Sunday, April 01, 2007

TV in Review this Week

Lost is again the only thing I am going to talk about this week, but feel free to use the comments to this post to discuss any TV you saw this week.

Like a lot of people I was annoyed by the introduction, at the beginning of season three, of Paulo and Nikki -- we are to understand they have been on the island the whole time and suddenly they are foregroundded, and we are supposed to accept them as characters of equal status as Locke, Kate and Jack. Any good screenwriting guide will warn you about a mistake called third act characters -- with very few exceptions, all your characters must be in place by the end of the third act: introduce a character later in the story and audiences will resist identifying with them. This is what Paulo and Nikki are when they first appear -- you just instantly hate them for no reason than that they were introduced late.

In this week's episode, however, we learn that their introduction was not what it first appeared -- this has all been an elaborate set up for a bit of a joke in short story form. It is quite fun, and there are some fun self-conscious bits -- the initial Nikki flashback pokes fun at what will happen later in the episode. It is a dark little Hitchcock Presents self-contained short with no relevance to any later episodes.

Or will it become relevant? Remember -- in this same episode Locke warns Paulo, when he searches for a hiding place for his treasure, that nothing on this island stays buried.

Lost is Genius.


neilshyminsky said...

Hey Geoff - I agree, this episode was much more enjoyable than it seemed it would be and, further, better than it had any business being. It was a genre exercise that they hadn't exploited yet, though, so I suppose it was appealing on that level. In retrospect, I don't know whether to find it creepy, touching, or sad that Vincent was the only one that knew they were alive and tried to save them - it takes a good show to create that kind of ambivalence.

On another note, though, I watched Seven on Thursday and started laughing at a mostly meaningless exchange that I hadn't remembered and seemed all too relevant after watching this episode of Lost. It's from the scene in which Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt's characters are waiting for the finger prints to come back on the second murder. It's entirely likely that this is a cliche with which I'm not all that familiar, but regardless...

Mills: "Why don't you tell me what the hell it is you think we're doing here?"

Sommerset: "Picking up the pieces. We're collecting all the evidence, taking all the pictures and samples. Writing everything down. Noting the time things happen."

Mills: "That's all?"

Sommerset: "That's all. Putting everything in a neat little pile and filing it away, on the off chance it will ever be needed in the courtroom. Picking up diamonds on a deserted island. Saving them, in case we get rescued."

Mills: "Bullshit."

Sommerset: "Even the most promising clues usually only lead to others. So many corpses roll away unrevenged."

Katie said...

Eh. I'll just give it "clever" for now. Let's reserve "genius" for when we see how (or indeed whether) the whole show pays off.

Thacher said...

The first half of the episode was so boring the lady and were about to claw our own eyes out, spending a lot of time talking to each other about how ridiculously lame these two late comers were and speculating on how much was re-shot footage and how much was new. Then, as we moved closer to the present, it became much more enjoyable, to the point where I was laughing hysterically when I realized what their final fate was, like something out of a Poe story. It was pretty delightful that they set them up as "new characters" at the beginning of the season just so they could run with a story like this. I also like the slight tying up of the "Evil Charlie" story. Lost has so many balls up in the air that they need to make sure some of them don't get forgotten.

I'm looking forward to the absurdity of next week's handcuffed jungle wet-t-shirt cat fight episode.

While I love Lost, every time one of the characters interacts with one of the Others and doesn't demand specific answers about what the hell is going on, who they are and what they're doing on the island some of that love dies a little. It looks like they are realizing that they need to answer some questions, and are doing it in a way that presents new and interesting questions. I mean, Magic Box? *That's* interesting.

Dante Kleinberg said...

I thought it was a decent episode. When I realized what was happening at the end, it actually made me feel something, which Lost hasn't done for quite some time.

Though the girlfriend hated it. She might stop watching the show with me. At first she was just bored watching the back story for characters who are already dead, then when the truth was revealed, she felt betrayed that Lost has strayed into the horror genre instead of the wacky sci-fi TV genre.

Geoff Klock said...

Neil: yeah, the abivolence is great here.

Katie: yeah I should agree with you, but this show really gets me going. I am having so much fun I almost don't care if the payoff is worth it.

Thatcher: Hurley has a freakout like that, yelling his questions. I could use more of that.

Dante: lost strays around. It is ont of the things i like best about it: week to week you never know what kind of show you are going to get.