- Barney: I am not a smoker. I only smoke in certain situations: post-coital, when I’m with Germans, sometimes those two overlaps, coital, birthdays, to annoy my mom, pre-coital, on a sailboat, the day The Mets are mathematically eliminated every year, and, of course – wait for it- ’cause Lord knows I have, pregnancy scares.
- Ted: Why are you smoking right now?
- Barney: I’m always pre-coital, Ted.
I spent yesterday at home feeling miserable with the zombie plague, but it gave me the chance to catch a few episodes of Arrested Development and Burn Notice.
Soon after watching Burn Notice – a show I’d heard great things about but hadn’t really invested much time or effort in catching – I learned that tonight’s the new season premiere. Tonight. June 3, people! It’s SUMMERTIME. I don’t need another show that’ll hook me in during the summer months.
It’s always been with a little sense of relief that I’ve watched the season finales of shows after they wrap up in May. I’m accustomed to having nothing but a summer of reruns to compete with everything else that I want to do – like, say, run major events on OtherSpace.
But now Burn Notice is revving up. True Blood‘s not far behind. This is madness.
Guess I’d better clear out my DVR and keep that Netflix account going. Summer’s going to stay summer for me.
So, here’s the thing:
No matter what, the series finale of LOST couldn’t hope to live up to the hype that preceded it. The problem, I think, is that Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse bought into the hype, played to the hype, and nothing but the hype when the creative team laid out the ultimate episode that presented us with the solution that Jack Shepard died on the island and then met (most of, but not all) his pals in some nebulous, multi-denominational “purgatory” before they all went on to Nirvana, Valhalla, Wal-Mart, heaven.
All in all, I enjoyed the final season – particularly the episodes that gave us more about the history of people like Richard Alpert and his island masters. The series finale itself, for the most part, is undeniably well-crafted and full of engaging, moving moments. But the last five minutes in the church, with the apparent dismissal of Jack’s mom, Walt, Michael, Lapidus, Alpert, plus the ham-handed “we’re all dying now/a while back/eventually” zen thing just didn’t work for me.
Endings are so difficult. I loved The Sopranos, but I didn’t like the cut-to-black during Don’t Stop Believin’. I enjoyed Quantum Leap, but I hated that last episode with God as Sam’s time pilot.
I didn’t hate this finale, but it left me disappointed. If it’s all about Jack’s journey and his demise, then why are we meant to care about Sun and Jin? If we ARE meant to also care about Sun and Jin, then why not Michael and Walt? Charlotte and Faraday? Widmore and Junglestrike Tina Fey? And if this is supposed to have been a spin on “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” with everything transpiring in Jack’s mind as he’s dying from a stab wound, why are we getting points-of-view from other major characters?
In the end, it just felt like six seasons of rationalizations tied up in a sloppy package.
I’ve been running the same fundamental story on OtherSpace for about 12 years now. A day’s going to come when I have to shut down the game and end the story. It’s my aspiration to strike as many emotional high notes as the LOST finale managed, without the mawkish missteps that plagued this TV show from time to time.
But as disappointed as I was in the conclusion of LOST, I found many bits to enjoy in those final hours:
* Hurley’s Star Wars references (as usual)
* Sawyer and Juliette at the snack machine
* Charlie’s reunion with Claire
* Locke and Ben outside the church
* Desmond and Jack both playing “Wrath of Khan” with the island drain plug
* The shot of Jack’s closing eye (after Vincent came to sprawl on the ground next to him)
Wolowitz: Why do you have all of these unopened paychecks in your desk?
Sheldon: Because most of the things I’m planning to buy haven’t been invented yet.
Linda: When you do care, you care one hundred and crazy percent.
Over the Christmas break, I picked up season 2 of Babylon 5 on DVD. Back in the mid- to late-1990s, this was one of my favorite TV shows. I opted for B5 over Star Trek: Deep Space 9. The persistent evolving storyline kept pulling me back, season after season, especially once the presidential assassination conspiracy and Shadow War were added to the mix.
I’ve watched the first several episodes of the season this week. It’s the first time I’ve watched in at least four or five years. As I do so, I can’t help but think of shows that have come since – Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, and Farscape among them. What I’m finding, no matter how much I enjoyed B5 back in its original run, is that it simply doesn’t hold up very well over time.
The computer-designed visuals, such a leap forward when B5 first came out, look amateurish today. Some episodes are slower paced and “talkier” than we see nowadays, with little in the way of creative editing or visual storytelling.
Dated visuals aside, the show gets hindered by well-intentioned B-plots (like the doctor putting the command staff on diets) when it could be doing more with the insidious Shadows, the Narn vs. Centauri, and the assassination. As a fan, I know those threads get plenty of play as the season goes on and that these “deeper breath” episodes are meant for exploring character relationship dynamics.
But after all my exposure to more recent shows with better budgets and more ambitious visual storytelling, I think my patience for B5‘s sometimes plodding pace is greatly diminished. I want to get on with the adventure!