The end of the television series does not mean the end of the story. Recently the trend is to continue shows as comics. Television series are often costly, but comics can be made for a fraction of the cost. This allows for a wider range of stories to be told.
The poster children for the comic book continuation are Buffy and Angel. Both were popular shows, but had run their course, not to mention required higher budgets. What makes these cases unique to others is the comics are still considered seasons, each consisting of 25-40 issues. Angel only had one, Season Six, to wrap up the many loose plot points. This is, in part, because it was published by IDW, while Buffy was published by Dark Horse. When acquired by Dark Horse, Angel was incorporated into the Buffy seasons as Angel and Faith.
Which leads to Buffy Season Eight. This was not a great season, being quickly overwhelmed by the amount of characters, or the slayer army introduced at the end of the television series. Where it did succeed was in the scope of stories. No longer were there limits on what monsters could be presented, or stories told because of budgets. The writers and artists visions were fully realized.
Season Nine was fantastic. It returned to its roots and focused on a select number of characters. Where Season Eight showed the crazy monsters allowed in comics, Season Nine took a simplistic approach, addressing the issue of a world without magic. Now the characters were the stars, allowing for development and showing another strength of the comic medium. Not all stories need to be grand.
Dark Horse has allowed other television shows to live on. One of my favorites is Avatar: The Last Airbender. It does not follow the season format, but contains mini-arcs continuing the television series. We see how Aang grows into the role of Avatar, Zuko’s search for his mother, and Toph forming the metal bending school. Unfortunately, some of these stories are predictable since there is a television sequel, The Legend of Korra, but are still enjoyable. The Legend of Korra will also be getting a highly aniticipated comic book sequel, picking up where the television series left off.
Buffy and the Avatar comics are interesting examples for one was a live action show and the other was animated. Reading Avatar is sometimes weird, because it is drawn in the same style as the television series. Being used to seeing the characters and locations animated sometimes makes it hard to fully enjoy the comic series. Buffy is the opposite, and became significantly different when converted to comics, getting a unique feel and gaining an identity separate from the television series. I read Avatar and wonder, why aren’t the images moving?