Thursday, 28 January 2010

Lost season 4 rewatch

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Rewatching season 4 was such a treat, this is when the writers really upped the ante after the major cliffhanger that was Jack shouting 'we've got to go back'. This is when the end date had been set and you can tell by the purposeful way in which this season begins and that the first episode is also called 'The beginning of the end', I could easily write a page and half on this opener alone but I will try and condense the season in to a series of smaller remarks.

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  • The Oceanic 6: This was introduced in the season premiere when in Hurley's flash forward he shouts this when he is being arrested. The first mystery of the season was set up in this opener, with the audience already knowing that Kate and Jack were part of this group, but who are the other 3? As the season progressed we found out that these other 3 are Sun, Sayid and Aaron. There was some trickery in the Sun/Jin episode when it appeared that they had both successfully got off the island, until the reveal that Jin's portion was a flashback in the traditional Lost sense and that at the end of Sun's flash forward she visits Jin's grave. What this story device allowed for was much speculation as to how it was just these 6 that got off the island, for example what happened to Claire, how was it these 6 when Hurley spent most of the season with the Locke group? The addition of flash forwards rejuvenated the format of the show and made each episode much more than which character was going to have a flashback this week.
  • Another idea initiated in the season opener was the split of the group, those who went with Locke and those who went with Jack. This spilt was further heightened when in the flash forward Hurley says to Jack that he should never have gone with Locke, though now I am still not sure what event caused him to say this (am I being completely dumb?).
  • As well as the group split a further change happened with the introduction of the freighter folk; Miles, Charlotte, Daniel and Lapidus who all had different motivations for coming to the island, none of which involved rescuing Losties. The addition of these four characters along with the change in format was another welcome addition to the show, though it is a shame that due to the writers strike these characters were not fleshed out in this season as much as they were going to be.
  • Out of the four it is Daniel Faraday that to me was the most interesting, partly because of his knowledge of quantum physics and how things on the island work better but also due to the mysteries surrounding him, why was he crying at the Oceanic 815 crash site news footage? Why is his memory inconsistent. Faraday is also key to the episode 'The Constant' which is one of my favourite episodes in the Lost canon and it is always a pleasure to rewatch this (much kudos to the editing team). The concept of this episode was different from anything they had tried before though because we had experienced a Desmond episode that had played with notions of time, place and conciousness before it made sense that it was happening to Desmond again, this also further lays the ground work that Desmond is different. However the best thing about this episode is the emotional aspect of the story when Desmond realises that Penny is his constant and that he must get in contact with her. The anticipation when the phone is ringing, even when I know what the outcome is still resonates and this scene still gets me misty eyed after multiple views. The revelation the Desmond is Daniels constant at the end of the episode was the classic Lost way to end it, the emotional followed by the huh?
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  • The return of Michael in season 4 was much publicised so when Ben said he had a spy on the freighter it was always clear that it was going to be him. 'Meet Kevin Johnson' which chronicled Michael's downward spiral since he left the island allowed for a brief appearance from Libby, the action that got him and Walt off the island still haunting him, explaining why he was so hell bent on suicide. It also allowed for the appearance of another recently deceased Other in the form of Tom who in this flashback was happily alive, enjoying his off island time with his boyfriend that had been hinted at in the past (Lost's first and only gay character so far). This episode possibly explained why Jack had not jumped off the bridge in the season 3 finale as the island was not done with him either. Michael's return was set up for his death that would save some but not all, and his actions allowed for the principal characters to get off the freighter before it blew up. 
  • It is ambiguous as to whether Jin survived this blast, he looked like he was at the end of the boat when it blew up and we had previously seen his grave stone, though even before seeing season 5 I was convinced that he had survived. This does not take away from the gut wrenching screams from Sun when she thinks her husband is dead, like the Penny/Desmond phone call this scene gets to me every time even when I know the outcome.
  • The resolution to the death of Charlie at the start of the season was handled well, first with the sight of Hurley canon balling in to the sea looking at peace and happy to the immediate change in emotional state of this character when he sees Desmond returning alone. when the group is reunited at the cock pit of the plane and the significance of this not being lost on Kate and Jack when they reminisce back to events that occurred in the pilot of the series with Charlie. My favourite Charlie related moment in this episode is when in the flash forward of Hurley back in mental hospital Charlie appears to him telling him that he has to go back, that 'they need you' and that he 'is dead but I am still here'. This plays with the idea that the dead do appear to the Losties but also because we have seen Hurley see people who are not there prior to the island it is hard to know which camp Charlie falls in to. Hurley refers to seeing Charlie to Jack and that he asked to give him the message that 'you're not suppose to raise him' and that he will be getting a visitor himself soon which turns out to be his father Christian.
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  • Christian becomes important further in the story of Claire when he takes her away willingly whilst Sawyer and Miles sleep, though at this point there is debate as to whether she is dead after the house she was in exploded and Miles makes some cryptic remarks to this point. We still don't know what happened to Claire as she is absent for season 5, this is one resolution in season 6 that I am really looking forward to. Regarding Claire, Jack also finds out at his fathers funereal that he is Claire's half brother making him Aaron's Uncle. This is made all the more bizarre as Kate is pretending that Aaron is her child.
  • One of the more heartbreaking scenes from this season is the execution of Alex, which is something that I really did not expect to happen, in this we are in the position of Ben, certain that this is a bluff and won't happen, hence his callous remarks saying that she was a pawn and that he never loved her any way. This back fires, Keamy shows no mercy shooting her, which makes his death in the finale all the more satisfying for both Ben and the audience. Ben is not a figure who commands much sympathy yet here it is in abundance. Rousseau and Karl are also unfortunate casualties in this sequence of events.
  • The heritage of Locke is revealed and how there were many missed opportunities for him to go to the island. In this we also see the never ageing Richard Alpert along this journey, who is he really and why does he never change age? My money is on someone from the Black Rock and I would say that this is in my personal top 5 Lost mysteries that I want to be solved.
  • Further observations: Sayid ends up working for Ben post island after Nadia is killed, remains bad ass whilst doing so. Gets involved with a girl who he ends up shooting, he really has no luck in love.
  • Widmore and Ben go back a long time, do not like each other but for some reason aren't allowed to kill each other. After Alex's death Ben vows to kill Penny, I am not happy about this, neither will Desmond be.
  • Penny and Desmond are reunited in person after her actual ship and 'Not Penny's Boat' rescues the folk who were on the helicopter, best reunion in TV history?!
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  • Jack and Kate are a bad couple, get engaged, he ends up drinking in to oblivion, getting addicted to pain killers, gets jealous and grows a bad beard.
  • Kate does not get sent to prison because she was a hero after their plane crashed in to the sea- Jack lies a lot on the stand.
  • After all of his disagreements with Locke, Jack actually does what he asks and lies to protect the island and those he left behind.
  • Sawyer remains awesome, ditching the helicopter so they can make it to the freighter, taking on Keamy and his men when 'New Othertown' is ambushed. This scene also gets rid of several red shirts.
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  • Ben can call the smoke monster but not control it.
  • Ben turns the frozen donkey wheel moving the island and lands in Tunisia. This sentence really would not make sense to anyone who does not watch this show.
  • The Oceanic 6 claim that there was 8 of them alive when they crashed, the other 3 being Boone, Charlie and Libby.
  • Miles is officially my favourite ghost whisperer.  
  • Oh and importantly Locke is in the coffin, and everyone has to go back 'all of them, including him'.
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To season 5...

All photos courtesy of Lost-Media

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Lost fan posters

Lost Poster 07

This image is one of 8 posters that were created by Lost fan and artist Ty Mattson and I think that the collection is pretty awesome and can be found over at his blog here. They are not currently available to buy but I'm guessing that as Jorge Garcia has mentioned them on his blog he will hopefully get some more attention as this is where I have just read about them. With a week to go before the new season it is brilliant to see that the anticipation for this new and final season is bringing out the creative side of people. Other images from his collection include these (but you should definitely check out the full set at his site):

Lost Poster 06          Lost Poster 04

Monday, 25 January 2010

SAG Awards 2010

No major surprises at the SAG awards this year with the TV categories mirrored the Golden Globes; Michael C. Hall, Julianna Margulies, Drew Barrymore, Kevin Bacon, Alec Baldwin, Glee and Mad Men all walking away with the awards, the only difference was Tina Fey winning for 30 Rock instead of Toni Collette for the United States of Tara. The red carpet was less daring than that of last weeks Golden Globes, and it seemed that there were hardly any major missteps (Julie Bowen I'm looking at you), so instead of analysing the awards as I previously did last week I will be looking at my favourite dresses of the evening, which included:

Christina Hendricks who always looks brilliant in red and the rest of the Mad Men cast looking pretty dapper:

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  christina hendricks 2010 sag awards 05

Tina Fey made up for her dress that got slammed last week in simple purple, though I loved that she got in a dig about 'Fashion Police' to E! televisions Giuliana Rancic when she asked her if she had taken a steamer on her dress the previous week, it was a suitably awkward moment of TV, though not as awkward as last weeks Anna Kendrick interview when Rancic kept yelling at George Clooney who appeared to be ignoring her. Here is Fey with Alec Baldwin who knows how to wear a suit:

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Michael C. Hall made reference to wife Jennifer Carpenter's dress in his speech and she did indeed look amazing in this short white dress and I liked that her accessories were black creating the monochrome look :

Other highlights include my favourite Diane Kruger, her dress was reminiscent of Michelle Williams at the 2006 Oscars which is one of my favourite all time red carpet dresses:

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The Glee cast were all decked out well, with special mentions to Lea Michele who looked less swamped than she did at the Globes in her beautiful Catherine Malandrino dress:

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All photos courtesy of Just Jared and Socialite Life

Conan's last Tonight Show

Friday saw Conan O'Brien host his final Tonight Show after only seven months, his last monologue was classy and got me all misty eyed:

After this heart felt goodbye Conan, his band, Will Ferrell, Beck, Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top and Ben Harper performed Free Bird which will always be one of my favourite songs to really rock out to (slightly off topic but it was this song that saved Elizabethtown for me). And of course there was cow bell:

Hopefully in seven months time we will be seeing Conan back on the air doing what he does best and in the mean time I wonder who the late night hosts will be talking about now as this has given them much material for weeks now. Also much has been made of the huge settlement that Conan has received and that this should take any bitterness out of the situation, but I'm guessing that the money does not really make up for his short stint on a show that you can tell he cares much about. It will be interesting also to see how and when Jay Leno takes it back over what the ratings will be like for him, I'm guessing Letterman can't wait.

More Lost video goodies- new promo and 815 crash in real time

With the premiere of Lost just over a week away there have been some more video goodies released online both fan made and from ABC, first up an ingenious fan has compiled all footage that relates to the Oceanic 815 crash and edited together in real time, from events on the plane, to those involving Desmond and the Others. The format is a homage to 24 and works really well with the excellent editing that this fan has done:

The other new video is a promo that ABC have released which is basically gearing the audience up to the new season using old footage, that is except for one frame. Now I know that I said that I didn't want to see any new footage before the season airs but I'm going to make an exception for this because it really is just a frame and it only appears for a second and my pausing skills don't allow me to see the image clearly. I'm not going to say what the image is but allow you to watch and see it yourself, I'm not sure what it means or why they have chosen this character for this but I can say that my inner fan girl is very excited right now and is very much looking forward to next week, here it is:

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

More Golden Globes

Regarding the fashion from this years Golden Globes there seem to be many dresses that are making both best and worst lists (Lea Michele, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Diane Kruger, Zoe Saldana, Sandra Bullock to name just a few). Fashion like TV and film is subjective, however this is the first year that I can remember where there has been such a spilt opinion over the same dress. The red carpet this year was also stricken by an unusually heavy rain day, that some stars took in their stride a lot easier than others (Emily Blunt remarked that because she is from London that this was nothing really, Sofia Vergara from Modern Family also explained to Ryan Seacrest that they are not M and Ms so they won't melt in the rain). This down pour meant that the must have accessory was an umbrella with preferably someone good to hold it:

diane kruger joshua jackson 2010 golden globe awards red carpet 01                         mad men wins top honors jon hamm still bearded 05

Kruger's dress was one that has made both best and worst dress lists, I really like it on her but like Maggie Gyllenhaal she is someone who quite often will take a risk for the red carpet and the results are normally good even if it is a dress that would not look good on many other people, this risk taking makes them two of my favourite fashion icons. Joshua Jackson also looks pretty dapper in his role of umbrella holder. Jon Hamm as the other umbrella holder was rocking a grizzly beard, not for a movie role but simply because he can't be bothered to shave (a question that was asked of him several times in the press room). Beards can be good but it definitely depends of the wearer of the facial fuzz and Hamm rocks the beard well, this is another trend that suits the man well so if they ever want Don to really go off the rails then I think it would suit him.
Other than umbrellas, another fashion trend seemed to be rocking the cleavage, some did this much better than others:

christina hendricks 2010 golden globe awards red carpet 02                               mariah carey 2010 golden globe awards red carpet 02  

Christina Hendricks always looks fabulous to me because she knows how to work the body she has and it is always good to see a Hollywood actress who isn't starving herself. My only issue with the dress is the colour which I'm not a huge fan of but she still manages to pull it off. Now regarding Mariah Carey I really would not expect anything less from her but holy wow, her boobs are working hard for the 'golden globes' gags that I have heard many utter. Still got to love her for being Mariah, shame there were no bonkers speeches for her to give at this awards show. Others were also wearing revealing gowns with positive results:

anna paquin golden globes 2010 stephen moyer 01                            olivia wilde 2010 golden globe awards red carpet 04

My other favourite gowns of the evening were from Maggie Gyllenhaal, Emily Blunt (John Krasinski also looks pretty damn good):

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And Amy Adams with baby bump and presenter Kate Winslet, who as Lainey Gossip pointed out knows how to dress when she is not a nominee:

amy adams golden globes 01                                   kate winslet jeff bridges 2010 golden globe awards red carpet 07

All photos courtesy of Just Jared

Golden Globes

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The 2010 Golden Globes had a few surprise wins and a few that were not so surprising, I'm going to concentrate on the TV winners as this is a TV blog and the debate about whether Avatar deserved to take home best director and film is one that has raged amongst many of my friends. Even though I would've much rather seen 'The Hurt Locker' take the big prize it is the TV winners that I am much more interested in.
It was another good year for Mad Men which won best drama for the third year in a row, this was much deserved as this third season has been excellent. I also enjoyed this award all the more as it was presented by Zachary Levi and Amy Poehler. It was a shame that Jon Hamm and January Jones didn't take home the acting gongs but they were both beaten by formidable talent of Michael C. Hall and Julianna Margulies. Dexter this season was a return to form and it was brilliant to see Hall awarded for his performance and after last weeks announcement that he was recovering from Hodgkin's lymphoma it was a welcome sight to see that he is on the road to recovery. Fellow cast member John Lithgow won best supporting actor for his role as the Trinity killer, another well deserving winner as even though I would've loved to see Michael Emerson win for Lost, Lithgow really was a tour de force in this creepy serial killer role.

John Lithgow                                               

The award for best Comedy/Musical went to Glee which from what I have seen (I am late to this party) also deserved this prize, the comedy was on display when the creator dedicated the award to everyone that had received a wedgie in high school. It was a shame that Jane Lynch was left empty handed in the best supporting category as she is brilliant (I particularly love her in The 40 Year Old Virgin)

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The other major TV category for best TV movie/mini series is one where I have more often than not seen most of the nominees, this year was not much different for me, however I did finally get round to watching Grey Gardens last week which I thought was spectacular so I was very pleased to see it pick up the top award as well as Drew Barrymore winning for her portrayal of little Eddie. It really was fascinating and has made me really want to see the original Grey Gardens documentary. Both Barrymore and Lange were excellent so I really didn't mind who won, though I'm thinking that Lange would not have fallen apart with her acceptance speech.
One other award that though it wasn't TV has close TV connections was that of best original score, won by Michael Giacchino for Up. Giacchino is the composer for all things J.J. Abrams, and his Lost scores week in week out are by far the best orchestral TV music that there is so it was wonderful to see him honoured for his Pixar work as well. Another TV face I appreciated seeing being part of a film cast that won was Ed Helms who was in The Hangover, Helms has fast become my favourite cast member in The Office. With him was Bradley Cooper who is another favourite from his TV days in Alias as Will Tippin, who I am glad to see is finally getting recognition.

Overall it was an enjoyable show, not much to say about Ricky Gervais hosting as he was mainly absent and it seems a little odd that they asked him to host any way, I would say that he works much better with presenting one award like he has previously done for the Golden Globes and the Emmys rather that over seeing the whole proceedings, Neil Patrick Harris is definitely my preferred pick for this job.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Episodes promo

A while back it was announced that Matt LeBlanc would be starring in a new TV show for Showtime called Episodes. In it, he would be playing himself starring in a US remake of a hit British show which does not go down so well (think Coupling not The Office). The first promo has been released and if the show is as funny as this is then it looks like it could be quite a programme. It's also good to see that Matt LeBlanc has quite a good sense of humour and doesn't mind being the brunt of the joke. Also the does the part with all the auditioning wannabes remind you of when Joey tried to get someone to pretend to be his twin for a medical study?

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Chuck- the first 3 episodes

Spoilers for Chuck season 3, episodes 1-3

Chuck Publicity Still

Even though the first three episodes of this new season were not intended to air so close together I figured I would write about them as a collective unit after this became the case. The strongest of the three for me was definitely episode 3 'Chuck vs the Angel de la Muerte', this really felt like a proper Chuck episode, no need for any exposition  regarding the intersect or regarding the Sarah/Chuck relationship situation and there are some meaty scenes for both Awesome and Casey. This is the episode that I want to focus on for these reasons indicated above as it allowed the story to move on in a positive way. At the end of last season one of the interesting turns was that Awesome now knows about Chuck and his spy life and this was one element that I was really excited to see how it would play out and this episode provided brilliance that's for sure. Awesome is a character who is an adrenaline junkie so it is no surprise that feeling in a bit of a rut he turns to his brother in law for some much needed excitement in the spy world, though Chuck dismisses this life as being just as repetitive same old mission week in week out "blah, blah, blah". This does not deter Awesome though and when he becomes embroiled in to this weeks mission involving a big fancy party both he and Ellie are excited by this prospect (Ellie because she thinks fancy parties are pretty sexy- it's good to see her out of her scrubs again):

However, all does not go well for Awesome who's fate at the end of the episode seems uncertain (though the promo monkeys over at NBC give away this fate annoyingly, stay away from these if you want to remain surprised). Awesome and Ellie are favourites of mine and so I was glad to see them utilised in this episode as they were missing for much of the first two episodes, though with episode budget cuts it seems that certain characters will be taking a back seat, but more on that later. Also as much as Awesome does know about Chuck there is still much that he doesn't know, so when Chuck manages to get the bullet out of Casey's leg he believes that it is partly down to his words of encouragement, not that there is a secret computer in Chuck's head.
Casey was another character who benefited from this third episode as he got to show his patriotic side in his disdain for Communist countries and that he has also got an interesting nickname from his previous NSA exploits, this is the episode title which means Angel of Death, that much to his annoyance at the end becomes Angel of Life. Casey in the first two episodes also got some great moments like when he is Uncle Johnny fake moustache and all, getting to play the grumpy neighbour and breaking up the courtyard party (no one doubts that Casey would do this so it is the perfect cover really), any time he gets to use new weapons as it makes him pretty damn happy.
Must also say goodbye to some characters, Anna Wu who's goodbye we don't get to see and is one of the people that got the chop due to budgetary reasons. Also RIP Emmett Millbarge who in a strange moment of confrontational defiance met his end after calling an assassin a pussy, not a good move. I will miss you Tony Hale but will hopefully see you in the Arrested Development movie if it ever comes out.
Having three episodes in such quick succession really feels like they are spoiling us and I am just glad to have it back, not sure how I would've felt about the three episodes if they had been spread over a three week period though with each episode there was definite improvements and I think a lot of this had to do with trying to get new viewers for the show, but by the third episode this did not feel like the agenda and it definitely had the feeling back of the Chuck I love so I am more than happy with the start of this season. Also it seems like there were new viewers as the ratings figures are in for both days with over seven million watching each episode, this is the highest the figures have been since the post Superbowl 3D episode, and with Monday night facing competition from new episodes of House and How I Met Your Mother this is a good and hopeful indicator of how the rest of the season will pan out.
So to next weeks episodes and the fate of Awesome, I really cannot wait.

Lost TCA panel

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Yesterday the Lost TCA panel was held with producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and with cast members Emilie de Ravin, Daniel Dae Kim, Josh Holloway, Evangeline Lily, Terry O'Quinn, Michael Emerson and Jorge Garcia (Claire, Jin, Sawyer, Kate, Locke, Ben and Hurley). The panel revealed little about the new season (which is just how I like it) but there were some minor spoilers concerning casting so be warned.
For a detailed account of the panel head over to Alan Sepinwall's blog, however here are my highlights from the panel:

  • That it took Emilie three reads of the season 6 premiere script to take it all in, she clarified that it wasn't because it was confusing but because there was so much in it. Welcome back to Emilie, I missed Claire in season 5.
  • Terry O'Quinn didn't know that Locke was dead until he got the script that revealed his body was in the container.
  • Michael Emerson stated that the show has ruined his acting process, though he stated it is better to be in the dark with this show, "It's nice not to be burdened with the secrets, and trying to play the future before it arrives." I'd imagine that this also helps with not unwittingly revealing spoilers.
  • When asked about favourite moments from the show several said that they really enjoy the big group scenes- Josh Holloway saying that "If you position yourself just right, you get to cut up and have fun, and occasionally have to do your part." 'Sangria Thursdays' is a new season 6 tradition that Evangeline Lilly names as a favourite.
  • Episode wise, Daniel Dae Kim says that the raft launch at the end of season 1 is a favourite (Carlton Cuse also says this is a favourite), Lily says that 'Do No Harm' the season 1 episode where Claire gives birth and Boone dies is a favourite, Jorge Garcia says when Mr Cluck's got hit by the asteroid and they threw raw chicken over him. Michael Emerson says that he has "lots of fond memories of breathless confrontations in small rooms" and the scene in season 3 'Every Man For Himself' when he is on the cliff with Sawyer quoting Steinbeck.  
  • Lindelof and Cuse say a favourite moment is wondering how to say 'time travel' to the Disney executives without saying 'time travel'.
  • Emerson later said that in the season 5 finale he liked that with Ben stabbing Jacob he finally did something childish and impulsive.
  • Not all the questions will be answered in this final season which I appreciate, I still want some mystery.
  • They say that the worst ending they can provide would be the safe ending (see Harry Potter), but they are not going to take a risk just to take a risk.
  • Libby and Michael will be back, though not all the Libby questions will be answered.
I like that there was some information revealed, enough to wet my appetite even more for February 2nd (not that it really needed it), also it's nice to see the camaraderie between the cast:

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Photos courtesy of Lost-Media

I'm with Coco

Not that I have anything against Jay Leno (in fact he seems like quite a nice guy), but it appears that NBC have royally screwed over both themselves and Conan O'Brien in this late night talk show shake up. To read Conan's full open letter to NBC head over here, it is both brutally honest and funny, and it highlights the fact that it can't still be called 'The Tonight Show' if it airs at 12.05am. This picture best sums up my feelings on the situation:

And last nights monologue:

Also here is an article about the creator of the above 'Im with Coco' image

Monday, 11 January 2010

Chuck season 3

Chuck Publicity Still

Chuck returned last night with a double episode and there will be another one tonight so I will keep this brief and do a full recap tomorrow (spoiler warning just in case)
It is good to see this show back, especially as it came so close to being cancelled last season, with the scheduling meltdown that Leno at 10pm has caused NBC and that he will be returning to late night there is less panic regarding ratings this season as there are now more slots for scripted television. This Leno experiment failed on the part of NBC and it is good that they have realised that this is the case (though I really hope Conan doesn't get screwed over in the process. though it kinda already looks like he has). Regarding the first episode of this third season it is clear that new viewers were definitely in mind as 'The Pink Slip' was a reboot of a kind, re-establishing the characters, who they are and what their motivations are. I enjoyed this first hour but because of the exposition element of this episode, the next one was a lot more satisfying as an existing Chuck fan.
It was a welcome sight to see the team back together again, even with this added layer of angst that has been created by Chuck choosing the spy life over a life with Sarah. Though as the video on the USB drive that Sarah watched at the end of episode 2 shows, it is because of Sarah that he has decided to stay in the spy life as he has a 'gift' that can help people; this is something that she taught him. This scene makes up for any of the arguments and relationship debates between Sarah and Chuck in these first two episodes, though I must say that I think this is a show that, like the Office will not suffer if the 'will they/won't they' couple actually get together. Somebody commented over on Television Without Pity that they were worried that Chuck will end up like Seth in The OC, being quite self centred when it comes to relationships and I really hope this is not the case. Hopefully because Chuck has the spy world to contend with this will not happen, though I can see why this one fan would think this could happen after the repeated badgering that Chuck gave Sarah whilst on mission in episode 2. Chuck, the character has always been about Sarah but also how to be the best asset that he can be, this new intersect has made this challenge all the harder as it is his emotions that affect if he can flash and I'm sure that this will be both a blessing and a curse as to what kind of spy he will become.
Wow, for what was meant to be a brief comment on the new episodes I sure have waffled for quite a bit. One of the main things that I wanted to say was that I particularly liked the way the train station scene in Prague was shot and that there was the added bonus of the Frightened Rabbit track 'Backward's Walk' which was my musical highlight of the episodes (low point being Imogen Heap, not a fan). I look forward to tonights episode, especially if there are any more clues as to who Agent Shaw is.
All I need to find is a big jar of cheese balls and to work out what is exactly in 'jail juice'.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Lost season 3 rewatch

Season 3 began with several different stories taking place and with the characters in different locations, one included this:

Where the different characters are; Kate, Sawyer and Jack having been taken by the others are on a different island all together and after the hatch imploded those who were there when that occurred are also separated, scattered in the jungle or happily back at the beach playing family time. Hurley is also on his own having been set free by the Others as a messenger for what has happened to Kate, Sawyer and Jack. This separation is one issue that was raised when these episodes were first aired as an initial six episode arc in October, with episode 7 airing the following February. This scheduling experiment showed that Lost is a show that really needs to be aired in one block with little or no gaps being best for viewer satisfaction, much like a show like 24. When it comes to rewatching these episodes without the long hiatus they become less problematic but I still think these opening six feel somewhat disjointed.
This isn't to say that I didn't enjoy these episodes, in fact I liked the Kate and Sawyer scenes a lot and it was good to finally see them fully consummate their relationship- I've always much preferred the pairing of Kate and Sawyer over Jack, the chemistry between the two is the main factor for this. The introduction of Juliet was also well done, as a character she is one like Sayid who I always forget that I like so much until they have their own episode and show how brilliant they are and after rewatching this season I am sad that she is only going to appear in a handful of episodes in season 6.
Back on the main island; not a good introduction was to Nikki and Paulo who never seemed to fit in. One story that begun in these six that was important for the rest of the season was that Desmond after using the hatch fail safe key now has the ability to see in to the future, seeing flashes of what is going to happen. One such flash suggests that either Claire or Charlie are in danger and that Desmond has to save one of them. Also important to other season 3 stories is that now pregnant had an affair just prior to the island implicating that sterile Jin may not be the father to her baby. One character also fell to the smoke monster, that being Mr Eko who as a character I liked throughout season 2 but did not really miss his presence in the ensuing episodes/seasons. Not sure why, perhaps it was because it was the line that ended the six episode arc but I still love it when Jack says 'Damn it Kate, run!' My favourite sequence from these first six is definitely when Locke in his sweat lodge has a vision of Boone wheeling him through the airport, visually it was superb:

Click to view full size image  Click to view full size image

Why I have decided to look at the series in two parts is probably because the first six episodes seem to be discussed as a separate entity and because this is the season where the backlash seemed the most strong, it is also the season where they announced that there would be an end date after negotiations with ABC were successful, soothing the naysayers. This was also when Heroes first premiered and was the new TV darling although in hindsight that is a show that started strong and which hasn't seemed to recover since the writers strike and would also benefit from having an end date.
The season over riding theme was that of the Others and of one Benjamin Linus:

 Click to view full size image

My highlights of this story and the rest of season 3 when rewatching include:

  • The Ben centric episode 'The Man Behind the Curtain' (see above picture) was well executed making you feel equally sorry for and repulsed by Ben's actions and making you understand a bit more as to why he is the manipulative and insecure person that he is in the present. Heartbreaking scenes between him and his father on his birthday make his actions as an adult more understandable. Great casting for young Ben who we have seen since.
  • The introduction of Richard who seemingly at first seems nothing more than one of Ben's many pawns, that is until we see him looking the same age in the 70s, still don't know his story fully but he is definitely one of the more intriguing characters. He was also responsible for revealing to Locke which other Lostie his father also had a hand in ruining. 
  • The reveal that Locke's father is the man who conned Sawyer's mother when he was a child was one that I had guessed in season 1- I very rarely get this stuff so far in advance so was happy that it played out that I was correct. The scenes in 'The Brig' with Sawyer and 'original' Sawyer are also really heartbreaking and showed that Josh Holloway is a lot more than snark and abs.
  • It was also revealed how Locke ended up in the wheelchair and he was dramatically thrown from a window eight floors up. The scene that follows of Locke being made to get in to his wheelchair also introduced us to 'don't tell me what I can't do' but this time spoken by the hospital worker.
  • Another relationship link that had been hinted at in season 2 is that Jack's father is also Claire's father, this is revealed to be true in the Claire centric episode 'Par Avion'.
  • Jack and Locke's relationship really hit the skids when John blew up Jacks ride home, not a good move for repairing friendships. Nor is blowing up the communication station. Or throwing knifes in the back of the person who will 'rescue' you.
  • I'm not sure if I'm in the minority but I enjoyed the slightly more irreverent episodes like 'Expose' and 'Tricia Tanaka is Dead'. Especially the latter with the idea that there is hope for them all, even if it comes from starting an old VW camper- which will come in as a handy weapon later on in the season. We also get to meet Roger Workmen, if only they knew who's father he turned out to be.
  • I had also forgotten that perhaps the best and the worst episodes in this season are back to back, these being 'Flashes Before Your Eyes' and the infamous Jack tattoo origins episode 'Stranger in a Strange Land'.
  • 'Flashes Before Your Eyes' is probably one of my favourite all time episodes and really set up the new 'power' that Desmond has and what occurred when he turned the key. It was also a really nice twist on the flashback format, getting to see his life before the island with him having knowledge of his island life. From seeing him wake up covered in red paint (meant to look like blood), in Dharma like overalls and with a microwave sound that is reminiscent of a certain computer there were so many touches of brilliance in this episode. We learn a little more about what kind of man Charles Widmore is (that he likes art in his office by baby abandoning Australians), that he likes expensive scotch and that he really, really does not approve of Desmond being with his daughter. Seeing Charlie singing 'Wonderwall' "Because maybe you're gonna be the one that saves me" in this odd flashback hints at the reveal at the the end of the episode. Perhaps the most important person in this flashback is the jewellary owner Eloise Hawking, who as we now know is Daniel Faraday's mother and former island inhabitant. However in this episode she is just the woman who reveals to Desmond that he can't change what is meant to happen, that things have a way of course correcting, that he must go to the island and leave Penny, forcing him again in to reliving the moment that he runs away from the women he loves. This leads back to the present where Desmond reveals that it has been Charlie's life and not Claire's that he has been saving and that it doesn't matter what he does as it is going to keep happening over and over again, 'You're going to die brother'.
  • That is exactly what does happen, but not until Desmond has saved him a couple more times and when his death will impact on the rescue of all the Losties. It is Charlie's death in Lost that is the one that I have been the most saddened by as he was my favourite character from the off. The manner in which they deal with his death is probably the best goodbye a character has had so far, from his episode 'Greatest Hits' which had me all misty eyed at the end to his actual watery demise, which had me double misty eyed I think that it was an excellent send off and gave his character the redemption he had been craving from the start:
 Click to view full size image

  • Other thoughts regarding the finale, the Jack flashback that was not a flashback at all had me fooled, even at the end when Kate stepped out of the car I inexplicably and stupidly said 'He knew her from before?!' to realise two seconds later what an idiot I was. This flash forward had many a puzzling things but mainly who is in the coffin? A question to not be revealed until the finale of season 4. As far as a Jack centric story this was by far one of my favourites and yes I can be quite critical of the Jack episodes. The only thing bad was the road kill that he had stuck to his face. The part on the bridge reminded me of two separate things, firstly with the newspaper and the car The Beatles song 'A Day in the Life' springs to mind: "I read the news today, oh boy" and "He blew his mind out in a car". The other cultural reference is that it makes me think of 'It's a Wonderful Life' standing on a bridge and contemplating death, though this time he isn't saved by an angel but an island that won't let him die. Tenuous yes but the first pop culture references that I think of when I see this part of the episode. I have to give props to Matthew Fox who really does play Jack as a desperate and broken man very well. I also love the hints about Jack being a hero and people recognising him, at this point we think that this is from rescuing the woman on the bridge, it turns out he is famous for something so much bigger.
  • Other parts of the finale that I liked was that Hurley who had been told that he could be no use turned out to be the big hero on the beach, getting the VW camper, running over the Others and saving Jin, Sayid and Bernard who's chances of survival looked slim, especially as the would be rescuers of Juliet and Sawyer were unarmed. Also getting to see Alex and Rousseau reunited was good to see, though this happiness will be somewhat short lived in season 4.
  • Overall, I really enjoyed season 3 despite my favourite character dying, With the contact to the freighter made at the end of this season and seeing that both Jack and Kate manage to get off the island and that Jack is such a broken man it sets up for season 4 very well. 
Click to view full size image

Photos courtesy of Lost-Media

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Lost season 2 rewatch

Last night I finished season 3 of Lost but before I can write about this here are my thoughts on season 2 which I finished watching over the Christmas holiday (which is my excuse for not getting it up sooner). Here are the highs, lows and everything else that I thought is relevant from watching this season with full knowledge of what has happened since.
What occurred had much to do with this:

And with the hatch within which this computer resides. Season 2 of course focused on the hatch and opened up the Dharma world to both the Losties and the audience. The other area of focus was expanding the idea of who and what the others are and that there were other survivors from flight 815. My highlights from this season include:

  • Interesting new characters: Desmond, Henry Gale (to become Ben Linus in S3), Mr Eko.
  • Regarding Desmond, I had an automatic emotional connection to his story with Penny and I think this relationship is perhaps the strongest romantic one that this show has produced as you care immediately about the fate of them.
  • Speaking of Penny the introduction of Widmore as a potentially shadowy figure sets the character up well for what we know about him now, especially that he will stop at nothing.
  • Michael Emerson is probably the best addition to the cast that the show has ever had and it was a pleasure to watch him work his manipulative magic with Locke all over again. Seeing Sayid torture him was also interesting considering what is to follow (or rather what has already happened).
  • Bernard and Rose being reunited got me all misty eyed and it was good to see that she was right in keeping hold of his ring for so long. It was also nice to see that someone saw Locke in his wheelchair at the airport, though like Locke Rose has a medical miracle thanks to the island.
  • Death wise in season 2, the big ones were Shannon, Ana Lucia and Libby. With Shannon they did the classic TV trick of making you like the character even if you didn't all season before they bite it (see Marissa in The OC). The Ana Lucia and Libby deaths are still as shocking now as they were when I first watched it, and even though I was not that attached to either character it made me a little sad (probably because Hurley was so sad).
  • The divide between Locke and Jack becomes irreparable after this season as both believe that they are doing the right thing but go about it in very different ways: "Why is it so hard for you to believe?" "Why is it so easy for you to?" This being what sums up their differences in simple terms (Man of Science, Man of Faith).
  • Sawyer becoming a hero and once again the antagonist: not enjoying his hero status Sawyer enlisting a pride wounded Charlie manages a great con and gets all the guns returning to his position as the camps most disliked.
  • 'Don't mistake coincidence for fate' is a theme that flows throughout this season, though is it fate or coincidence that led Locke to the hatch the night that Desmond was going to kill himself?
  • One criticism of this season is that there are perhaps too many Kate and Jack flashbacks and it would be good if a couple of those episodes would be best served on other less fleshed out characters as by this point we know that Jack needs something to fix and that Kate likes to run.
  • Though it was good to have some resolutions to some first season stories like what happened to Claire when she was taken (with this we also get a proper introduction to Alex, the daughter of Rousseau who had been taken 16 years previous- great casting as well), where the yellow plane came from, what the monster looked like and what caused Oceanic 815 to crash, Though with every answer that was given, in Lost tradition many more questions were thrown in the air and questions posed in this season have still yet to be resolved, one of the most frustrating being why was Libby in the mental institute?
Season 2 is my least watched season and that is one of the reasons why I enjoyed watching it again as there are some brilliant episodes and moments throughout and it really does set up the mythology of the show regarding Dharma and the Others for seasons 3 and 5. It isn't all brilliant but with the introduction of two of my favourite characters this season is definitely one which I have underrated and is one reason why I am glad that I decided to rewatch the show from the start.
Season 3 recap to follow with the aftermath of the what happens in the season 2 finale:


Photos courtesy of Lost-Media

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Lost seasons 1-5 in 8 minutes 15 seconds

ABC have just released another promo much like they did prior to season 4 which summarises the events of the previous seasons. The first three seasons are covered in just over three minutes and feature some of the same comments as the previous video, with the bulk being devoted to season 5 which I guess is a harder season to sum in a short amount of time due to the time travel nature. It is definitely worth a watch if you don't have time to rewatch the entire run and is quite amusing in places. Talking of rewatching Lost the next episode I have is the season 3 finale and I will be posting my thoughts on season 2 and 3 shortly.

Thanks to the guys over at Dark UFO for the promo heads up

Lost- The last supper and four weeks to go

That's right, as pointed out in Doc Jensen's newest column there is only 28 days till season six airs (included in this is also an excellent interpretation of the following picture). With the season starting so soon, promotional material has been released including this picture of the cast in a 'last supper' type arrangement:

Yes doing the last supper is not necessarily a new idea (Battlestar Galactica and the Sopranos are two shows that have previously used such imagery) however it fits with the type of show Lost is and I'm sure that the producers knew that by releasing such an image would have fans debating over what the positions of each character means and of course they were right. Is it Sayid that is Judas or is it Kate? Is Jack 'doubting' Thomas? Which Locke is Jesus? What do the colour that each person is wearing and why can't we see Claire's top? I am not one is too hot on religious iconography and interpretation so I have enjoyed reading what others have been saying including Fishbiscuit over at Doc Arzt and of course the aforementioned Doc Jensen. I think it is a pretty cool picture though I do wish that it wasn't just the regulars who were on it, I miss Desmond already.
Also if this wasn't enough another 'last supper' image has been released with some people being in different positions (the six in the centre remain the same) at the table opening the debate up even more. In this second image it is somewhat disconcerting that everyone is looking in to the camera, what this is meant to mean I am not sure, but there is a knowing quality about it all.

So happy decoding, I'm looking forward to what they will release in the next four weeks before the big event.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year everybody! 2010 looks set to be a very exciting year in the TV world and here is my list of what I am anticipating the most:

  • The sixth and final season of Lost.
  • Mad Men season 4: Cooper, Sterling, Draper, Pryce  
  • The return of Chuck: after a great 'Save Chuck' campaign that worked lets hope that this season gets more ratings and helps the show stay on air. Early reviews implicate this as the strongest season yet and it starts with a double this Sunday 10th with another episode on Monday 11th.
  • The Pacific on HBO, if it's anywhere near as good as Band of Brothers then this will be terrific (early signs say it is and the trailer is fantastic).
  • Friday Night Lights continuing to be awesome and this year without the worry that it will be cancelled.
  • Fringe returning strong and not getting cancelled would be nice too.
  • The Daily Show and Colbert Report returning this week, I know it hasn't been off the air for too long but I really miss it when it is not on. Also I will be making my first trip to NYC this year so I'm really hoping to watch one of these being taped.

So in anticipation of Chuck returning here is a really good indepth interview that Zachary Levi did with Televisionary (he also quotes from The Little Mermaid which kinda makes me love him more):