Thursday, May 21, 2009

Non-Lost Season Finales

Believe it or not, I do actually watch a little television that's not Lost. With the spring television season having just ended, there's plenty of finales to talk about.

24 is still my second-favorite show on television, and more than anything, this season has been about bouncing back from the abysmal season 6. Really, any season that focuses more on Audrey freaking Raines than on Jack Bauer is doomed to fail from the start. Heck, season 7 even kicked off with a movie called "Redemption", which was always a title as much about the show itself as it was about Jack Bauer.

The first half of season 7 did in fact look like it was going to redeem the show from the sixth season. Of course, we knew that the shady Sangalans weren't going to be the endgame... but I think the season might have been improved a bit by making Jonas Hodges the endgame. Jon Voight played the role of the evil, slightly cracked-up mastermind better than most in the show's history.

Instead, we got a jumbled "shadow organization" of private military people, a la Quantum of Solace, which reduced the impact of what happened in the last few episodes. Still, the resolution of "good Tony/evil Tony" made some sense, once we realized he's just crazy and and willing to play both sides to get some revenge.

I liked the finale for the most part, with Renee Walker turning ever more Jack Bauer-ish, and Jack finally boosting the Bauer Count, including a quality scalpel kill. Very nice! At this point, it's obvious that Jack Bauer isn't really going to die, particularly since he has a contract through the next season at least. Is it too much to ask for Kim to be killed/incapacitated in the process of saving him so that she won't be on the show anymore? Probably.

And oh, was it good to see Olivia Taylor get what was coming to her.

House kind of got on my nerves toward the end of that last season, to tell the truth. I did not like Amber when she was a fellowship applicant. I did not like Amber when she was Wilson's girlfriend. And I especially did not like her when she wasn't even real, but inside House's head. Am I in the strong minority here? Does everyone else in the House fan base love her?

Either way, I hope that season 6 gets out of House's subconscious. This show is and has always been about House and his eccentricities. We're perfectly willing to accept a Vicodin addiction if it means more quips and insults. I realize that the show needs some directional mobility, that it needs overarching plots and stories to keep each episode from being a curious one-off. In the past, though, this has always been much more successful when it involved an application of House's character, not an alteration of it.

Nevertheless, there were plenty of good episodes this season, particularly once you disregarded Amber. It was nice to see more Chase and Cameron, and I can't help but wonder how the "star billing" is going to look on this show next year--if I were Olivia Wilde, I'd find it a little odd that I got more screen time yet less credit than some other other actors.

Thank you, The Office, a million times, for "snapping out of it" and returning to the usual frivolities of Dunder Mifflin. "Cafe Disco" and "Company Picnic" were exactly the right way to end the season: thematic episodes that showcase the excellent characters and situations (this is a sit-com, after all), rather than trying to tie it into "real life" somehow. Even the "Michael Scott Paper Company" arc eventually avoided the unwelcome emotional seriousness that plagued the first two thirds of the season.

Even though on some level, all the CSI's and Criminal Minds are basically the same show, I enjoy them all (except CSI Miami, which I never really got into). Finales were largely good, with the device of "mysterious shooting with two seconds left in the episode" overused and not particularly impactful... but I'm sure everything will sort itself out over the next seasons of each show.

Currently listening: Abraxas, Santana

1 comment:

Forrest said...

Watch less tv, Matt. Focus your energies on more productive pursuits. You want to help me get G. Wayne's butt public? Go to my blog to see how.