The 'Phew!' and 'Damn!' TV Paradigm
Thursday, Jun 03, 2004
Playing poker and talking about TV on Tuesday night, I came to the conclusion that Stargate is the opposite of Gilligan's Island.

Though they frequently find themselves on an 'uncharted desert isle' the one thing you can be sure of is that at the end of every story the group makes it back home every single time.

I think this is a broader pattern in TV. I think that most TV shows either fall into the category of 'Every week they need to achieve this same goal and they come perilously close to achieving it' (aka 'Damn!' shows like Gilligan's Island) or 'every week they need to achieve this same goal and come perilously close to not achieving it.' (aka 'Phew!' shows like Stargate)

Then there are a few outliers like Quantum Leap and Sliders, where it's all about the local 'Phew!' and the greater 'Damn!'

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