Tuesday, December 25, 2007
If you visit http://abc.go.com/primetime/lost/missingpieces/index?pn=index, you'll find not one - but TWO newish mobisodes to check out. Here are my thoughts...
Remember a few weeks ago, when I wondered if Walt truly had any sort of special power, or if it was merely the Island acting on Walt's behalf, which then appeared as though Walt was the special one? Well, with this mobisode, I think it's pretty safe to say that my musings was totally wrong, as this episode seems to prove that Walt, at the very least, has some power over birds (maybe he is the equivalent of the "Heart" guy on Captain Planet?).
"Room 23" also served to clear up a few plot points, and muddy a few more. We learned that the Others kept Walt on Alcatraz Island, rather than the main Island (so there really was NO CHANCE of Michael or any of the rest of our Survivors finding him). But more than that, they kept him in Room 23, which somewhat changes my interpretation of the purpose of the room.
Previously, we had seen Room 23 (lovingly referred by me as "The Rave Room") used as a mind-bending, brain-washing, soul-stealing room where Krazy Karl was subjected to glaring techno music and rapid-fire subliminal images about loving Jacob and not being enslaved by time and space. My assumption was that this room was used to "break people", to turn them into mindless followers of Ben / Jacob and the ways of the Others, rather than being an individual who would question the way things worked. However, we have heard that Walt was being subjected to "tests", rather than simply brainwashed into being an Other. I guess it's always possible that Walt was held in multiple rooms over the course of his time with the Others - but it's more likely that Room 23 served as a multi-purpose room for any "secret" Other activities - testing "special" children, brainwashing rebels, and hosting Other holiday functions.
On the other hand, who is to say that the ultimate purpose of the Others wasn't to transform Walt into a card carrying member of their crazy cult, just like Zack and Emma, who seemed a little to calm and content for my liking during their brief appearance in early Season Three.
At any rate, it's pretty clear that Walt's powers freaked everyone out. If the Others had previously performed tests on children to see if they were "special", then Walt was the most special of them all. This helps explain why they would actually agree to let him go even though he proved to have powers - he was almost "too special" for their liking. Too powerful, too dangerous, and too freaking weird.
On a side note, this mobisode got me thinking - are we ever going to see Walt on the Island again? Even though Michael is coming back, I think the answer here is a pretty big "no way". Instead, I think the Lost creators were actually pretty genius in dealing with the character. They knew that in casting a child, he would age much faster than he should on the Island.
Luckily, they knew that portions of the series would "flash forward" to the future eventually, which would be PERFECT for the actor - who would look exactly like he should for a child a few years in the future. Will Walt appear on the show again? Absolutely - but just in the future / present of the flash forward.
Arzt and Crafts
Well, I suppose all good things must come to an end sometime (but don't burn the day away).
After a string of absolutely fantastic Lost mobisodes, along comes "Arzt and Crafts" - which is nice, but doesn't really give us much to ponder like the past few clips. It's nice to see Arzt again, and the clip hints at some of the struggles Sun had in keeping her English-speaking away from Jin, but nothing about this clip changes our perception of anything that has happened on Lost. Arzt (and we can assume other Survivors) did question the leadership credentials of Jack, just like Sun and Jin (and we can assume other Survivors) did question the relationship between Boone and Shannon.
This one definitely felt like a deleted scene from a DVD - totally unnecessary, and totally worthy of being cut from the final product.
...and I'm back caught up! Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I know I'm one behind on my "Lost: Missing Pieces", but this can't wait. You know that "Season Four Trailer" I posted below? Well it just got blown away by this new 1:46 second preview that gives us more glimpses into the new season than we could have ever hoped for.
I'll update with my thoughts and theories tonight - but I couldn't resist posting this up this morning. I've watched it about five times, and each time I get chills and keep thinking "Lost is going to end up being the greatest story that has ever been told." Maybe they're right - absence does make the heart grow fonder!
Friday, December 14, 2007
Sure, there's a chance that it ends up being Godzilla meets Blair Witch, and is just another lame movie about NYC getting destroyed (how about we pick on another city once in a while? Topeka, Kansas - you're next!) - but you can't deny the overall atmosphere that is created by the various clips that have leaked out through the previews. It's not like a movie - it's like you're living through the experience. With each additional clip I see, I find myself sitting on the edge of my seat, and ending feeling kinda weird - like I was somehow affected by it.
At any rate, I digress. Something that they call "the first five minutes" of the movie are now out on the Internet - which is pretty misleading because it's more like "a five minute montage of portions of the first twenty minutes of the movie" - but whatever. It will give you an idea of how awesome this movie just might be.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
All sorts of puzzling shots are presented in the clip in a rapid-fire fashion to make you think "wait a minute, did I just see that?" Such as...
- Sawyer with a gun to Ben's head.
- Some sort of freaky skeleton animal head with big honkin' teeth.
- Some sort of cow-like animal standing in a field.
- The number 6 - front and center - just like what flashed in earlier previews.
- Clean-cut Charlie!
As always, chances are these small snippets are meant to be misleading - just like the average Lost preview on ABC - but it's still fun to pore over. Discuss!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
"Operation: Sleeper" fills us in on how Juliet finally revealed her true intentions to Jack, which places it during "The Brig", Lost-timeline-wise. If you remember, during the end of the episode, Juliet asks Jack if they can reveal their plan to Kate, but Jack tells her "not yet".
The most intriguing part of the Mobisode for me is that Juliet mentions that Ben was responsible for blowing up the submarine. Jack immediately calls her out on the comment, saying that Ben was in a wheelchair, and Locke actually blew it up - to which Juliet replies "did he?"
Once again, there are hints that Locke is simply a puppet completing the wishes of the Island, and at least Juliet seems to think that Ben has some link to the Island - meaning in the end, Ben was indirectly responsible for Locke's actions.
It's pretty heady, and I'm not sure that I buy it, especially given Ben's lack of seeing Jacob during the confrontation at the old shack. But the fact that Juliet still believes it just helps to explain why Ben had (the key word here being HAD) such power over the Others. They saw him as having some sort of powerful connection with the Island - and with that connection came the ability to have things always work out in his favor.
It will be interesting to see how Ben reacts to the recent loss of power in the upcoming fourth season - he truly will be an outsider to all parties. Our Survivors hate him. The Others have lost respect for him. Yet, he might be the most knowledgable person on the Island - the one most able to help get our Survivors off the Island... and the one most able to "protect" the Island from outsiders.
He's the wild card and the key... and he's still creepy as hell!
Monday, December 03, 2007
So what was great? Well, this little mobisode actually chronologically marks Juliet's Lost debut! It's also the first time we've seen Michael since he was sailing off in the finale of Season Two with Walt.
Things to ponder:
1. Juliet repeats the comments we've heard from others about Walt being "special". We've seen hints of this "special-ness" over the years, but the more I think about it, the more I'm wondering - is Walt actually special? Or is it the Island that is special, and Walt is merely a member of Team Island, similar to John Locke? As we saw in the Season Three finale, the Island seemingly took on the form of Walt... and perhaps all the times "Walt appeared where he wasn't supposed to be" were simply similar manifestations of the Island. Heck, maybe the Island likes Walt, and therefore has been responsible for the seeming "granting" of his wishes while on the Island.
If you really wanted to get crazy, you could go so far to say that the Island inspired Ben to get caught by our Survivors as part of a master scheme to get Walt off the Island!
On the other hand, it seems as though Juliet actually buys in that Walt does have some innate special power, explaining her desire for Michael to take him away from the Island as soon as possible. However, since Juliet isn't really a true Island "believer" herself, this might make sense.
2. The other item we're reminded of in "The Deal" is Juliet's "deal" with Ben concerning her sister Rachel. Although the true details of the story could be debated (since Ben is a dirty liar and can't be trusted), allegedly he cured Rachel of her cancer in exchange for Juliet staying on the Island until she solves the mystery of the barren ladies (wasn't that a Sherlock Holmes story?).
(Brian's take? Ben simply faked the medical documents claiming that Rachel had cancer. The easiest way to cure cancer is simply to pretend that they have it in the first place! Juliet was gullible for falling for it.)
3. Lastly, we have a bit of somber foreshadowing, as Juliet mentions to Michael that she would do anything to save her sister, and he should do the same for Walt. Hello killing of Ana-Lucia and Libby.
That's all for this week. Keep up the good work mobisoders (mobsters?).
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Taking place during the timeline of "The Man From Tallahassee", this episode features a few bits of Losty goodness packed into two mintues of video. The two main points?
1. Ben comments that he "won't prevent Jack from getting home", but that he can't vouch for the Island doing the same. Although Jack laughs him off, questioning how the Island could "sink the sub", it turns out to be horrible irony since that's exactly what happens.
If you think about it, John Locke (a member of Team Island - remember that theory from months ago) is basically acting as the body for the desires of the Island / Jacob / Whatever The Heck is Going On. Locke blowing up the sub is the equivalent of the Island blowing up the sub - so Ben was absolutely right.
However, I don't think it was so much that the Island wanted Jack to stay - as much as it didn't want Jack's departure to lead to others finding the Island... but we all know that didn't work out so well either. Perhaps the Island would have been better off letting Jack escape on the sub - it may have at least bought a little more time before Jack and his inevitable search party returned, as opposed to Jack swiping Naomi's walkie-talkie and calling the calvary.
2. Ben hints that even if Jack does leave, he may regret it - wanting to return to the Island someday, but not being able to. Again with the irony, this is precisly what we saw during the flashforward of "Through the Looking Glass". How did Ben know that this could potentially happen? Did he truly realize the paradise of the Island, or had others made this same mistake in the past?
Either way, it seems to lend some weight to the theory that Ben was the person in the coffin during the Season Three finale. Ben represented someone who understood the power of the Island, and warned Jack about leaving. Jack, living what looks to be a miserable post-Island existence would have totally regreted his decision to leave the Island, proving Ben right... and Ben's death just might spurn Jack to drastically and suddenly reach out to Kate about going back.
(Also, allegedly Ben cheats at the game of chess with his last move. I'm no Deep Blue, but I'll take Lostpedia's word for it. Just goes to show that Ben appears to be a man of his word, but is really someone that would cheat in order to win. Juliet was right, he is a liar!)
Monday, November 19, 2007
This week brings the ridiculously titled "Adventures of Hurley and Frogurt". For those who don't remember (like me, before I checked out Lostpedia), Frogurt is the nickname for a Lostie who apparently used to sell frozen yogurt before the crash. He was referenced once by Bernard as someone who was helping him build his giant rock "S.O.S" on the beach, but never seen... until now.
It turns out his real name is Neil, and he is about as freaky looking as Ethan!
Could this be the introduction of a new Survivor? Perhaps, but I'm hoping it's actually meant to serve another purpose.
This scene takes place right before the dual-murders of "Two for the Road", and shows that the pseudo-cute Libby had more than one potential suitors in the Lost Camp. For me, this two minute scene serves not to introduce Frogurt - but to remind the audience of Libby.
If you think about it, Libby is the only Survivor to die that didn't get a proper conclusion to her story. There is still a ton that we don't know about her, but the Lost producers have promised that someday we would get to know why she was in the mental institution with Hurley and her possible connections with Dharma.
Here's hoping those answers come this season (maybe even in the 8 episodes already in the can?), and that "The Adventures of Hurley and Frogurt" serves as a mini-reminder of Libby for all the die-hard fans out there.
(PS - here's also hoping that the resumed talks between the writers and studios today lead to progress, and Lost gets its full 16 episode season in the spring! Please!)
Monday, November 12, 2007
In a nutshell, we learn that Christian Shepherd approves of Jack's marriage - something his father didn't do for him - and that the watch Jack wears actually has some significance. The fact that Jack is still wearing it today, on the Island, where time has no meaning, might prove that Jack still isn't over Sarah - a year after their divorce... or that he's wearing it out of dedication to his recently deceased father... or that it's a really nice watch and he likes to flash a little bling now and again.
And that's really the big question for us watching these mobisodes - should we even be trying to dig into some deeper meaning? Or to just take them at face value, as simple vignettes that help flesh out some character's pasts? To me, they feel like a "deleted scene" from an episode, similar to what you see on a lot of DVDs - the production value isn't as polished (didn't it seem like the camera work was a little jumpy?) and not viewing it doesn't detract at all from the final product, but for the ultra-obsessive (me), they're required viewing to know the characters inside and out.
Here's my hope - remember how we got those "Lost Moments" last year before Season Three started? And the first few were laughably lame, but then a few were pretty mind-blowing reveals? Maybe we'll be lucky enough to have the same thing happen here.
If not, at least it's good to see our old Lost friends again, if only for two minute intervals tossing rocks into the ocean.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Remember me? I used to write about a little TV show called “Lost”. Then the scheduling gods decided to put it on hiatus for nine months (or more?), resulting in this Blog becoming a desolate wasteland used for the sporadic TV rant / wedding proposal. Do you realize that I only posted ONE TIME in the months of September and October? That’s unacceptable, and I apologize.
But somehow, you guys have stuck with me. Somehow, I’ve still gotten twenty thousand hits over the course of the past two months (crossing the 400,000 mark!). This either means you guys need a hobby, or you are desperate to talk television.
I’m going to assume it’s the later, and am here to do something about it. We’ll see how this goes.
With the ongoing writers’ strike, we may be only a few weeks away from having absolutely no original scripted television on TV – a frightening thought. The good news is that those Lost “mobisodes” (mobile episodes – not mob / mafia episodes) start up this Monday, providing us the first fresh tastes of Lost that we’ve had in ages!
Expect them to be posted, and commented on - even if they are only three minutes long. Hey, at the very least, it’ll give us something new to talk about.
For now, I leave you with this priceless picture. This pretty much sums up why we should all be behind the writers in the strike:
Monday, September 17, 2007
8:00 - Prison Break (FOX) - Returning Favorite - September 17th
Last year, "Prison Break" proved that it wasn't a one-act story, and could continue delivering exciting plotlines outside the walls of Fox River Penitentiary. In fact, by the end of the season, Prison Break had firmly wrenched away the "most exciting show on TV" title away from the fading "24". Although there were a few slower episodes, and some pretty absurd plot points (especially how all the characters kept running into each other - isn't America a little bigger than that?), the show proved that it was willing to take chances - killing off main characters, moving the action to Panama for the uber-exciting season ending story arc, and throwing Michael back in prison before the season came to a close.
Having watched the first episode, I can safely say that the show remains as intense as ever. Once again there are some of the aforementioned crazy coincidences (Michael, Billick, Mahone, and T-Bag all in the same prison? Really?), but they somehow make the storyline work. We also have the interesting twist of Michael being on the inside of Prison and Lincoln being on the outside of Prison trying to get him out. The Panamanian Prison offers the opportunity to introduce some new characters, and I anxiously await the inevitable "Michael and Mahone join forces to escape / take down the Corporation" storyline.
During the first season of Prison Break, I read somewhere that the show's creators only saw the show lasting "two or three seasons" due to the nature of the storyline. I hope they keep to their word, and don't drag the show on unnecessarily long for the sake of ratings - because as good as Prison Break is right now, if we have an entire season of Michael breaking out of prison (again), it's going to start feeling like a rerun. I'm hoping this is the last season for the show - and they spend the first half of the year with a tight storyline about Michael getting out of Panamanian prison, and then the second half of the year is devoted to resolving the mystery surrounding their father and the Corporation (a storyline which has faded recently, but really should be front and center).
8:00 - Chuck (NBC) - Promising - September 24th
From creator Josh Schwartz (of "The O.C." fame) comes a show that I can only describe as Seth Cohen meets Alias. It's slick, it's exciting, it's funny, and probably has the highest potential to succeed in the fall based on its timeslot right before Heroes. The same males aged 18-34 that turned Heroes into one of the top rated shows on TV (read: nerds) are going to love this show. The premise is pretty simple - Chuck, an average guy working at the "Nerd Herd" (Geek Squad) at "Buy More" (Best Buy) receives a strange Email from a former college roommate, and unknowingly winds up with all the government's secrets stored inside his memory as a series of images. It's not as weird as that sounds, I promise.
Suddenly Chuck becomes instantly valuable to both the CIA and NSA (represented by the quite attractive Yvonne Strzechowski and the "not actually a Baldwin brother" Adam Baldwin), who are both trying to gain information from Chuck to use to help combat the bad guys of the world. These characters are nicely balanced by Chuck's best friend Morgan, sister Ellie, and her husband Captain Awesome (you're skeptical, but this name actually makes sense, and provides a number of laughs in the first episode). It's similar to the personal / professional life conflicts that we saw on Alias, but from a "nerd" perspective.
I was a huge fan of The O.C. in its early years, and a lot of it has to do with Josh Schwartz. I hope he learned from the mistakes of The O.C. (most notably, burning through too many storylines too fast) - which results in a great first season, but then mediocre follow-up seasons since you're out of material - because by the end of the first episode, you can easily see how "Chuck" could offer both solid stand-alone episodes, as well as larger story arcs that could give the show legs for years.
9:00 - Heroes (NBC) - Returning Favorite - September 24th
Oh "Heroes", you were a kickass season finale away from delivering one of the best first seasons of any television show in recent memory. Instead, we got a season finale that was probably less exciting than a regular episode, leaving some viewers with a bad taste in their mouth over the summer. But in its first season, creator/writer Tim Kring proved that he could deliver exciting individual episodes while still focusing on an overall story arc for the entire season. Sure, the dialogue could be downright laughable at times, and it can sometimes slip into unrealistic comic fanboy territory, but on the whole it was a mighty entertaining television program.
Looking ahead to the second season, there is no reason to be anything but excited for the future. Hopefully Kring has come up with a way to keep the characters together and interacting with a single cohesive storyline. As much fun as the first season was to see the characters' individual storylines, and how they each eventually came into contact with each other - now that they're all together, I can't imagine each of them going off in their own separate ways. While part of me is a little afraid of the whole "Hiro in the past" storyline taking center stage (in my opinion, Hiro is best when used sparingly), I’m excited that David Anders (aka, Sark from Alias fame) is joining the cast - although I have no idea how the very Anglo Anders is going to play a 1,000 year old Japanese Warrior. Initially, not killing Sylar in the finale seemed like a bit of a cop-out, but I must admit that I'm excited to have his character back, since he's one of the most intriguing on the show. With the addition of another "big bad" (referenced by the creepy girl in the season finale), we might have an even more action packed season than last year.
8:00 - Beauty and the Geek (CW) - Returning Favorite - September 18th
Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, both a little scared, neither one prepared, Beauty and the Geek. Ashton Kucher's "great social experiment" is back for a third season, and it will once again have a place on my DVR schedule. It's a simple concept, but I can't help but watch with fascination as superficial hotties learn that they're actually vapid and shallow while mega-nerds learn how to wear stylish clothes and social skills. What's not to like? You have pretty girls, challenges that make you feel better about yourself (since you're probably smarter / more handy / more social than the contestants on the show), and unlike most reality shows, the contestants generally become better people over the course of the show.
If that wasn't enough, this season features not one, but TWO geeks from Cincinnati!
(No, I'm not one of them - although if I was, my subtitle would be "Runs Internationally-Known Lost Blog")
8:00 - Pushing Daisies (ABC) - Promising - October 3rd
I love "Pushing Daisies". It's witty, visually stunning, and heartwarming. That's why it breaks my heart that I know it won't last on network TV.
Why not? Well, here's the premise: the main character, Ned, is a pie maker with the ability to bring dead people back to life by touching them - but there's a catch. When he touches them a second time, they're dead forever. If he doesn't touch them a second time within a minute of touching them the first time, they stay alive - but someone else in the close proximity dies. This leads to some interesting problems (Ned can't pet his dog), some light moral dilemmas (should Ned let one person live at the expense of another?), and a lucrative business at solving murders (by bringing the dead temporarily to ask who killed them).
See the problem? Pitch that premise to 90% of America, and they instantly tune out the show, which is a shame - because this is the best show of the fall.
The first thing that will grab you is the visuals. The Future Wife described them as similar to the movie Big Fish, which is a great comparison. The sets are different and interesting - almost like a Tim Burton movie on happy pills. I have never seen so much color in a television show in my life. It's unlike anything you've ever seen on a live action TV show. The show is guided by a voiceover - but unlike Grey's Anatomy or Scrubs, it's not the voice of any character on the show (at least not yet), and it's almost as though the voice is reading a poem rather than describing the events unfolding… and that's really how the show feels - like some sort of Dr. Seuss or Roald Dahl book come to life.
However, it never approaches being overly sappy, partially thanks to Chi McBride who acts as a Private Investigator working with Ned on solving murders to collect rewards. His straightforward, rational ways offer a nice counterbalance to Ned's idealistic views of the world. He also delivers some hilarious rapid-fire dialogue that gives the show a bit of an edge. If you watch the first episode and aren't smiling when it's over, you don’t have a soul. This is delightful TV.
(Note: the first two minutes of the show are among the most shocking in the history of television, and almost made me turn off Pushing Daisies instantly. Stick through it! It all works out within the first five minutes of the show.)
9:00 - Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares (FOX) - Promising - September 19th
This isn't really a new show, but rather the American version of the British show that I've been watching for two seasons now. In it, Gordon Ramsay (who you may know from "Hell's Kitchen" fame) visits troubled and failing restaurants and spends a week with them to try and turn things around. (SPOILER ALERT!!! The secret is always to simplify their menu and use simple, fresh ingredients!) However, don't go into it thinking that show is the "softer, gentler" side of Ramsay. Although he has the chefs and their restaurants in his best interests, you'll find that getting them to change their current ways often leads to some heated "discussions" in the kitchen, people quitting, or threatening Ramsay's life.
While I'll pretty much watch anything food related on TV (I have a problem, I know), there's something quite entertaining about seeing a behind the scenes view of a kitchen - especially one that is having issues, which seems to increase the craziness. Add in that you often find yourself rooting for these "underdog" restaurants that are often nearly going bankrupt, to change their ways and once again find success (what's more American that that?) and you have a recipe for success. The possibility of actually being able to visit these restaurants at some point in real life is an added bonus.
Come to Cincinnati, Gordon!
10:00 - Top Chef (BRAVO) - Returning Favorite - Now Playing
Okay, so apparently Wednesday is cooking show night for me. Good thing I have this Future Wife now to prove that I'm straight!
What can I say about Top Chef that I haven't already said? It gets the most talented chefs of any cooking show on TV, puts them in crazy and highly entertaining challenges, and spends more time on the food than on the drama between the contestants. We're currently down to the final 5 contestants of the third season, and if you haven't been watching so far, I'd recommend finding one of the marathons that Bravo seems to air at least once a weekend and catching up.
If you like food, you'll like Top Chef.
8:00 - My Name is Earl (NBC) - Returning Favorite - September 27th
Have you noticed what has been strangely absent from the Fall TV Preview so far? That's right, not a single half-hour comedy so far! That's because greedy NBC has crammed all the worthwhile ones into one night - "Must See TV", indeed!
Up first is "My Name is Earl", which is coming off a sophomore season that bettered the first in almost every way. The show remained as fresh and funny as ever, sometimes making me laugh more than "The Office" - crazy, I know. Although some people think it's crazy that the season ended with Earl in jail, and are expecting a quick exit at the start of the third season, I think it's pure genius. Due to his sketchy past, not only does Earl probably have a large number of "friends" in jail, but trying to spread his do-gooder attitude there will be harder than ever. It raises the difficulty level up a notch for Earl and his list, and opens the door for some very unique storylines.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Earl spend at least the first third of the season in prison.
8:30 - 30 Rock (NBC) - Returning Favorite - October 4th
Coming fresh off an Emmy win, here's hoping that "30 Rock" can do what "Arrested Development" couldn't - turn an Emmy win into a ratings increase. It’s a smart show that feels like “The Office” from time to time – in that its humor is often uncomfortable, but unlike The Office, 30 Rock contains many more “characters” – people who are so ridiculously over the top that they almost become unrealistic (Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, and Kenneth Parcell). In some cases this distracts from the show, but thanks to Tina Fey playing the normal character we can all relate to, the show works.
With any luck, this show will continue to improve (keep in mind that it actually got much better as last season went on – if this pace improves, it will be fantastic by mid-season) and last for a third season. If I were ranking the Thursday night comedies on NBC, this would come in at #4 – but it’s still better than any comedy you’ll see on CBS or ABC this fall. Plus, it’s right between Earl and the Office, so you don’t have to change channels. Laziness wins out!
9:00 - The Office (NBC) - Returning Favorite - September 27th
Put quite simply, “The Office” is head and shoulders above any other comedy on Network TV. It’s got the quirkiness of an “Arrested Development”, the romance of a “Friends”, and the water cooler buzz of a “Grey’s Anatomy” all rolled into one. Plus, it’s scarily crazy to the reality of working in an office, which adds an element of sadness to the show.
Last season saw the show seamlessly add new characters like Andy and Karen without taking time away from any of the fan favorites. These new players added some fresh new elements to the show that worked perfectly (Andy providing the “enemy” for Dwight, Karen adding the third point to the Jim and Pam love triangle) and provided a change of pace aside from all the traditional relationships on the show.
I enjoy that the writers don’t seem to be sitting comfortably with the current state of The Office, which might lead to eventually staleness. Instead, they’re doing things like promoting Ryan, firing Jan (and having her move in with Michael), and moving Karen out of the picture. This ever-changing face of the show helps keep the storylines rolling along realistically, without feeling forced. It shows the confidence that they have in what they’re doing, and aren’t afraid of taking risks.
Having said that, there is absolutely no way that the Jim and Pam relationship goes anywhere. I can’t point to any forthcoming obstacles that would keep them apart, but there simply must be one. Keeping them together would make the show a little too “relationshipy”, which isn’t what The Office is all about. Rather, it’s about pointing out how insane the corporate world really is, and providing an endless stream of quotes for each of us to use at our jobs on a daily basis.
9:00 - Grey's Anatomy (ABC) - Returning Favorite - September 27th
Grey’s Anatomy, you’re on notice.
After a fantastic second season which catapulted the show into the most watched show on TV, Grey’s took a definite step backwards last season. The storylines were depressing, seemed to drag on, and almost seemed overshadowed by the off camera action of its cast members. In my mind, this was never more apparent than the season finale, where a full season’s worth of plotting around Cristina and Burke’s wedding was thrown away – possibly for the sake of kicking Isaiah Washington off the show for his “fights” with cast members. The audience invested a heck of a lot of time in that storyline for it to have zero payoff. But enough about last year, how does this season look?
Well, it somewhat concerns me that the most likeable female character on the show, Addison, is leaving for her a spin-off, leaving us with three semi-annoying female leads, and the always solid Dr. Bailey. It worries me that they are introducing Meredith’s sister as an intern / potential love interest for McDreamy – that’s borderline afternoon soap opera storyline, isn’t it? I also wonder how long the show can continue to have such a small core of characters make up and break up.
I hope I’m wrong. When Grey’s is at its best, it’s a quite compelling hour of TV that can make you laugh, cry, and feel good about life in general. I just saw very few of these flashes of brilliance last year. But due to its water cooler presence, it’ll probably stay on my radar through at least the fall (the scary alternative: do actual work from 8:00 – 8:30 on Friday morning. No thank you!).
9:30 - Scrubs (NBC) - Returning Favorite - September 27th
After a real resurgent fifth season, which I would rank as the best since season two, “Scrubs” took a bit of a step backwards last year as well. There were still a number of high quality episodes (the musical comes to mind), but there were also a lot that just seemed like they were walking through the motions. Each character would do their shtick, there would be a lesson learned from a patient, and cool indie music would play in the background. But most of the episodes didn’t stick with you the way that the "classic" episodes from the early seasons did.
This being the final season of the show, Scrubs is given a chance to redeem itself and go out on the top of its game. In reality, I’m just thankful they have the opportunity to do so. For a while, it looked like the show would be cancelled due to lower than desired ratings and the growing draw of major motion pictures for Zach Braff. Thankfully the gang is all back together and show creator Bill Lawrence seems like he’ll be much more involved.
But regardless of what happens in this last season, it’s safe to say that Scrubs will go down as one of my Top 10 favorite television shows of all time. I’ll be sad to see it go.
Monday Through Thursday
11:30 – Colbert Report (COMEDY CENTRAL) – Returning Favorite – Now Playing
I would be amiss if I didn’t also mention “The Colbert Report”, which isn’t really a traditional “Fall TV Show” since it doesn’t really have a season – but does offer more comedic bang for your buck than any other show on TV. With hundreds of episodes produced each year, The Report is always there for you, waiting on your DVR to give you at least a few laugh out loud moments in the early hours of a weekend morning or the early evening hours during dinner.
Stephen Colbert deserves some kind of award – I’m just not sure what. His character on the show is a total act, yet he plays it straight through the news stories and interviews. Does that make him a traditional variety show “host”, an “actor”, or some crazy hybrid of the two? Whatever he is, in my mind this makes him more gifted than Jon Stewart and David Letterman combined. From having airplanes, mascots, and endangered species named after him, to getting into fights with rebel billionaires, Colbert mixes these elements of his “character” in with the usual satire of the news to produce a half hour of pure entertainment.
It’s a smart show that requires a firm grasp of current events to get the jokes – but it also requires dedicated viewing to understand some of the ongoing storylines that also fit into jokes. This has created an insanely dedicated fan base, which has used its power to change Wikipedia articles, win Hungarian bridge naming contests, and even prompted Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to warn Democrats to stay away from Colbert.
I can’t think of any television personality who has ever commanded such power, and Colbert uses it to his utmost advantage. With the upcoming 2008 elections, I can’t even wait to see what’s coming up next. It’s Colbert’s world, we just live in it.
So there you have it, roughly 10 hours of television that you ought to be watching each week. Yes, there are some other shows that could have made the cut (“Reaper”, “Friday Night Lights”) or some I’m probably not watching due to the lack of premium cable channels – but in my mind this represents the best and brightest that the world of TV has to offer. If nothing else, if you watch these shows, it will help you forget that Lost isn’t coming back for another five months.
(Speaking of which, I’m still undecided as to how I’ll handle the Blog for these upcoming five months, so if you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them below!)
Saturday, August 11, 2007
For everyone else, hear me out. Everything I’m about to comment on comes directly from the mouths of Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. The logic here (put to vote on the Message Board, where literally 100% of voters told me it was okay to discuss this) is that if the show’s creators, who are extremely spoiler-averse, are willing to talk about these points – then why shouldn’t we?
I’m talking of course about the big annual nerd-fest of Comic-Con, which has somehow gone mainstream to the point where all sorts of non-comic book things are discussed there, like TV shows and movies. Although cameras were illegal at the event, somehow the full Lost press conference ended up on YouTube. Since we’ll be discussing it, I thought it might be good for you to watch it before going any farther. If not, my thoughts can serve as a sort of “Cliff Notes” for it, saving you an hour of you life.
The Others. One of the first questions was related to The Others, and the possibility that they might be good guys. As you know, this has been one of my favorite theories since the early days of Lost. In fact, my earliest predicted Series Finale of Lost involved our Survivors finally overcoming the Others only to realize that they’ve just doomed themselves / the world. Pretty upbeat, right?
Well, initially Damon and Carlton seem to confirm that The Others will NOT turn out to be good guys. In fact, they almost go so far as to hint that we might be done with The Others, with the death-filled Season Three finale “showdown” serving as the exclamation point on the conflict. I find this a little hard to believe. Ben will clearly still be a big part of the show, and there are still some big questions concerning The Others (more on this later).
But then when you listen a little more, maybe The Others aren’t so bad after all. We’re reminded that we root for the Survivors because they’re pretty. When Sawyer is beating someone up, we think he’s dreamy. When Tom is beating someone up, we think he’s a monster. So are The Others really the bad guys? Or are they just the “other guys”, which we force into a “bad guy” role since we refuse to believe that our pretty Survivors could be anything but good? Or, are we, the viewers of Lost, the “bad guys” for judging people based on looks? So many social commentaries, so little time.
Michael. The big news was actually broke a few days prior to Comic-Con by ABC President Steve McPherson – Michael will be back on Lost as a series regular next season. How? When? Why? Here’s what I’m thinking:
According to the Lostpedia Timeline, Michael and Walt left the Island on the world’s shoddiest boat on November 27th. At the end of the third season, it’s December 23rd. For me, that doesn’t seem like enough time for Michael to make it back to civilization, gather a rescue party, and return to the Island. So that leaves one of two options:
1. Michael has been going around in circles, similar to what Desmond reported, because they are all inside a “snow globe”, and finally gave up and came back to the Island.
2. Michael ran into another ship along the way, and is coming back to the Island with them.
Smart money is on Michael being onboard Naomi’s Crew’s Ship (the SS NCS). But keep in mind, it’s not as though he just happened upon some random ship. No, the ship was clearly searching for the Island… or someone on the Island. The ship is outfitted with a helicopter, futuristic iPhone, the picture of Desmond, etc. In fact, it Michael might not have even found the ship – what if the ship found him?
Assuming that they were heading for the coordinates revealed by the Hatch Implosion, they would be in the general area of the Island, looking for anything. If they saw a ship come up on their radar (very similar to the way this same ship showed up on Sayid’s radar on the Raft during the first season finale), they would head for it – possibly assuming that the ship was coming or going to the Island. They could have picked up Michael and Walt, gotten information from them, and brought them along for the ride.
The other thing to keep in mind here, is that if the SS NCS isn’t Penny’s Boat, and is possibly an enemy of the Island / Dharma / the Others, Michael might think he’s doing a good deed, but in reality is doing a very bad thing by attempting to “rescue” everyone.
However, since Damon talks about Michael’s storyline being about “redemption”, I don’t see how he gains it without actually saving everyone – unless it’s through some sort of self-sacrifice. Keep in mind that he’s killed two people. The only way I know of to achieve redemption for such a crime is by dying to save someone else. I’ll go ahead and put Michael on the top of the Death Watch 2008 List right now.
It should also be noted, this brings up an interesting thought about the Walt that we saw during the Third Season Finale. If Michael is back, isn’t it possible that he’s already back on the Island, and that could have been the real Walt, rather than Island Spirit Walt? Yes, it’s possible – but not likely. Recall how cryptically Walt talked to Locke and the fact that Michael wasn’t with him. So will the real Walt return, along with Papa Mikey?
I don’t really see how Michael could return without Walt unless the two actually did make it back to the mainland, Michael dropped Walt off, and then formed this search party for the Island… but if that were the case, you would think the search party would be some sort of government / military operation, and the SS NCS definitely appears to be something more sinister.
But with Walt back, the producers will again be forced to deal with the rapid aging of the actor over the course of one month Island time – and I would think that if he was back, they would have made an announcement about that as well. Very interesting. I’m not sure what the logical way to write Walt out of the story and bring Michael back to the Island is – but I’m excited to find out.
Flashforwards. We finally got our confirmation that Lost will feature both flashbacks and flashforwards next season, confirming my hope that the storyline would continue progressing from the point we left off, with the SS NCS arriving. As Damon and Carlton mention, the intriguing thing is going to be who gets the flashforwards and who doesn’t (which would seem to indicate who lives and dies), as well as how far forward. It also turns out Lost isn’t going to end, timeline-wise, with the super depressing Jack and Kate’s airport scene wrapping up the series (boo!). While I don’t think this means that we’re going to have some “Jack returns to the Island” flashforward, as many readers had hoped for, maybe Jack will find some sort of peace in his post-Island life… even though I’m rooting against it.
The Flashforwards remain one the most genius writing ideas ever – allowing each character to receive a full story arc while saving the most exciting parts of the story until the end. I’m very excited to see the post-Island portion of the story, especially since it will save us from yet another Jack flashback. Tip of the hat.
Siblings. Apparently Jack and Claire will find out they are brother and sister in Season Four. How? I have to assume this information will come from the Others or from the SS NCS, both of whom have a wealth of information about our Survivors. I could do without this storyline. Here’s hoping it doesn’t eat up a full hour of our remaining 48.
Ben. On the other hand, a storyline that I would gladly devote a full hour to is the story of how Ben got caught. Apparently, it was an accident, totally throwing my previous theories about his actions inside the Swan Hatch out the window. Damon promises that we’ll learn why Ben was heading across the Island – but hopefully we then also get some understanding surrounding his actions regarding the 108 Button.
Remember, he entered the code, but then told Locke that he didn’t. Maybe Ben is forward-thinking enough to realize that this would plant the seed of doubt in Locke’s mind, eventually leading to the Implosion (once he was safely away), which he could then use as a front for why communication broke down, helping to keep the potentially wayward Others in line behind him – but if he’s smart enough to figure all this out, wouldn’t he be smart enough to avoid the trap in the first place?
Rachel. For the Lost Experience nerds out there, Rachel is not going to end up on the Island. What a wasted question. Wag of the finger.
Richard Alpert. I’m not sure exactly how we go about doing this, but we need to bring down the upcoming fall show “Cane”. Since Nestor Carbonell is on the show, as long as it’s on, the odds of us seeing Richard Alpert on Lost are pretty slim, especially since the shows are on different networks. This is especially crushing since Alpert is the only confirmed Island Original that we have, and was one of the most intriguing characters on the show. I also don’t know how the writers will explain his absence among the Others, but I’d bet they quickly introduce some other Island Original to explain the whole “lack of aging” storyline that Alpert introduced.
Still, I’d much rather just have Alpert back, so we should all begin spreading vicious rumors about “Cane”, and telling all our family and friends to boycott the show. Pray for the show to fail. I plan on hanging the following signs all over town. I encourage you to do the same:
Questions. One of the more genius questions from the comic book nerds was “What questions are we not asking that we ought to be?” Apparently these things:
Who’s in the coffin? Harold thinks it’s Michael – which makes a ton of sense (the black neighborhood, having a teenage son) – but suicide isn’t quite the “hero’s death” I would think required for Michael to get redemption... and why wouldn’t any of his family or friends be there? Was he shunned when his actions on the Island were revealed?
Who’s on that freighter out there? What do they want with the Island? This is my biggest question for the next season, and has the potential to dramatically shift the show the same way that the Hatch did in Season Two, opening up even more of the mythology of the show. I’m still leaning towards this setting up the “Battle for the Island” with our Survivors caught in the middle.
Kate and Jack got off the Island – did anyone else? The answer here would seem to be “yes”, unless all our flashforwards are Kate and Jack-centric, but as I mentioned, it will be interesting to see how the writers handle the flashforwards. I would think it would have to be very cautiously, to ensure that we have the high drama in the on-Island action with lives hanging in the balance that we had at the end of last season.
What about the skeletons from Season One? Said in a slightly punny manner to the hardcore fans in the audience, we’ve been told they are proof that the writers actually had this story planned from the start – but after the season finale, I don’t think many are doubting this anymore. As for the answer, your guess is as good as mine. I don’t think we have enough clues to even start guessing at this point.
Is Penny going to be on the Island? Penny is a puzzle. I was counting on this for most of the third season, yet at the end of the season, we found that she wasn’t on the Island or on the SS NCS – but if she got the coordinates from the Hatch Implosion, you would think she also would be actively searching for the Island and Desmond. Maybe her ship will show up as a sort of “Deus ex machina” during the “Battle for the Island”. I would also like an explanation as to how she just happened to show up on the video monitor inside the Looking Glass during the finale… aside from “it was necessary for the storyline”.
Libby. The intention is to wrap up Libby’s storyline this year. I’m not sure how this theory gained so much traction, because there really weren’t that many clues pointing towards it – but people are thinking she’s somehow tied in with Dharma – which would make her donation of a boat to Desmond all the more mysterious. I’m racking my brain trying to think of what other character’s flashbacks she could show up in to fully explain her storyline, and I can’t come up with any – so perhaps our Survivors stumble upon some information about her through the Others or SS NCS, in the same way they find out about Jack and Claire being step-siblings.
CFL. Although we’re going to get a CFL flashback eventually, it didn’t sound overly-promising for that sometime to be this year. Rather, next year is looking more likely. Carlton mentions that there are some very important things revealed in her storyline that need to be synched up first. After seeing the puzzle pieces fall together with the wire on the beach / Looking Glass / Radio Tower in the season finale, I know exactly what they mean.
SPOILERS. Be on the lookout! By the time the fourth season premieres, the first 10 episodes will already be complete… which means there will be an unprecedented amount of spoilers this spring. I urge you to err on the side of caution and avoid any “fringe” Lost websites that might inadvertently spoil you. I’m hopeful that after the backlash from the season finale spoiler, the Lost community will come together and realize that spoilers are the devil’s TV Guide.
Smokey. When asked what we should call Smokey, Damon and Carlton said that Radzinski and Kelvin called it Cerebrus Vents, which was Dharma’s name for “the Monster”. I like Smokey better. They also confirmed that we will definitively receive satisfying answers of what it is, who made it, and what motivates it… but I’m guessing those are at least two seasons away.
Finally, they ended the panel with a video – an Orientation Video for “The Orchid” station. Initially, I took this to be a joke – but some people on the Internet seem to think it’s legit, so we’ll analyze appropriately:
Narrated by Edgar Halowax (i.e. Marvin Candle / Mark Wickmund), we learn that “The Orchid” station is used for animal testing. However, due to the highly volatile, potentially dangerous nature of the tests, those who work there lie to their family and colleagues, who think the tests surround botany. There are some weird scenes with everyone freaking out over a numbered rabbit (just like Ben’s), and then the video cuts out.
Why do I think it’s just for fun? Well, we’ve seen no mention of the Orchid before, and it wasn’t on the Blast Door Map. There’s also an air of humor throughout the video, like it’s an outtake from a real Orientation Video. But the one interesting thing mentioned is a “Casimir Effect”. I had no idea what this was, but after doing some research, found something quite interesting:
In physics, the Casimir effect or Casimir-Polder force is a physical force exerted between separate objects, which is due to neither charge, gravity, nor the exchange of particles, but instead is due to resonance of all-pervasive energy fields in the intervening space between the objects. This is sometimes described in terms of virtual particles interacting with the objects, due to the mathematical form of one possible way of calculating the strength of the effect. Since the strength of the force falls off rapidly with distance it is only measurable when the distance between the objects is extremely small. On a submicron scale, this force becomes so strong that it becomes the dominant force between uncharged conductors. Indeed at separations of 10 nm — about a hundred times the typical size of an atom — the Casimir effect produces the equivalent of 1 atmosphere of pressure (101.3 kPa). The van der Waals force between a pair of neutral atoms is a similar effect. In modern theoretical physics, the Casimir effect plays an important role in the chiral bag model of the nucleon; and in applied physics, it is becoming increasingly important in the development of the ever-smaller, miniaturised components of emerging micro- and nano-technologies.
A similar analysis can be used to explain Hawking radiation that causes the slow "evaporation" of black holes (although this is generally visualized as the escape of one particle from a virtual particle-antiparticle pair, the other particle having been captured by the black hole).
What does all that medical mumbo-jumbo mean? Well, it just might be an explanation for what Smokey is (explained by pseudo-science!) – which might mean that this Orchid station is responsible for Smokey’s creation (an experiment gone terribly, terribly wrong – just like we all hoped!), and it would help explain why at least some of the Others (Juliet) don’t really know what Smokey is – since the experiments from the Orchid were kept secret.
In the end, I come down on the side of parody for the video. But with Lost, even parodies can contain little hints of things to come.
Dru already started a thread to discuss this on the Message Board. Way to make my life easier, Dru!
All others, the comment section is now open.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
I've now joined the ranks of such "evil" websites as hotmail.com and espn.com. My Blog is now blocked at work. Behold!
I've been "deemed inappropriate for bank usage"!
I'd like to think that my Blog finally triggered some sort of warning system due to the high number of co-workers visiting the site each day... and shutting it down was thought to directly lead to more productivity and a higher stock price... but it's probably just another example of "the man" trying to hold me down by preventing me from receiving any sort of "entertainment" (read: happiness) while I'm supposed to be "working".
What does that mean for you? Well, it's going to make it trickier for me to post / comment while at work (only during my lunch hour, in case my boss is reading this). On the other hand, I can still freely get to the Message Board, so maybe that's all the more reason for you to visit it once Lost returns in 2008!
Saturday, July 21, 2007
It just really makes me ask the question, "Who is really off-base here? Me or them?" Because clearly we have very different views on what the definition of the word "Outstanding" means. To me, it means something that stands out for being excellent, not something that stands out for having high ratings or being simple to understand. I guess part of the problem is with the whole nomination process, which just shows that Emmy Voters don’t actually watch TV. Instead, each show must submit one episode that the voters (allegedly) watch, and base their voting off of that. Clearly, this skews votes to favor simpler shows with “standalone” episodes over more complex shows with season-long story arcs. I suppose it’s impossible for someone to watch every episode of every show (which would be the most fair way to determine the nominees – can’t we train robots to do this?), but it just seems like there is something fundamentally wrong with the whole process.
But I digress. Looking at the nominees, there are a number in each category that I can get behind, as well as some that leave me scratching my head. Without further ado, here is my annual Emmy rant...
Outstanding Comedy Series
- The Office
- 30 Rock
- Two And A Half Men
- Ugly Betty
Rant: Truth be told, television comedies are in a sad state. Entourage has its moments, but is also starting to feel a little stale. Ugly Betty is more of a “dramedy”, which makes it feel out of place here the same way that Desperate Housewives always felt out of place in this category.
Thank God for NBC’s Thursday night lineup, which in my mind contains the only comedies worth watching on major network TV. It’s good to see The Office and 30 Rock nominated, but disappointing to not see My Name is Earl, which had an outstanding season that delivered more consistent laughs than any other comedy this year. I probably would have also thrown in The Sarah Silverman Program, which was undeniably different, and at times absolutely hilarious.
Pick: The Office. While 30 Rock had some great episodes later in the season, it also started out very slow – and to me, this should award overall greatness for a season. The Office is the gold standard for comedy right now – a critical darling with a cult following that provides numerous quote-worthy scenes each episode.
Outstanding Drama Series
- Boston Legal
- Grey’s Anatomy
- The Sopranos
Rant: Here’s the category I have the biggest problem with, and not just because of my obvious Lost-bias. Is it a coincidence that the highest rated dramas on NBC, ABC, and Fox are all nominated? Seems a little fishy to me, especially when the two best dramas of the past year – Lost and Friday Night Lights – were not nominated. Instead, we get Grey’s Anatomy, which took a major step backwards from its second season, and House, which is nothing more than a vehicle for Hugh Laurie to deliver his one-dimensional Dr. Cox impression.
As for Heroes, I truly enjoyed this show this season and anxiously await its return to TV. Having said that, there is no way I would have even dreamt of nominating it for Outstanding Drama. It’s an entertaining show, but I don’t think anything about it stretches any of the actors. Heroes is a real-life comic book, with accompanying cheesy dialogue and cliffhanger endings each week – but it’s a little like nominating a summer box-office action movie for Best Picture… it just doesn’t feel right.
Pick: The Sopranos. Simply because no other show has any chance. Hollywood is still enamored with this show (Brian’s opinion? Fantastic acting and great directing, but David Chase is a terrible storyteller), and with a field of competitors like these, it’s the only one worthy of a statue.
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series
- Ricky Gervais as Andy Millman, “Extras”
- Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk, “Monk”
- Steve Carell as Michael Scott, “The Office”
- Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy, “30 Rock”
- Charlie Sheen as Charlie Harper, “Two And A Half Men”
Rant: Surprisingly none, other than this – if Tony Shalhoub wins again over fantastic comedians like Gervais, Carell, and Baldwin, I’m going to go crazy.
Pick: Alec Baldwin is awfully tempting, but I have to come down on the side of Carell for this simple point. Baldwin overacts, Carell underacts. Both achieve great results, but I think the latter is much more difficult to pull off, and deserves more credit.
- James Spader as Alan Shore, “Boston Legal”
- Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House, “House”
- Denis Leary as Tommy Gavin, “Rescue Me”
- James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, “The Sopranos”
- Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, “24”
Rant: My feelings about Laurie have been made abundantly clear over the years, so I’ll spare you a re-hash. I’d also question Kiefer Sutherland being nominated for 24. To me, if you’re someone who just got back from months of torture in China – and you go back to being normal action-hero Jack Bauer within four episodes (hours) – it’s either a product of bad writing or bad acting. As embarrassing as this season of 24 was, it doesn’t deserve any nominations.
Also – I would like to see ANY of these actors exhibit the range of emotions that Matthew Fox showed during “Through the Looking Glass”. Apparently the Emmy Voters are only looking for one-trick ponies. Go back and look through the nominees and tell me if any other than Leary ever deliver anything more than their standard “shtick” for their characters. Spader is a smart ass, Laurie is a cocky bastard, Sutherland is a tough guy. They all do it well, but once you’ve got it down – how hard is it to keep doing it each episode?
Pick: I would love to see Denis Leary pull this one out, but he’s competing against the juggernaut of James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, one of the iconic characters of this generation. I would be shocked to see anyone other than Gandolfini walk away with this one – but I’m okay with that. He delivers a nuanced, powerful performance each episode and carries the show.
- Felicity Huffman as Lynette Scavo, “Desperate Housewives”
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Christine Campbell, “The New Adventures Of Old Christine”
- Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, “30 Rock”
- America Ferrera as Betty Suarez, “Ugly Betty”
- Mary-Louise Parker as Nancy Botwin, “Weeds”
Rant: Want proof of the sad state of comedy on TV today? Look at these nominees. Does anyone actually laugh at Desperate Housewives? Huffman’s a great actress and all, but is she comedic? I don’t think so.
Pick: There are really only two choices here – Tina Fey and America Ferrera. If you vote based off of generating the most laughs (which would seem logical, given it’s a comedy category), Fey gets the win. If you vote based off of which makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, Ferrera gets the win for her ugly-duck, fish-out-of-water performance on Ugly Betty. Not surprisingly, I go with Fey.
- Sally Field as Nora Walker, “Brothers & Sisters”
- Kyra Sedgwick as Dep. Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson “The Closer"
- Mariska Hargitay as Detective Olivia Benson, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
- Patricia Arquette as Allison Dubois, “Medium”
- Minnie Driver as Dahlia Malloy, “The Riches”
- Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano, “The Sopranos”
Rant: The only show I’ve actually seen here is The Sopranos, so I suppose any rants on my part would be out of place.
Pick: Edie Falco. It’s true – the Sopranos are going to absolutely dominate the Emmys this year.
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
- Kevin Dillon as Johnny Drama, “Entourage”
- Jeremy Piven as Ari Gold, “Entourage”
- Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson, “How I Met Your Mother”
- Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute, “The Office”
- Jon Cryer as Alan Harper, “Two and a Half Men"
Rant: I totally support these nominees. Good job, voters!
Pick: This is a tough one. Piven and Wilson are the fan favorites – but Patrick Harris is equally fantastic. Since the Office is the funniest of all these shows, I suppose I’ll go with Dwight Schrute – if for nothing else, than for his performance when impersonating Jim this season. That was the funniest scene on television this past season.
- William Shatner as Denny Crane, “Boston Legal”
- T.R. Knight as George, “Grey’s Anatomy”
- Masi Oka as Hiro Nakamura, “Heroes”
- Michael Emerson as Ben, “Lost”
- Terry O’Quinn as John Locke, “Lost”
- Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti, “The Sopranos”
Rant: T.R. Knight, you don’t belong. Did the voters pity you because of the whole Isaiah Washington feud? Masi Oka, you’re damn likeable, but the “Ya-sa!” was getting a little tired by the end of the season. Shatner, I feel like you win this every year, and every year I am shocked (also, you seem drunk during your acceptance speeches).
On the other hand, I love the nomination of Michael Emerson – if you remember, this is something I was pitching pretty hard last season, and this year’s nomination is a welcome sight.
Pick: Emerson. He’s one of the most complex characters on television, elevates the scenes of any other actors he’s with, and can scare the hell out of you with one simple look into the camera. O’Quinn and Imperioli are both great – but neither quite matches the powerhouse of Benjamin Linus.
- Jaime Pressly as Joy Turner, “My Name Is Earl”
- Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly, “The Office”
- Holland Taylor as Evelyn Harper, “Two and a Half Men”
- Conchata Ferrell as Berta, “Two and a Half Men”
- Vanessa Williams as Wilhelmina Slater, “Ugly Betty”
- Elizabeth Perkins as Celia Hodes, “Weeds”
Rant: Some pretty predictable nominations here – but are there really two “supporting actresses” on Two and a Half Men? I feel like Sheen / Cryer / Fat Little Kid are the only characters in 75% of the scenes.
Pick: Jenna Fischer. It’s long overdue. I remember reading in Entertainment Weekly about her audition for the show. She was supposed to deliver some sort of dialogue, but instead just gave one of her signature “stare at the camera and convey more of a message than a five minute monologue could” moves, and won the producers over. This is why she deserves the Emmy. I don’t know how you learn to do these looks – but she and Krasinski have it down to an art form.
- Rachel Griffiths as Sarah Whedon, “Brothers & Sisters”
- Katherine Heigl as Isobel “Izzie” Stevens, “Grey’s Anatomy”
- Chandra Wilson as Dr. Bailey, “Grey’s Anatomy”
- Sandra Oh as Cristina Yang, “Grey’s Anatomy"
- Aida Turturro as Janice Soprano, “The Sopranos”
- Lorraine Bracco as Dr. Jennifer Melfi, “The Sopranos”
Rant: Yuck. Three Grey’s Anatomy nominations for what was the worst season of the show’s three year run? It’s nutrageous. Aida Turturro is one of the characters on TV that I hate the most – but I don’t know if that means she’s doing a great job or a terrible job. She gets me to react, so I suppose that’s a good thing. Bracco is nominated as part of the Sopranos love-fest this year, but hasn’t really had anything interesting performances since the rape storyline a few seasons back (which was conveniently never resolved, thank you David Chase).
Pick: I would be okay with Wilson or Turturro, but I’m not in love with either performance. Since I’ve never seen Brothers and Sisters (since I’m a heterosexual male), I can’t comment on Griffiths either way. Can I pick Connie Britton for Friday Night Lights instead? Or would she be considered a "lead actress"? Either way, can we just give one to her?
Outstanding Individual Performance In A Variety Or Music Program
- 79th Annual Academy Awards, Ellen Degeneres, Host
- The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert, Host
- The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, Jon Stewart, Host
- Late Show With David Letterman, David Letterman, Host
- Tony Bennett: An American Classic, Tony Bennett, Performer
Rant: If Stephen Colbert loses this year to Bennett (like he lost to Barry Manilow last year), there will be riots across the Colbert Nation.
Pick: Stephen Colbert really deserves some sort of acting nomination (Outstanding Actor in a Comedy?) because unlike all the other nominees, he’s not just being himself. He’s playing a character – an absolutely hilarious character – that makes me laugh as much as any traditional comedy on TV. If he wins, expect his acceptance speech to go down as one of the all-time greats.
- The Colbert Report
- The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
- Late Night With Conan O’Brien
- Late Show With David Letterman
- Real Time With Bill Maher
Rant: None. For the question, “What are the five best variety, musical, or comedy series on TV?”, these are the answers.
Pick: Liberal Hollywood will probably pick The Daily Show again, while the rest of America would probably prefer Conan or Colbert. Like any true American, I side with Colbert.
Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
- The Amazing Race
- American Idol
- Dancing With The Stars
- Project Runway
- Top Chef
Rant: No rant here. I only included this category to serve as an excuse for me to write about how much I love Top Chef… which I’ll now do.
Pick: Top Chef. It’s honestly one of my favorite shows on TV, and seems to only be getting better with each successive season. It lacks all the awful things about most reality shows (unnecessarily mean judges, unnecessarily mean competitors, unnecessarily long “results shows”) and instead packs each hour-long episode with pure cooking entertainment. Compared to other cooking shows on TV, it clearly attracts the best chef talent, and I am continually impressed with the amazing dishes they put forth with little to no preparation time.
I wish that Tom Colicchio was my boss at work. Unlike most reality show judges, he is more like a coach, honestly pulling for each contesting and wanting them to improve. He’s fair, funny, and I someday hope to eat inside one of his restaurants.
Top Chef is fun, entertaining, and educational (to some degree – although most dishes are about two miles over my head). It’s the best reason for anyone to watch Bravo.
…and there you have it. It feels good to get all that anger out of my system! Hopefully now I can return to my normal level of easy-going happiness… that is, until Emmy Night, when I’ll probably again be cursing, throwing things, and vowing to never watch the Emmys again… until next year.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Like so many other characters, this one flashback seemingly told Charlie’s full backstory. Unfortunately, unlike the other characters on Lost, this really was all that there was worth telling about Charlie’s pre-Island life. Combined with his slipping back into drugs (which may have been realistic, but didn’t do a lot plot-wise), Charlie seemed to enter a rut after this episode. But for this one week, he’s the center of a pretty solid story of redemption.
Deeper Meaning Explanation: Another straightforward deeper meaning this week, with Locke spelling it out for the viewer. He shows Charlie a moth struggling to escape its cocoon, and explains that if he helped the moth escape, it would die because it wouldn’t be strong enough to survive. Likewise, if Locke were to take Charlie’s drugs away from him forcefully, he wouldn’t be strong enough to kick the habit. Instead, Locke makes Charlie ask for the drugs three times, giving him the free will to choose. Charlie is a moth.
Furthermore, the moth appears multiple times in this episode, eventually serving as a “hero”, leading Charlie out of the caves, which saves Jack. Similarly, Charlie – who always seemed to be worthless and “in the way” during the first few episodes of Season One – finally has his chance to be a hero. Moth Power!
Original Deeper Meaning Guess: Moths are usually drawn towards light, which ultimately burns them (a la a "bug zapper"). I believe that tonight’s episode centers around Charlie (aka the Band Guy, the Druggie Guy, or the Hobbit Guy - not Charlie from Party of Five! His name on the show is Jack J ) Metaphorically, Charlie is a moth drawn to the light, which I think is fame and / or drugs. However, much like our flying insect friends, it ultimately will burn him and bring him down. This episode should give us insight into Charlie’s former fame and fall from grace, perhaps caused by the drug addiction to whatever that stuff in the baggie is (I apologize for not being "hip" to the drug culture).
- Pretty close, but it’s also pretty embarrassingly simplistic. It’s funny how much crazier the Deeper Meaning Guesses have gotten over the years. I also enjoy the reference to the confusion during the early days of Lost about characters’ names and the Party of Five reference. Before you mock me for knowing and loving it, I present to you the following – Party of Five featured both Jennifer Love Hewitt and Neve Campbell in their glory days. Enough said.
Original Episode Preview: Tonight’s episode has some sort of avalanche occur in the cave and Jack is buried in it. Will Jack die? Will this force everyone to move back to the beach? Is this the island warning them to stay away from that cave?
- Interesting thought about the “warning” of the Island about the caves, but it looks like that never panned out. Instead, the Survivors naturally and logically moved away from them with the discovery of the Swan Hatch.
Kate. Two weeks in a row where I’m puzzled by Kate. She claims to pity Sawyer since he has no one to go back to off the Island. Yet she has less than no one, and is also on the run from the law. Likewise, when the big “split” occurs between the Cavers and the Beachers, Kate stays on the Beach, holding out hope for wanting to be rescued. Is she just going overboard with trying to keep up her alibi, or did the writers originally intend for her to actually have someone waiting for her back in the rest of the world?
Fate. I loved Sayid’s matter of fact logic in this episode when talking about the plane crash. When Kate comments on how lucky they were to survive, he replies “No one is lucky enough to have survived that crash”. It’s true. But as we’ve learned, there really wasn’t anything “magical” to the fact that our Survivors survived… it was the result of an accident by Desmond not pushing the 108 button. In the end, the only real explanation is fate.
Locke. Speaking of Sayid, this episode also featured the beginning of one of the most drawn out and least satisfying mysteries thus far on the show, when Sayid is knocked out while trying to triangulate the distress signal. We learn much later (38 whopping episodes – during “The Greater Good”) that Locke was the one responsible, with him giving a fairly lame excuse that trying to find something that said “it killed them, it killed them all” didn’t seem like a good idea.
Rather, it’s pretty clear that Locke was on Team Island from the start, ever since his encounter with Smokey in the third episode, and the number one mission of Team Island is to keep our Survivors from getting off the Island. Although they didn’t have any smart phone at this point, finding the radio tower would mean they could turn off the signal, opening up the possibility for outside communication (little do they know about the Looking Glass, but we digress).
More importantly, this storyline represents one of my big fears for Lost – this was something that could have been revealed much sooner, but was dragged out (for reasons unknown) to the point where the audience had totally stopped thinking about or caring about it. When the storyline was finally wrapped up, it didn’t have much power behind it. I just hope that other dangling storylines (like the skeletons in the caves) aren’t explained in a similar awkward way. There needs to be a reason to re-visit them, to refresh the audience’s memory, and then a logical explanation for their resolution.
There would be nothing worse than the final season of Lost featuring a number of these “quick and dirty” storyline wrap ups. I’m not saying I think it’s going to happen – just that’s it’s a potential danger.
Okay - that's all for this one.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
My friend Scott (he went to Miami, but he's okay) approached me earlier this week with an idea for a Blog Post that involved two of my favorite things in the world (no, not Skyline Chili and puppies - that's kinda nasty) - The Dave Matthews Band and the National Football League.
The task? To assign an DMB song to each NFL team that best represents them. After initially thinking this would be impossible, we actually found that it came pretty easy... and turned out pretty accurate and hilarious.
Probably the only people who will fully appreciate it are the rare combination of people who enjoy the hard hitting action of the NFL (meatheads) with the peaceful grooves of DMB (hippies) - which may just be Scott and myself, actually - but for all the other potential meathead hippies out there, enjoy:
If anyone else has any suggestions for any posts, let me know. We're always looking for fun topics for his Blog or mine. Anything to break up the monotony of the work day!
Sunday, July 08, 2007
The Sun / Jin flashback is serviceable, adding a twist to the typical “husband dominating wife” storyline (although it’s somewhat ironic that after this episode, we view Sun as the victim and Jin as the ruthless one in the relationship – whereas we’ll come to learn the exact opposite is true down the road). It’s the on-Island stuff that doesn’t really sit well with me. I understand that there’s a deeper symbolism with the watch representing Sun’s father (and his control over Jin), but Jin going absolutely crazy on Michael for wearing it still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.
Speaking of not making sense – how are our Survivors getting water these days? I can see the Swan Hatch providing water during Season Two… but how about during Season Three? The Survivors are all still living on the Beach, not in the Caves, the Swan Hatch is Imploded… hmmmm…
Deeper Meaning Explanation: The writers always seem to come up with their most punny episode titles when it comes to Sun and Jin. This one is straightforward enough, referring to Sun “rising up” against Jin and plotting to leave him (even though she chickens out at the end). “Rising Sun” also provides a little double-meaning since it’s both refers to our character Sun, and the region of the world she comes from. Lastly, we have the song “House of the Rising Sun”, whose lyrics refer to a person tied to a negative influence that they are unable to leave… just like Sun being tied to Jin.
Original Thoughts: Finally! Past Brian decided to try and save time at work by writing up his thoughts about the episode rather than individually having to talk to each co-worker about it. Here’s what I had about “House of the Rising Sun” back in the day. The simplicity and shortness of the thoughts seem quant nowadays – but really, Lost wasn’t that complicated of a show during these initial episodes. It was about getting to know the characters, and the characters surviving. The heady stuff didn’t really start until the arrival of CFL and the Hatch. But enough justification about the crappiness – here they are (original in Italics, comments on my comments after):
Did you notice last week when Jack and Kate were in the cave and Jack picked up the one white stone and the one black stone? This was almost the exact same thing we saw in the pilot where Locke picked up two backgammon pieces and gave his "there is a good side and an evil side" to everything speech to the little kid. Is one of the groups going to become good and one evil?
Ah, one of my favorite early predictions – that our Survivors would split into two groups (one led by Jack, one by Locke) with one being “good”, and one being “evil”. I also enjoy that I didn’t know all the character’s names at this point. So very professional.
Remember the comic book from the pilot with the picture of the polar bear in it? I read an article in TV Guide saying that the creators of the show picked that comic specifically. In researching on the internet, I found that the comic deals with an alien life form that the good guys are fighting who turns out in the end to be a good guy. Symbolism? They think the island and the beast, etc. are evil - but they are really good?!?
Wow – it’s somewhat surprising to me that I was already pitching my all-time favorite theories this early on – that the audience thinks the Survivors are the good guys, but in reality they’re the bad guys – we just happen to get to know them better, and instinctively start siding with them. Even with what we know now about the Others, based on Jack’s absolute misery in the flash-forward, maybe this theory isn’t so far off…
Why didn’t Jack admit to Kate last week that he was checking her out? We all were checking her out, it’s cool to admit it! And how genius are the show writers to craft a scene where both Jack and Kate are ripping off their clothes as fast as possible? Hello ratings! God bless angry swarms of bees!
…and my love for Kate being scantily clad was there from the start as well. I love their excuse of “there were bees in our clothing, so we had to take them off”… right…
So the Korean girl speaks the English - now she can be in cahoots with everyone else on the island, while keeping up a secret identity with her husband so he doesn’t beat her!
Oh, if only I knew. Past Brian – don’t be fooled by jezebel Sun! She’s the cold-hearted bitch! Jin is a saint! If only I could warn him…
What a cruel twist of fate that Jack and Kate are in different groups on the island! Get those kids together so they can make out!
TV Love Triangle rule #1 – keep the lovebirds apart. It was evident from the start.
What happened to the Beast, who has been oddly absent since the Locke episode? Did Locke somehow tame it / kill it / overcome it?
Still a good thought – both Locke and “the Beast” seemed changed by their encounter. I’d still like a full disclosure of what happened during that scene.
Is anyone going to mention the Polar Bear or the French girl ever again?
Patience, Past Brian, patience. Little did I know that CFL would become a full-fledged character on the show, or that we’d see polar bears at least two more times on the show.
Skeletons. A largely forgotten part of this episode, until the following article ran in Entertainment Weekly last year (from Lostpedia):
In an EW.com article, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse answered the fan question, "What is the meaning or significance of the two skeletons that Jack and Kate found in the cave of season 1?"
CUSE: The answer to that question goes to the nature of the timeline of the island. We don't want to say too much about it, but there are a couple Easter eggs embedded in "Not in Portland", one of which is an anagram that actually sheds some light on the skeletons and hints at a larger mythological mystery that will start to unfold later in the season.
LINDELOF: There were certain things we knew from the very beginning. Independent of ever knowing when the end was going to be, we knew what it was going to be, and we wanted to start setting it up as early as season 1, or else people would think that we were making it up as we were going along. So the skeletons are the living -- or, I guess, slowly decomposing -- proof of that. When all is said and done, people are going to point to the skeletons and say, "That is proof that from the very beginning, they always knew that they were going to do this."
One, the anagram, could be Mittelos -- "Lost Time" or "Time Slot" -- and there could also be something embedded within the Room 23 video.
The other may be the reversed audio from the Room 23 footage. When played backwards the words "Only fools are enslaved by time and space." is repeated extremely clearly. It is possible to make the names "Adam and Eve" from the letters of this phrase.
To me, this is pointing towards Adam and Eve being victims of what I affectionately call “Funky Time”… but I’ve pretty much ditched that theory after the season finale, since it revealed our characters seemingly returned to the world a few years after they left it, funky time-free. Since Jack ends the episode with the black and white stone, you could theorize that somehow Jack goes back in time (with Kate) and becomes those statues – like the Island is in some sort of infinite time loop… but it just seems like a huge stretch to introduce such a complicated concept this late in the game. The story of Lost is beyond strong without needing such trickery, in my mind.
Jack claims that the two have been dead for at least 40 or 50 years, which makes them pre-Dharma. They could be Island Originals, but why would they be buried in the Caves, as opposed to set out to see on a burning raft, a la Colleen? You would think their traditions surrounding death would be consistent.
So it remains a mystery. Watching this episode three years later, we’re really no closer to understanding the mystery of Adam and Eve – and that’s part of what makes Lost such a great show. Someday, we’re going to be able to go back and watch these episodes from an entirely different perspective. However, if Jack and Kate do end up being Adam and Eve, how ironic is Kate’s statement in this episode of “I don’t want to end up like Eve”? Or Michael’s statement of “time doesn’t matter on a damn island”? There are definitely clues there, that might be blatantly obvious – but I still refuse to buy into them…
Locke. Locke continues his “Salvation Tour”, this week focusing on Charlie (for those keeping track at home, it's now been Michael, Jack, Charlie). Should we really believe that Locke is savvy enough to realize that Charlie is a former junkie trying to kick his habit? Or is this information the Island has provided him? Likewise, did pre-Island Locke strike anyone as the type of person who would listen to and know “Driveshaft”? More pre-Island knowledge, or just another side of Locke (the pop-rock loving boxman) that we haven’t seen yet?
He says “The Island will give you what you’re looking for… but you might have to give the Island something in return”, an early hint that Locke is on Team Island – something that I think is going to become more and more important as the show progresses.