Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Luck "Fost", and other TV musings

I’m sure that Lost is a fine show. It kills in ratings. It won the Emmy for Best Drama. Entertainment Weekly referenced it every five pages in their Fall TV preview. There's even a two page spread in The Observer, but this blog will not be partaking in the hype.

I caught about two and a half episodes during the season last year, with various people watching it in my room or watching old episodes across the hall, and I also read on the Internet or in EW various things, and overheard even more from the rabid fans talking about it all over Dillon. So I decided that I’d check out the two hour finale, because obviously something really cool was going to happen to reward the fans for watching every episode all season long, and to extra-reward others who had gone back over the episodes looking for clues (*cough*Rob*cough*).

What did I get? I got a bunch of flashbacks – a cool theme used by Lost in order to compare the castaways’ previous lives to how they’re getting along on the island – a magical, metal tentacle and a boat – which couldn’t have been too far off the coast of the island – full of slave traders. Throw in the fact the hatch, which they built up to all season, was left as a cliff-hanger, and you got two hours (well, a little less – I switched over to see Carrie beat Bo on Idol) of wasted television time. Like I said back in the blog then, I couldn’t imagine how people who’d been paying attention all season felt afterwards.

So I’m avoiding Lost, because they’re just going to keep piling on more and more storylines until they’re so buried beneath them there’s no way they can conceivably get out. Does anyone remember how X-Files ended? A half dozen seasons of alien mythology, a movie thrown in for kicks, and it was such a dud everyone just kind of looked around and said “That’s it?” as Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny and Chris Carter faded into the sunset. Just like Lost, I didn’t really watch X-Files until it’s farewell season, and after ten episodes or so, I was crushed by the ending. Again, can’t imagine how people who followed the conspiracy the whole way through felt.

So I’m ready for the angry IM or comment left from Rob or Brendan or anyone else that follows those lively, popular folks on the island, but I’m going to take a pass. If some issues start to get resolved before they pile on new ones – and no more magical polar bears pop up – then I’ll reconsider, but until then, why don’t you stick with the following?

Shows I’m Watching

Prison Break - For my money, the best show on television right now. The ratings were down on Monday night as the other networks start premiering stuff, but I surely hope they let it roll out to its conclusion. Two weeks in a row they’ve provided beyond solid, absolutely fantastic episodes that, despite the fact you realize they’ll be in the prison until the season finale, make you wonder how in the world Michael Scofield is going to solve the problem. Monday night was particularly good, as they bait-and-switched an early breakout, then ended with Alexi Murdoch’s “Orange Sky” and a predictable, yet still awesome, moment with the warden.

All the episodes are Tivoed, and you can catch up in an evening – a four hour evening, but still, an evening. It’s got some Shawshank, some Ocean’s Eleven and a great track record so far. Just trust me on this.

(And yeah, if they break out of the prison at the end of the season, only to find they’re in a matrix, or a giant dome, or monkeys are really ruling the Earth, I’ll be a little disappointed.)


Arrested Development - Premiered Monday night, and the Death Watch is already on. The storylines are so advanced and the jokes are so inside the odds of anybody who doesn’t buy the first two seasons to catch up following it are very, very low. Of course, that doesn’t make it any less funny for those of us who’ve seen all the other episodes multiple times, so I’ll just continue to enjoy it until it gets the axe.

(Unless FOX decides to hook up the AED and place it in beside Idol. Granted, it’s a cheap way to get ratings, and the teeny-bopper crowd that enjoys Ryan Seacrest probably won’t get the humor of David Cross, but it would at least guarantee a fourth season. Remember, Wanda Sykes had a sitcom last simply on the merits of that it was next to the results show on Wednesday night. Don’t underestimate the Simon Factor.)

”Illusions, Michael….”

The OC - I’m enjoying this third season a lot better than the beginning of the second season. I love the new characters, who are huge improvements over DJ The Yard Guy, Good Zach and Boring Lindsay. Taylor Townsend is a mix of Reese Witherspoon’s character from Election and Regina George, and I like it. The new Dean of Discipline will make a nice foil for Sandy, although I think it would be a thousand times better if he was played by Tim Allen.

I’m a little wary about the Kirsten/Jeri Ryan storyline, as I’m giving the writers a lot of leeway with this as its still early. Little weird, although I’m hoping it twists out well. Sandy’s awesome as always, I love the scheming Jimmy Cooper and I’m just glad we’re all back in Newport for quality time spent on Thursday nights.

The new Dean of Discipline flexes his administrative strength in front of a young Ryan Atwood.

Kitchen Confidential - Is it weird the first four shows on this list are all FOX? Very.

After only one episode, I’ll say Kitchen can last, if only because of the fantastic cast of “Those Guys”. The lead character is Sack Lodge from Wedding Crashers, supported by Xander from Buffy, Harold (or maybe Kumar?) from White Castle fame, Sharona from Monk and Mrs. Parker from The Pretender, who wore the sexiest business suit in the history of business suits.

Definitely worth your time, and it’ll earn “Season Pass” status on Tivo.

Laguna Beach - Honestly, this season has been really lackluster due to the fact there isn’t one seemingly redeemable character on the whole series. I think they counted on Kristin being so slutty and ridiculously dramatic they could rotate everything around her, but she – I don’t want to say matured, because that isn’t right – manages to keep her affairs quiet, so not much drama comes from her quadrant of the beach.

Meanwhile, new additions to the cast Jason and Casey have provided zero as far as entertainment. Jason can’t put together a coherent sentence, instead communicating with grunts, half-phrases and sleazy side burns. Casey’s had a grand total of about three minutes of screen time, her ghastly extensions and Teri Schiavo scaring off the cameras. But yeah, I still watch it ever week and wouldn’t dream of missing my Hilary Duff fix every Monday night. It could just be better.

Too Soon? All credit to TVGasm.

Real World - Here’s the formula for making me completely uninterested in this season:

Take Danny, add him o-pining about how much he loves “Mel”, but doesn’t want to feel like he’s settling too early, then add Wes cheering him on to “Go get other girls”, and Melinda sobbing. Finally, end with the two cuddling in bed, crying and saying they’re sorry.

Sound familiar? It should, because it’s happened about a half dozen times in a dozen episodes, and it kills the show. Give me more Rachel blowing up, more Nehemiah revitalizing himself, more Wes attempting to pimp and more Johanna going to jail. I like Danny and Melinda in supporting roles, they’re just the Most Boring Couple Ever when an episode focuses on them.

Shows I Want To Be/Plan To Be Watching

Desperate Housewives - This is what Lost should have done: Solve one problem, but leave extenuating circumstances from it, set up a storyline for next season (the new neighbor) and leave a cliffhanger, all in an hour. I’m ready for the premiere.

Like I wasn’t slipping a random Eva in here. Come on.

The Amazing Race: Family Edition - Consistently the best show on television, and now some family Tommy knows is involved, so I’m definitely excited.

How I Met Your Mother - The primetime return of Allyson Hannigan (Willow from Buffy) and Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Houser), plus Bob Saget is the narrator. The wise folks over at Throwing Things actually liked this more than Kitchen, so the Tivo is going to be humming on Monday nights.

Was on at 3:00 everyday after school and I loved it.

House - I have no idea why I’m not watching this. I know I’d enjoy it immensely, I just have never watched it. Mystery of my life.

My Name Is Earl - Jason Lee anchors the pride of NBC’s new fall shows, and the early buzz is that it’s really funny. Since NBC is banking a lot on this, I will be deliriously happy with any result. If it’s a funny show I can enjoy weekly, fantastic, or if it fails miserably and NBC has absolutely no non-reality shows anyone wants to watch, save maybe Las Vegas, I’m cool with that, too. Viva La FOX!


So there you have it. While I’m well aware there are few people outside of Dillon who watch as much TV as we do, I’m sure you’ll be able to find room for some of these in your busy schedules. Or you could just always make yourself Arts and Letters, where watching TV is sort of part of the job description, since it’s kind of an “Art” and everything. At some point in time, we’ll get some opinion on shows on DVD you can watch, but I’ll need to do a little research into that. (Sex and the City, Six Feet Under, 24, Entourage, Gilmore Girls, Friends and One Tree Hill are all popular choices.)

And of course, if anyone is interested in investing the time and heartache for seven season of Buffy, I’ll more than happily be your sponsor and guide. But that is definitely a lovefest for another post.

No classes Thursday or Friday afternoon, so let’s take this moment – at 5:34 on Wednesday afternoon – to declare it the weekend. That’s got to be some kind of record.

1 comment:

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