Friday, April 13, 2007

Lost wow

Saw two more new Lost eps last night. Soooo surprisingly good! The Nikki and Paulo ep (14, I think) was a lot of fun and the ending really haunted me (when she opens her eyes) - I wanted things to turn out differently for those guys, they were interesting. And then a good, solid Kate episode.
The prob with most US drama today, is that they've written themselves into holes. Let's face it, shows like 24 and Lost and Prison Break are built on crazy premises and I often watch them thinking "okay, how're they gonna hold this episode together". Honestly, I'd enjoy Lost more if, at the back of my mind, I wasn't thinking "Ok, why didn't those two guys tell the rest of them what they saw last episode" or "why don't they now live in the abandoned Others' huts"? 24 and Prison Break are also confined by their own nature. Is it so hard to think up a show that isn't so constrained - like Buffy and X-Files used to be?

9 comments:

kelvingreen said...

But it's all about the arc now. Except they don't have the imagination to keep a proper arc going, so it's all stalling and misdirection until they come up with an idea that's actually any good.

Also, it's the nature of American tv that if a show is a success, it'll keep going, and with these arc shows where there's a definite end point built into the premise (the nature of the island, escaping from prison and clearing his name, etc), you get this unavoidable spinning of wheels and trwading of water, because they can't go to that end point or the show ends and the money stops, but they can't just faff around too obviously, or they'll lose the viewers' interest (which I hear has largely happened to lost anyway).

Frankly, I hate that kind of telly, but in the US, you can't do a Life on Mars and say "this is going to run for two series and that's it" because the executives are in charge, and want to make easy money. As such, I'm dreading the US remake of Mars.

kelvingreen said...

But I'm sure you know all this, having worked on the magazines you have!

Mart said...

yeah, they've been spinning it out, and the last 6 or 7 eps, they're actually addressing stuff. love it.
(don't work on the mag all that much!)

JamieB said...

Interesting that you should mention the forthcoming (upcoming? I'm never sure) US remake of LoM, KG, for a couple of reasons:

1) I think HBO has shown that you can just do a couple of series of a show and make a success of it (Rome, Deadwood). All it takes is a committment to the idea (and maybe a bankable writer). Also I think that the way that HBO schedules its shows -- short runs of all-new episodes aired at intervals throughout the year -- is growing in favour with the big US networks. I think part of this is just getting the audience used to the idea of watching shorter series.

2) I think that US remake of The Office shows all that's best and worst about the US approach. Everything about the US version across the first two series was just so tight -- great cast, sharp writing, pitch-perfect comedy -- illustrating just how d*mn good the Septics are at this TV lark; but, now, with the third series, the need to keep the show going has sent it into generic series-TV territory, with the addition of new cast members, and the dragging out of romantic subplots etc. (Hmmm...why does that sound familiar...?)

JamieB said...

Oh, yeah, and...Buffy. Did not love the show past the third series. It's not that there weren't some great episodes in the later series, it's just that, for me, the characters had outgrown the situation, and it ceased to make any sense that said characters would still be where they were (living on top of each other in a small town). So, even with shows that seem unconstrained plotwise, there are sometimes problems with keeping going.

Mart said...

i think any show starts out with key plotpoints and everyone loves them, but then they start to make it up as they go along. Like O Men volume two (kidding!)
I sort of agree on Buffy. It peaked at Three. Five was good tho. The comic, surprisingly, shows some interesting ideas of how it could have panned out (and xander would have actually been useful)

kelvingreen said...

Oh no, I meant that having workes on the Buffy and Angel mags, you know how US tv works. I didn't mean the Lost mag specifically.

JamieB said...

Yes, well, with the current incarnation of the comic the characters are finally given a real reason to stay together -- turning the new slayers into an army. That's what they lacked in the television show, which --it seemed to me -- was always about them trying to live normal lives amidst all the wackiness. That was fine while they were at high school -- i.e. while they had a reason to be in the same place -- not so fine when they went out into the adult world, [only to end up staying at home].

Still not loving Dawn, tho :-)

Mart said...

that's the thing about shows innit - they need a Reason To Be In The Same Place. that's why Lost and Prison Break are soooo close to not quite working sometimes.