'Quels...se and/or pre
No...this isn't a French and/or Spanish language piece...it's about sequels/prequels and how we perceive them as a society. Now just for the sake of this piece, instead of having to write the words sequel and/or prequel over and over again I'm just going to refer to them as 'quels...it's a whole lot easier...and I'm way too lazy to have it any other way.
Most of the time 'quels are awarded to those original works that have met and/or exceeded their expectations both financially and critically, however, there are exceptions to this rule...this is something that is very prevalent in the horror movie genre. Not all horror movies deserve and/or warrant a 'quel, but due to the fact that most are very inexpensive to make and are normally released right around Halloween which gives them that added push, most of the time they make money, which in-turn has the studio releasing a followup shortly after...the Saw movies are a perfect example of this.
Some companies even rely on the brand itself to sell and move units, like for example "Call of Duty" and/or "Madden"...do these games really need a new installment every year, of course not, but they know the diehards are going to buy them up,...and most likely for full price...so why not. The new updates/enhancements they add each year could easily come in the form of a $15 - $20 addon to the original game itself, but if the consumer is willing to spend $60 for the same old thing with just a few added features then why would they handle it any other way. I know sometimes these games are a complete overhaul and upgrade from the original and warrant a new game, but for the most part this isn't the case.
Most of the time 'quels suck, but is that because we as the audience expect too much, or are they really all that bad? If they were standalone works would they still suck as bad...if they didn't have their predecessor(s) to live up to, would they be received much better or probably about the same? We all know in most case they would suck just as much, or possibly even more, because they wouldn't even have their predecessors name and positive vibes working for them.
One thing that amazes me when it comes to 'quels is that instead of just sticking with the same formula that made their name sake great, they try to change things around and add way too much filler, ultimately making it something entirely different altogether. When something is good and well received it's not a bad thing to give them more of the same...if you're eating a steak dinner and you enjoyed it so much that you ask for seconds and they give you a hot dog instead it's just not going to satisfy your appetite...sure they're both meats but they are not one in the same.
Entertainment mediums have a bad habit of trying to outdo their previous works, instead of continuing down the path that made them a success in the first place, they try to one-up themselves. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying change is bad, but sometimes it's uncalled for...and if it's not broke, don't fix it. Think Star Wars...the original three movies were great, just enough substance to keep you entertained and wanting more...the next three movies, way too much and left you scratching your head trying to figure out what the poop is going on. It's like going from a delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich to a peanut butter and jelly and Fluff and Nutella and banana sandwich...just way too much going on...total overkill.
There are times when the 'quels get the job done right...sometimes even better than the originals...like in the case of Terminator 2 and Aliens (thank you James Cameron)...they took what they had and ran with it, they didn't try to change it all around and make it into something it's not. This seems like such common sense...I'm really surprised we have so much crap out there when it comes to 'quels...it's just uncalled for and needs to be stopped.