My latest binge watch is Parenthood. I just started Season 4 and I'm getting really frustrated. There are a couple of characters that are simply not able to learn from their mistakes and I'm beginning to root against them. I actually hope that Crosby's wife leaves him and never lets him see his son again and that his mother stops doing his laundry. I hope that Sarah's relationship fails and her children never speak to her and Ray Romano fires her ass.
Not nice, right? I remember when this happened to me with Desperate Housewives and I started wanting things to fall out of the sky and squash Bree because she didn't deserve to live. I could go on about why Crosby is a Douchebag (could he not just once consider someone else's feelings besides his own?) or examples of Sarah's self-involvement (it didn't occur to you that it might be difficult for your son if you moved him in the middle of his senior year and in addition moved in with his English teacher?), but I realize that's not really the point.
The point is how difficult it is to sustain a series. If the characters grow and change, then they become something different than they were at the beginning of the series which is ostensibly what people liked about the series in the first place. If they don't grow and change, people get frustrated with how stupid they are and are no longer interested in them or perhaps even wish horrible fictional deaths on them. Lose/lose, right?
I'm in the planning process for Book 4 of my Messenger series. Melina has learned a lot about trust and letting people into her life and accepting herself as she is in the past three books. Has she changed enough? What more needs to change about her? How much more can I change her without turning her into something else entirely that might not be interesting to my readers?
I don't know. I'm not sure. I know what kind of supernatural creature I want her to battle. I know some of the struggles facing some of the secondary characters. I know I want it all to climax in a funny wedding fight scene.
How about you guys? How much do you want characters to change? Any examples of characters who've changed enough? Too much? Not enough? Un peu? Beaucoup? Pas de tout? A la fou?