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LOST: “The New Man in Charge”

August 6th, 2010 2 comments

I’ve still yet to finish my finale recap for LOST, so I’m not actually going to watch this yet, myself.  That said, it is the 12 minute epilogue to the series that will appear on the LOST: The Complete Collection Blu Ray Box Set (click the link to order).

[EDIT: Disney cease and desisted the online video of it]

Quick Hits: Rubicon E1.01 — “Gone in the Teeth”

August 2nd, 2010 Comments off

Rubicon stars James Badge Dale as intelligence analyst Will Travers.

I’ve noted before (link to my general endorsement of the pilot episode and the show) that I think Rubicon might have what it takes to be a real winner and a hit. As such, I intend to do what I did for LOST, posting quick hit thoughts after watching an episode in recap format. Here are mine for Episode 1.01, “Gone in the Teeth.”

“Gone in the Teeth” served more as a primer for both the idea of the show and the introduction of certain elements of the cast. As I noted in my preview, the pattern I’d like to see the show take would be in the vein and structure of a crossword – something more sophisticated than a standard puzzle which challenges the viewer and asks us to help piece together the greater construct, rather than simply handing us the answer key. If that’s the case, then the 5-down handed to the viewer in the pilot is a centerpiece clue, providing both a grounding for the key persons and a 19-letter link to the rest of the board in Marsilea quadrifolia (the entry the lead gives as the Latin translation for four-leaf clover, the answer to a clue asking for what a particularly lucky insect larva gets to chow down on).

Not the least of the clues in that answer is that Marsilea quadrifolia is not, in fact, a true four-leaf clover. No, that designation falls to a mutated Trifolium. Marsilea quadrifolia are just commonly passed as four-leaf clovers, so what is the real game here… what lies beneath? In a series that opens with a child’s game of hide-and-seek, we’re certainly warned to look a little deeper and, perhaps, not always trust that the view presented will always hold veracity.

Let’s start after the jump. Read more…

Crossing the Rubicon: Why I think I found a new favorite show

July 31st, 2010 Comments off

Rubicon premieres this Sunday night, August 1st.

From One Pawn To Another.

In television, a viewer might often feel a pawn, not being handed anything by a fellow pawn, but rather shifted from one board to the next. Never long to last in the fight, as the milieu of a series loses its shine and the successive attempts at new shows turn into just another run of short-lived games. Rarely does a pawn cross the board and become the queen, engrossed with and empowered by the board itself.

With a few shows I have felt myself as substantively more than a pawn in the game of television programming; in those handful of shows I have lastingly and fully been engrossed. I can really check them off with the fingers of one hand:

  • The West Wing” for its political acumen. A show that reminded us both of what we most wanted in our leaders and the forces which prevent that ideal from being manifested.
  • Battlestar Galactica” for its social commentary. In an era when America was redefining itself both at home and on the world stage, no television program so boldly captured our internalized national struggles.
  • LOST” for its Joycean depth. Bad Robot’s ambitious efforts to challenge viewers made expecting more of one’s viewers a reality and opened the door to the difficult-to-navigate world of what might aptly be termed televised literature.
  • The Wire” for its simple poetry. It is, after all, this epic, five-part poem about the decline of the American empire that gave us the inspired scene in which D’Angelo explains chess to Bodie and Wallace.

There have been other great shows. “Mad Men” gave us attention to detail and historical fiction as a commercial winner. “The Shield” offers a level of grittiness that is hard to turn from. But with most television, it’s as D’Angelo explained to Bodie, “The pawns, man, in the game, they get capped quick. They be out of the game early.” In most television, it’s easy to just sit back and play dumb. Only in the best shows are the pawns challenged to be “some smart ass pawns.” It’s those shows that challenge the viewer that interest me most. In “Rubicon”, I hope we have one such show.

Click through for more.
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Site Update

June 21st, 2010 Comments off

I’ve not really had time for the site of late, which is unfortunate.  I’ve got a handful of half finished posts which I hope to get back to eventually.  Among them is my LOST finale recap, which I hope to finish maybe next weekend.  In the meantime, check this completely awesome fan tribute.

Target’s LOST Adverts

May 24th, 2010 Comments off

These were all pretty clever and aired during the series finale of LOST.  I believe the director, Jack Bender, is one of LOST’s directors.  Here’s Smokey-Detector.  Numbers and Ribs are after the bounce.

SMOKEY

Jump through to view the others. Read more…

Goodnight, Good Friend

May 24th, 2010 Comments off

The series truly came down to Jack and his destiny. Not how I saw it ended, but I liked it a lot. (Collage image c/o Arrows and Accolades)

I’m not going to even make an effort at a Quick Hits post on tonight’s LOST. I had a couple of friends over for a homemade pizza and LOST party. Now, 6 hours in (halfway through Jimmy Kimmel’s “Aloha LOST”), the friends have headed off an I’m breathing in what I thought was a darn near perfect way to close the series. 

There was no pretense of trying to tie through all of the mythological loose ends; however, it’s perfectly alright.  There was never any over exertion.  There weren’t any truly short shrift answers that left me feeling hollow (well, except what was at the bottom of the waterfall, though they didn’t go deep enough to draw any real criticism for it.  

Above all else, the show was a reunion of sorts that made you appreciate truly just how far things have come.  Looking back as the characters finally clicked was really moving at times… far more so than the sepia overtones would make you think.  I’m sure I wasn’t alone in thinking this really was a nice goodbye. 

That said, I’m sure what everyone really wants to see is the pizza.  Pics after the jump. Read more…

Quick Hits: LOST S6, E16 — “What They Died For”

May 19th, 2010 Comments off

Oh, where to start. I like to jump into a semi-developed theory when kicking off one of these Quick Hits, so let’s take a look at Jack Sheppard as Rick Grimes. Who, you ask. Well, anyone with a purported awareness of Zombie fiction or AMC’s upcoming fall lineup can tell you.  Rick Grimes is the Cillian Murphy-like character from Robert Kirkman’s epic comic series The Walking Dead. Grimes wakes up in post-apocalyptic America… a changed world where Zombies have emerged and killed virtually all that Rick knows and finds. Somehow, he travels through the Southeast to discover his wife, son and a small band of survivors who have come together in efforts to merely live on.

As Jack's cut has expanded, the tear in space-time between the Island world and the sideways world has expanded.

A policeman by trade and an alpha male by nature, Rick is to Kirkman’s America as Jack is to the Producer’s Island. He is the natural leader to whom everyone turns and is driven by a passion to survive and try to save those around him. He also is one whose every success comes with a price and who is surrounded by inevitable failures. Much like Jack, his decisions are well intentioned and guided by decidedly benevolent intents, but often stray from moral standards. With Jack, one might point to his torture of Benjamin in Season 2. With Rick, one might point to the outright murder he commits in Book 3. In each case, it’s hard to argue with the reasoning behind each act, but the justification is decidedly dirty.

But what makes Jack very much so like Rick is his self awareness. Jack is torn asunder internally by both his past transgressions and his own self doubt. Both he and Rick feel directly responsible for the repercussions of their actions and eschew leadership roles… but do so only temporarily specifically because they are simply hiding from their true destinies and fated roles as leaders. The thing with both men is that they cannot be convinced of the need to forgive themselves their failures and the importance of their reassuming decision making roles. Instead, Rick tries to push leadership upon Terrence and Dale while Jack does the same for Sawyer and Hugo. Eventually, circumstances dictate their re-assumption of duties.

More on this and my quick hits, after the jump. Read more…

Quick Hits: LOST S6, E15 — “Across the Sea”

May 12th, 2010 1 comment

Let me start off by noting that I have not forgotten The Candidate.  I loved the episode and just haven’t yet had the time to write up my Quick Hits on it.  I’m skipping it to get to this week’s because… well… I love me some LOST mythology.

The episode was one dealing with Genesis and touched on the ideas of fraternal twins in creation mythology.

I know many fans tire of the mythology and are bored with Smokey and Jacob’s back story.  But LOST is ultimately not a show about action.  It’s an examination of people.  One wonders how the open questions on the main characters will be answered in the 3.5 hours remaining, but I enjoyed an opportunity to look at Jacob and the MIB this week.  And as an avowed CJ Cregg fan, I loved having Allison Janney this week.  In fact, given that her character is never named beyond that of “Mother”, I will refer to her as Janney, throughout.

Even more so than any of the prior episodes, this was about Genesis and creation mythology. We are granted, as we were with Ab Aeterno, a view into the Island’s creation, or more accurately, that of Jacob and the MIB. We’re reminded almost immediately of that by the appearance of a sea turtle, a deliberate reference to the Iroquois Turtle Island myth. That myth involves the support of a world upon the shell of a turtle and begins as such:

Long before the world was created there was an island, floating in the sky, upon which the Sky People lived. They lived quietly and happily. No one ever died or was born or experienced sadness. However one day one of the Sky Women realized she was going to give birth to twins. She told her husband, who flew into a rage. In the center of the island there was a tree which gave light to the entire island since the sun hadn’t been created yet. He tore up this tree, creating a huge hole in the middle of the island. Curiously, the woman peered into the hole. Far below she could see the waters that covered the earth. At that moment her husband pushed her. She fell through the hole, tumbling towards the waters below.

More on that myth can be read here, but the crux of it is that the twins include Sapling (the good, Jacob-son who creates nature) and Flint (the dark son who creates evil and thorns).  Many Genesis myths, including those I have discussed before, involve a duality of the good son (in the Dogon mythology, Nommo) and the prodigal son (Yurugu, the name I will adopt for the MIB).  Janney spoke of Jacob as not being able to lie and Yurugu as special and complex.  As Janney and Yurugu discussed Yurugu’s capacity for sin, it was somewhat clear that Janney regarded Yurugu with favor, a theme that is often repeated in literature – favoritism for the son who does not appreciate parents dutifully.

More on LOST Genesis and my Quick Hits, after the jump. Read more…

Quick Hits: LOST S6, E13 — “The Last Recruit”

April 21st, 2010 Comments off

Sawyer's band of plotters defect from FLocke, but do they find an ally in Widmore? Photo c/o TVOverMind.com.

This is going to be a relatively quick Quick Hits, as I’m swamped with work and it’s late, but I wanted to get some of my thoughts down on paper… err… keyboard and pixels.  Anyways, this was the type of episode that I gather a bunch of the action starved folk were hoping for.  A lot happened and there wasn’t really a whole lot of tangential bits; provided, however, there was a distinct focus on bringing Claire back into the fold.

As I’ve noted in the past, I’m not a big fan of the rejuvenated, Rousseauian Claire.  Emilie de Raven may be one heck of a looker, but she’s no Charlize Theron and she can’t pull off acting while not being attractive.  It didn’t help that her character has been in limbo more than Michael, et al.  They at least gave her something to work with in this episode, putting a concerted focus on her relationship with Jack.  Both in the sideways universe and on Island, we see Jack and Claire meeting for the first time as knowing-brother and sister.

This character rehabilitation did some good, making her slightly more useful than Zombie Sayid; however, they’re still stretching and trying to make the Kate-Claire tension work.  Unless they end up wrestling in baby-oil, it’s just not going to be all that great a television.  In fact, the best part of the Kate-Claire interaction was Sawyer emphatically insisting that Claire be left behind and explaining that she isn’t the same woman they left on the Island.  Again, this was a bit of the producers speaking the minds of the audience, but it also served an important part of the plot line… at least I hope.  I do hold out some belief that the producers have good reason to keep Claire and Sayid in tow.

More Quick Hits, after the jump. Read more…

Quick Hits: LOST S6, E12 — “Everybody Loves Hugo”

April 14th, 2010 Comments off

Before I get started, I’ll note that I’m under the weather so I’m going to keep this Quick Hits particularly short.  I just finished watching and against Darleton delivered.  We had a solid episode that returned two blasts from the past, as was hinted by Carlton Cuse on his Twitter account.  We received a concise, acceptable answer to one of the Island mysteries.  The candidates merged to move the final storyline towards its terminus.  The Constant moved to fulfill his destiny and, in a final act, we were left utterly slack jawed.

"Everybody Loves Hugo" featured a sideways universe Hurley who had success in life and did well in everything but love.

This episode, as indicated by its title, had a tangential relationship with Season 2’s “Everybody Hates Hugo.”  In that episode, we saw Hugo’s unfortunate and, well, star crossed life.  Even with his winning the lottery, wealth brought great misfortune.  In the alternate, sideways universe, Hurley is the opposite in all but one respect.  He is ambitious, dynamic, successful in his ventures and loved by all.  His one exception is in love.  He remains seemingly self-conscious in that regard.

When set up on a blind date that stands him up, Hugo runs into his only prior love on the Island, the DUI-terminated Libby.  Following her introduction along with the other Tailies, Libby had become a quite popular character; however, her and Ana Lucia met a bitter end at the hand of Michael at the end of Season 2 in “Two for the Road.”  Libby and Hugo were to have their first date on that day and Hugo has yearned for her, and we, as viewers, have pitied him his loss.

Much as Desmond’s experience in meeting Penny Milton drove Desmond toward his eventual destiny in reconnecting from the sideways universe to the Island consciousness, Hugo’s interaction with Libby (prodded on by a later chance — or was it — meeting with Desmond) led him to fulfill their initial beach date, despite several apprehensions.  When Libby kissed Hugo — as when Penny shook Desmond’s hand and when Charlie and Desmond had their near death experiences — everything came rushing back and Hugo began to remember.

For the person that every audience member wishes the best for, seeing Hugo possibly find happiness was a fantastic moment; however, there is some foreboding, knowing that there may be some sacrifice made by the candidates in both the sideways and the Island universe.  One has to wonder how long Hugo’s tide will stay strong.

Some Quick Hits, after the jump. Read more…