Thursday, May 27, 2010

More TV Nerdness (Lost v. 24)

I'm a sucker for television. What can I say? So I'd be largely remiss if I didn't post some of my thoughts on the series finales of two of the most influential shows of the decade.

Lost and 24 have both been staples of prime time television, each commandeering large fan bases in their early years. Given you haven't been spending the last 6 years in Lancaster, PA you know that each just had their series finales. I'm here to make fun of them. Sorta.

I'll make this quick so you can get back to playing Solitaire and texting your other friends at work. Also, spoiler alert. Then again if you haven't seen the episodes by now you're probably Amish and don't believe in the evil that led you to this blog (aka, Facebook).

3 months ago I blogged about how disappointing I expected the season finale of Lost to be, seen here. Clearly I was speaking out of my caboose. I loved the finale! I thought they did a great job given the mess of story lines they had created. In true Lost fashion they left the ending open to interpretation so that the viewer could choose an explanation based on what they believe. Was the whole island made up? Was this just Jack's story and his 'purgatory'? Was it a dream? Did they die immediately after the plane crashed? (Obviously not. Did you even watch it, dummy?)

I know such a fuss is made about how they didn't give us enough answers and yadda yadda. But think of it this way. If everything was explained you'd be A) frustrated because it wasn't explained the way you wanted it to be or B) satisfied by the explanations but bored of the series because it would lose its appeal. The show thrived on characters and the 'water cooler' factor. We all had to talk about each episode with someone else to figure it out. You want answers? Create them for yourselves!

24, on the other hand, I felt different about. Let's set this up first. 24 thrived on its revolutionary story telling style (everything in real-time, ticking clocks, lots of yelling) and guys were hooked because it was teeming with action, killing, conspiracy and (pardon my language because I don't curse) bad-assery. And there was only 10 minutes of relationship stuff each season.

So the series finale was a very attractive idea. How would they resolve the life of one of TV's most intriguing characters? Answer: Pretty much how they ended every season of 24. Jack disappears, we don't know what happened to him, his family is in danger.

I can't stress enough how much this felt like the end to just another season. Did the writer's know they were ending a SERIES. One of the most influential ones on television?

My take is this. We all know 24 went on for about 1-2 seasons too long. Story lines got a little cheesy, we missed a lot of the regular characters (heck, they brought Tony back from the dead to keep it going), Jack was aging. I think the writers wanted to meekly bow out of television and move into movies, where I expect they will do much better. I mean, the only exciting part of the final hour was Chloe shooting Jack. But that was only exciting because Bauer raised his own gun to his head and you thought, "NO WAY!" then quickly realized, "Duh. I'm an idiot."

The Lost finale was memorable, emotional, action packed, character driven and curious. Everything the show had been for 6 seasons. 24 was unrealistic (this coming from a guy who buys into Lost), broken, disjointed, frustrating and sappy.

My buddy Chad pointed out in his blog that Jack went bonkers after Renee Walker was killed. He had spent approximately 30 hours of real-time with her. Prior to this his wife was killed, his close friend Audrey was captured and tortured and Jack didn't even give us one good, "TELL ME NOW OR I SWEAR I WILL KILL YOU RIGHT HERE!" But because its the season finale he was sent on a revenge soaked quest for justice? Give me the regular Jack back!

Lost placed so much emphasis on the characters, their journeys and the relationships they shared. Its what kept us coming back to the show. Sure we say we watched to find out what the island really was, but you know you cried when Kate and Claire were delivering Aaron while Charlie had his moment of realization. You know your eyes watered when Sawyer and Juliet were reunited by the candy machine. I know I got teary eyed as Desmond pinned Linus to the hood of his car with right jabs to the jaw bone. I mean, c'mon! So emotional!

You know what 24's defining moment was for the characters? Jack mumbling something like, "Chloe- I never thought it'd be you who stood by my side all these years." Chloe saying, "Thanks Jack," then turning to Cole and Arto, "That's it. Shut it down. What happened here didn't."

Is there a worse line to be delivered by a worse character in an episode this big? That was it. Those were the final words of 24. "What happened here didn't."

Chloe nailed it. I actually wish it didn't.


  1. Great blog, I didnt ever get into LOST, but I am so disappointed in 24. It took me 2 days to formulate my post into something that made sense. A lot of it was just disgust in how it ended.

  2. "bad-a$$ery" should only be used when referencing Kate from Lost