Mine was one of those traditional gatherings in which my assembled family removed my niece’s belongings from her allegedly abusive boyfriend’s trailer under the watchful eyes of the county sheriff and said boyfriend’s own family. As my nephew put it, it was his favorite Thanksgiving memory ever.
Monday is rapidly becoming my favorite night for television. Heroes has overcome my initial skepticism to become appointment TV. Last night’s payoff to the series’ catchphrase “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World” was riveting. I don’t know where this show is going, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the journey.
How I Met Your Mother continues to be a delightful comedy, and last night’s installment was the best of the season. Ted’s girlfriend Robin had a secret reason for not wanting to go to the mall, and the gang’s efforts to uncover the truth led to a hilarious slapping contest between Marshall and Barney. Yes, it’s just that funny to see two guys smacking the crap out of each other. The truth about Robin–that she enjoyed a brief stint as a bubblegum-pop, mall-touring singer–culminated with the screening of a pitch-perfect parody of ’80s era music video, which CBS has thoughtfully provided on its web site.
Filmmaker Peter Jackson reports that MGM and New Line Cinema are going forward with their plans to make the long-anticipated film adaptation of The Hobbit…without him. At issue is a dispute over profits from The Fellowship of the Ring. Jackson, understandably, doesn’t want his participation in the prequel a condition of settling his lawsuit with New Line.
I know that the following will come uncomfortably close to a fanboy rant, it must be said that this is a terrible decision on the part of New Line. While I’m sure that other directors could do justice to the book, the entire point of the project should have been to reunite Jackson with Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Hugo Weaving as Elrond; and to provide as much continuity as possible with the design work established in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Unless New Line pulls its collective head out of its collective bunghole, I think that they’ve just cost themselves several hundred million bucks.
The sound of one hand clapping goes to Fox, which pulled its ill-considered interview special detailing just how O.J. Simpson would’ve committed bloody double homicide and gotten away with it. But first, we were treated to the odd spectacle of Bill O’Reilly announcing a boycott of his own parent company. I’ll give him a bit of credit for that, though it would’ve carried more weight if he hadn’t continued to show up for his nightly screed on Fox News. Still, it’s nice to know that there’s a line that even Bill O’Reilly won’t cross.
In other celebrity mea culpa news, there was last night’s Late Show with David Letterman appearance by former Seinfeld star Michael Richards. Richards showed up via satellite feed to deeply–and, one hopes, sincerely–apologize for his jaw-droppingly racist rant last weekend. His rambling, vaguely coherent statement managed to be slightly more uncomfortable to listen to than the barrage of filth that inspired it.
I do wish we had an opportunity to see the events that led up to his hate-fueled rampage. Apparently, the object of his ire has admitted to “playfully heckling” Richards; I’d like to see just how playful it was. I don’t excuse Richards’ actions, but I do feel as if we’re missing an important part of the story.
I will give Richards credit for one thing: unlike certain others (kaff, Mel Gibson, kaff), he didn’t hem and haw; equivocate or pass the blame. At the first opportunity, he stepped up and took it on the chin. These days, that’s a rare occurance.
Last night’s premiere of Day Break, a Groundhog Day-ish thriller that’s allegedly taking the place of Lost for the next three months, got off to a disasterous start. According to Marc Berman at mediaweek.com, Day Break started off its two-hour premiere losing 41 percent of its lead-in from the (admittedly inflated) season finale of Dancing with the Stars, and hemorrhaged audience during each half hour.
Last week, the Lost “fall finale” averaged an 11.6 rating/17 share.1 Day Break started with a 9.8 rating/14 share, and by the end of the night, it had dropped to a 6.3 rating/10 share. That’s not good. Really not good.
I’ll reiterate my previous prediction: new episodes of Lost will return before February.
1A rating point is equal to one percent of the total potential audience for a program, in other words, all homes with TV sets. A share point is equal to one percent of the homes actually watching something at the given time.
…of woman to get away with plastering “Yum-O!” across her boobs.
I’m not saying she’s wrong, but wow, that’s either stunning naivete or equally impressive self-assurance.
After just six weeks back on the air this fall, ABC’s Lost is taking a 13-week hiatus. The plan, announced some time ago, is intended to present a repeat-free season, as serialized dramas traditionally tank the second time ’round. The remaining 16 shows will begin running weekly in February 2007.
This is an unusual but not unprecedented move. For the past couple of years, Fox’s 24 has aired as a single, uninterrupted series of episodes. And Sci-Fi’s Battlestar Galactica experimented with something similar, breaking its second year into two mini-seasons of ten episodes each.
While I thought that Galactica‘s take on the concept worked well, I believe that Lost‘s hit-and-run will be a monumental disaster that could wreck whatever remaining cachet the once-watercooler series had.
First, six episodes isn’t time enough to build up momentum, at least at the rate which Lost dishes out its overarcing plot. The conclusion of last night’s fall finale wasn’t so much a cliffhanger as it was the point at which events finally began to perk.
Furthermore, a mass-appeal show like Lost has a disadvantage to a niche program such as Galactica. Battlestar fans are rabid enough to seek out their show after a lengthy absence. While Lost has similar devotees, casual viewers are, in my opinion, less likely to come back. There are simply too many entertainment options these days. Yes, most series take a long summer hiatus, but viewers have been trained to expect that seasonal change. Will they even remember Lost by February?
Finally, and most importantly, so very little has happened in these last six episodes. Last year’s firecracker of a season finale ended with the explosion of the hatch and the subsequent revelation of the island to the outside world, not to mention the kidnapping of the show’s three stars by the mysterious “Others.” The first point has failed to pay off at all, and the second has led to several episodes of our heroes being confined, beaten, swindled and broken. It’s been very frustrating, as the confinement necessarily means that no one is going anywhere. Plus, it’s just no fun to see the good guys constantly outfoxed and intimidated into submission.
The (admittedly nifty) revelation that they are being held on a second, smaller island is meant to justify their loss of will to escape. But who wants to see that? Kate and Sawyer are consummate survivors. The apparent hopelessness of their situation ought to make them try harder. They should be looking to steal a boat, or to grab weapons and make the Others’ lives as miserable as possible. Moping in a cage might be a more realistic reaction, but emotionally, what I need to see is Sawyer beating the shit out of “Mr. Friendly” and storming the complex in search of Jack.
Battlestar ended its own second season with its characters in a helluva mess: most of them trapped on a craphole planet with an occupying Cylon force. If this had been Lost, the situation would’ve undoubtedly played out for much of season three. But thankfully, Galactica had the good sense to end the occupation after four satisfying episodes, the last of which was a rousing rescue mission. And I needed that payoff sooner rather than later. Even a premise as hopeless as that of Galactica, with a small remnant of humanity running from genocidal enemies, has to allow its heroes some small victories.
In the final few minutes of last night’s Lost, we got our first taste of sweet release, only to be met with the dreaded “to be continued” and the even more dreaded “in three frickin’ months.”
Frankly, I don’t think it’ll last. I believe that once the numbers for temporary replacement Daybreak precipitously drop (and, sight unseen, I predict that they will), ABC will rush to get new episodes of Lost back on the air. Nework execs are notoriously impatient. And no broadcast network can afford to lose a hit series, even a fading one.