Lost: LA X :: Question: WTF?

So here we are, Lost’s final season has gotten underway.  We are on the cusp of having the important questions answered.

Except after tonight’s episode, LA X, I’m not feeling like anything’s been answered.  In fact, I have even more questions.  And with 15-or-so episodes left this season, the producers better get cracking with some explanations! Continue reading “Lost: LA X :: Question: WTF?”

Musical Genius, Indeed

Because of other commitments, I was unable to watch last night’s Monday Night Raw, even though our captain served as the special guest host.

I’m glad to see the highlight of his performance has already hit the YouTube:

No joke, Has Been is a great album.  Maybe an album of WWFE entrance themes could be just as great.  But only if he hit up some of the classics, like Real American, Jive Soul Bro or I’m Just a Honky Tonk Man.


Jack Bauer As Hans Gruber

If you’re a fan of 24 and you’re anything like me, you tune into the show for one reason: to see Jack Bauer lay the smack down.

We don’t watch for the political or international intrigue (although, in the last few seasons, that’s stretching).

We don’t watch for the latest updates on the messed up lives of CTU employees.

And we don’t watch because Jack Bauer’s behind the steering wheel of a Ford Focus for episodes at a time.

It’s getting to the point where Jack Bauer is like Poochie. And I’d just like to say to the producers of 24 (to paraphrase Homer Simpson):

One, [Jack Bauer] needs to be louder, angrier, and have access to a time machine. Two, whenever [Jack]’s not onscreen, all the other characters should be asking “Where’s [Jack]”?

Because I know with one exception this season, whenever he’s not on screen, I’m asking my TV “Where’s Jack?”

The one exception has been the work the last few weeks of Agent Renee.  She’s like Jack at his season-three era darkest, but even her storyline is taking up too much time.

Poochie, er…Jack’s best scene this episode was his short stint as German arms dealer Hans Gruber (at least that’s what I thought the name was).  Jack proved to be fluent in German, and had some great exchanges with the Russian guy’s flunky.  My favorite exchange was this one:

Continue reading “Jack Bauer As Hans Gruber”

Smoke Monsters, Whispers, Science Stations and All The Rest

As a Lost fan, the past eight months since The Incident aired have gone very slowly.

I had a plan I started last summer to take a look at some of the mysteries of the show that I wanted to see answered.  Because of timing issues, I was never able to go into as much depth with I Want Some Freakin’ Answers as I had planned.  Sure, I wrote about a handful of questions, but there are a lot more.  And with the final season of the Kingdom’s favorite show starting up next Tuesday, there’s not really enough time to explore all of them thoroughly.  So I’m just going to go through the rest of my list, along with some comments:

Continue reading “Smoke Monsters, Whispers, Science Stations and All The Rest”

The Villain for 24 Day Eight: Papa

In past seasons of 24, Jack Bauer has faced a variety of foes, from the presumed dead Victor Drazen and the seemingly hapless but diabolical President Charles Logan to Jonas Hodges, who dared challenge the U.S. President via video conference call.

This season, though, the man who’s shaping up to be Jack’s nemesis is someone who doesn’t quite inspire as much fear as the man who was RoboCop.  Our villain is a businessman with, presumably a scary-sounding Russian name, but a man who is best known as Papa.

It's Papa!

Yes, Papa.  Sounds especially menacing if you imagine someone saying it in a baby’s voice.  This is the bad guy (so far) for 24 Day Eight.

I gotta tell you, I’m not that scared.

I think a more compelling bad guy would be Poppie from Seinfeld.

We’ve all seen how he can terrorize New York:

But enough about how this season could be better…

Continue reading “The Villain for 24 Day Eight: Papa”

Coco Gets the Last Laugh

Like a lot of people, I watched the final episode of Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show Friday night.  And like Tom Hanks said, in this house, Conan will always be the host of the Tonight Show.  I thought (for the circumstances), it was a great way to go out.

Too bad NBC is giving up the future for the past, because ratings wise, Conan’s last show pulled off something pretty incredible.  According to the New York Times:

In preliminary national late-night ratings, Mr. O’Brien scored a booming 7 household rating…

More impressive was the number for 18-to-49-year-old viewers — the gold standard for NBC because advertisers seek to reach that audience. There, in overnight numbers from the country’s 25 largest cities, Mr. O’Brien hit an extraordinary rating, a 4.8.

Not only would that be by far the biggest rating in that age group for any kind of show at any time Friday night…, it is also a better number than almost every prime-time show that has appeared on NBC this television season.

I hope that feels good, NBC.  But seeing as how Conan urged us all to give up cynicism and focus on the positives, I hope going out on a high note like this lets Conan keep his momentum and he stays himself for wherever his next show may be.

See You In September, Conan

So the Late Night TV madness is nearly over.  Conan O’Brien has signed a deal to leave NBC and has two episodes of the Tonight Show left.

Conan lets the beard grow during the writers' strike.

I can imagine the last few weeks haven’t been good for Conan, but as a viewer, he’s done of his most entertaining and funniest material since taking over the Tonight Show.

During the ’07-’08 writers’ strike, Conan was very funny, as he could do pretty much whatever he wanted.  It’s a similar situation now–he’s not being restrained by the whims of focus groups, and has gone back to doing some of the little things that he cut out of his act since moving to 11:30, like the String Dance and allowing Andy to sit on the couch.  They may be little things, but it felt like he stopped doing them to make the network happy.  Well, now, he’s being himself.  I hope he takes this approach wherever he ends up on September 1 (and I hope he takes Andy, Max and everyone else with him).

Meanwhile, with the exception of three shows, I refuse to watch anything on NBC, which is a big step for me, as they were my first employer back when I wanted to work in television.  But with their jettisoning of Conan to move the talentless Jay Leno back to 11:30, they’ve lost my support.

Actually, with Lost ending and a baby on the way, I’m going to have to re-evaluate how much television I watch anyway.  Good thing I have a lot of quality shows like Sledge Hammer!, the Greatest American Hero and Seinfeld on Lost.

And in September, I’ll be sure to DVR Conan.  Wherever he ends up.


Jack Bauer Vs. Scoliosis

I have an issue with this season of 24.  Much like previous days, I can’t take the CTU director/token authority figure seriously.

Sure, Brian Hastings is borderline incompetent, way too egotistical and follows the CTU rulebook a little too much.  But that we’ve seen before.  Rather, scenes with him are near unwatchable for one simple reason: the man cannot stand up straight.  Don’t believe me? See for yourself:

I know CTU is underground, but it seems like it has plenty of high ceilings.  And if he’s hunching over to hear those who are shorter than him, it may serve him better to take that dumbass earpiece out of his ear.  But if this guy has an early case of scoliosis, I don’t know if I can watch him slouching his way through another 20 hours.

I did have a few other things to say about these two hours of the eighth longest day of Jack Bauer’s life.

Continue reading “Jack Bauer Vs. Scoliosis”

Conan’s Not Gonna Take It Anymore

Embroiled in a controversy caused by NBC’s scheduling ineptitude, Tonight Show host (for now) Conan O’Brien says he’s not moving his 11:35 time slot for anyone, including the large-chinned talentless comedian responsible for the peacock network’s ratings nosedive:

People of Earth:

In the last few days, I’ve been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I’ve been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I’ve been absurdly lucky. That said, I’ve been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.

Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.

But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.

Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.

So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn’t matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.

There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.

Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.

Conan is handy at wielding the batI have to admit that I’m surprised and happy at the stance Conan is taking here.  Surprised that he’s standing his ground and essentially daring NBC to fire him if it really wants to move Jay Leno back to 11:35.  Happy because he’s sticking up for himself- he didn’t cause the mess left by the Talentless Jay Leno Show at 10:00, so why should he have to move so NBC can keep Jay Leno on the air?

NBC originally said it viewed the Talentless Jay Leno Show as a 52-week experiment.  Well, it hasn’t been close to that long.  It’s understandable that the network wants to shake things up to improve ratings.  But as Conan says, the Tonight Show wouldn’t be the Tonight Show airing a half hour later with another similar show airing right before it.

That’s called Late Night, and Conan paid his dues there for 16 years (and never even got a 15th anniversary special for it).

Still, if there’s a positive out of this (besides the principled stance Conan’s taken here), it’s that Conan could go someplace that wants and values him.  As NJ.com’s TV Critic Alan Sepinwall writes:

a “Tonight Show” that airs tomorrow, and after another late night comedy show, is “The Tonight Show” in name only, nothing more. It is NBC’s attempt to hold onto both Jay and Conan no matter what, to avoid giving Conan his money, or his ability to jump to Fox (whose executives, though they couched their comments to critics on Monday in careful legal niceties, seemed very pleased by the possibility of getting to start a late night franchise with the guy), and to pretend like the whole split-the-baby strategy wasn’t a massive miscalculation in the first place.

It was a miscalculation that evolved into a disaster.  Sure, NBC has two spots for three people (nevermind the fact that two of those people have contracts for those spots).  And regardless of the decision, the network knew it would upset one of those people with its decision.  But with this decision, it’s dumping the future and letting it find its way into the arms of a rival.  It’s another wonderful move from NBC.