Friday, May 18, 2007

"They Should Space Out These Season Finales Some"

Skip to the random thought

WARNING: Spoilers - if you haven't caught up on "24" and "Lost" through this week's episodes, this post is not for you. I also give away the endings of some previous seasons too. Just warning you.

Just a reminder that this is the last post until next Tuesday. Not because I can't write posts for Saturday and Monday, but because I may not have internet access either day. (But it's a convenient excuse for sloth, isn't it?) Actually, this post is about twice as long as a normal post, so I could have split this up into two posts if I wanted to. Instead, you get it all today.

As documented here in this blog, I only watch two fictional TV dramas - "24" and "Lost". As luck would have it, both shows air new episodes during the same time of year, and both are having their two-hour season finales next week. (Actually, it's not luck. It's business. It's just unfortunate that it's not spaced out a little more.) I'm going to talk about each show, starting with "24".

First off, I'm glad we're here at the "24" finale, finally. This season was kind of sputtering along between episodes 18 and 21 or so. Then, a main character died, Jack's dad reappeared, and things started to pick up as we head for the finale. Here are some things to look for in this finale.

"24" finales are often anti-climactic, in a way, because you know the main terrorist threat will be extinguished. You also know Jack will not die (he's under contract for two more seasons). That said, you know they'll recover the "component", and the Russians will not start a war. (Speaking of which, how about that "two hour" deadline the Russian president gave Daniels? I mean, come on. That was really over-the-top. Nevertheless, this is a TV show with a strict format which they must follow, so that's about the only way they could have done it.) I think it's also a safe bet that Josh will be reunited with Marilyn. Although it's possible that won't happen. The writers of "24" did a very smart thing by killing Jack's wife at the end of the first season. Because of that, we can't be completely sure that anyone other than Jack is safe, regardless of who they are. But still, I would be very surprised if Josh and Marilyn weren't together again by the end of the finale.

Next question: who will suffer a spectacular death in the finale? Chang? Phillip Bauer? Both? Those are the two main candidates. I think Chang is far more likely to die than Phillip - it would be much more valuable to the series to keep Phillip around for another season. I think Chang needs to die, though. If not him, somebody important needs to die, good or bad.

The most interesting thing about the finales of late has been what is going to happen to Jack. In the Season 4 finale, Jack had to fake his death and run off to wherever. In the Season 5 finale, Jack was captured and shipped off to China. What now? Personally, I think Jack deserves a break, even if he is a fictional character. But the trend seems to be to have something life-changing happen to Jack at the end of the season. We'll see what happens this time. I actually have no idea. Except when Jack says "Everything's okay now, it's all over", that's when you know something bad is going to happen.

Finally, a prediction. I've heard plenty of rumors about the direction of the "24" series and such. These are probably baseless, and I'm not going to contribute to the spreading of baseless rumors, but I am going to make the following prediction: CTU Los Angeles will be shut down. You saw that guy from "Division" come in to do an investigation regarding their "security breach". Bill Buchanan has already received the proverbial axe. And, their acting head is inexperienced and not really on top of things. Everything is set up for "Division" to shut CTU down. That would be fitting for a season finale. But then again, my track record of predicting what happens on this show is...well, laughable. If I were you, I wouldn't put much stock in this prediction. But if I'm right...wahoo!

Now, about the "Lost" finale. There are a lot of differences between "Lost" finales and "24" finales. "24" finales occur at the end of a 24-hour period, and thus have to tie up as many stories as possible. "Lost" finales, however, don't have that obligation, because next season, they can simply pick up where they left off. The separation between seasons is kind of arbitrary. For "Lost", that's good and bad. It's good because going into the finale, you have no idea what to expect. It's bad because the finale might not tie up any loose ends whatsoever. And the history of "Lost" finales hasn't been to tie up loose ends, it's to stir up the pot some more to make sure you come back next season. So, I think it's important to keep your hopes down for the "Lost" finale. Don't expect some kind of major revelation. I only expect something major to happen that will set up the next season.

So, what are we looking at here? Here we go, "random thought" style...
- First thing, obviously, they've been leading up to this "showdown" between the main characters and the "Others". Seems like a good place to end the season, eh? But I think I can bank on this: neither group will have things go according to plan. Everyone will probably be screwed afterwards, in their own little way.
- If you read my "24" thoughts, you know I pay attention to the names in opening credits. Well, this week, the guy who plays John Locke (Terry O'Quinn) was still listed. Didn't he die? Or did he? Typically, when characters die, their names are removed from the credits the very next episode (or, at the very least, reduced to "guest star" status). Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but the opening credits don't lie. Hmm...
- Who's going to die? You know someone is going to go. They keep playing up the impending death of Charlie, but personally, I think that makes him less likely to due (regardless of the predicament he now finds himself in). But obviously, when dynamite is involved, people are probably going to die. Are they worried about killing everybody off and not being able to sustain the series? Maybe, but there are only going to be 48 more episodes after this one (three more seasons of 16 episodes each, to be run interrupted from February to May). But anyway, some people are going to have to go (or get written out of the script, a.k.a. "rescued"), and we have two hours to find out next week. The only person I would be disappointed to see purged is Hurley. On the other side, I would really like to see them get rid of Kate. She is, by far, the most annoying character on the show.

So, next week, I have four hours of dramatic prime-time television to look forward to. And then, nothing for eight months. Oh well.

Today's random thought:

- In the search for different radio stations to listen to, I've found one: 88.1 FM, WKNC. It's the NC State student-run radio station. Student run radio is nice, because you get a nice variety of music, most of which I haven't heard before, and is a little bit different and not as commercial. It doesn't matter what station you listen to, if you listen to it enough, it's going to get repetitive. 96 Rock ("everything that rocks!") has gotten to that point. Is that going to happen with 88.1? Possibly. But for now, it's my first choice.