die? More characters will be tortured and die. Viewers will experience unpleasant emotions but continue watching until the show’s internal logic is undermined or until the show kills off all of its main characters.
Because the show where main characters die would not be the show where main characters die unless the main characters in the show do, in fact, die.