We’d probably be hearing a lot more from the TCAs – the Television Critics Association – if the Olympics weren’t on. But how can you focus on a show that’s coming back in a month or three when there are people javelin-ing and trampoline-ing in colours of spandex we didn’t know existed?
That’s why the headlines that matter feel even more exciting. In an interview with Maura Tierney saying that 'we all' killed Scotty Lockhart, we learn that the show will pick up three years later, and feature both Helen and Noah in new relationships. Noah’s will be with a woman called Juliette who will be the fifth character whose perspective we see.
You know, this is a show with some initially curious morals and perspectives which caught some interest in season one, expanded to great effect in season 2, and has carefully thought about ways that they can best expand again in season 3. I am not worried about a three-year time jump, because the show has proven that it can mess around with things like timelines or established characters and be better as a result. That’s because of a skilled showrunner and her writing room who are clear about the story they want to tell, and how best to service the characters. If the answer was to go back in time, they would have done that. If the answer was to focus on a whole new set of romantic partners this year, they’d have done that.
Contrast this with a show like UnREAL, which also had curious, but ultimately compelling, morals and perspectives in its first season. It followed this up with a Season 2 that threw established characters out the window in favor of changelings played by the same actors, employed literally imperceptible time jumps to allow for developments after a shooting and then never actually touched in with, you know, the victim of that shooting or anyone who might have been interested in the fact that there was a Black Lives Matter plot being exploited, and made a liar out of everyone who said “No, UnREAL is actually good, you should watch it!”
I love love love the culture we’re in, of more and more scripted TV, but it’s ever clearer that not all of it is created equal, and that big buzz doesn’t always equal being able to bring it home, long term.
The Affair returns in late November. We’re going to cover a lot of TV a little differently this year to allow for more shows and more…everything, basically, but this one is going to remain high up on the list.