It's the most bittersweet time of the TV Year - season finale time.
In a way, it's very exciting. Networks pull out all the stops, give us things we've been hoping for all year, weddings, births, deaths, and cliffhangers that keep us on the edge of our seats.
In another way, it's sad. It's saying goodbye to our favorite shows for three or four long months (even longer for shows like 24) - or perhaps even forever (Alias).
At any rate, it's worth talking about. Although it will infuriate out those "I only watch and talk about Lost" readers out there (again, this is the "… and Gone Forever" portion of the Blog!), here is a breakdown of the 10 Season Finales I'll Be Watching, along with my predictions of each (ranked from least anticipated to most anticipated):
10. My Name is Earl: Thursday, May 11th.
TV.com Says: On the suggestion of Darnell, Earl decides to cross off number one from his list, "stole $10 from a guy at the Camden Market." But Earl soon discovers he owes the guy more than $10, and in fact he owes him all of his lotto winnings. Now penniless and desperately trying to continue with his list, Earl wonders when his karma is going kick in and turn his misfortunes around for the better.
Brian Says: I find it very hard to believe that the show would pretty much ditch its entire premise in its first season finale. While it would be intriguing to see how Earl would be able to continue with his list without the benefit of his lottery winnings (and give the viewer the positive message of “You don’t have to be rich to right your wrongs – everyone can do it!”), I’d anticipate by the end of the episode, karma steps up and somehow gets Earl has all the money he needs to continue on with his list.
9. Survivor: Sunday, May 14th
TV.com Says: Another thrilling season of Survivor draws to a close tonight with a spectacular three-hour finale. First, see the final episode, in which the remaining contestants visit Tribal Council for the very last time. Then, the winner of season 12 will be announced in a live-reveal broadcast from the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City. Finally, Jeff Probst will host a live reunion show in which the 16 castaways will meet for the first time since their Panama experience.
Brian Says: What the hell am I doing watching Survivor? Blame my roommate Currin. I was a die-hard fan back in the day (as evidenced by the framed and autographed picture of Elisabeth Filarski - now Hasselback - hanging in the Delta House (I swear that sounds much creepier than it really is)), but by the third season it was getting fairly predictable and I was getting bored by the whole "reality show" mania that was sweeping TV. (That, and it aired on Thursday nights, which was a prime drinking (Mom, read: “studying”) night in college.)
However, now that I've seen a good chunk of this season, I'm drawn in… mainly because of this guy, who is probably the most dominant Survivor player ever:
His head has been on the chopping block for the past six weeks, yet he just keeps winning the challenges and dominating everyone else on the Island.
Every Survivor I can remember seems to end with the person I'm rooting for losing. Here's hoping this will be the first to end that streak.
8. Amazing Race: Wednesday, May 17th
TV.com Says: And then there were three. The final three teams race to the finish line during a special two-hour finale.
Brian Says: Yeah, at this point I look like a mindless reality TV junkie - but I promise this is the last one on the list. (Although I do like me some Laguna Beach – but it’s not on right now). As I said before, I can't believe I'm watching Survivor - but I'll gladly fess up to liking the Amazing Race. You get to see exotic places and activities from around the world and watch the interactions of people with already established relationships (as opposed to the complete strangers thrown together motif of 99% of reality shows).
As with most reality shows, the real key is having interesting characters. I’m watching because of these crazy hippies:
They perform pretty well even though, in true hippie fashion, they seem laid back and more interested in being friendly to everyone than scheming to win the thing. But they are mighty entertaining to watch.
Since it truly ends up being a "race" at the end of many episodes, there really is the sensation of excitement and nervousness at the end of each week. The finale should be more of the same.
7. The Office: Thursday, May 11th
TV.com Says: In the season finale, Michael and the Dunder Mifflin crew hold a Casino Night for charity in their warehouse and take some big gambles.
Brian Says: We've been teased with the Jim and Pam relationship for the past two seasons, and it looks like it will finally come to a head in this finale. I mean, it has to, right? Pam’s scheduled to get married over the summer, Jim’s toying with the notion of moving offices (neither one is going to happen, if you ask me). I’m guessing the “big gambles” referenced aren’t referring to the poker table – but to relationships, as in Jim finally telling Pam how he feels and seeing what happens.
6. Scrubs: Tuesday, May 16th
TV.com Says: J.D. challenges a urologist's assessment on a consult for a patient who might need a risky surgical procedure, feeling that she's playing it safe professionally and personally, since he also starts to fall for her. Along the same lines, Elliot considers breaking up with her boyfriend/intern Keith for being too weak, especially when he's being picked on by Dr. Cox. Smitten, J.D. tries to plan a perfect date with Dr. Kim Briggs on their night off, but Elliot gets in the way. Meanwhile, Dr. Cox and Jordan celebrate a milestone in their young son's life. Later, baby fever sweeps the hospital as the staff tries to pick a name for Turk and Carla's expected baby, but no one could guess who at Sacred Heart has to sweat out a pregnancy next.
Brian Says: I've professed my love for Scrubs before - but I'll do it again. Hilarious. Quirky. Touching. Tearjerking. Throw out any adjective, and it seemingly can be used to describe this show (except for maybe "gelatinous"… no wait, there was that Jell-O Cup episode…). I have probably learned more life lessons from Scrubs than I did from all my teachers in life combined. If you don’t watch this show, I can’t be friends with you – it’s as simple as that.
After the past few weeks (featuring the single saddest TV show I’ve ever seen), it seems like things are finally back to normal with Dr. Cox back to his jerk-face self, and Scrubs heading down the traditional season finale route of “somebody’s pregnant”. I guess the only logical guess for this is Elliot, right? Breaking up with Keith only to find out she’s pregnant might be interesting – but so would a second baby for Dr. Cox and Jordan.
Scrubs hasn’t “officially” been renewed for next year at time of writing, but rumors are it will be back for one more year!
5. Grey's Anatomy: Monday, May 15th
TV.com Says: Izzie and George attend to Denny as the pressure increases to find him a new heart, Cristina suddenly finds herself in charge of an ER room, and Derek grapples with the realization that the life of a friend is in his hands. Richard goes into interrogation mode about a patient's condition, Callie confronts George about his feelings for her, and Meredith and Derek make a decision about Doc.
Brian Says: This show has skyrocketed since its post-Super Bowl timeslot. Remember when Desperate Housewives was ABC’s “big hit” on Sunday nights? Well, Grey’s has gotten significantly higher ratings than Housewives ever since the Super Bowl – so much, in fact, that it’s getting an unprecedented two night, THREE HOUR finale. Look for it to move to Mondays (if ABC is smart) or Thursdays (if ABC is stupid) next season to help launch other new shows.
Here’s hoping the finale finally resolves the Denny storyline (either kill him or save him, I can’t stand seeing him each week living in limbo!). Callie confronting George about his feelings for her should finally let us know if George is really over Meredith, or if he’s just lying to himself about it after the most-awkward sex scene in TV history with her. Undoubtedly, the show will bring much excitement, lives hanging in the balance, people hooking up, and co-workers telling me I remind them of George (again) the next day.
4. 24: Monday, May 22nd
TV.com Says: As the clock approaches the final hours of an extremely long and terrifying day underscored by a presidential assassination and the threat of nerve gas, Jack seeks to avenge the painful loss of innocent lives, as well as those of CTU beloveds Edgar Stiles, Tony Almeida, Michelle Dessler and Lynn McGill. Meanwhile, shocking developments are uncovered, and the investigation takes an unexpected turn.
Brian Says: If you've never seen 24, and plan on watching some of the previous seasons, you might want to skip ahead here, since I'll reference past season finales of 24…)
You’ve been warned.
Let's see if I remember correctly. So far, in 24 season finales we've had the following:
Season One – Jack’s pregnant wife killed by a co-worker and former flame
Season Two – The President is poisoned
Season Three – Jack cuts off the arm of his partner, breaks down at the end
Season Four – Jack kills himself (temporarily)
If anybody knows how to do a season finale, it’s the good people at 24. So what’s it doing way down here at #4? Well, partly because of this, I’m expecting these insane-type things to occur. I know exactly what I’m going to get. The cheesy commercials are right – watching this show is a freakin’ adrenaline rush.
This season has probably been the strongest overall of any season thus far. I really have no idea how they’re going to resolve the plotlines short of Jack (or someone else) killing the President of the United States. On any other show, that would be an insane proposition. On 24, I’m expecting it.
I would also be on the lookout for Audrey to die, since she’s been cast in a new ABC show next fall. I’m hoping that Secretary of Defense Heller ends up surviving his accident, setting him up for being the President of the United States next season.
We’re also due, as the preview suggests, for Jack to go ballistic on some people to avenge the deaths of all of his friends earlier this season – on the mysterious corporate looking people who seem to be behind this all, perhaps? I would also love to see a setup for next season bringing back the “Country of China vs. Jack Bauer” storyline, or have Jack go to Germany to help Desmond from Lost in his investigation.
3. Prison Break: Monday, May 15th
TV.com Says: With the escape plan in progress, Michael, Lincoln and their fellow inmates must run for their lives to avoid capture, as they attempt to gain their freedom with Bellick hot on their trail. Meanwhile, Veronica races to Montana to find a very much alive Terrance Steadman, and the Vice President finds herself no longer part of The Company's plans.
Brian Says: The series title says it all. This is the moment we've been waiting for all season – actually breaking out of prison. Whereas 24 is pure excitement, Prison Break is pure nervousness – this show has kept me on the edge of my seat and made my heart beat like no other show on TV.
Having said that, I’m a bit disappointed that after the show started with an intricate, clever, sneaky plan of how to break out of prison, the last episode ended with Michael pretty much pulling a shank on the Warden to get out. Couldn’t he have done that about twenty episodes ago just as well as he could now? I think the show is a victim of foiling its own plots so many times, that in the end this was the only option left.
It’s pretty clear that not everyone is going to make it out on the break. Here are my guesses on who makes it out:
Michael – part of me thinks it would be a great idea to have everyone make it out except Michael, and then Lincoln would have to figure out a way to break him out (from the outside). But odds are, Micahel’s making it out alive and the story will shift to uncovering the conspiracy behind Lincoln being set up next season.
Lincoln – I read that Lincoln takes center stage on the show next season, so he’s pretty much the only one guaranteed to make it out.
C-Note – not looking good. His whole goal in escaping is just to see his wife, but that’s the very thing he can’t do, because it’s the first place the Feds would look. He’s an interesting character (the only one who was a “good guy” before Prison) and truly a victim of the system – which will make his death all the more tragic.
Westmoreland – no chance. He’s already injured (and probably slowly dying). But I would put money down that he’s actually DB Cooper, and gives Michael a treasure map or something before dying that leads to his fortunes. Hello, finances for next season.
Tweener – initially, I would have said “no way”, but I’m surprised on how much they’ve brought this character back into the fold recently, thinking they’re setting him up for storylines next year. If it were up to me, I’d kill him – but I have a creeping suspicion he’s sneaking through.
Sucre – absolutely. He provides a lot of the show’s humor, has a built a relationship and repertoire with Michael, and needs to exact some revenge on Hector for horning in on his woman.
Abruzzi – since he was already killed off the show once and then brought back, I don’t know how to take it. Does that mean that the writers have plans for him? Was he needed to help tie up the Fibonacci storyline? Or is it he back to do something as simple as take out T-bag? My vote: keep him alive, giving us a fantastic storyline for next season when Michael has to either give up the location of Fibonacci or take on the Italian Mob.
T-Bag – I think either T-Bag or Abruzzi makes it, not both. These guys hate each other. T-Bag makes the more logical choice to kill since he’s a fundamentally bad dude, and I don’t know how the show could have him on the outside molesting little kids and getting his revenge on his former girlfriend. Plus, he’s got the most inappropriate character name for a TV show since “Boner” on Growing Pains.
2. Lost: Wednesday, May 24th
TV.com Says: After discovering something odd just offshore, Jack and Sayid come up with a plan to confront “The Others” and hopefully get Walt back. Meanwhile, Eko and Locke come to blows as Locke makes a potentially cataclysmic decision regarding the “button” and the hatch, on the season finale of Lost.
Brian Says: Something tells me I'll be writing a whole lot about this show's season finale in the very near future, so I won't say much for now - only this: I think the show learned its lesson after the season one finale, where they opted to reveal less than they could have about the Island mysteries and everyone was furious. I’ve heard good things about the finale from those who have seen it, and fully expect the Lost world, and how we view it, to be turned upside down.
This is a Lost site! What’s Lost doing at number two? Well…
1. Alias: Monday, May 22nd
TV.com Says: Sloane takes Marshall and Rachel hostage in order to discover a crucial clue to Rambaldi’s ultimate endgame, as Sydney, Vaughn and APO race to stop him. Sydney and Jack must find a way to keep Sloane and Irina from putting their deadly plan into action.
Brian Says: Alias takes the top prize for the simple fact that it’s not a “Season Finale” but a “SERIES Finale”. I’ve told you before how I’ve been waiting five years for resolution of the Rambaldi storyline (longer than any storyline of any show I’ve ever watched), and now I’m mere weeks away. Very exciting stuff.
It looks like we’re racing to a very interesting finale. We’ve got the following storylines in play:
Good Sydney vs. Bad Sydney - how we got there doesn’t make much sense (couldn’t they have gotten Sydney’s blood in Season 1?), but it’s a fun storyline (even if it’s been done before in many action movies / video games). I’m hoping for the typical “lover must decide which one is which”, with Vaughn back into play.
Vaughn – is he good? Bad? Was Sydney in on his death all along? It seems like it, although that storyline has some gaping holes in it as well (wasn’t Syndey crying about his death when she was by herself?) Is he a Crazy Rambaldi Follower? An opposing force to the Rambaldi 12?
Sloane – he laid it all on the line last episode. He loves two things – Nadia and Rambaldi. With Nadia gone, he’s just got Rambaldi. After all these years, there’s no one else I’d want bringing Rambaldi’s ultimate endgame to fruition.
Irina – so is she on an opposing side of the Crazy Rambaldi 12? Is she racing them towards the Rambaldi endgame against them, or working with them to bring it about? Was she in on it all along? Is that why Vaughn never trusted her?
At the end of the day, I see this unfolding like a typical Alias episode of old. Sydney’s friends are captured and she has to save them. Sloane is bringing about some potential world-ending Rambaldi experiment and she has to stop him. Lots of action and suspense, and finally some answers instead of the typical cliffhanger ending.
Many questions – only four hours left to answer them all. But I can’t wait.
(PS – Alias writers, please give me a still-alive Rambaldi in the end. It’s how I’ve ended the story in my head and it really, really awesome.)