Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Thoughts On The Writer's Strike

Okay, this isn't really about who should win or what's best. All of that stuff would involve research and thought and maybe a degree in marketing or economics, and I'm not really ready to do any of those.

Instead, these are my thoughts on the most important part of the writer's strike: How it's affecting me.

Here be spoilers!

I really only watch a few shows, and here is how I feel about what the writer's strike has done to those:

24:This is the one show that the strike seems to have killed. Every other show is airing at least some fragment of a season.

(I'm still waiting for some show to just cut out, mid-episode, Sopranos-style. Who will be the producer with the guts to film half a script?)

24 was actually in a sort of disaster recovery mode after a really bad season, and a lot of the moves were pretty bone-headed.

A lot of what made the previous seasons hard to follow, was that they'd killed off so many of the characters anybody cared about that all that was left were new characters and old characters nobody cared about.

This was particularly true in the White House plots, where everyone was new except two people, one of whom nobody liked anyway. And he was the President.

So their solution to fix that this season? Wiping the slate clean, disbanding CTU, introducing an entirely new cast and having the whole show set in Washington DC.

Say what?

Dave Barry once summed up my feelings on 24 when he called it, "My favorite show on television, except when I am actually watching it."

At any rate, we won't see a frame of this one until the strike ends. They won't start showing them until they can show all 24.

Lost: I know it was probably hard to watch this all divided up and aired sporadically the way ABC used to air this show. I wouldn't know--I don't watch it live. This one I tend to wait until the season is over and then watch them on DVD.

And I think that's the way to watch this show. This show is great. I'd heard bad things about this season, but I thought this season was nothing but home runs. To have Locke back as the guy who you think must be crazy but who you really, really want to believe knows something you don't--that's great.

And as for the big twist at the end of the last episode, the writers have now said that they're going to do more stuff like that, making the show one big pastiche that you have to watch all the way through to get the whole story.

I like that idea. And I like the idea, once you know the whole story, of putting all 50 or however many DVDs will be in the complete series in the DVD player and hitting "shuffle" and watching them in an even more random order and see what kinds of combinations that brings up.

(Of course, if I ever have enough free time to do that, I hope I have something better to do.)

As for this season, I've heard we're only getting 8 episodes, which for a season of a story-arc show like Lost, is like getting a book with the last two-thirds torn out. Do I really want to even pick the thing up and read it in that condition?

Heroes: Heroes started out slow, but got really, really good towards the end of last season. In fact, I actually even liked no-powers Nikki better than super-powers Nikki. I think her beating up the thug without her powers may have been my favorite Nikki moment ever.

The best moment, of course, they didn't emphasize enough. They had a moment that was the kind of thing that used to make me like 24. The best moments on the first few seasons of 24 were when people would be put in situations where there was no good answer. Does Jack stop the bad guys he's undercover with from releasing gas into the mall, even though it would blow his cover and keep him from finding the other 12 gas canisters, or does he let them do it, in the hopes that finding the other 12 canisters will save more lives later?

Mohinder had one of those moments this season, when he was on his way to save Nikki, and then he gets the phone call from Sylar that he's got Molly hostage. What does he do?

They didn't play it out as well as they could have, though--Mohinder seemed to dash off to Molly and the madman without a second thought. Just as well--I think we'd all rather save Molly than Nikki, but there was potential there that they missed.

My favorite character is still Noah, although Kristin Bell's character got interesting there towards the end.

This show got incredibly lucky. The ending actually managed to be a fine place to stop, although that's partly because the basis of next season--Sylar getting his powers back--isn't that interesting to me.

I was also discouraged by an interview I read with the creater of this show. In it, he said he felt the problem with Hiro in the past was that it went on too long. Quite the contrary--there were two problems with Hiro in the past, and one of them was that we weren't seeing enough of the trials. Too many of them happened off-screen. We want to see Hiro and Adam use their powers and be clever and do stuff, but instead, all the scenes were them standing around talking about how tough the trials were.

The other problem was that it wasn't the Hiro from the first season. Hiro from the first season was just so cheery and excited about things, you couldn't help but get excited about whatever he was a part of. This season was "Sad Hiro" season, and that's just not the emotion we love Hiro for.

Smallville: The good news about Smallville being off the air, quite frankly, is that I stop having to force myself to watch each week on the off chance this is the week something thrilling will happen.

I'm trying to think if there are any other "story" shows I watch on TV, and I can't think of any.

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