Friday, November 03, 2006

Mourning Mr. Eko (and other TV thoughts)

Last week when Lost completed and they ran the "next week" previews, I latched onto the part they wanted me to latch onto, which was the ominous "one of the survivors won't survive" teaser. Now, they've done this before to great effect, most notably when Shannon was gatted in the jungle. So unlike many shows who find a way to weave in a minor character just in time to kill them off and therefore fulfill their promise, or still other shows that advertise a fake death as a real death (see the second episode of this season's Prison Break), Lost tends to deliver. So I was kind of nervous for the episode on Wednesday night. Then, when I noticed that there were only a few minutes left in the show and the island monster thing was pretending to be Eko's brother, I realized it was all over.

Needless to say, I was disappointed. Why did they have to kill off Mr. Eko? Is this a David Palmer situation where the actor is heading to another show? Is it because Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was arrested recently for disobeying a police officer? After all, this is the same show that watched Anna-Lucia and Libby get killed off just a short time after the actors, Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Watros, were both arrested for DUI's. Or is it simply a case where the death was needed to further the story? After all, it has been a while since we've seen that cloud-like monster and what better way to reintroduce that particular tormenter than by having it kill a favorite character. Not to mention the ominous "We're next" revelation at the end.

I guess the point is that whatever the reason, I trust the creators of Lost. I was bummed out that Mr. Eko (who has the best flashbacks, by the way - they feel like movies) is off the show, but I wasn't irritated the way I was when 24 killed off Tony Almeda, because the latter felt like pure shock value. The creators of 24 have proven that they will kill off favorite characters just to get people talking, which I find dubious at best. So that's the difference. I don't think Lindelof and Cuse (the head writers) work that way, so I can live with whatever they chose to do. If an actor needs to get off the show, more power to him. If Lost wants to serve as the last moral place in television, I'm fine with that as well. And obviously if they are doing this to make the show better, it goes without saying that I'm down.

But if they start killing off Sayid, Hurley, and Desmond "just to keep us guessing," I have the right to change my mind. For now, I'm still on board one hundred percent. What a great show.

Here are some other quick thoughts:

- The season premier of The O.C. might have been the most ridiculous hour of television since Paradise Hotel went off the air. Ryan as a cage fighter, Summer as a hippie, a comic book slide show presentation that was almost unbearable to sit through, and even one of those "I'm seeing Marissa's ghost" moments that I was begging them not to throw in there. Just a trainwreck from start to finish. The good news? I heard from someone that saw the first four episodes that the premier was one of the worst episodes in the show's history but that the next three are among the best. So there's still hope. But boy, the summer of 2003 feels like a long, long time ago.

- Jericho sucks. I will cover this in more detail when the "New TV Show Power Rankings" gets fired back up (now a monthly feature instead of weekly), but the show has become unwatchable. There is very little action and when there is, it is dreadfully over the top. The lack of action is replaced with boring scenes relying upon actors that are mediocre at best. I think the show is trying for a juxtaposition of the epic (the world teetering on the brink of elimination) and the ordinary. Thus, the painfully adolescent teen working through his issues, the shrew selfishly hoarding supplies in her store, the hick taking in the D.C. city girl, the family stuff, and so on. The problem is that because the actors are average and the writing is poor, it is just boring and cheesy. This show got off to a strong start in the ratings and CBS ordered a full season, but I'm telling you, Jericho sucks.

- Is Isiah Thomas running NBC these days? They just announced a budget cut of $750 million which means that most of their good new shoes are going down. To make matters worse, they finally gave Friday Night Lights some promotional help and then they go and put in Studio 60's time slot across from Monday Night Football. It was like they were trying to kill off two shoes at once. Amazing. (By the way, Minka Kelly is the next Rachel Bilson. You heard it here first.)

That should do for now.

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