Archive for the ‘TV Stuff’ Category

Lost Season 5

Posted: January 14, 2009 in TV Stuff
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lost-season-52Last year and just prior to the start of  Lost season 4 I wrote a blog about what questions and mysteries I’d like to see answered in the upcoming season. Looking back at that list a year later I’m shocked, but not surprised, that only one item (who’s in the casket) on my list was addressed in any measure of detail. Season 4 was outstanding and it is my hope that Season 5 surpasses it in terms of both quality and answers.  I’m still hoping that the unanswered items on last years list are dealt with this year, however after viewing last season I naturally have a new list.   Now that season 5 is a mere eight days away I’d like to create a new list of things I hope to see resolved in season 5.

  1. The Four Toed Statue – This mystery appeared on the list I drafted prior to the start of season 4.  Watching several video podcast’s during the end of 2008, I now have little hope that they’ll address this subject at all during the fifth season.  I have a feeling we may see it again in some capacity but I believe this is a season 6 subject, though that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to know more this year.
  2. Claire Littleton – After Claire walked off with Christian near the end of season 4 we next see Claire in Jacob’s cabin with Christian.  In this scene Claire doesn’t appear to be herself and seems cocky, and somewhat odd.   I want to know where Christian took Claire, what happened to her after leaving camp, and why she was in Jacob’s cabin.  Following Lost as I do, I am aware that we will see little to no Claire this season and that her story will be addressed in the final season of the show.
  3. Christian Shepard – Shepard Sr. died before arriving on the island but now is apparently in league with Jacob at least in some capacity.  I would like to know why Christian is still “alive” on the Island, how he’s able to be there, what he’s doing speaking for Jacob, and why he asked Claire to accompany him into the jungle.  While I think the show will provide us with some Christian related answers in season 5, I think the majority of these things won’t be tackled until the final episodes of season 6 are aired.
  4. Those who have been left behind – While I’m 99% positive that this is what season 5 is going to deal with and answer, these events pose some of the biggest questions for me.  What happened to the people who remained on the Island after it moved?  If it was not Charles Widmore’s people, who exactly came to do harm to those left behind?  If it was Widmore’s people why kill everyone there?  I’m fairly certain that by season’s end all of the mystery as to who came, who killed, and why will be answered, at least in some capacity.
  5. You’ve Changed The Rules – The scene between Ben and Charles that took place in season 4 was a game changer of sorts.  It showed the audience that not only was Charles indeed after the Island but that he and Ben have known one another for apparently quite some time.  Moreover it appears as though there is some type of contest or game going on.  Ben claims Charles “changed the rules” and that as a result of Alex’s death, he’s going to kill Penny.  I’m hoping that season 5 tells us what these “rules” are.  I’m also hoping that the show sheds some light on why ther are rules, who established these rules, and why the two men up to that point where abiding by them.
  6. Ben And Charles – One of the biggest mysteries posed in Season 4 was the Ben/Charles connection.  How long have these two guys known each other, what does Charles mean when he tells Ben, “I know who you are and what you are”, how did Charles “lose” the Island to Ben.  As he opposes Ben,  is Charles the guy we should be routing for or is he really the bad guy?  Why does Charles really want to find the Island.  I have high hopes that season 5 will give us some answers to these questions, even if they turn out to be cryptic.
  7. Benjamin Linus – We still have so much to learn about Ben and time is running out.  Why did he agree to the Purge, what role did Richard Alpert play in convincing Ben to take part in that event.  Is Ben really a good guy or is more evil than we can imagine?  Though there is much about Ben we don’t know I have a feeling and hope that season 5 sheds some light on one of the most interesting and best fictional characters of all time.
  8. John Locke – Season 4’s finale showed us that Locke was the man in the casket.  Now that it’s been revealed he’s dead the questions I often ask myself are, “Who killed John Locke, why was Locke killed, is Locke really dead, was it really suicide, and why was he using an alias?  Judging by the season 5 episode title “The Life And Death of Jeremy Bentham” I’m certain we’ll get at least a look into the why’s and who’s but in true Lost fashion I expect plenty to be left unanswered only to be revealed at a much later point in the story.
  9. Charlotte Lewis – I’ll admit I was not interested in Charlotte until it was revealed that she was born on the Island and that she’d been trying to find a way back for quite some time. I have several theories about Charlotte, the most prominent one being that she is Ben and Annie’s daughter that somehow left the Island.  Season 5 could very well prove my theory wrong but until it does my theory puts all the pieces surrounding Ben, the Others obsession with childbirth, and Annie together nicely.
  10. Where did the Island go? – Ben moved the Island in the season finale last year and we were all left wondering where the Island went.  I don’t believe it’s a question of just where it went but when.  I believe that the Island can move whenever and where ever it likes.  I hope that season 5 provides us some detailed answers on not just where and when its gone but how the (pseudo) science of this works.

Like all other consumed Lost viewers I too have at least a million and one questions that I’d like to have answered.  That said I feel as though most of these lingering questions won’t be addressed until well into the sixth and final season.  Issues like the Monster, detailed information about the Island, Danielle, The Black Rock, and all of those other questions we still ask ourselves I can see not being answered until 2010, if ever.  Though these questions are always in the back of my mind the 10 listed here are at the forefront of my brain.  Get ready for season 5 and enjoy the ride!  What do you guys think?

Ah, Battlestar Galactica. I hold this show in high esteem and have thought of it as one of the best shows on television and arguably one of the greatest television series ever produced. As a show with a dark and serialized nature it has had and continues to have it’s critics who laud the show for it’s dark themes and some of its harsh and mature subject matter. Seasons 1 through 3 of Battlestar Galactica where focused and offered fans of serialized stories everything they expected. Everything from deep, complicated, and engaging story lines where there as where the cliffhangers one expects from this type of show. The writing and acting where both superb and with the exception of a few “filler” episodes during those seasons watching the show each week left you both satisfied and with a heavy sense of anticipation for the next weeks episode. So how has season four of this flagship series fared in this, its fourth and final season?

It is the very nature of this season that has prompted me to write today. There are many words and phrases I would use to describe the disappointment that is season four of Battlestar Galactica, however most of those being one word vulgarities and curses would do little to convey anything other than what many would perceive as fanboyism or immaturity. As I am far to old to be either of the aforementioned I will do my best to put into words, my feelings about the season thus far.

Where as I would use words such as focused, polished, entertaining, and incredible to describe the whole of seasons one through three, the vocabulary I would choose to describe season four falls on the opposite side of the spectrum. Perhaps disappointing is the word most befitting of season 4. Though I feel disappointing best describes this season, I might also choose words such as unfocused, boring, dragging, wasteful, and even horrid to help illustrate my feelings about such a waste of time.

For a television show that has entered its final season fans and critics alike have expected the drama to unfold at a quickened pace however revelations and payoffs are not only few in number this year but are often presented to viewers in an undramatic fashion and are lacking in impact. As serialized stories often create a myriad of loose ends that aren’t addressed until much later in their respective saga’s, fans of this show had high expectations of stunning revelations being unraveled early on in this, the shows final season. Though there are surely many answers of lesser significance that dedicated viewers deserve to and wait to have closure on, no other revelations carry the type of importance that the Final Five Cylons does. Season three’s stunning cliffhanger presented viewers with the identities of four of the final five Cylons and alluded to some big moments to come in season 4.

As the shows format has changed little over the course of the shows run, legions of hungry fans expected season four to open in an explosive manner much as the series’ previous openers had done. At the very least many held onto hope that the story would quickly root itself in a fast paced story line and that four of the final five Cylons would be revealed sooner rather than later. Of course with such an early revelation, fans would be treated to a season of chaos, distrust, betrayal, and broken relationships, the usual consignment of ingredients that have helped make Battlestar Galactica a fantastic show.

In the stead of these things however season four has yet to produce any main story arc revelations and has opted to place its focus on side stories and on some characters that some fans don’t have much invested in. As Battlestar Galactica has always been a character driven drama, fans should have expected rich character developments even in the shows final season but not at the expense of the big picture. While we have received such developments, very few if any have carried on their shoulders, resolutions or questions of any great importance. It appears though that the characters themselves have become the focus of the story rather than the events that are unfolding in front of them.

While it is entirely possible that the events we have bore witness to are simply a prelude to something of greater importance I often find myself wondering why the entire season is not being used to provide greater closure for the shows loyal fan base. It is also feasible that this endgame is what had been planned all along which if true, would not only be a shame but a disservice to viewers as well. If such is the case it is a sad turn of events as many fans now feel betrayed by a show that once gave them things other shows lacked. Those who produce Battlestar Galactica or have a hand in the show would do well to remember that while things like Laura’s terminal illness are extremely important so to are the pressing issues such as Earth, the Cylons, and the Final Five. I hold onto a foolish optimism in that the show will return to prominence and give us not an overabundance of meandering storylines but instead a more focused and streamlined drama as it did in years past.

A fair assessment that many share with me is that season four is akin to one long filler episode in a grand saga. An epic story should have an equally epic final act. What the future holds for Battlestar Galactica only Ron Moore knows for certain, however I find myself fearful that Battlestar Galactic will end in much the same manner that The Soprano’s did, which ultimately rendered that series useless. We read the final chapters of great works to get closure, to tie up loose ends, and to find the answers to riddles and questions these stories pose early on. There are few who would enjoy reading a book only to find that the last chapter does not exist and that we are to form our own conclusions on how the story ends. Good storytelling has three elements, an opening act, a middle, and an end. Battlestar Galactica currently looks to finish its run with little resolved. Let us hope that I am wrong.

Finales For Great Shows

Posted: May 20, 2008 in TV Stuff
Tags: , , ,

After watching The Soprano’s smash cut to black during its series finale I immediately began to wonder how some of my favorite shows would end their run and just how many of their questions they would answer solidly and how many of their stories would be left for us to draw our own conclusions too.  I’ll admit that until I witnessed The Soprano’s finale I thought that my years of dedication to one of the greatest television shows ever was well deserved.  After the finale though I felt as though I had bought a series of books and that the final page of the final book ended abruptly with a “…….” and my first thought was “oh shit, please don’t let Lost do this to me”.

As a huge fan of heavily serialized dramas I often wonder just how they will end their runs and how the final scenes will play out.  What prompted this blog was a dream I actually had about six months ago.  I didn’t think to much of it until I told my wife all about the dream.  When she said “you need to blog about that” I thought what the hell and the dream I had actually makes sense.

Lost Finale
Ben Linus...one of the all time great villians

This dream was of Lost’s 2010 finale.   I don’t remember much of the dream though I do remember what I dreamt to be the final scene of season six.  So here’s what I dreamt and actually believe might happen in the finale.

After some action in the jungle the screen cuts to black and fades in showing a man washing his hands in a sink.  The camera never pans up and the scene continues to play out much like Desmond’s hatch scene did in the season 2 opener.  After a minute or two of watching these hands go about daily routines, an earthquakes hits and things start shaking violently.  This man then runs outside however we only see his legs and feet making for the front door.  Once outside you hear a bunch of concerned voices at which point the camera cuts back to this man and we see that its Ben.  Jack comes running into the scene from out of his hut in New Otherton and asks Locke and Ben what’s going on.  Locke then points up where we see another plane coming apart in mid air.  At this point we see Ben give orders to Locke, Jack, Sawyer, and Sayid, much as he did in the Season Three opener. Ben tells them along with some redshirts, “go go go, get to the beach, find out what you can.”  The rest of the main cast goes running off into the jungle while Locke and Jack go back into their homes to formulate a plan with Ben….smash cut to black, roll credits.  Essentially it was the season 3 opener replayed but with the Losties taking the place of the Others.  I can see this happening now as season 4 is coming to a close.  Time will tell…

The Tudors Finale
The Tudors - Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn

Though I haven’t had any revelations about The Tudors finale, it remains one of my favorite shows and I had a really good idea for a series ending scene that I think would work rather well.  As the show is concluding a woman’s voice is heard narrating some verbiage about Henry and the Tudor dynasty all the while we see several ladies in waiting looking towards the camera.  As the camera pans around it is revealed that it is Elizabeth Tudor (Elizabeth I) telling the entire story to her servants.  She then closes a book and the final shot is of her walking down a long corridor within her chambers.  To make this scene work the people responsible for The Tudors should do everything they can to get Helen Mirren to reprise her role as the Queen.  I believe this would be an effective ending as it would close out not just the story of the Henry’s reign but the Tudor Dynasty as well.

If you haven’t seen either one of these shows you owe it to yourself to check them out.  Both are serialized and well produced.  Though everyone knows Lost is on ABC not everyone knows that The Tudors airs on Showtime, Sunday nights.  Check them out now!  I’d also like to know how everyone thinks big shows will end their runs.  With Battlestar coming to a close, and Lost ending in a couple of years things are getting interesting.

Michael is NOT redeemable!Tonight’s Episode Grade: C 

I don’t always get a chance to review Lost because on average I’m an extremely busy person.  Tonight however I thought it would be a good idea to write a little something about “Meet Kevin Johnson”.

Tonight’s Lost was centered on Michael Dawson who was last seen at the conclusion of season 2, boating away from the island with Walt just after murdering Ana Lucia and Libby.  To say that I harbor great resentment towards Michael is an understatement.  I really liked Michael prior to his double homicide however I came to hate him very quickly.  I too would go to the ends of the earth for my two children but even as a father myself I felt his actions where unjustified.

This brings us to tonight’s episode which was basically the telling of Michael’s post island story.  The episode itself moves quite fast and felt very flat and shallow to me, though I’ll admit I was very curious to find out if he went straight to the freighter or if he had actually made it home first.  That question along with many others where answered tonight but they where all in relation to Michael and Walt, nothing earth shattering or overly interesting but at least we know how he got home, and how he was recruited by Ben to be his man on the freighter.

With the exception of the first couple of minutes and the last couple of minutes, that had nothing to do with the story tonight I might add, the entire episode was one long flashback.  Normally this type of episode would be exciting for me but a few things really made tonight’s episode a yawn fest for both my wife and me. Lets go with the obvious first.  I hate Michael as he’s a murderer.  He tries to kill himself many times during the episode but the Island won’t allow that to happen so he reluctantly becomes a member of the freighter crew at the urging of both Tom and Ben.  Meet Kevin Johnson attempts to create some sort of redemption scenario for Michael which, for me was a huge disappointment and turn off.  Michael is a killer and while I’m a believer in justifiable homicide his murders don’t fall under that category.

I’ve avoided spoilers for season 4 like they are the plague, however I was made aware of Michael’s return during the summer of 2007 while watching a news broadcast.  What a way to negate the element of surprise.  To further help dissipate surprise, Harold Perrineau’s name has appeared during the opening credits this whole season.  ABC then did it’s part to further remove any hope of surprise by running the line, and I’m paraphrasing here, “next week you’ll see the face of someone you never thought you’d see again”.  No shit ABC?  Wow could it be that Michael is Ben’s man on the boat?  No you’re kidding right?  Had the nature of Michael’s return been even remotely surprising tonight’s episode might have resonated much better with me.  His return should have been a huge deal and because it wasn’t and it was the first time anything on Lost was obvious Meet Kevin Johnson let me down.  I did however get excited when Michael tried to kill himself.  I’m hoping he dies horribly in a cowardly fashion and I’m hoping that they don’t continue to try and redeem him either.

Tonight’s episode felt very rushed yet slow and I found myself thinking…”ok something big is coming, where’s the mindfuck moment we all wait for each week” but that never came.  The episode did not even conclude in what I like to think of as typical Lost fashion.  After Michael’s flashback we very abruptly cut back to Danielle, Karl, and Alex walking through the jungle.  During this walk they are ambushed by unseen assailants.  Karl is “supposedly” killed and Danielle takes a shot and goes down as well.  Alex surrenders and says “wait, I’m Ben’s daughter” and before we’re even teased at who might have been the shooter or shooters…smash cut to black.  Normally Lost would not have smash cut until the culprit we never expected walks out of the bush.  Disappointing to say the least.  Now due to the strike we are forced to wait a month for the shows return.  I would have graded this episode much higher had it had some kind of shock value but it had none.

While I enjoyed Meet Kevin Johnson I constantly found myself becoming frustrated with both the rushed and shallow story and the lack of shock and awe.  With Lost now in “speed mode” as I like to call it, much of the big drama has been removed from the show and while I know this sits well with the majority of viewers it’s irritating to me.  I don’t necessarily need any big long buildups at this point in the show but it’s less focused on characters now and more focused on outcomes which is ok provided they continue to maintain a healthy balance of the two.  No show’s perfect but when Lost disappoints its really frustrating.  I’m sure April 24th will have something that makes the wait worth while.

Just a quick word about a great show no one watches.  Jericho airs on CBS, Tuesday nights at 10:00pm and is a fantastic tale of survival in a small town following a full out nuclear strike of unknown origin.  This show is a serial drama so if you like Lost and Heroes, chances are you’ll like this one too.  It’s got rich, well developed characters and heavy realistic drama all of which grab you and draw you in fairly quickly.

My wife and I became fans of the show after hearing of it’s cancellation and return.  I received Season One on DVD for Christmas and we power watched the entire season in about 3 days.  We anxiously awaited the start of Season 2 and could not have been more pleased with the new season once it got under way.  Sadly Jericho is once again going away because nobody watches it, according to the network anyway.  I’d be willing to bet that the majority of viewers, including the ones who campaigned to put the show back on the air use DVR’s to record episodes of Jericho.  As we all know the networks and sponsors don’t count DVR viewers as they’re not watching a show that’s been over-saturated with shitty advertisements.  With Jericho airing at 10:00 on a weeknight its nearly impossible for my wife and I to watch it as it airs.  Many times we are busy working and getting the kids ready for school and the big shocker here, we just don’t want to sit through commercials.  Hey networks and sponsors….NEWSFLASH!  Even before TiVo and other brands of DVR’s we didn’t sit on the couch to watch your commercials.  We got up to use the restroom, make something to eat, and guess what…the majority of the time we just changed the channel until the commercials where through.  No one watches commercials with or without a DVR, at least the majority of TV viewers don’t.

As the series finale grows near I can only wonder how great Jericho was going to be had it been allowed or earned the right to continue.  I know from reading a bit that the conspiracy surrounding the attacks goes far deeper than most of us could have imagined and we were going to see other parts of the country and those involved.  I’m not certain how well things can be wrapped up though an end had been planned for and has been filmed but I guess it’s true, the best bands never get signed, the best shows get piss poor ratings, and those with talent often fall by the wayside to make way for someone with a flashy presentation.  Serial dramas have been on the way out for a while now and that’s to bad at least for me as it’s always been my favorite type of program.  I don’t think most viewers have or want to make the time for something that they have to follow week after week, and in some respects I can understand that but when the story is as good as Jericho’s I will never understand why it’s ratings are so low.

Afterthought:  Isn’t it time for the networks to look at new ways of generating revenue?  Product placement in shows might work but I like this idea best.  Have the networks become paid television like HBO and Showtime.  Why?  Well because networks would be forced to become more competitive and I believe this would result in a higher quality line up of shows.  I also would like to see my favorite shows uncensored and free from time constraints.  I wish shows like Jericho and Lost where a full hour and not full of commercials.  This leads me to my final gripe.  Commercials, a 50 + year old way of advertising and generating revenue.  Time for change guys, paying for ABC, CBS, NBC, etc would mean no more commercials, no more FCC restrictions and a longer running time.  Sounds good to me!

 Goodbye Jericho, you will be missed.

Lost – Confirmed Dead Review

Posted: February 8, 2008 in TV Stuff

Trouble Ahead!Season 4 of Lost continued last night with “Confirmed Dead“.  The episode had the pacing of the season premiere and if this continues I’ll go out on a limb and say this could be the best season of Lost yet!  Confirmed Dead places its focus on 4 of the helicopter passengers, Daniel, Miles, Charlotte, and Frank, who says he is the pilot who was originally scheduled to fly Oceanic flight 815.

Most of this episode is spent exploring the pasts of these freighter people through flashbacks which I found to be fairly intriguing.  Charlotte finding the skeletal remains of a Polar Bear in Tunisia along with a Dharma collar raised all kinds of questions for me and made me think that there are many doors that take you off the island or that there is another location just like the island somewhere out there.  At any rate Charlotte’s find was huge.  We are introduced to Miles who appears to be and is refered to as a Ghost Buster as he speaks with a woman’s grandson who has passed away in his initial flashback.  We also see Miles speak with the recently deceased Naomi to confirm that it was indeed Locke who put the knife in her back and not Kate and Jack.  It is revealed that Frank works or worked as a pilot for Oceanic Airlines as he calls them to argue that the dead pilot featured on the news is not the actual pilot.   Daniel’s flashback was perhaps the most ambiguous as he simply watches the news report showing the 815 wreckage and begins to cry.  My wife couldn’t figure out what’s special about Daniel but I believe he has Empathic abilities or something along those lines.  At any rate I enjoyed learning a bit about these new characters and something tells me they are really bad news.

The remainder of this weeks episode is spent showing team Sheppard and team Locke either hiding from the freighter people or working with them to try and get off the island.  All of the scenes have purpose and I’m really enjoying this seasons “no filler” approach to story telling.  Confirmed Dead offers no huge revelations save for the end of the episode when a beaten Ben Linus tells Locke that he has a spy working on the freighter, which I believe to be Michael, and that they are here for him.  Why they want him is not revealed but it’s enough to build things up which is what this episode is meant to do, provide building blocks for the overall story arc this season.

There was one shocking for moment for me this week that had me on the edge of my seat.  Locke comes close to shooting Ben until Ben tells John, “I have answers”.  Locke replies immediately with “what is the Monster…what is the black smoke”.  Before Ben answered “I don’t know” the show actually fooled me into thinking we’d get a huge meaningful answer about one of the shows biggest mysteries.  As bad as I want to know the who’s, what’s, where’s, and why’s related to the Monster I am not expecting an answer until season six and I’m expecting a cryptic one at best (I don’t think we’ll ever know exactly what it is or where it came from), so I was OK with not finding out but that was a nail biting moment for me.  Good job producers/writers!

All in all Confirmed Dead did what it was supposed to do and did it well, which is to introduce us to a new set of possible villains and to pose a number of questions which we’ll be guessing at all season.  The freighter people are important and dangerous and each one brings a gift or talent to their team.  Why are they after Ben?  Are they Dharma? How much do they know about the Island and the Others?  Personally I’m hoping they are not Dharma as that would be to easy and disappointing.  I’m hoping they are really sinister and downright evil.  Another great episode for what is shaping up to be a great season.

Score/Grade: B

As most know I tend to write extensively about things like Lost, movies, and games.  Today is going to be quite different as I have once again taken ill and don’t feel much like writing (that and I work almost ever day).  So why blog you ask?  Well I’ve had a combined 10 hours of sleep over the past three nights (i can’t sleep when I get sick) so I figured while I’m up I’ll do a quick review of the season premiere of Lost and Cloverfield. Ok, here goes.

Cloverfield

In short….amazing.  Cloverfield had me on the edge of my seat, made it easy to suspend disbelief and was just all around fun.  I thought the Monster was pretty original and the fact that the whole film was basically somebody playing this recovered video made the movie creepy.  Many will disagree but I found this realistic, down to earth approach to a monster movie refreshing.  Now that I know this Monster was just a baby and had separation anxiety, I can’t wait for the DVD and the sequel to see what else is coming!  If I had one complaint it would be that the movie is not long enough.  This movie is going to be a classic for me down the road.  Best monster movie I’ve ever seen.  Oh and the “Roar” theme was great too…very monster movie-ish.

Lost Season 4 Premiere

The season premiere of Lost blew me away!  Sure I was disappointed that ABC opted to run an idiotic recap show for the first hour instead of giving us a full two hour season premiere but the one hour we did get was fantastic.  Flash forwards put a fresh twist on things and raises all kinds of new questions true to Lost fashion.  Hopefully the strike ends soon and we get a full 16 episodes this season.  This season is already shaping up to be a great one and I can’t wait to see what’s coming.  Will my wish for a Monster appearance this season come true?……

Alright, time to go veg out on the couch and try to convince myself that my throat isn’t really infected with something straight out of hell.