I like shows that hit a balance between episodic elements and serialized ones, but I think it is an improvement that shows are allowed to have more continuity now. One of the other TNG bonus features had the writers talking about how they were forbidden from doing continuing storylines and that the studio and Roddenberry/Berman weren’t fans of the ongoing character development. I think from the studio’s point of view, they were thinking solely of syndication revenue and worrying the show would be less viable if it could only be seen in one order. While there’s some merit to that, it’s also equally crazy for them to expect a long running show to have every episode be equally interchangeable. And I think Roddenberry’s gripe was that in the 24th century, people were perfect so they didn’t need to have character arcs because no one needed to improve or change. Ron Moore spoke of almost sneaking in Sins Of The Father - and that Roddenberry objected to developing Worf because Roddenberry felt he wasn’t a main character. I think long term serialization can work, but it’s hard to pull off. I think it worked in a show like West Wing because it wasn’t really a mystery to solve but an ongoing process that was explored. I think it worked on Joss Whedon shows like Buffy because the heroes would battle a new evil henchman every week while working on a long term plan to beat the bad guy. 24 did serialization wonderfully but that’s lightning in a bottle. I personally hit a wall with the limitations of episodic TV when X-Files first aired. They’d do these mind blowing episodes about a government conspiracy with aliens and they’d be awesome and always end on some major cliffhanger. And then the following week, there’d be no mention of any of that as they’d go off and chase an unrelated swamp monster. And as a viewer, I just wouldn’t get how I was supposed to reconcile that last week ended with Mulder and Scully seeing proof of alien existence and discovering a conspiracy deep within the government, and then next week it wouldn’t even come up in conversation. Scully had episodic amnesia. At the beginning of each episode she didn’t believe in anything paranormal and then would see something indisputably paranormal by the end of the episode. Then, next week, back to paranormal couldn’t ever exist, even though we saw her see it like yesterday. That got really hard to take year after year; I felt it was insulting to me as a viewer that they didn’t think it mattered. Trek definitely got better at this as it went along. Naren Shankar from TNG would be the CSI showrunner for some time and I think he nailed the balance around the middle seasons of the show. There would be a big case that was ongoing and would come up intermittently throughout the season, but they’d also have weekly cases too. Character relationships were ongoing and continuously developed. You didn’t spend every moment on serialized elements, but if one character got shot in one episode, it wasn’t like it never got discussed again. Fringe also struck a good balance between an ongoing story in the background of everything, along with everyone’s normal day job in the foreground. I doubt we’ll ever see a 20+ episode season of mostly high quality TNG level standalones again, and I also doubt we’d get a full 20+ episode season of something like 24 either. I don’t mind well told shorter stories but I also miss what these really good shows could do with the extra hours.