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The Frogurt Is Also Cursed

January 22nd, 2009

I didn’t enjoy last night’s two-hour season premiere of Lost¬†quite as much as did some of the TV critics, but that may have been in part because we didn’t start watching until 10:00 pm and therefore by the end I was willing the show to hurry up and get to the credits. There were certainly some “whoa” moments and a lot of snappy patter, but I think the two episodes played the “mystery character reveal” game once too often. When it worked–the surprise reappearance of the cranky “Marvin Candle”–it was fun. But, for example, when we were meant to speculate over who had called Kate’s cell phone when it was obviously Sun, it was a bit “so what?” And the final mystery reveal, which was supposed to big enough to warrant being the last image of the two hours, left me scratching my head and wanting to consult the Lostpedia. Really, the producers are giving me a bit too much credit when they expect me to remember a bit character who appeared in one episode two years ago.

Still, the show has come a long way from the days I complained that Heroes had overtaken Lost as The Show On Which Shit Actually Happens. My, what difference a couple of years and a set end-date make. It makes me hopeful that Heroes may still pull out of its seemingly terminal tailspin. Even though Lost–and the soon-to-be-ending Battlestar Galactica–are still raising more questions than providing answers, at least I have a clear sense that both shows have answers.

I was also left with the impression that Lost will be settling down into a more linear format as it approaches its endgame, if linear can be applied to a show in which half the cast is unstuck in time and bouncing through The Island’s Greatest Hits. But it does seem to have abandoned its “flashback/flash-forward” structure, in which we are meant to figure out for ourselves where each part of the narrative fits into the overall timeline. Even as Locke and the other islanders pinball through time, they are at least together and sharing a single story, as are the Oceanic Six and their hangers-on.

We also seem to have seen the end of most of the background castaways, courtesy of a mysterious flaming-arrow attack. I love how the producers ratchet the annoyance value of their bit players up to 11 just before offing them: Neil/”Frogurt”–like exploding Arzt before him–gets his at the precise moment that we really want him to shut the hell up.

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