Sad news going into the weekend as former child start Gary Coleman has died. The actor had been having health problems over the last year, and his death came after suffering an intercranial hemorrhage. Coleman shot to superstardom by starring in Diff’rent Strokes for eight seasons in the late 70s and early 80s, but his career struggled following the end of the show. He had various financial and legal troubles throughout his adult years, and even had a failed bid for governor of California in 2003. Gary Coleman was 42.
Monthly Archives: May 2010
Fans of Better Off Ted might be paying a little bit closer attention to this year’s NBA Finals than normal. ABC has slated the remaining to episodes of show to air in the 8 P.M. hour of June 17. That is, of course, unless the Finals go to a Game 7, in which case the two unaired episodes will be bumped indefinitely by the network. So let’s hope for a quick resolution for the finals so we can get one last look at our friends at Veridian!
Well America, you’ve done it again. For the seventh time in the last eight years, CBS has won the banner of “America’s Most Watched Network,” averaging 11.77 million viewers for the network TV season, which officially ended on Wednesday. Also a victory for CBS was that they had seven shows place in the top ten, including NCIS, The Mentalist, NCIS: Los Angeles, Criminal Minds, The Good Wife, and CSI: Miami. They were followed by Fox (9.98 million) , ABC (8.54 million), NBC (8.21 million), and the CW (2.02 million). Fox won the coveted 18-49 demographic with help from American Idol, Glee, Family Guy*, and House, with CBS behind them, and ABC and NBC tied for third, with the CW trailing far behind in fourth. As far as overall viewership, CBS stayed flat with last year, while Fox and, surprisingly, NBC were up 4%. ABC fell 4%, with the CW slipping 2%. So there you have it. I’m sure that football/The Super Bowl helped CBS a little, but let’s all take a moment to notice that NCIS and NICS: Los Angeles were top ten shows.
*I have to say, I find it funny that Family Guy is one of the more successful shows on Fox considering that it was once canceled by Fox for having bad ratings. Good one Fox.
Looking for something to pass the idle or rainy days of summer? Join TUiW in our Summer TV Club! We’ve picked five highly regarded TV shows that we’ll be reviewing over the next few weeks, so borrow, rent, or Netflix some DVDs and join us for this fun, retroactive look at five great shows! Three of the seasons we’re reviewing are available for free (legally!) online, and links for those are provided below. We’ll be kicking off everything this Tuesday, with a normal Monday-Friday schedule beginning the next week, after the holiday weekend. So without further ado, here are the shows and our schedule!
Monday: Twin Peaks Season One
Jonah kicks off the week with David Lynch’s weird and mysterious Twin Peaks. The show follows an FBI agent investigating the mysterious murder of a homecoming queen in the town of Twin Peaks, which seems to have an endless supply of oddities. Our Twin Peaks reviews will start a week after the rest, due to it’s fewer number of episodes and the Memorial Day holiday on Monday. CBS has all of the first season (except the feature length pilot) for free on their website here.
Tuesday: Homicide: Life on the Street Seasons One and Two
Before there was The Wire, there as Homicide, based off of David Simon’s book of the same name. With a pilot directed by Barry Levinson, Homicide ushered in a new era of gritty cop shows. Michael will be taking on both Seasons One and Two of the show, both included in the same DVD set. Homicide is not available for free (legal) streaming online, but Seasons 1 & 2 are available on Amazon for as low as $9.99 here.
Wednesday: Veronica Mars Season One
Kristen Bell got her big break by playing the title role of Veronica Mars for three years, and Jonah will be taking a look at the show’s first (and best) season. Veronica Mars is film noir mystery set in the middle of a wealthy suburban high school, and was easily one of the most underrated shows of the mid-2000′s. Jonah will be reviewing two episodes a week to stay in pace with our four other shows. The first season of Veronica Mars is available for free streaming online at The WB Website (Warner Bros. TV, not the network) and can be watched here.
Thursday: Dead Like Me Season One
Bryan Fuller made a name for himself with Pushing Daisies and for his work on the first season of Heroes, but he created Dead Like Me, a dark comedy about a girl that dies and becomes part of a gang of Reapers, bringing people from life to death. Michael will review the first season, which can be found on Hulu here or on Netflix Instant Streaming!
Friday: Deadwood Season One
We’ll close out the week with dueling reviews of the first season of Deadwood, the acclaimed western drama from NYPD Blue‘s David Milch. The HBO show garnered 8 Emmys in 28 nominations, and was one of the more critically acclaimed shows of the 2000s. Deadwood is not available for free (legally) online, but is available on Amazon or iTunes.
Not a day after their single for “The Suburbs” b/w “Month of May” hit the web, The Arcade Fire have announced that their third LP, also called The Suburbs will conquer the world on August 3. If you still haven’t heard the aforementioned single, you can hear it at their website or if you pre-order the record, you can get the mp3′s right now. Below is the letter the band wrote with all the details, of which their are actually few. Can’t wait!
While not the most heralded of Canadian indie rock groups, Land of Talk is probably my favorite, and come August 24, Elizabeth Powell and co. will return with their sophomore LP, Cloak and Cipher. Hot on the heels of their Fun and Laughter EP, the record was recorded in late 2009 and features guest appearances by members of Stars, Silver Mount Zion Band, Wintersleep, Besnard Lakes, Arcade Fire and Esmerine. The band will hit the road here soon with the Besnard Lakes. A tracklist and tourdates below:
Cloak and Cipher Tracklist:
1. Cloak and Cipher
2. Goaltime Exposure
3. Quarry Hymns
4. Swift Coin
5. Color Me Badd
6. The Hate I Won’t Commit
7. Hamburg, Noon
8. Blangee Blee
10. Better and Closer
5/26/10 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom*
5/27/10 Washington, DC @ Black Cat*
5/28/10 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom*
5/29/10 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s*
5/30/10 Cambridge, MA @ TT the Bears*
5/31/10 Portland, ME @ Space Gallery
*w/ Besnard Lakes
Hat tip to our old college radio station, WDUB, for finding a radio rip of the new Arcade Fire single “The Suburbs” (the one that has the first 15 seconds streaming on their website). The quality isn’t the best but click on through to find a jauntier, more Beatles-inspired Arcade Fire and start gearing up for their Lollapalooza appearance later this summer.
Back in early March, I reviewed the premier episode of Parenthood and gave it a generous B+. In my summation of the the pilot episode, I said that the biggest thing Parenthood had to do was avoid falling into the trappings of any other family drama on television. As I said in March, it had potential to be a really great show, or one that wouldn’t make it through its first season.
Now that Parenthood has wrapped it’s first season, I think I can say it fell somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. The pilot episode was not bad, but the show got off to a rocky start in its first string of episodes. For the most part, the members of the Braverman clan established in the pilot stayed the same for a while: Adam and Kristina (Peter Krause and Monica Potter) were super uptight parents that were dealing with their son’s recently diagnosed autism while largely ignoring their daughter, Hattie (Sarah Ramos). Adam’s younger sister Sarah (Lauren Graham) had moved her two teenage kids Amber and Drew (Mae Whitman and Miles Heizer) from Fresno and was struggling with her own lack of ambition, Amber’s propensity for trouble, and Drew’s shy nature, not to mention the trials and tribulations of moving back in with her parents. The next sibling was Crosby (Dax Shepard), who awoke from his slacker lifestyle upon the discovery that he had a son, Jabbar, with a dancer, Jasmine (Joy Bryant), that he had a one night stand with several years prior. Last was Julia (Erika Christensen), a workaholic lawyer who found it hard to spend time with her husband Joel (Sam Jaeger) and their daughter. Of course there were also parents Zeek and Camille (Craig T. Nelson and Bonnie Bedelia), who appear to have some problems of their own that weren’t really addressed until the end of the season.
For the most part, the first few episodes felt like they couldn’t really find their footing. The acting was decent enough, but the cast didn’t quite seem comfortable with each other or their roles, and the writing either was tonally off or just lazy. In a lot of ways, the first 6 episodes were two warm and fuzzy, too melodramatic, and too cheesy. Sure it’s nice to see Max, the autistic son, catch a fly ball and get accepted by his team, but it played out like a bad After School Special. Adam chasing a possum that he just can’t catch wasn’t the funniest thing to begin with, but it didn’t fit in the rest of the episode at all. Julia has a feud with another mother at her daughter’s school, but it’s largely based on this other woman’s affection for Joel and an constant reminder that Julia works all the time. The girls were largely dismissed to fairly dull plots too. Amber’s grades aren’t good! Adam doesn’t like Hattie’s boyfriend! Who’s pot is this?
Those first six episodes were heavy on establishment, which is fine, but we were kind of bludgeoned over the head with it. We got that Sarah didn’t live up to expectations, we get that Adam and Kristina are uptight and struggling with Max’s autism, we get that Crosby has to grow up now that he has a son, and on and on. All of this repetition came at the expense of some other, more interesting plots that were either rushed or never really touched on. Sarah falls for a teach that Amber also has a crush on, but it’s basically done in three episodes. Zeek and Camille show up sparingly (especially Camille), and there are hints they’re having problems, but they lead nowhere.
The cast made up largely for some of these narrative faults. Though at first Adam and Kristina were annoyingly high strung, Peter Krause and Monica Potter played off of each other really well, feeding off their characters’ anxiousness. Lauren Graham and Mae Whitman were perfectly in sync with one another, and their scenes were always the highlight of the episode. I was surprised at the acting chops of Dax Shepard, who previously had made a career out of playing the stupid guy in a slew of bad movies. He revealed himself to be kind of likable, and ably played the role of the lazy, dependent slacker that grows up.
I think it’s important to note the show’s odd way to the air. A pilot was picked up with Maura Tierney playing the role of Sarah, but she pulled out of the show when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. This lead to the pilot being re-shot with Lauren Graham recast in the role, and the premier was bumped from the fall to the spring. I’m not sure what the actual impact of this was, and Lauren Graham has been quite good, but I think it’s fair to note that there was a big layoff for the creative team behind the show in between the pilot and the actual start of production of the series.
So despite how hard I’ve been on the show so far, something happened around its seventh episode where it started to get better. The cast seemed comfortable with each other, and the writers largely abandoned some of the repetitive themes they wanted to hammer home in the first half of the season. Adam and Kristina, while still pretty uptight, loosened up and the chemistry between Peter Krause and Monica Potter helped turn them in to two of my favorite characters. Every story about Julia ceased to be about how hard she works and how disconnected she was with her daughter and she became a much more likable character. The chemistry between the siblings themselves got better, their scenes together no longer seeming forced. Lauren Graham and Peter Krause especially seemed to work well together, and the writers ran with it, giving them more to do together.
The stories got more interesting as a result. Rather than just struggling with how to be be a dad and a grown up, Crosby struggled with Jasmine over why he didn’t know about Jabbar and the two became his family. Hattie broke up with her boyfriend at the advice of Amber, only to have Amber sleep with him, a plot that not only played out between the two cousins, but between Amber and Sarah, but Sarah, Kristina, and Adam. The biggest development was the reveal that Zeek had made a bad investment and cheated on Camille, which lead to the two separating. It was interesting not just for the predictable elements of how Camille got back at Zeek or his anguish over it, but the ways in which the siblings dealt with it.
Thought it definitely improved, the second half of the season still had some weaknesses. Joel and Sydney were more or less non-existent characters towards the end of the season, and the bits between Crosby and Jabbar seemed to have one note. Camille remained a largely unexplored character until she and Zeek split, and even then, I don’t think we really got a sense of who she was. There were still moments that felt to warm and fuzzy (especially the last scene of the season which had the family cheering on Drew at his baseball tryout), but they weren’t all quite as tacky as they were earlier in the season.
After last night’s finale, I went back and read my old review, and found it interesting that at one point I said, “A dramedy about the lives of four grown siblings, their parents, and their kids is not going to set the world on fire based on its premise alone, but more in its execution.” With that in mind I think Parenthood had a decent first season. The show’s cast really carried it. Week in and week out, Lauren Graham and Mae Whitman really impressed me, and as I said, I had a lot of fun watching Peter Krause and Monica Potter.
The show can’t function on a great cast alone however, and I’m looking for next season to step up its game in the narrative department. If Parenthood can better compromise between the melodrama and the humor, it will be an even better show. Right now, it doesn’t hold a candle to shows like Mad Men for the depth of its characters, and largely, that’s due to the fact that they haven’t been given a chance to how that depth. I will definitely watch Parenthood when it returns in the fall, but I can promise you I won’t stick with the show if doesn’t continue to grow.
Ultimately, I think the first season of Parenthood didn’t blow me out of the water or make me countdown the days until it returns, but I looked forward to watching it each week and enjoyed watching it improve. It’s definitely on the right track, so I’m interested to see where season 2 takes us.
Episodes 1-6: C
Episodes 7-13: B+
Michael’s Score: 67
TUiW Grade: B
I’ve had a lot of complaints about How I Met Your Mother this season. It definitely became a more episodic show, one that has relied less on its premise. That’s not to say it’s been bad by any means, but in the show has, at least in my opinion, slipped from the high perch it once occupied. It’s still the smartest comedy on CBS, not that that requires much, but it’s not as solid as it once was.
In the shadow of the Lost finale, it may seem like I’m forcing in a reference here, but the universally loved part of its finale was the emotional resolutions each of the characters got. I couldn’t help but think of that as I watched “Doppelgangers.” From the start, HIMYM has been about these five characters. We’ve grown to know love them, felt like we were a part of their inside jokes, and even a character as sleazy as Barney has endeared him self to us. It’s with this in mind that I watched Season 5 come to a close.
Interestingly, “Doppelgangers” didn’t have a single reference to The Mother. In fact, Ted was the fifth string in the episode. In the A Story (or really the A1 Story), Marshall and Lilly decide their going to have a baby after seeing the final doppelganger, a brunette cab driver Barney. But when Marshall finds out that it’s actually Barney in disguise working on a plan to sleep with a girl from every country it the world, he pauses long enough to realize that perhaps Lilly isn’t ready to have a baby and is going through with it because she thinks she’s seen a sign. But as the episode ends, four months later, Lilly sees a pretzel vender she thinks looks just like Barney, but in fact, they all realize it looks nothing like him. But that’s okay. It just means that Lilly is ready, and next season, she and Marshall are going to try and have s baby.
Meanwhile, Robin is starting to fall seriously in love with Don, just as she gets a call from a station in Chicago that wants her. Despite the protests of her friends, Robin again chooses her career over romance, and decides to go to Chicago. When Robin calls Chicago, however, she has a change of heart while looking at a picture of her and Don. It’s a huge character shift for Robin, who in the first season could hardly be in a couple. But the kick to the stomach comes from Don, who accepts the job in Chicago she had turned down earlier that day. A heartbroken Robin moves back in with Ted, and as he comforts her, the begin to lean in towards each other, ready to kiss, when she remembers that Ted, after being tricked into it by his friends, has dyed his hair blonde.
As I said at the top, I had a lot of complaints about this season of HIMYM, but overall, I think “Doppelgangers” was a solid episode, and one of the more rewarding episodes of the season. As Ted points out Robin, the gang has grown up a lot in the last five years, sure they’re still having telepathic conversations and tricking each other into dying their hair blonde, but now they’re buying houses, settling into committed relationships, and having kids. Sure, I’ve been frustrated that a show I love doesn’t have the same magic it once did but part of that is that I’ve been expecting it to be a show about the people from five years ago. HIMYM has been growing with its characters.
Now I’m not saying the whole season gets redeemed or even that “Doppelgangers” was a perfect episode. But it was one that relied on the same things that made older episodes work. “Slap Bet” was funny, but it also was significant as it features a big step for both Robin and Ted. “Doppelgangers” gave us the framework for a season where we continue to see our characters grow, and while I wasn’t blown away, I’m looking forward to seeing how they change next.
Michael’s Score: 77
TUiW Grade: B+
There is no time loop. It wasn’t all just a dream. The sideways didn’t represent some kind of cavalry to stop the Man in Black. And the show didn’t end with Jack and Ben, sitting on the beach, talking about how badly they wanted to kill each other.
I’ll get to the white light, the cork, Hurley and Ben’s tenure as island protector and Assistant to the Island Protector, the re-emergence of Christian Shepard, and what they died for. But, to me, the key to understanding this finale came about a half hour in (maybe, I sort of lost track of time there). You probably remember the scene. Juliet goes to see Sun and Jin, gives Sun an ultrasound, and makes them FEEL IT. Then she gets on an elevator, crossing paths with Sawyer. Spontaneously, me and people I was watching this with all made the following sound:
In that moment, either your heart leaped at the possible reunion of Sawyer and Juliet and then was slightly crushed when they just walked by each other, or it didn’t. If, like me, you were an emotional wreck in that moment (and the later one where they finally did reunite), you probably loved this finale, what it did for the characters, what it said, and (just as importantly) what it did not say. If you didn’t, then I’m guessing this episode didn’t do what you wanted it to do.
What I’m trying to say is that “The End” proceeded exactly according to the agenda we’ve been following all season: giving each (or almost each, but we’ll get to that) character resolution and some measure of a happy ending, while filling in just enough mythological details to crush whatever your theory was without coming out and giving you the answer. This season hasn’t been about the Magic Light at the Heart of the Island and the two demigods fighting over it. Its been about that cup of coffee, and the long and strange journey it took for Sawyer and Juliet to finally agree to go get it.
But let’s step back for a second and look (somewhat briefly, since its getting late) at what happened tonight. On the island, Jack took over as island protector and started heading toward the light. Sawyer went off to go find Desmond but was quickly caught by Ben and Smokey at the well. Sawyer basically escapes, Smokey kidnaps Desmond (who had been rescued from the well by Rose and Bernard!), and Jack keeps going to the light because that’s where everyone’s headed anyway. Eventually, he meets up with Team Smokey and they have a really awesome staredown. Smokey tells Jack that he’s going to destroy the island and Jack, in a moment that pretty much redeemed all the terrible Jack things I’ve had to put up with over the last six years, says “I’m going to kill you.”
Meanwhile, Miles meets up with a still alive(!) Richard and the two of them set out to blow up the plane since they missed the memo about that never having really mattered to the Smoke Monster at all. They get on an outrigger and start paddling, mainly just to taunt us all one last time (seriously, there was even a rain storm brewing). Instead of finding a time-traveling Sawyer and Juliet, however, they come across Lapidus (!!!) who is also still alive. Lapidus has a way better idea than blowing up the airplane: using it to get the hell off the island.
Smokey, Desmond, and Jack split off from the group and head to the light. They lower Desmond down to the heart of the island, where Desmond finds…something. Let’s call it a cork. He pulls the cork out and the water drains from the center and it seems that the light goes out. The island starts sinking and a triumphant Smokey, though trapped in Locke’s body and now vulnerable to harm, knocks out Jack and makes his way to his escape ship (which was the Elizabeth, right?) Meanwhile, Miles gets ahold of Ben, Kate, Sawyer, and Hurley and tells them to book it over to Hydra Island. Also there’s some business where a tree falls on Ben, but then he’s okay and no one ever talks about it again (I get we had to redeem Ben, but that was, in my opinion, the clumsiest part of this episode).
Everyone meets up back at the cliff from “The Substitute,” but because the island is sinking, that cliff is falling apart. Jack leaps at Smokey like he’s in 300 and the two have a pretty epic fight. Smokey stabs Jack, but then Kate shoots Smokey. Easily the best thing Kate has ever done in the entire run of this show. Everyone else gets to the cliff, but Jack decides he needs to go back and fix whatever Desmond did. Hurley and Ben go with Jack, Kate and Sawyer head to the plane (and talk a reluctant Claire into joining them).
Back at the cave, Jack ends his reign as island protector and transfers the power to an emotional Hurley. He goes down to the light, rescues Desmond, and restores the cork. The light returns, the pond refills, and Jack seems to die. Hurley asks Ben to be his co-leader and Michael Emerson responds by making us all cry with the amazing way he plays that scene. There’s also an indication that Hurley’s reign as leader is going to be a little more benevolent than Jacob’s was. Jack wakes up outside the cave (seemingly around where the Man in Black’s body washed out). He crawls back to the bamboo field and Vincent comes to join him (just like in the Pilot). Jack watches as the Ajira plane with Frank, Richard, Miles, Kate, Sawyer, and Claire leaves the island.
Meanwhile, in the Sideways, Jin and Sun see their baby on an ultrasound, Sayid saves Shannon, Kate helps Claire deliver Aaron, Jack fixes Locke, Juliet asks Sawyer out for coffee, and they all FEEL IT. Eventually they wind up at a church where Jack, who is the last to FEEL IT, does so when he finds his father’s coffin. But Christian isn’t inside, he’s standing there and talking to Jack. They all head into the church where inside is a decent amount of 815ers. Everyone hugs and is happy to see each other and then Christian opens the door to the church and they move onto what’s next.
There are three ways to look at “The End” and I think the best way to evaluate it is by going into each one.
How does “The End” work as an episode of television?
Quite well, I think. My biggest complaint about it is in many ways reflective of my biggest complaint about Lost as a story. There’s a little too much marching from location-to-location, zigging and zagging through plot points in a way that feels too rushed and too guided. This is especially true of the on-island action. Everybody moves to the cave. Then they move to the cliff. Then they move back to the cave again. Obviously it was all necessary to tell the story and get to the really good, impactful parts, but the pacing was a little wonky at time and I think it could have all been handled a little more artfully. At times you could feel the hands of the writers pushing everyone to the points they needed them to be.
That said, once “The End” got everybody to those points, it didn’t disappoint. I loved all the little callbacks and reminders and small character moments, the stuff like Hurley’s “I have a bad feeling about this” or Sawyer saying “Thanks, Doc” in the hospital. I thought the stuff at the light was well-played and the transition of power from Jack to Hurley was nicely done. The action was good and the suspense and tension boiled really well. But mostly, I found “The End” incredibly moving. Just thinking about Sawyer and Juliet, or Ben apologizing to Locke outside the church, or Kate telling Jack how much she missed him gets me going again. Those scenes (and many others) were powerful and they were more-or-less perfect. If nothing else, “The End” was an emotionally satisfying episode of Lost that brought closure to these characters in a way that was certainly tear-inducing, but not overly maudlin or forced. And really, we couldn’t ask for much more than that.
What does “The End” mean for Season Six?
This is one that will take more time but, after letting it sit, here’s what I’ve come up with.
The flash sideways isn’t an alternate universe or some kind of world constructed by Smokey or Jacob as a tool in their war. Its something far simpler and infinitely more complex than that. The Sideways is an afterlife. It was, like we’ve theorized so often about the island, a purgatory. And only by coming together and reuniting as a group could everybody let go and move on to what’s next.
I’m not 100% sure that’s a correct interpretation, but I feel like it’s good enough to get us started. I’m not totally satisfied with a “we’re all dead, this is heaven” style ending, but it also makes perfect thematic sense. Season 5 was the science season. That was the year where quantum physics and formulas could explain everything. But this year has been about faith. Faith in the island. Faith in the light that lies at its heart. Faith in the demigods trusted to protect it. Faith that all of this really did happen for a reason. So I’m willing to accept an ending that builds on that faith and carries its implications through to their logical end.
And, while I’m complaining, this also wasn’t some kind of ending that retroactively makes the flash sideways make a lot more sense. As Alan Sepinwall points out in his review, the stories they told for the first 16 hours of this season are still largely hypothetical stories and knowing what we know now doesn’t necessarily make the sideways stuff from “The Package” any more interesting.
But regardless of that, what I am satisfied with is where we left these people. Remember what Jacob said in “What They Died For” when talking about why he selected them to be candidates. They were all lonely, broken people. And it wasn’t the island or some magical light that fixed them; it was each other. The Sideways showed them the happier lives they could have had without the island. But it also showed them how hollow and empty those lives were because, in the end, they were missing out on the single most important experience any of them had. They missed out on the bonds and relationships they formed on the island and they also missed out on the people they became as a result of being there. Maybe we didn’t need to have that point delivered in 6,000 scenes of people touching each other and having the memories rush back to them, but it created enough powerful moments and gave such wonderful closure to the arcs that we’ve been tracing for six years that I’m willing to overlook the structural redundancy (and the fact that Sayid and Shannon were together for like a week and never had the most emotionally realistic relationship).
In a way, this year really has just been a sci-fi retelling of It’s a Wonderful Life. And if I prefer something a little darker and grittier and more based in science, then I’ll always have season 5. But Lost is a more optimistic show than that and, to my surprise, a more spiritual one. At the end of this story was death, but Lost ultimately buys into the notion of death as a beginning.
What does “The End” mean for Lost as a series?
Short answer: I’ll get back to you on that.
But, as of right now, what people obviously hate about this episode is the way it casts off the show’s meta-mysteries and basically didn’t address them at all. But that’s by design. The questions of the island and the light and Jacob and Smokey and time travel matter, but they really on matter in terms of how our characters experienced them. And, ultimately, its just a question of how much you can come to terms with that.
There’s not nearly enough there to provide us with closure on every single point. But that’s what this season (and, by extension, this show) has been about: there are certain basic truths that, in the end, just aren’t quite capable of being understood. That’s a cop-out, but at least its a thematically resonant, emotionally earned cop-out. I imagine that upon rewatching the show, we will know enough to theorize and fill in some of the gaps ourselves. But I also imagine that it won’t entirely hold up as a unified work; that there will be a number of legitimate loose threads that the show never addressed (and, on the Walt thing, does anyone have any theories about why he and Michael were left out of the purgatory party? Does it have to do with the fact that Michael is still trapped on the island as one of the whispers? And what about Daniel and Charlotte and Miles and Ana-Lucia?).
So, in the end, what was Lost? I stand by what I wrote on Friday: objectively, its a very good show that falls just short of greatness. But it also pushed television forward and used it to try something completely new and kind of crazy. The lesson to take away from Lost is not its failures, but its successes. Lost was ambitious, it was willing to trust its audience, it stretched and bent the medium in new ways, and it was fiercely ambiguous and singular to the end. For better or worse, this show refused to compromise, whether that meant negotiating an end-date or failing to present the answers to questions that we all wanted to know. Maybe publicly promising people answers to those questions wasn’t the best way to go about it, and maybe this show could have been more focused and sharper about its mythology.
But Lost was vibrant and alive and captivating in a way that few TV shows are, and its flaws are a byproduct of its ambitions. It is thanks to that ambition that we got a number of truly great hours of television, stacked with moments that were suspenseful or fun or mind-bending or moving. Lost wasn’t afraid to miss and so it was able to succeed as often as it did.
I can feel my brain starting to shut down, so I’m going to turn it over to you. Do you think more or less of Lost as a series than you did yesterday? Is it possible to cast aside the expectations and demands we had for “The End” as the finale of Lost and just consider it as an episode (and is that hypocritical of me, since all along I’ve been suggesting that Lost doesn’t function on an episodic basis like it used to)? Are you satisfied with “The End,” and with Lost as a whole? I’m certainly not done thinking about these issues, and I don’t know how my opinion will change in the days and weeks to come. Regardless of everything else Lost has been one hell of an experience; one that, as hard as the networks try, will not be duplicated for quite some time.
Jonah’s Score: 95
TUIW Grade: A
P.S. Thanks to all of our wonderful readers for indulging me and going along with these long and unwieldy recaps. I’d also like to thank all of our awesome commenters. Lost is a show that’s best enjoyed as part of a community and its been really fun reading what everybody else has to say about this show. Thanks for making this season such a fun ride and for taking this trip along with us. Namaste and see you in another life!