Anthology-styled series have never been the primary go-to format for mainstream television shows, but with recent innovators like True Detective and American Horror Story proving both a ratings draw and confirming their staying power, it's a good bet that we'll be seeing more and more anthologies on mainstream TV and cable networks in the very near future. Using the anthology format allows for a complete reset of the series each year, and opportunities for new cast members and storylines not as easily afforded by the standard multi-season approach. Looking back, it's tempting to wish that the format had been embraced by some dearly departed shows... and even some that are still around. So here are 10 series that would have benefited from an anthology style approach, starting with...
Let's kick things off with an easy choice: NBC's Heroes. News recently broke that the show will be returning next year in a revamped format (Heroes: Reborn), and that's sparked speculation that it may become what it should have been in the first place: an anthology series. The show's first season was a revelation: a well-plotted, engaging trip into a comic book universe that expanded with every episode. Eventually, however, the show tripped itself up with an overabundance of characters and numerous unbelievable twists designed to keep them all around. The central premise of the show never wore quite as thin as many of the characters did, though, and as such would work well to carry an anthology-style series. Think about it: Every season, a new dimension of the super-powered generation rising across the world could be explored. From New York to Chicago or LA, from London to Taipei and beyond - the world of Heroes would be nearly inexhaustible, and the shorter storytelling format would ease the struggle of balancing an overflowing roster of characters.
Matt is a freelance writer and aspiring TV and film scriptwriter. He has a bizarrely eclectic skillset, and the interests to match. Find more of his work and ramblings over at the Breakwater Industries page on Facebook. He is a regular contributor to WhatCulture.com, and his work has also appeared in the essay collection "Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion", published by Titan Books.