Monday, March 05, 2007

TV 1.5 Weeks in Review

Well, I've gotten a little behind on my blogging again, ever since the Oscars finally concluded. With all the movie talk lately, I thought I'd comment on the last 1.5 weeks of TV. Of course, part of the last 1.5 weeks includes... The Oscars.

*** Spoiler Warning *** (in case you've TiVo'ed or downloaded some of these but *still* haven't watched them yet)

The O.C. Series Finale (Thursday 22 February)
As the four-year series came to a close, six months after the events of the previous episode, the Cohens have been living with the Coopers in Summer Roberts' house, Kirsten is close to giving birth and still frustrated with lifeless cookie-cutter mansions in Newport, Julie Cooper is pregnant with Frank's (Ryan's dad's) baby but is somehow engaged to The Bullet, Ryan is *still* conflicted over his feelings for Taylor who has been in France for several months, and Seth and Summer have been living a lazy life as couch potatos (twin recliner potatoes, to be more accurate).

Ryan and Seth go on a mission to get Sandy & Kirsten their old house back in Berkeley, which is now owned by a gay couple. One of the gay guys is a midwife and the other is a wedding planner, which is monumentally convenient since Kirsten goes into labor in their bedroom and Julie quickly moves her wedding to the Berkeley house (thanks to The Bullet owning a private jet). Convinced that this house is somehow a part of the Cohen family destiny, the gay couple agree to sell them the house.

Also, Ryan & Taylor get back together, Seth convinces Summer to travel with the G.E.O.R.G.E. environment organization for a year, Frank attempts to stop Julie from marrying The Bullet not knowing that the wedding was moved, and Julie ultimately decides to remain single and enroll in college.

Just when you think the show is going to leave you hanging on where everyone ends up, they end the show by doing a series of flash-forwards set to music. In the montage we see Sandy teaching law at Berkeley, Kaitlin on the math team at college, Julie graduating college (and being cheered on by Kaitlin, Frank, The Bullet, and her new son), and Seth & Summer marry in the Cohen's new back yard (with Ryan as best man, Taylor as maid of honor, and Seth's young sister as flower girl). In the final scene we see that Ryan has completed his studies in architecture and is leaving a job site where he works. He sees a kid that may be in trouble, and just as Sandy did for him years earlier, Ryan asks the kid if he needs any help.

This was a great way to end the series. Unfortunately, the middle two season sagged in quality and in ratings, but season four was a nice last-minute resurrection back to its original glory. With the renewed quality of season four as a whole, and with the excellent finale, this show went out with class and pride. In a way, I'm glad it's over, but I'll also miss it too.

The Oscars (Sunday 25 February)
I live-blogged as it was going on, so not much more to say about it. In summary... The ceremony is too long, the clip montages are boring and not very necessary, extra stuff should be cut out to give winners a few more seconds to talk, the lifetime achievement award winners--on the other hand--should be limited from talking too long (even if they're old and not English-speaking), Ellen was a good host when she was interacting with the audience but not when she opened the show.

Out of 20 of the main awards, I got 5.5 personal picks correct (counted Supporting Actress as a half-point because I couldn't make up my mind between Jennifer Hudson and Cate Blanchett). And, I got 10 predictions correct and two more half-right (on one award, I had two equal predictions; and for Best Picture, it was too close for me to call). So, my personal preferences were 27.5% right and my prediction skills were 55% right.

Battlestar Galactica (Sundays, 25 February & 04 March)
The last two episodes have really been great. In last week's episode, Chief Tyrol accidentally becomes entwined in a labor dispute on the fuel refinery ship and ends up leading a strike. Almost getting his wife executed for mutiny in the process, Tyrol stands down and also earns time to negotiate with the president. The episode helps demonstrate just how desperate and rag-tag the fleet is and how much President Roslin and Admiral Adama are willing and able to make tough, morally-questionable decisions about individuals if it means protecting the human race as a whole. Chief Tyrol continues to become a more formidable and empathetic, yet impressively restrained, "every-man" type character.

Last night's episode was even more intense with the possible death of Kara "Starbuck" Thrace. Spoilers on the internet and foreshadowing within the show itself have hinted at the death of a character and the increasing fan suspicion that Starbuck is a Cylon. In an interview, creator Ron Moore claims that the Starbuck situation is more complex than it looks. So, maybe she's not dead, maybe she's not a Cylon, maybe she's something else. Either way, I've read that we probably won't see Starbuck again until season four, so the mystery around her "death-like event' probably won't be answered in the remaining three or four episodes of this season.

Heroes (Monday 26 February)
Last week's episode was the best this show has done so far. Continuing where the previous episode left off, Matt Parkman and his thermonuclear sidekick Ted broke into the Bennett home to gain information from HRG regarding their powers. In the process, Parkman and Claire learn of each others' abilities, Parkman shoots Claire, HRG learns that the Haitian did not erase Claire's memories, Ted almost blows up the Bennett house, and Claire's mother & brother--as well as HRG's boss--learn of Claire's healing ability after she tranquilizes Ted and walks away from the house covered in burns one second and totally okay a few seconds later.

Also, in flashbacks, we learn that Claude (the invisible guy who's been "teaching" Peter) used to work alongside HRG and that a young Hiro was present when his father (played by George Takei, a.k.a. Star Trek's Sulu) gave baby Claire to HRG on the same rooftop where we later see Claude taking care of pigeons.

This was an excellent episode for its writing, intensity, pacing, fun, and general coolness. Several places on the internet, people are saying that this episode is a model for what Lost should be more like. Lost keeps giving us mystery after mystery but rarely any answers. Heroes knows how to give us enough mystery to keep us guessing but also enough answers to keep us feeling like the story is going somewhere.

Other Shows This Past Week
Prison Break was simultaneously exciting and preposterous, as usual. Gilmore Girls was fun and quirky and feeling more like its old self as Lorelai & Rory throw a baby shower for Lane who's confined to bed rest. On Jericho, Jake and a few others get into trouble at a trading post when they attempt to get supplies for wind-powered generators, also learning in the process that the U.S. now has four or five capitals with people competing for roles as regional presidents. Scrubs dared to have a clip show but did the best they could with it and poked fun at themselves for looking back with nostalgia. The Dresden Files is getting more intriguing as Harry Dresden shows more of his magical abilities, but the show could still use better writing if they're going to keep sci-fi fans and have any chance of bringing in a mainstream audience.

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