The only planned miniseries I have ever watched (oh, Firefly) was Harper’s Island, a show that barely blipped on most people’s radar. We’ve discussed in class the complete lack of such things on network television, some really only occurring on premium cable channels if promoting “a once in a lifetime, spectacular event” such as Kate Winslet in Mildred Pierce. I think we can all admit we check our email or get a snack during those categories at the Emmys. But after watching the first episode of One Day, I can honestly say that I wish we had more of them. More quality, compact storytelling that expands beyond a movie length but fulfills any narrative need in a shorter television lifespan.
Ensemble movies or shows can get complicated, interweaving numerous people to satisfy any plot threads left hanging. Multiple perspective stories require a certain bit of viewer detective work, picking up clues and connections between everyone, making the most sense out of the focused incident. The fun of this short serial plays with one afternoon from four perspectives, the butterfly effect connecting them. I sat and tried to make note of interlinking factors: the morning encounter, the start of the rain, the end of the kid’s party, and the brick through the window. Not necessarily just big narrative moments, but including the absence of some…the unexplained shifts or side glances. Connective narrative tissue will weave within each episode, building off of the guaranteed curiosity of what may unfold, why, and by whom.
In Ted’s story, we know the obvious connections between him, Alfie, and Rochelle, even teasing her bit at the end. We only met Carol for a few minutes, nothing about her presence explained, none of her involvement hinted at beside her quick cutaway in the beginning with the others. The short serial allows us to delve into each story fully, not cut corners or rely on assumptions, but truly experience the diegesis in the best form, the most practical form, it has to offer. A movie would need to condense, a full series would need to elongate. This compact story tells what it needs to in the time frame it desires, and I’m excited to see it play out.
Besides, in a class where we constantly want to continue with shows with a backlog, who wouldn’t mind a quickly introduced and resolved screening subject?