Hollywood filmmakers will attest to the difficulty of keeping a series going when everyone knows the way each new offering is destined to end.
No matter how big the budget, no matter how dependable the stars, even the most-loyal audience is liable to find its attention straying towards newer, shinier concepts.
For the last eight years, Scottish football has had its own equivalent of the Bond and Bourne sagas.
Each season, the Premiership kicks off with all teams level on points. Each time, by its conclusion, Celtic are crowned champions.
On not one of those eight occasions has the title race been live going into the final two games.
In an era when the vast amount of televised sport on offer has fans demanding ever-greater drama, that is disappointing.
What the broadcasters, sponsors and neutrals all crave is for the destination of the title to be decided on the final day of the campaign.
There is plenty of precedent. Rangers won it at the death in 2003, 2009 and 2011. Celtic in 2008.
Most remarkable of all, though, were the events of 2005, forever remembered as Helicopter Sunday.
In a twist that would make Tinseltown’s screenwriters blush, the aircraft bearing the trophy had to change direction in mid-flight.
Away from Fir Park, where Celtic had blown their chance of glory by crashing to a Scott McDonald-inspired Motherwell.
And towards Easter Road, where Alex McLeish’s Rangers had prevailed against Hibs to complete a fairytale triumph.
Could it happen again?
While it is optimistic to think circumstances will conspire to deliver another last-minute conclusion to a 10-month campaign, I believe the current title race is destined to go down to the wire.
Eight games in, the situation is beautifully poised.
Rangers top the table with 21 out of 24 points, an impressive haul put into context by the fact that at this stage last season, they’d collected 14.
Two points worse off, and poor when losing on the plastic to Livingston most recently, Celtic still have reason to be relaxed.
They have already beaten Steven Gerrard’s men – the only points the leaders have dropped so far – and done so at Ibrox.
When the sides meet for the next Old Firm derby in December, home advantage will be with the Hoops.
As much as it looks like it would be tough to get a cigarette paper between them, in Odsonne Edouard, Celtic possess the most-dangerous weapon in both squads.
When he scored his team’s opener in their 2-0 win in Govan at the start of September, he extended his scoring streak in games against Rangers to five goals in seven games.
Yet while the Frenchman is the most-potent individual talent, the combination of Alfredo Morelos and Jermain Defoe is equally, if not even more, destructive, pitted against Premiership defences.
Exactly how the campaign will end, only time will tell. But viewers would be advised to save a little popcorn for the final scenes.
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