Wednesday, May 26, 2010

7 Things That I Need to Say About "Lost"

We are now living in a post "Lost" world - it is weird to think that it is over. I needed a few days to let the finale really sink in before deciding that it was a huge disappointment. I am not going to write a post that boils an amazing show down to one disappointing episode - instead I want to write about the series as a whole.

1. The Beginning of "Lost" - I clearly remember not only the first episode of Lost, but the first promos for the series. I was so excited for a new show created by JJ Abrams aka the man behind "Alias", starring Matthew Fox aka Charlie from "Party of Five" about a group of plane crash survivors trapped on a mysterious island aka a genius plot. I was blown away by the first episode and begged everyone I knew to watch this show (getting most of them to be as equally addicted as I was). I honestly don't think there will ever be another show like it (proven by the failure of so many shows that have tried).

2. The man of faith vs the man of science - It is often said that there are 2 types of Lost fans - the fans of the characters vs the fans of the island. I disagree with this - I was a fan of this theory of faith vs science which was displayed by both the characters (Locke vs Shepard) and the island (the extraordinary powers of the island vs the Dharma Initiative). The best and most memorable quote of the whole entire series is when Locke and Shepard are arguing and Locke asks "why do you find it so hard to believe?" and Jack replies with another question "why do you find it so easy?" The dynamic energy between these 2 characters is what caused my addiction to the show. I often found myself siding with Locke (which is surprising considering I am an atheist - this could be blamed on the profound writing of his character or the power of Terry O'Quinn's acting ability, it is not due to my bias towards Alias alums..haha). The conflicting characters were so opposingly dramatic yet so realistic - and not just with Locke and Shepard. Kate's conflicting love for Jack and Sawyer was the perfect love triangle, never feeling contrived or even clear on who she should belong with (although I guess the ultimate decision was made clear in the end).

3. It was intelligent and unapologetic - It never was dumbed down for its audience, it never went out of its way to explain its details and it always had references that went way above my head. I loved watching an episode - then heading over to and reading Doc Jenson's recap. There was this whole other layer to the series which caused people to do actual research and read books (!).

4. The End of Lost - Obviously, I didn't really like the finale (it wasn't really the actual episode that bothered me - it was that I had such high expectations - it basically needed to erase all of the flawed story lines that I have loyally endured) - but more than that, my interest in the series has dissipated over the last 3 seasons of the series. The last season was almost a painful chore that I had to endure every week. I actually fell asleep while watching episode 15 - when I woke up my DVR had given me the option of replaying the episode from the beginning or deleting the episode. I chose the latter, opting to just read Doc's recap - which brings me to my next point...

5. It became too intelligent - I shouldn't HAVE to read a recap to understand what the hell I just watched! The show should be understandable and entertaining on its own level while these fanatic reviews and recaps should just add depth - they shouldn't be essential to the series. I can't pinpoint when the turning point in the series happened, but I think that it is interesting that JJ became less involved in the series (opting to focus on the visionary show Fringe, rebooting the Star Trek franchise and working on another "mysterious" project) and the show coincidentally lost its way (no pun intended). JJ has a knack of finding that creative line between mass appeal and cult appeal. I don't want to diminish the work of the other creators of the show - they did an amazing job. The finale alone referenced everything from Salmon Rushdie to Edmund Burke to Alice in Wonderland - obviously they work hard but I just think they ignored the mass appeal of the show.

6. The end date - It was a phenomenal idea to give the series an "end date" - this ensured a creative closure to the series, allowing the writers to create a timeline of events (you know to actually answer all those questions they posed). But I feel that the writers ignored this advantage. Instead of utilizing this last season to create closure - they introduced us with this "sideways" story and pushed us into this Jacob vs The Man in Black island mythology that was completely unnecessary.

7. Nitpicking the end - 1. Where was Michael? Was he not forgiven for his sins and therefore allowed an afterlife? Surely, the crimes he committed were no more "sinful" than Ben's or even Sayid's for that matter. 2. Sayid and...Shannon really? I didn't mind their relationship on the island, but from day 1 they made it clear that Sayids soul mate was Nadia. There is no way he would want to spend eternity with Shannon. 3. When was Boone enlightened? Why didn't we get to see that? 4. What happened to Charles Widmore? Did he give up on finding the island? Did I miss something or did they ignore his storyline completely? 5. Everyone is a Christian! I am not angry with the overtly religious finale, religious themes have always been an undercurrent of the show. However, one of the great aspects of the show was the international casting and characters - characters with different backgrounds and religions. To end the show with a definitive religion for all of the characters does a disservice to the show as a whole. 6. Actually I could go on all I better stop now.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

4 Thoughts on "Clash of the Titans"

This film was such a disappointment. It will likely make it to my worst films of the year list. I was really excited to see this film - and yes I avoided seeing it in 3-D since pretty much every review I read stated that the 3-D effects were lame and distracting. Unfortunately the 2-D effects were just as lame and distracting. Here are my thoughts:

1. For some reason it reminded me of "Lost" - I guess it has similar themes of good vs evil, destiny vs faith, gods vs humans etc. Plus it takes place on the "island" of Argos - a place that the humans will do anything to protect (even sacrifice a virgin queen) and has several "mystical" creatures. So I found myself analyzing Lost and comparing it to Greek and Roman Mythology. I know that most Lost enthusiasts have agreed that the show has deep religious context - which I have ignored until now. It never really occurred to me that all of the bible references that are made, are in fact references from mythology that I actually enjoy. So this realization excited me - I can't wait to watch Lost from the beginning with this new understanding, but it also completely distracted me from the film that I was actually watching. Every time, I would force myself to focus on the film - I found myself drifting rather quickly, that can't be a good sign...right?

2. It was cheesy - ok...obviously if you watch the original film - it is pretty much cheese central. But this is 2010. They could have made a much more sophisticated (and awesome) film, but they chose to keep the campiness, the overacting, the bad costumes and the tacky special effects. If I wanted to re-live and 80's film, I would have simply just watched one. Why on earth would I want to see a new version of the exact same thing?

3. I will forgive Sam Worthington - He didn't really have a choice when being offered this role - of course he would accept it, but I hope this is his one and only bad film. However, this film is way below the standards of established talent (like Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes - what were you thinking??).

4. A sequel? Really? - That is the most absurd thing I have ever heard.

4 Ways to Describe "Date Night"

1. It was cute - Steve Carell and Tina Fey make a perfect and very believable couple. Both are well received comedians - who pretty much play the same character in every project that they participate in, but at least they are both guaranteed to be funny. Their chemistry is mostly comedic, but it works perfectly for this film.

2. It was repetitive and cliched - A lot of the same jokes were used over and over again - we get it "put on a shirt". So even though parts of the film were hilarious, I felt like as a whole it was pretty mediocre. The whole "boring couple from NJ that needs to spice up their marriage" plot line was a bit forced. It was easy to follow, which is not necessarily a compliment.

3. It was ridiculous - the action sequences were a little long and awkward - as were the ridiculous situations that our couple encounters. Come on...Tina Fey and Steve Carell in a car chase scene? Really? Tina Fey and Steve Carell pole dancing? Really? Ok...the last one was actually kind of funny.

4. It was loaded with cameos - or guest spots, I am not really sure what the correct term is, but the film had a hilarious scene with James Franco and Mila Kunis, a recurring (and shirtless) Mark Walberg (who might have finally learned how to make fun of himself) and a very tiny scene with Mark Ruffalo and Kristen Wiig (who could easily make their own Date Night film - probably even a bit more interesting than this one).

Friday, May 14, 2010

7 More Shows Cancelled!

Entertainment websites are buzzing with the ridiculous amount of television programs being cancelled within the last 48 hours. This is the time of year that networks announce their new programming schedule - and NBC & ABC are really shaking things up. They have both announced a boat load of new series, which means they have to make some room. For the most part I agree with their choices, yet I still get upset that some shows just are not given the opportunity to grow. Here are my thoughts on the cancellations so far:

1. Mercy/Trauma - I clump these 2 shows together because they were basically the same show. I wasn't too impressed with either of them, but for reasons beyond my control - I kept watching. I can't say that I will miss either of them, but they did both serve a purpose. Mercy was the better show of the two - mostly because the plots were a little more interesting. The series hit a high note when Veronica gets caught in the middle of a burglary. This traumatic event causes her to seriously lose her marbles and spiral into depression (and alcoholism). I think it has been a while since I have seen a main character have actual serious problems that can't be solved. Her mental stability is questioned for the rest of the episodes. The season finale (which is now the series finale) has both of the men that she loves - yes, I honestly believes that she does love both of them- in peril. Since there is no conclusion - I have come up with my own which is...they both die. Which will f*** Veronica up to a point of no return. Trauma on the other hand, tried to do the same thing with the main heroine being "damaged", but they didn't pull it off as well. They never really explained (at least well) why Nancy didn't go to Med school other than that she is stubborn. Her relationship with Rabbit felt kind of forced - and they never brought up the issue that he was in the helicopter that killed her boyfriend (fiance maybe? I don't remember), which is a little awkward. I felt like Nancy was self-destructive because she craved attention and drama, while Veronica was self-destructive because she doesn't know any other way to live. Like I said - I wont really miss these shows, but it was nice to watch shows with realistic, complicated female characters.

2. Scrubs - I obviously knew this was coming, but I am a little depressed about it because the "new" Scrubs was actually very entertaining - it just wasn't Scrubs. They didn't do it right. If they took this same show and gave it a different name and got rid of the girl that was supposed to be the "female J.D" it would have worked. They basically tried to re-create something that was essentially impossible to re-create. However, the new characters were AMAZING - especially Cole. I demand a spin-off.

3. FlashForward - I knew that it was a tough choice for NBC - should they keep V or FlashForward. Both are high concept shows with potential for a cult following, yet both are suffering in the ratings. I follow both shows and I honestly can't tell you which one I like better. I feel like both have some pretty big flaws. I think it really came down to the fact that V is an easier show to catch people up on - I think anyone can turn on any episode and get the gist of what is going on, while FlashForward is a show that you can't miss an episode - and you would need to watch it from the beginning to truly understand everything. I am disappointed that they chose FlashForward mostly because I really like all of the characters, it has some nice surprise twists and it moves pretty quickly. I was upset that they pulled a Nina Meyers and made Janis a traitor because it made absolutely no sense - I felt like they cheated their audience by insisting on a "shock value", but then in the following episodes we learn that Janis is actually a double agent. That was a nice twist that I didn't see coming. I will miss this show. I hope that they don't end it with a big cliffhanger - that would just be torture.

4. Law & Order - ok - I have honestly never watched an episode. I know it is bizarre for someone who is obsessed with television to never have watched one of the most popular shows on tv - I only had 20 years to try. I have no excuses. I can't say whether it was good,bad (or predictable...), but in regards to it's surprise cancellation - all I can say is It's about damn time!! There are 3 Law & Order shows - the original and 2 spin-offs. One of them needed to go (or dare I say 2 of them...). It was practically a monopoly.

5. Romantically Challenged - How did anyone over at ABC watch the pilot for this show and think that it was a good idea? It was absolutely painful to sit through. It was an embarrassment for all involved especially Alyssa Milano - who I wanted to like, but was appalled by her unintentional awkwardness. Someone did the right thing by cancelling it quickly, but I question and judge ABC harshly for putting it on the air to begin with.

6. Happy Town - Although it hasn't been officially cancelled - it was pulled off the air by ABC after only 3 episodes - the network boasts "new episodes will return shortly", but I have my doubts. The show had a great marketing strategy - "if you're happy and you know it clap your hands" SCARY NOISE "if you're happy and you know it". It was super creepy and I thought it was a great idea to turn a scary story into a serial tv show. But the first episode wasn't scary at all - instead it barely made sense. It was trying to create a mystery, but it basically just threw a bunch of information at the audience - none of which was all that interesting. The following 2 episodes were quite boring and I have to say that aside from the always amazing Amy Acker and the dull but handsome Geoff Stults, the over-acting on this show was off the chart.

7. Heroes - The most shocking and bittersweet cancellation of all over the past 48 hours is Heroes. I can't say that it didn't deserve it - I honestly think the network gave it plenty of chances to redeem itself. One of my first posts on this blog was about shows that people need to watch so they don't get cancelled and Heroes was one of them. I wanted the show to continue simply because I was hopeful that it would find its strength again, but when I really thought about it I knew its time was up. I am upset that it didn't get a proper goodbye and am hopeful for a movie that will tie the series together. It was once one of the most innovative shows on television and it will be missed.

I do want to point out that in October when NBC cancelled "Southland" - I suggested other shows that should have been cancelled instead that included "Mercy", "Trauma", "Heroes", at least one "Law & Order", and "The Jay Leno Show". I find it interesting that six months later all of these shows are cancelled, while they still lost a truly great show to TNT (they have renewed "Southland" for a third season). NBC giving up "Southland" was a huge error on their part - they must be kicking themselves.