Old Fashioned TV Schedules

Back before Hope and Luke, the most blogged-about topics here at the Kingdom were 24 and Lost. I was a near-obsessive fan of both shows, and when both shows ended in the spring of aught-ten, so too did my TV viewing habits (not to mention production here on the blog).

I was so entranced by the mysteries of Lost and suspense of 24 that I wanted to give weekly TV a rest. Sure, I watched sitcoms and Chuck, but I didn’t want to get drawn into a new show again. I figured I would wait until a serialized show had either ended its run or had a few seasons under its belt before watching. That way, I could check it out on DVD or on Netflix at my own pace.

I stayed true to the plan. Only recently did I re-enter the realm of the hour-long drama, when The Civee and I started watching Fringe earlier this summer. Created by JJ Abrams and bearing elements of Alias and Lost, I was told by more than one person that I would like it. They were right. While I felt the first season was slow with its mystery of the week structure, once it started getting into its mythology in the second season, I was hooked. We barreled through the first four seasons on Netflix and ended last week. But Netflix won’t have the final season available until Thursday.

This isn’t on the level of seeing Jack Bauer shipped off on a slow boat to China or a bearded Jack screaming at Kate that they have to go back. But it is something I wasn’t expecting to face under the new plan. At least I won’t have too wait a few months to find out how Walter stops the Observers.

Lost: Moving On

Two years ago today, my biggest pre-Hope reason for blogging stopped: LOST aired its final episode.

I’m not trying to sound melodramatic, but since the last episode of Lost, television hasn’t been the same for me. There are some shows I am still really into (Community, Parks and Recreation), but I haven’t started watching a new hour-long drama in the last two years. It’s more interesting to me to go back and watch Lost than to get into something new. I’m not watching it all the time, I think I’ve only done a large-scale re-watch once since getting the complete season set.

Still, there’s nothing else that’s gripped me as much as Lost did. Not only that, but also that I have a kid now means I don’t spend as much time watching TV as I used to.

A lot has been said about the final episode- some people hated, some people thought it ended the series nicely. I have to say I thought it was a great end to the series (two years later and that hasn’t changed). There are a lot of questions that weren’t answered, but the characters came full circle.

I’ve joked before about wanting more Lost. And in a small way, part of me still does. But when I look at it, I think the show had a great run and ended at the right time.

We Have to Go Back

A few months ago, I wrote that it was about time for another season of Lost to start up.

Of course, the show ended a year ago, so that new season wasn’t happening.  And today marks the year anniversary of the finale, which I recently re-watched.  My reaction to the finale was pretty much the same as it was when I was re-watching the whole series in December- I didn’t expect any more answers, so it was fun to concentrate on the characters and their journeys.

Lost managed to combine great characters with intriguing mysteries and a mythology that one could get (excuse the term) lost in.  I don’t think I could get as wrapped up in another show as much as I was with Lost, and I’m not exactly looking to.

Since Lost ended, we got a nice little epilogue, a Weezer CD named after one of the main characters and a tease of a new show starring Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson.  But the show’s creators and producers have moved on to other things, and there won’t be a season seven.  Even though every single question may not have been answered, I’m fine with that.  Most of the characters (pretty much everyone except for Michael) got a happy ending and enough of the questions were answered to make the whole thing not seem like a waste.

Even though there’s no future for Lost, I’m glad I have my DVDs and can go back and watch anytime.

A Lost Sign of Spring

It’s around this time of year that the signs of spring start popping up, making winter in central Ohio a little less dreary.

Spring training means baseball (yes, even pre-season baseball) is here.  The days getting longer sets the stage for grill season.  And for the past few years, the new season of Lost has always started right around the first week of February, carrying through right up to the beginning of summer (which in addition to giving me something to watch, has given me something to write about).

Well, the past few days, I’ve been looking forward to the beginning of baseball season and have noticed the days getting longer.  While I’ve thought about Lost, I haven’t really felt like I was missing anything until I read an essay on the New York Times’ Website written by Carlton Cuse, one of the head writers of Lost:

After “Lost” ended last May, the first thing I wanted to do was go someplace far away and clear my brain. But I quickly discovered there was a big difference between getting away and leaving the show behind…Right around now a new season of “Lost” should be making its heavily promoted debut. Instead, three years into the show my partner, Damon Lindelof, and I did something that had never been done before in network TV: We negotiated an end date.

After reading the article, I haven’t been able to stop thinking: Shouldn’t we be getting a new episode of Lost next week or so?  And then reality hits me: the show is over.  So no, winter is going to last a while longer and there won’t be any new episodes of Lost to lead us into summer.

On the show, mostly everyone got a happy ending.  A large percentage of the questions were answered.  And I’m still (obviously) a fan of the show.  But it was such a huge event for the last six years that it’s odd not to have it anymore, yet it’s still around.  A few weeks back, a number of people won  money in the lottery by playing Hurley’s numbers. Apparently, last night on TV there was a Lost reference on 30 Rock.   Also, yesterday, I found a rather odd tie to Lost: if I worked at my current place of employment 80 years ago, Kelvin’s grandfather would have been my boss.

Back in December, I finished watching the whole series (it took a few months to do it).  It was enjoyable watching it again without the mysteries hanging over my head like the sword of Damocles.  To be able to concentrate on the characters again (even Kate), even knowing what would happen to them, was fun.

It feels like this time of year is missing something without new episodes of Lost.  I could always pop in a DVD and watch an old episode any time I want.  At the same time, not having the show continue frees up parts of my life.  And with a baby, there’s plenty to do.  New signs of life and all.  Isn’t that what spring is about?

Not Quite the Adventures of Ben and Locke, But Close

A few years back….back during March of aught-seven in my ‘recap’ of the LOST Episode The Man from Tallahassee, I made a simple request:

Dear Lost Producers:
Can we have a whole season of Locke and Ben? Thanks.
Stay Classy,
King Tom

Well, it looks like my wish is their command.  Or something close to it.  It’s being reported in various places that NBC has ordered a pilot for a J.J. Abrams-produced show starring Terry O’Quinn (Locke) and Michael Emerson (Ben) as former black ops agents.

It’s nothing close to a LOST sequel. And while my comment was based around the (incredible) characters of Locke and Ben, we saw through the episodes since then that any scene featuring those two was golden–not only because of the characters, but also because of the actors.  There will never be another LOST.  And I’m not sure I’d even want a LOST sequel.  But even if the characters in the new show are one half as compelling as their LOST counterparts, I’ll be watching.

Michael Emerson told EW that he can’t believe his luck:

I really am AMAZED that what started out as some kidding-around on the set of LOST has turned into a network TV reality! I’m still reeling from this sudden turn of events. I’m an actor who has never even succeeded in testing for a pilot and here I find myself involved in a project custom-built for Terry and me!

This won’t totally buy forgiveness for NBC for what they did last winter, but this may get me to say good things about them again.

On a related note, I probably didn’t say it on here, but I’ve told people that once Lost and 24 were over, I wasn’t going to blog about TV shows on an episode-by-episode basis anymore.  This news has me reconsidering that.

Getting Lost All Over Again

I got an early birthday present: the complete Lost series on Blu-Ray.

I have to admit, while the packaging and extras are nice, the best part is having every episode of Lost in glorious high definition. Last week, I started watching the series from the beginning. I’m about halfway through the first season (finished “Hearts and Minds” last night) and it’s like watching a whole new series for a few reasons:

-The TV I watched the first few seasons on wasn’t a particularly good one. It feels like I’m seeing whole new levels of visual detail.

-I don’t have the burden of trying to solve the mysteries. I know how things turn out and I know many of the answers. Instead, I get to focus on putting the pieces together and watching characters grow. I’m not saying that my feelings for Kate’s character have changed, but now knowing about her past and her history with the marshal, her early flashbacks were interesting if only because I knew how it turned out. Similarly, knowing that Locke was in a wheelchair throughout “Walkabout” and everything else he encountered in his story gave me a new level of appreciation for what he went through throughout the episode.

The characters are a lot different early on- they have a lot of growing to do (something that we learn later on in the series).  I actually feel bad for Michael- that he wasn’t brought back as part of Season Six (outside of answering the “what are the voices?” question).  He was a big part of the series early on, and sure, he got annoying during Season Two, but the main reason he wasn’t brought back for the show’s final sideways storyline (even in a Shannon- or Boone-style cameo) was because of the growth of Malcom David Kelley, who played Walt.

Another thing I’ve noticed is early on, the show sure took its time. There are a lot of scenery shots. And for a show that is recorded in Hawaii, it’s natural that the makers would want to capitalize in their surroundings. But in the last few seasons, scenery took a backseat to storytelling (and for good reason). But it’s fun watching this show have some room to breathe. And it’s enjoyable to watch it without worrying about the mysteries. Who knows, I may even enjoy the episode about Jack’s tatoos. Ummm…now that I think about it, that’s not gonna happen.

So there won’t be any more episodes of Lost on TV anymore. But thanks to the set, that doesn’t mean I won’t be watching Lost.

Weezer’s Hurley: Not A Concept Album, But It Could Be

So it’s official- Weezer’s upcoming eighth album, Hurley (due September 14) is named after the character from Lost and will have actor Jorge Garcia on the cover.

The cover news came out today, courtesy of Spinner, and lends credence to an item posted on the alt.music.weezer newsgroup back on July 30.  That item, posted by someone who claimed to have seen the cover, noted that Garcia would be on the cover (proven to be true as of today), also reported the album would be released on Epitaph records (confirmed last week) and had a tracklist, with several of the song titles being confirmed (also last week) by a Rolling Stone article.  The newsgroup post claims Hurley‘s tracklist is:

    1. Memories
    2. Ruling Me
    3. Trainwrecks
    4. Unspoken
    5. Where’s My Sex?
    6. Run Away
    7. Hang On
    8. Smart Girls
    9. Brave New World
    10. Time Flies

Nevermind the fact that these days, leaking news on a newsgroup is like the nations of the world coordinating the attack against the alien invaders by using Morse Code in Independence Day.  But enough of the other information in the post has ended up being correct, I’m willing to say this may be the tracklist too.

Over the weekend, Weezer released the first single off the album, Memories, a fast-paced, quasi-punk tune about what the band’s life was like when they were just starting out.  It’s a decent catchy tune, not their best single, but far from their worst.  The chorus, which goes “Memories make me want to go back there (back there)/(All the) memories make me want to go back there (back there)/(All the) memories, how can we make it back there (back there)/I want to be there again” got me thinking about a possible link to Lost.  The chorus sounds kind of like (Rivers, if you’re reading this, skip this next bit) Jack at the end of Season 3.

For a while, I was hoping that Hurley was a Lost-related concept album.  If Memories was about Jack, the other songs could be about other Lost characters and events.  Ruling Me could be about Juliet’s relationship with Ben.  Unspoken could be about all the questions the characters had that were never asked.  Time Flies could be about Faraday.  Smart Girls could be about….um…nevermind.

But unfortunately, Hurley‘s ties to Weezer end with the album title and cover.  Rivers told Spinner that he met Garcia recently and has only watched Lost through season two.  The band went with Hurley because, as Rivers told Spinner,

“Ultimately, we just went with some random word that doesn’t really have anything to do with anything. I just loved this photo of Jorge Garcia — it just had this amazing vibe. We didn’t want to do a fourth self-titled record and we knew people would refer to it as ‘the Hurley record’ even if left it without that title, so we just called it ‘Hurley.’ No words are on the cover because all we wanted was his amazing face.”

Even if it’s not about Lost, it’s a great album cover.

The New Man in Charge Will Only Answer One of Your Questions

For the past five years, after each new episode of Lost, I’ve written a little something about what went down on the Island.

Well, the series is over, but today, an official epilogue, The New Man in Charge, set for release on the official DVD set later this month, leaked.  You can find it online (and may want to start looking at Dark UFO’s spoilers section) and skip a few more weeks of waiting.

While not really taking place on the Island, you get an idea of what happens during Hurley’s time in charge: shutting down the DHARMA stations and bringing an old friend back to the Island.  Despite the fact that Hurley is the one in charge, the star is Ben.  And Lost never goes wrong when Ben is the center of attention.

While shutting down a DHARMA facility, Ben offers to answer one question each for the confused workers.  He shares a previously unseen orientation film (converted to video).  Ben and the film answer some of the lingering questions (but not all of them) about the Island and DHARMA.

Ben is surprisingly honest with his answers, even addressing more than one question from each worker.  From the facility, he visits an old friend at Hurley’s former mental institution.  This contains more character wrap-up (and also addresses one of the things I asked in “I Want Some Freakin’ Answers“) and gives a hint at who Hurley’s successor would be.

While The New Man in Charge is a nice little wrap up to the series, it would have been totally out of place in The End.  The series was about the Island and what happened once the survivors of Oceanic 815 arrived.  While I wouldn’t blame Disney/ABC for trying to milk the series for more cash and release expanded universe-type material in the future, the Lost story ended with the death of Jack Shepard.   The New Man in Charge is an official post script.

And for what it is, it’s pretty good.