Back when there were more than three soap operas on television, it was my job to watch, among other things, ‘The Guiding Light’ every afternoon and insert local commercial breaks.  As such, I had a familiarity with the characters when in 2006, they decided to have one of the residents become a superhero (named, appropriately, The Guiding Light.)  I firmly believe it was the beginning of the end for the show, which was cancelled a couple of years later after a SEVENTY-TWO YEAR run on television and radio.  As with any long runner, there were some real sour notes hit, but the Marvel Comics crossover was one of the most unlikely moments in the show’s run, leading to today’s antiquated query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) thinks that the decision to stop the periodic radical reinvention of the Batman franchise in the 1990s will eventually be seen as a mistake, as well, asking: Which long runner (show, comic, book series, etc.) has done the best job of staying accessible?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Malone_hasco on

    Here in Finland, Disney Mouse and Duck characters have been the most popular comics from 1952 to this day without anything getting even close.

  2. Doctor Who, despite having a rich history and deep mythology, really doesn’t need to have you see every past episode to get in. Sure, some episodes are throwbacks, and many seasons have a connected storyline of some degree, but newcomers won’t be completely lost joining in at a new season or when a new incarnation comes along. Heck, most regenerations are a great jumping on point.

    From the flip side, it also continues to change in ways to try to hold or bring back older fans. Not every fan will like everything, but they try enough different styles of story and even some different genres that there should be something enjoyable for a wide range of people. Sometimes you get a funny story, sometimes you get a horror story, sometimes you get a murder mystery or a action-adventure or dark and mature or all these other types of stories. And as I mentioned earlier, there are often throwbacks to older episodes or stories, appearances of older characters or villains or races, nods to past events and so on.

    Not everything about the series will appeal to everyone. Some people only like the new series, some only like the classic series. Some people only like one particular Doctor, some might hate a particular Doctor more than anything else. But the franchise is versatile and does a good job of both being easy to jump into for new people while still keeping the rich mythology that has been built over all these years.

  3. I think Star Trek has done a great job of evolving and staying in the realm of accessibility over the years. It is a franchise that constantly reinvents itself with different shows (some good, some…well, to each his own). Everyone has their favorite series, their favorite character and their favorite movie. Now, with the JJ Abrams movies out with the alternate timeline to allow for changes in the original movies, they have again reinvented and reinvigorated the franchise allowing it to again be accessible to a new generation of fans while still keeping enough of the integrity to keep us older fans watching without thinking “well, they’ve just ruined it!”

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