I’m playing a bit of catch-up here, TVwise.
The ending of Lost was… well, I would say disappointing, but really it was what I realized long since it would be. It tied things up in terms of character logic, not in terms of story logic. If teh world was warped to the way I’d want it, this would’ve been some sort of fair-play whodunnit, where the ending gives you an explanation that makes everything before it make sense, some setting of triggers from which all of it understandably arose. But no. The island had power because, well, that’s just how it was. The island had a four-digited statue and ancient Egyptian influences inside because, well, they looked cool, I suppose. The only thing that got explained was the parallel storyline of the final season, and even then it was far from clear why so many of them had to suffer on SPOILER ALERT entering heaven. The long drawn out death of Jack seemed to highlight that, hey, we think having a drawn-out death would make a cool ending. All in all, the years I spent watching the show weren’t wasted, but I cannot say that the ending rewarded that investment the way that, say, Veronica Mars rewarded the viewer at the end of each of the first two seasons.
The end of FlashForward was a different situation. This was, after all, not meant to be an ending, it was meant to be a cliffhanger, for the future seasons that will now never come. And yet, it left me not wanting more. The series was smooth enough, interesting enough that I followed it for the entire run, but it was throughout much more about the mystery and the mechanics than what would intrigue me about the concept – how do people respond to knowing the future. We definitely saw moments of that, mostly very fatalistic moments (the club for those who had not seen the future, the suicide to change the future), but there are so many little ways things change (what would happen to sports gambling when someone may have been looking at the season-to-date summaries during their flashforward?), so many basic personal things. The characters weren’t interesting to watchin and of themselves; there was no equivalent of Lost‘s Sawyer, who we loved to watch, or Hurley, who we loved to love.
I was glad that early in the year I had removed my rule of watching at least one full episode of every new primetime network fiction show. All the ads for Happy Town kept making me not want to watch, as they promised nothing but bleak ugliness. And when the ads would say “but don’t be fooled by the name”, my brain would continue “…it’s really an unincorporated hamlet!” (Which is really just a riff on a Simpsons gag about Monster Island.) I accumulated episodes on my DVR while I decided whether to watch… but then I was going to upgraded my DVR with a larger hard disk, so those were about to be functionally wiped out. I did give it a ten minute try (despite the fact that the cancellation of the series had been announced by then), and it lived down to my expectations. When I saw an online discussion calling for ABC to reverse their decision about this amazing series, my beliefs in it were confirmed when a viewer said that now all he had left to watch was Criminal Minds. Goodness, they couldn’t even get me to watch that show this week and it had Tim friggin’ Curry on it.
Much that I’ve been watching this season will not be around for the fall. Lost, FlashForward, Better Off Ted, Scrubs, Dollhouse, Defying Gravity, Monk, Saving Grace, and Old Christine are gone. I thought Friday Night Lights was burning through its last few now, but I must correct myself; it’s filming its last few now, so that’s one more season to go. This seasons did grant me some new shows that are surviving to entertain me further – Modern Family, Parenthood, Human Target – but if I’m going to keep consuming TV at the rate I have been, the fall better bring an unexpectedly large load of goodness.
Meanwhile, here’s a sign that your marketing department has not been doing as good a job as it should: the local paper announced the return of Flashpoint, the generic modern cop show from Canada, as a new series. Apparently, they hadn’t even noticed it existed.