It says something about a TV show when it requires a complete second look at the previous season before its new season begins.
Whether what it says is good or bad depends, I suppose, on your point of view. Or perhaps it says something about your memory, or lack thereof.
I've just finished rewatching the eight episodes from the first season of "Legion," the mind-scrambling FX series about a guy who has been told he's schizophrenic but actually has alarmingly strong mental powers.
My mental powers don't seem to be close to his since I could remember bits and pieces of what happened last season, but details of the entire plot were lost somewhere in the foggy ether of my memory.
Now, however, I'm back up to speed — with a few more insights into the depths of the show.
It's a pretty safe bet that most of us forget details of a show between one season and the next (or at least that's what I tell myself). TV, especially on cable networks, no longer follows the old schedule of a new season starting in September and ending in May. Now seasons can end in April, start back in October, stop again for the frustrating "midseason finale" in December, then come back in February or March for the last episodes of that particular season.
That doesn't count the 15-year break between the last season of "The X-Files" and the new, somewhat-disappointing one that began in January. But at least the show jumped ahead 15 years in the lives of Scully and Mulder and didn't try to make it seem like they'd never been away.
In 2012, there was a 17-month gap between seasons of "Mad Men." "Breaking Bad" had a 12-month break between its third and fourth seasons. The first thought is that viewers of those shows needed some time to recover, since most of the characters were such detestable examples of humanity and sucked some of the goodness out of your soul just by watching them. But, in the case of "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad," it was an AMC decision to put a hold on "Mad Men" to give viewers a chance to get hooked on "Breaking Bad."
As a viewer, though, it's a frustration and, in some cases, a very bad decision on the network's part. Not only can you forget plot details in such a long break, you can forget that you even cared about the show. In that drawn-out time frame, there's a good chance that you've moved on to something else.
FX ran the entire first season of "Legion" just before the second season debuted last week, a wise move in the case of a series that bounced around from reality to semi-reality to no-reality-at-all as much as it did. Folks with memory issues — like me — appreciate it.
Contact Shawn Ryan at email@example.com.