Tag: Lost

Early TV outlook

Not all my shows have premiered yet, but a few have, and I think it’s about time I start obsessing, so here we go.

Premiered shows

Prison Break (Fox, Mondays at 7pm CST) – Prison Break started off a little slow for me this year, but by the third episode, it’s gathering itself a bit. I’m not sure I’m going to keep it on the schedule, but I’ve invested a year in it, so I’m less likely to give it up than some of the newer shows. Plus, I want to make sure Sara doesn’t get in too much trouble.

Vanished (Fox, Mondays at 8pm CST) – We’re three episodes into this new show, and I’m still figuring out what I think. I am getting drawn into the story to some degree, especially the conspiracy theory / secret society angle, because I’m a sucker for that. But I’m not sure the whole structure really works–there’s too many strands at one time, none of which are developed enough for me to really care about them. It’s one thing to keep watching it now, when there are only six shows that have premiered, but when it’s jockeying for my (increasingly limited) free time with 15 to 20 other shows, Vanished may vanish. (Sorry, had to do the easy pun. Series totally ask for it when they name shows like that.)

House (Fox, Tuesdays at 7pm CST) – One episode in, and it’s as good as ever. I think the conflict between what House wants to do and what Cutty will let him do is going to increase this year–and making it even more interesting is Cutty’s growing inability to separate what’s medically sound from House’s hunches. I just hope that it doesn’t devolve into familiar ground regarding House’s vicodin addiction. But it looks like a solid beginning to a good season of a great show.

Standoff (Fox, Tuesdays at 8pm CST) – This one’s been looking good all summer, and it wasn’t a bit disappointing. Hostage negotiating is always a very tense subject, and the suspense was kept up quite well. The only thing is going to be keeping up that intensity over a whole season, but hey. Procedurals do it all the time with crimes, so why not hostage situations? I like the characters, the writing isn’t bad, and I’m definitely keeping this one on my schedule.

Bones (Fox, Wednesdays at 7pm CST) – I have friends who deride Bones all the time, for writing, or poor forensics, or whatever. But you know what, I like it. I don’t care. I enjoy the interplay between Brennan and Booth, I like the goofiness of the team, I’m enjoying the tension that the new boss is bringing to the Jeffersonian. I know nothing about forensics, so I don’t know if it’s accurate or not, but it looks interesting to me, and that’s what TV is about…entertaining the ignorant, right? Just kidding. But it kept my interest all last season, and the first episode of this season was good, too. So I’m not letting it go.

Justice (Fox, Wednesdays at 8pm CST) – I’m not completely convinced by this one yet–high-powered defense lawyers and all that. I do love Victor Garber, though, and the young lawyer is hot hot hot. This week’s episode had Amanda Seyfried (Lilly on Veronica Mars) as the guest star, and she was great. The closing gimmick of showing how the crime really happened (i.e., whether the defendent really did it, independent of the verdict) strikes me as just that…a gimmick. And they’re going to have to lose some cases now and again, too. I hope they handle that well. Overall, I’m not done with it yet, but it’s not top of my “keep watching” list either.

New shows not premiered yet

Kidnapped (NBC, Wednesdays at 9pm CST, premieres 9/20) – I actually saw this premiere from Netflix. And between then and now, I’ve almost completely forgotten it. Even when watching it, now that I think back, it wasn’t terribly memorable. I may give it a shot for a week or two, but I doubt it’ll differentiate itself from the huge pack of new dramas this fall.

Six Degrees (ABC, Thursdays at 9pm CST, premieres 9/20) – I haven’t heard much advance buzz on this, either, but when I was making my fall TV schedule, I saw it on the ABC website and the concept looks interesting. I’m always fascinated by how people and events are connected together in unlikely ways, and ABC has done well on their dramas the last few years, so I’m going to test it out.

Heroes (NBC, Mondays at 8pm CST, premieres 9/25) – Now here we go. One of my two most anticipated new series of the year. Each otherwise ordinary person has some extraordinary power–I’m not sure where it’s going to go from here, but the cast is good (Greg Grunberg, yayness!–he was Agent Weiss on Alias, as well as the doomed pilot on Lost), and NBC’s relentless promotion of the show all summer has me very interested.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (NBC, Mondays at 9pm CST, premieres 9/25) – And my other most anticipated new series. Aaron Sorkin, Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, behind-the-scenes at an ailing-but-hopefully-recovering SNL-type show–I’ve seen the premiere, and it’s excellent. Great cast, great writing…if the rest of the series can keep it up, this will be great.

The Nine (ABC, Wednesdays at 9pm CST, premieres 10/4) – I don’t remember what this one was about. But whatever description of it I read interested me enough to throw in on my schedule, so I guess I’ll find out for a few weeks anyway. edit: Okay, reading TV Guide in the checkout line is sometimes helpful–this show is about nine people taken hostage in a bank robbery over the whole season arc. TV Guide was high on it, and it does sound like it might be good. The actress who plays Audrey Raines on 24 is in it, and she’s apparently quite the little firecracker.

30 Rock (NBC, Wednesdays at 7:30 CST, premieres premieres 10/11) – I’ll actually take bets on how long this can make it before being cancelled. I give it…five episodes. But I do like Tina Fey, so despite my overall sense that it’s going to totally suck, I’d like to catch an ep or two to confirm that. edit: TV Guide tagged this Best New Comedy. Heh. I’m still not convinced.

Returning shows yet to premiere

The Amazing Race (CBS, Sundays at 7:30pm CST, premieres 9/17) – I avoided TAR for a long time on the basis of being prejudiced against all reality-type shows. Then I was convinced to try it, and it’s actually quite interesting, if only for the travel aspect.

How I Met Your Mother (CBS, Mondays at 7:30pm CST, premieres 9/18) – One of the very few sitcoms I really like. It’s cute, and funny, and sweet, and GORRAM IT ROBIN AND TED NEED TO GET TOGETHER ALREADY. Sorry. I’m not usually much of a ‘shipper, but Robin and Ted are so awesome.

NCIS (CBS, Tuesdays at 7pm CST, premieres 9/19) – I didn’t watch this one from the beginning (bad me!), but I do enjoy it. But it’s more of a fun procedural now and again rather than an “I have to watch it every week!” kind of show. I intend on watching it all on DVD eventually to get the overall arcs down, but depending on time, NCIS may fall by the wayside.

The Office (NBC, Thursdays at 7:30pm CST, premieres 9/20) – I scoffed off the American version of The Office at first, but enough people have told me that it’s really good, and acclimated itself well to being American instead of British that I think I’ll give it a shot this year.

Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, Thursdays at 8pm CST, premieres 9/20) – My watching or non-watching of Grey’s depends entirely on how quickly I get and watch the S2 discs from Netflix, which should be on their way to me soon. I watched the whole first season in about a week on DVD, and LOVED it, far more than I’d expected. So I’d love to be watching the current season, but I absolutely do not want to watch out of order.

Numb3rs (CBS, Fridays at 9pm CST, premieres 9/21) – Numb3rs is just fun. I do so enjoy good procedurals sometimes, and Numb3rs has characters that I like, even if they aren’t really so much into the relationship side of things. Sometimes that’s refreshing.

Desperate Housewives (ABC, Sundays at 8pm CST, premieres 9/24) – A lot of people thought the second season went so far downhill that they aren’t even planning to watch the current season. I don’t think it was as great as the first season, but it didn’t turn me off so much that I don’t want to keep watching. It’s just such a guilty-type pleasure, you know? They do need to settle down the try-it-and-see-if-it-works style of writing employed last year.

Gilmore Girls (CW, Tuesdays at 7pm CST, premieres 9/26) – Yeah, I probably won’t be watching GG this year either. My brilliant plan of watching seasons 3-5 on DVD and somehow scrounging S6 from somewhere over the summer and thus being caught up for the current season didn’t really work out. And I doubt I’m going to be able to watch four seasons in the next three weeks. No spoilers, okay everyone? Please?

Supernatural (CW, Thursdays at 8pm CST, premieres 9/28) – I know some people who really like Supernatural (because of the hot boys), and I thought I might check it out, but I probably won’t have time. And the one episode I saw last season didn’t really make me want to see more, so I’ll most likely save it for a rainy day on DVD.

Veronica Mars (CW, Tuesdays at 8pm CST, premieres 10/3) – Why, oh why, does Veronica have to premiere so late?! I WANT IT NOW!! Guys, seriously, if I gave up every other show on here, I wouldn’t give up Veronica. That’s how great it is. Watch it, love it, share it, talk to me about it. :)

Lost (ABC, Wednesdays at 8pm CST, premieres 10/4) – Lost isn’t my favorite show, as I know it is for several of y’all, but I’m in it for the long haul. No way am I quitting now, just when the world of the island is starting to open up. I wish I’d kept up with the Lost Experience online stuff better, but I fell so far behind I gave up. I really have to congratulate ABC, though, on the way they’ve handled this show.

And 24 and American Idol, of course, start in January. ;) Oh, and in case it comes up, I have officially given up on The O.C.. I’m really tolerant of my shows, really, and I can put up with a lot of suckitude, but last season was incredibly bad, and I’m so totally over it. The only temptation is that Rachel Bilsson has been excellent all through, and I’m going to miss Summer. But one good character isn’t worth giving up so much of my time to THE SUCK.

A whole new world

Italo Calvino – If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler:

I’m producing too many stories at once because what I want is for you to feel, around the story, a saturation of other stories that I could tell and maybe will tell or who knows may already have told on some other occasion, a space full of stories that perhaps is simply my lifetime, where you can move in all directions, as in space, always finding stories that cannot be told until other stories are told first, and so, setting out from any moment or place you encounter always the same density of material to be told. – p.109

Right before I wrote this passage down, I flipped through the little notebook where I write down particularly resonant passages from whatever I’m reading, and the one just before this one is from Virginia Woolf: “When one so exposes [the genius and integrity of a great novel] and sees it come to life, one exclaims in rapture, ‘But this is what I have always felt and known and desired!'” That’s somewhat how I feel about the Calvino quote. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it is that draws me to certain books (or movies, even–throughout this post when I write “read,” I also mean “watch a movie” or “watch a TV show”).

A few people I know have recently stopped watching Lost because not much is happening…this was particuarly leveled at the recent Hurley-cenric episode, which the person I was speaking with thought was superfluous, because essentially nothing happened to advance the plot. I, on the other hand, really enjoyed the Hurley episode, and am more interested in Lost right now that I have been for a while. (I’ll admit that part of my love for that particular episode was the resemblence it bore to “Normal Again,” one of my favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes, in which Buffy gets injected with a drug which makes her think she’s actually in a mental institution, and the whole vampire slaying thing and all her friends, her entire world in fact, are hallucinations…and the episode leaves the possibility open that the mental institution reality is actually the correct one.)

Back to the point. The Calvino passage points a little bit to why that I liked the Hurley episode despite the fact that, admittedly, the plot wasn’t furthered really at all. I’ve known for a long time that I don’t read primarily for the event…in fact, I care so little for the actual outcome of novels that I can reread mysteries because I will completely forget who committed the crime. I read more for the characters, but even that’s not completely it. Then I thought, well, maybe I read for the world that the author creates. This is much closer to the truth, and explains why I enjoy books like Jasper Fforde’s Tuesday Next series so much, despite the undistinguished characters and gaping plotholes. Yet it isn’t a sense of “place” that I want, because as C.S. Lewis points out in An Experiment in Criticism, some books that I quite enjoy, like The Three Musketeers, have almost no sense of place. We know it’s set in the court of France and a little bit in England only because the narrator tells us so, not because the physical setting invades the prose, as does Crime and Punishment‘s Petersburg or Faulkner’s South.

But Calvino has just nailed pretty much on the head what most makes me enjoy a book (or movie or TV show): the sense that the characters and the world have many more stories that they could tell. The world of Lost will always be rich because there is more to it than just the island; there’s more to find out than just what happens next in real time; there are all the back stories of each character and how they intersect (or do they intersect? Are the stories we see reliable?), there are the stories of The Others, who they are and were and what they want, the story of the island itself and the Dharma Initiative. I don’t want to rush along the main plotline, because I want to hear as many of these other stories as I can, and yet always know that there are even more that I will never hear. I want to find out what happens to the survivors, but ultimately I like the process of finding out more than actually finding out. (Back to the rereading mysteries thing: I love the detecting work and the process of solving the mystery, but the resolution is almost always a letdown.)

Lord of the Rings is perhaps the best example of a detailed world. Even without knowing that Tolkein actually did create and write dozens of other stories and histories of Middle Earth that aren’t told in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the books carry a weightiness that can only be attributed to the density of available stories that may or may not ever be told. That richness is, more than anything else, what will completely entrall me. For the exact opposite of this, try something like Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress, which I read this month and has taken its place at the pinnacle of a pantheon I like to call “Worst.Books.Ever.” More on this in my month-end recap, which I’ll post sometime this year. (March’s is almost finished, I swear!) Digital Fortress has characters which interact only with each other. There are no characters introduced AT ALL which are not integral to the plot. The main character mentions several times that she and her fiance were planning to go on a vacation on the Smoky Mountains until work got in the way, but you don’t get any sense that the Smoky Mountains exist outside of her mentioning them–you don’t even feel like she really wants to go there, because she is so focused on her job and the plot at hand that there’s no room in her character for anything else. It’s a sterile environment, with static and confined characters. There are other stories hinted at occasionally…the lawbreaking hacker life of one of the cryptographers, the youth of a bitter young Japanese programmer…but they are only brought up for their immediate relevance to the main plot, and then dropped completely. There’s no sense that anything else ever happened to these people other than what we are told in the book. Not good for me. Not good at all.

Give me depth, give me breadth, give me complexity, give me density, give me imagination, give me richness, give me possibility.

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