Sunday, April 22, 2007

TV in Review this Week

LOST: Brian K Vaughan (of Marvel's Runaways fame) co-wrote this one, and he lets you know when Hurley and Charlie start the episode with the famous Flash v Superman debate. Right there is exactly what is wrong with the guy -- the idea to have them talk superhero comics to signal your work is great; but did you have to go with such a cliche? For the sake of comparison think of how much more spark the Quentin Tarantino scripted Silver Surfer debate is in Crimson Tide (test audiences found the film so dull the studio hired Tarantino to write some additional scenes to spruce the thing up).

The episode is OK, but not great. I enjoyed the flashback quite a bit, but the main story was predictable -- of course the new person is not who Desmond expects (and since we have no idea who it is it is almost meaningless); characters like Charlie only die in stories when the flashback is their own. I am surprised how much of a sympathetic character Sawyer has become. My favorite Sawyer scene was last episode, when Jack returned: the actor did a great job showing how disappointed he was to loose the defacto leader position Hurley had been grooming him for, even though he resisted it.

Review, recommend, and discuss this week's TV.


Kenney said...

I don't watch lost, but if the debate was about who's faster, I agree with you 100%.

When I watched Crimson Tide (I was late to the party) the Silver Surfer debate was so unexpected and so fantastic. One of those scenes that will stick with a comic fan long after we leave the movie.

Stephen said...

Another non-Lost watcher here. (I watched season one, liked it (didn't love it, but it was good)... then when I read an interview with one of the creators saying that they didn't have anywhere in particular to go, and were going to stretch it out until the audience was sick of it (not their phrasing), I dropped it at once. Looked like another X-Files in the making. Who needs it.)

But I loved Crimson Tide... such an exciting film, hard to believe anyone found it dull. And I had no idea that Quentin Tarantino wrote dialogue for it. Where did you learn that?

Erik Schark said...

Thank you for finally saying the emperor has no clothes. Now don't get me wrong. I don't think Brian K. Vaughan is without talent, but I feel like he's been touted as the second coming, and I just don't get it. I think he comes up with fantastic premises (Ex Machina, Y: The Last Man, Runaways), but I feel like his writing is too self-aware to really hook me.

Of course, this is just my opinion. I know there are many people who are fans of his.

Madd_Hadder said...

I don't have the patience to watch this show as it airs, so I usually skip these posts because I wait for the DVDs but since you mentioned Tarentino's Silver Surfer dialogue I just wanted to say that conversation in Crimson Tide, made that movie worth it for me.

Oh and I willhave to revisit these posts when season 3 of Lost comes out on DVD. I watched the first season faithfully, lost interest half way through season 2, only to discover it on DVD and realized that is the only way I can handle the pacing of that show.

Mitch said...

Speaking of Tarantino, I saw Grindhouse for a second time over the weekend and boy is it great. Also, I have the soundtrack to Deathproof, which is fantastic. The thing I like about Tarantino is that there seems to be a mysterious three-year period somewhere in the seventies when he saw every movie and listened to every album. I just love how specific his taste is.

Geoff Klock said...

Stephen: Crimson Tide is merely solid; the wanted something with more pop. I learned about the Tarantino thing at the time it came out. now that I think of it that might not be true.

Erik: that is exactly right. Good ideas, poor execution. A not untalented writer not in any kind of league with Moore, Morrison, Miller, Fraction and the like.

ON THE SUBJECT OF LOST: fair enough about the pacing, but I have to say I really care when a show becomes part of my life, part of the structure of my week, so I could never wait. I won't even get tivo.

Mitch: yeah, he is amazing in that way.

Ted said...

Do you watch THE WIRE? Makes Lost look like SESAME STREET.

Voice Of The Eagle said...

Geoff, before you write Vaughan off, read SAFEWORD. All I can say, read SAFEWORD.

It's not often I'm profoundly disturbed by something without knowing exactly why. Then being profoundly distrubed when I realized I was profoundly disturbed.

Voice Of The Eagle said...


"...when I realized WHY I was profoundly distrubed."

Stupid Blogger.

James said...

Other Vaughan highlights: Ex Machina, Dr. Strange: The Oath, The Escapists.

I don't know Runaways, and Y the Last Man is good but not essential, but Vaughan should not be written off. Sure, he isn't Moore/Miller/Morrison/Fraction (yet), but he's definitely one of the best guys around.

Sadly though, Geoff is right about this episode. I didn't want him to be - I wanted Vaughan's Lost debut to kick as much ass as most of this series has - but it was kinda disappointing. Hopefully he'll find his feet.

Re: Sawyer, the writers have done a great job of rehabilitating him in series 2 and 3. He was written quite badly in the first series - Kate's attraction to him, for instance, had no justification outside of "girls like bad boys" - but at some point someone realised he needed to be charming and redeemable for the viewer to give a shit. Now he's one of my favourite characters.

Geoff Klock said...

ted: have not gotten to it, but I will.

VoE: maybe but I am very skeptical.

James: if he is not in the category of Moore, Miller, Morrison and Fraction, then he is NOT one of the best guys around. At most he is one of the second best guys around, which may be true.

Sawyer has a great arc.

James said...

I was gonna say that none of those people apart from Fraction are "around" very much, but then I remembered that while Morrison may be late on nearly everything, there tends to be something from him most months, which only leaves Moore and Miller.

Brian K. Vaughn is one of the second best guys around!

Stephen said...

I want to second the love for The Wire -- as good as TV has ever gotten, simply flat-out astonishingly good.

But be prepared to be patient: they ask a lot of their audience. They make it more than worthwhile. But they are really making 13-hour long movies (or 12-hour, or however long the seasons are), and don't bother to A: end every episode on a hook, or make each episode have its own narrative structure; B: repeat info just because it was only mentioned once in passing five episodes previously.

So watching The Wire takes some effort. But boy is it worth it.

Stephen said...

Incidentally, I love Moore & Morrison, and I've read a lot of Miller (I don't think he's as good as they are, but I've read enough that I feel like I have an informed opinion on the matter). But I'm pretty sure I've never read any Fraction.

So: A) is he really that good? B) Assuming the answer is yes -- and I do assume that you didn't say that lightly -- what's the book of his I should pick up, never having read any? I know you've recommended Casanova -- is that the best place to start?

Incidentally, I've now read All Star Superman 1-6 (now that it's been collected), and I have to say, that while I certainly enjoyed it, I didn't think it was up there with We3/Filth/Invisibles/Animal Man/Doom Patrol/Flex Morrison. It's fun. But I'm not sure it's more than that. Whereas Seven Soldiers, which I also read recently, may be. I'm not sure... I'd need to reread it... but I can see the argument. AS Superman? Not seeing it. But I'd love to hear a rebuttal.

Geoff Klock said...

Casanova is the only place to go: Fraction's other work is solid, but Casanova is in a whole other place. My judgement of him is a judgement of casanova alone.

Stephen: I love All Star Superman, but I know what you mean. Still a very fun book is not something to dismiss quickly. Plus Seven Soldiers and All Star Superman are up to the same thing -- proving that anything can be reinvented if you know what you are doing and bring a little imagination to the table.

Geoff Klock said...

hey -- I just talked like a bad cheesy TV add. that sucked but I do not feel like deleting it.