Archive for the ‘serialized’ Category

Lost in Space

Since I’m not one of those assholes, who only watch stuff to then bitch about it, I can safely say the show was alright. It’s not the best show ever and it’s not bad either – it’s just okay. As a “die hard sci-fi fan” there was no question I’d watch it. Obviously I never saw the original show in the sixties (or at any point in time), but the 1998 film was fun for me. Haven’t seen it in years, but I think I’d still like it. At least I immediately recognized Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who also played Zylyn in Space Rangers, that’s how hardcore I am, not afraid to admit I’ve seen that!

Anyways, the only thing that outright sucked, was Dr. Smith. While I like Posey (after her character died in Scream 3 all the fun was gone), the whole Dr. Smith situation was horribly written. There was just no way, that all these smart, genius-level people would allow themselves to be constantly fooled by this obvious sociopath. You could see her twirling her mustache from miles away, although she didn’t even have one… I genuinely have no idea why and how the Smith-arc ended up such a train wreck. It’s leagues worse than any other element in the show.
What remains? Once again we’ve gotten a show that won’t wrap up in a season. But I guess it does feel like a complete chapter in a book. At least.


I generally believe that it is unwise to judge a series from a pilot alone, so that’s why I have no idea if I’m going to like Discovery unless I’ve seen at least 5 episodes or so…

However, I essentially was disappointed by them doing Klingons again, I had really hoped for something new/fresh. They chose to play it very safe instead. Of course this doesn’t mean that the show will have to go down a bad path, but it’s just nothing that’s very original and creative.

I was a little bit impressed by the visuals, the show includes several really beautiful shots. It looks like a movie. I’m sure that’s not easy to do on a TV budget. And it’s definitely nothing ST has ever exactly excelled at. Now of course the content is what’s most/more important, especially with ST, but it has to be said.

Yeah that’s really it from my perspective. Without knowing where they are going with this, it’s impossible to “judge” it.

PS: I liked that scene in which they beam over to the Klingon vessel and they are holding their weapons at the ready before the transport. Seriously, I’ve always wondered why they weren’t doing that (in other ST shows).

The “who was killed by the gunshot” moment

You kinda think that a show is decent enough, but then they suddenly pull this crap. Again, we’ve all seen it a gazillion times. 2 characters fight for a weapon (typically it’s a protagonist and a villain, not some random folks), usually it’s a gun. Then suddenly a gunshot is heard and the camera shows only the 2 faces and both characters look exactly the same (because to the writers of this crap it doesn’t seem idiotic that the person NOT shot would feel the same pain as the one who WAS shot…), to make the viewer guess which one was shot (usually shot dead) and after an annoying while, the camera pans down to reveal which actor has to leave the show. :D
So it’s pretty dumb and annoying as it is, but of course it’s possible to trump even that – by having this appear in the last scene of an episode, maybe even before a break. Of course I stop caring altogether when this happens out of spite and the futility of this measure is often even made more apparent, by having one of the actors show up in another show during the break, which might count as this slight hint, when guessing which character is the dead one…
I believe there should be QA to automatically remove scenes like this…

Male hero defends female “attachment” in bar against “redneck” assholes

I’ve seen this one in so many installments I now have to firmly believe, that this is some kind of standard text block in every writers word processor. Good lord how horrible. I’m not surprised to see this in an eighties movie – there it is to be expected (although still annoying), but it’s worse in fresh fiction. Last I saw it in an episode of XIII (made 2011!), which is about some sort of former elite secret agent/assassin/spy/operative who’s kinda running from all sorts of powers that want to control or kill him. Now, wouldn’t it be the much smarter thing in such a situation, to avoid exposing those “top secret fighting skills” to the whole world? Especially in that scenario? If they just want a certain amount of fighting scenes per episode, no matter what, there must be better ways to trigger them…

People who get superpowers and complain about them and just want to be “normal”

Every time I see such characters in a story I’d like to punch those ungrateful douchebags. Suddenly being able to fly is the worst thing that ever happened to you? Really? Your life must be so horrible then! Just for once I’d like to see, how people party hard and celebrate this change. I would.

irrational changes in a character’s fighting abilities

More often than it is bearable, protagonists morph from the deadliest and most skilled uber-fighters into helpless imbeciles, that can’t even repel the most basic attack. Think Jacob on Lost, he kicked the crap out of Richard, but let Ben kill him in the exact same situation. The more often this is used in this fashion, the higher are the chances it’s a bad experience. Remember, when Daredevil/Affleck simply lay around bleeding, while the enemies killed Garner? But as soon as she was dead, he could fight again better than ever, when the blood loss should really incapacitate him NOW. Of course a couple of examples do make some sense, riding out of the castle in The Two Towers wasn’t horrible, because through their desperation and lack of better alternatives, they had reason (to not fight like this for the entire time). Differences like that can decide if it’s a good movie. In general, there must be better ways to explain, why characters can’t win all the time. There are.

I was already going a little into what’s seriously wrong with shows of this type in general, but why not get a little more specific.
A criminal (yawn) breaks out of prison (fresh! new! never seen before!) and does it by gluing the mouth of a poor sob shut, as well as gluing a gun into his hand, so he can’t throw it away. This decoy then gets shoved out a door for the cops outside to see. The cops then immediately use deadly force (while the bad guy uses the ruckus to escape) and notice their mistake when they inspect the dead body. While the good cop guys mention several times during this episode, how many people the escapee killed, the innocent shot dead by cops in the beginning, is completely forgotten. They would never stop for a second there and reflect, that this dude might still be alive, if the prison guards would have been a little more thoughtful/careful (maybe those scopes on the sniper rifles would have enabled people to see that his mouth was glued shut…), before perforating someone not shooting at them (maybe 30+ dudes in body armor in cover behind cars with assault rifles can handle one guy – even if he was dangerous). Because, this would have been a perfect example, why this procedure… uh, leaves something to be desired? But no, not in such a crime/cop show. Never! I didn’t bother to count if they just added the guy killed by the cops to the victims of the criminal. I’d seen enough.

cop shows in their entirety (inspired by a recently launched cop show)

Compared to cop shows, the jump from Serious Sam First to Second Encounter is an epitome of ingenuity. They feature less evolution than any random 3D/ego-shooter (those too, enhance little more than graphics). Today those installments are still working after parameters established in the eighties (and earlier). They remind of porn movies in this instance, except they don’t feature naked women. I’m not saying they should, rather that there’s not even a redeeming quality involved (usually). :P Seriously, how many times can you watch cops arresting a bad guy at the end of the episode, after there’s been a murder at the beginning, before finally yelling ENOUGH?!? It’s always the same! AHHH!
The stories are made up from so simple elements, that “plain writing” would be a compliment. For one thing, it’s incredible they are still doing the uber-cliché of the good cop/bad cop routine. It’s beyond awful by now. Speaking of cliché – as they grab Boomer from the beach, they tell the tale of her “blowing out her knee”, which is as unheard of as “tastes like chicken”. Also, critical injuries, but 100% fit for police duty? Yay!
It’s like Burn Notice, with the difference of being even less innovative. The whole getup seems to boil down to realizations, like the lack of a competitive crime show (think CSI) on this network. And everyone needs to have several of those, right? Why the hell is that?
In the second or third show, they torture a prisoner and at the end of the episode they swear an oath on the constitution and stuff, after *beeping* on it the whole time. Fantastic. It’s yet another of these omnipresent mantras in crime/cop shows, where cops make deals with suspects, although the DA is the only one capable/allowed to actually do this, no one is bound to honor such a deal. A cop making such an offer is the same thing, as a janitor offering a student a better grade, if he carries something around – the teacher, who actually gives the grades, would surely be pleased to hear of it. But nothing (in these shows) is so stupid, that it can’t be maxed out even more. In a Castle ep (a huge waste of NF’s talent), the cops used this crap on a _lawyer_ and it worked; a lawyer, of course, being a member of the sole group, that wouldn’t be duped by this for sure. It’s really painful to watch. I cannot imagine why writers wouldn’t know that, or would intentionally add those grave mistakes. If I never see another submissive witness again, stating that he’s got nothing to hide (those idiots also never ask for search warrants etc.), it’ll still be too soon. Mixed with an atmosphere were all suspects are always guilty and cops never make mistakes, it worries me what mentality people must have, who are actually drawn to all this. None of this seems very compatible with little things like democracy and proper law. And the lesson can’t be that a cop show can’t be made in harmony with this, right? RIGHT?!?

The sudden, total reversal of all negative effects

Seriously, how stupid is that? Time-traveling (is sometimes done well) or defeating the head vampire/super-virus/alien queen/sorcerer removes all the suffered through consequences.
Not everything is reversible! And why would a cut off arm grow back, after the antidote was injected? Why go through everything (regarding such stories), to have nothing matter in the end? Na man, this is a cheap writing technique like the bogus mystery arc. Luckily this already seems to be out of fashion.


Lost always had, IMHO, one big advantage, that kept me at bay with my criticism. Maybe some of the stuff wasn’t answered, but maybe later. So why be annoyed now? Every later episode could still fill in those gaps, thus removing any flaw. And that’s exactly the kind of luxury, that was gone and over with after the finale. Because there would be no more Lost and therefore no more answers than those, already given. Right?

“All characters being dead is not really a solution, it just SUCKS.”

Most people will split into (at least) 2 major groups, the first one, that “only” cared for the characters and the second, that knew every story arc and gave it some thought and loved Lost because it was about so many little details. Said first group seems to be quite happy and pleased with the ending. This unnerves me already, because – how can it be “good”, if the characters they cared about are dead? To me, someone being dead, is mostly fucking depressing. A great character ending for me, is rather them hanging out and having some DHARMA beer, while Sawyer cracks a few jokes. What would have been wrong with playing some more golf? Something like that. Overall I can’t help myself but think, that it’s really just a technique they used, to be able to show all (or most) of the characters one last time (together). That too, could have been easily circumvented, by simply not killing off everyone before, to constantly have some teary-eyed drama scenes… Seriously. 24 already had this “one death an episode” rule, because they apparently believed this would be exciting/surprising. But when everyone knows, that there’s a death coming every episode, it’s really not

I actually liked the “Aloha to Lost” special MORE (than the actual episode). I believe that’s not how it was supposed to be. :D

Now for the next category… It’s so enormous, that I don’t even know where to start. I can’t even say for sure what the biggest problem was. Something about the whole season 6 bugged me. The showrunners always stated in their podcasts, that Lost is basically like a book and every season would be a chapter in it. Okay. The last season however, didn’t really feel like it fit in much with the rest of the show. Sure, it’s with the same characters and it does continue the season 5 finale. And yet everything that happens there, almost tells a new story, without delving into earlier mysteries. The (maybe) sole “bigger” mystery they came back to, was the 2 corpses in the cave (Adam and Eve), but at that point it felt so non-organic, that it was next to meaningless, it was like an example that could be pointed at, if they ever wanted to claim that there was at least ONE mystery from way back they answered/explained. It became obvious quite early in the season (6), that this could only mean that they would never bother to resolve issues the writers raised themselves. The entire structure of the final season, could have been attached after any other season. It devalued most of the built-up arcs, by demonstrating that none of them were necessary to end it like this. This “solution” would have been possible two seasons ago, or three seasons from now. It wouldn’t have mattered. Can something, that doesn’t actually require the show so far, really be a good ending? The producers made a good call in ending Lost as soon as they could, because this method only would have been all the more insulting/horrible, would it have taken place after even more seasons. Further, does it really not trouble the fans, that the resolution to the flash sideways was a theory (they are all dead), that people came up with as an explanation for “everything”, after maybe 5-10 episodes into season 1 back in 2004? Their solution only changed the point in time at which people were dead.

So the island isn’t purgatory,but the voices in the jungle are from souls that can’t move on?Seriously?Hopefully Kate is soon in the picture

Another huge problem was, that the audience never learns if anything was true, if it really mattered in any way, or even the way they believed it would. I’m referring to the nameless (!) dude (yes, they never even named the apparent major bad guy on the show…) and the light, the stuff the crazy (?) lady told Jacob… Would it really have been bad if he left the island? Even when not thinking about what the light could have been, was it necessary to protect it? This matters, because only if all these things would have been true, their sacrifices would have made some sense; only this would have prevented them from dying for absolutely nothing, just like the black smoke said. For all the show told, he could have been completely right. And this is just one of the many points, where ambiguity was taken way too far, when it’s not even clear, if the supposed bad guy was really bad. Even Jacob, the main guy who was staged as someone who had all the answers, knew absolutely nothing himself. He only repeated what the woman (who killed his mother) told him as a child (!). She could have been completely mad, this is even more palpable than she being a reliable source for intel.
With some of the big, overlaying issues in the finale dealt with, I could go endlessly into the other problems of the finale, the sixth season, or even the entire show. What were the rules? They are mentioned quite often, but were never explained or even simply listed. Why wasn’t “Locke” allowed to kill the candidates, although he clearly could? What would have happened, if he ignored them? Why did Flocke want to leave the island in the first place? He, again, didn’t even suggest a possible explanation for his desire. Why did “the monster” see Jacob as a child in the jungle, after he died? Why not the adult Jacob? Why did he turn into smoke, when Jacob threw him into the cave? Desmond and Jack went into it and didn’t transform into smoke either.
The final scene doesn’t even work. Jack leaves the cave, stumbles into some direction, falls and dies. Great. Just before he went down into the cave, Ben and Hurley were in front of the entrance. How did he get up the steep wall again, in his badly wounded condition? It was hard to get Desmond out, with 2 people helping. They just blend from him in the water, to him back in the jungle again. Where did Ben and Hurley vanish to? How shitty is it, to let this guy die alone, on the island that is known to heal even the worst injuries? So he could fulfill this “Live together, die alone” part? This scene alone is so extremely weak, that it breaks the whole atmosphere and reminds anyone that he’s just watching a TV show. I’m not trying to say that every story should necessarily have a happy ending, but having major characters die for no apparent reason, after everything that’s happened, is just so very disappointing. It’s by no means a big heroic thing that gives all involved people the sense of having (at least) accomplished a major achievement. He died for trying to prevent a light to go out in a cave, that for all we know could have been a set of candles. Uh, what? That’s so incredibly weak and miserable. Another big joke was the return of Charles Widmore. The show ends without even revealing his true intentions (his actor even stated this in the “Aloha to Lost” Jimmy Kimmel After Show special, that even after the finale he still wouldn’t know, if his character was “good” :D), after he claimed numerous times to be the good guy. He said they would all die without his plan. They didn’t. Or actually they did. What was his plan? Was it accidentally the same plan (send Desmond pull out a plug) they carried out by themselves anyway? If that was really everything, why didn’t the nameless one escape years before the Oceanic flight 815 even crashed on the island? Desmond lived there years before the arrival of the candidates. Nothing would have been easier for the black smoke, to just walk there, knock on the door of the DHARMA station, tell him Jacob just killed Penny (or have Danielle Rousseau do it, by telling her he has her child) who arrived at the island searching for Desmond and have him pull out the plug, after Jacob would have been dead. Done and done. He would have fulfilled all his mission goals and hurt no rules, without having any resistance. Ben was the leader of the others at this time and clearly never did Jacobs bidding (never talked with each other), thus all people on the island would have been oblivious to the possible danger. And this is only one of many possible scenarios that completely crush everything the last season tried to tell its viewers.

If Monkey Island would have been a show with a shitty ending, you wouldn’t care, because at least there would have been monkeys and pirates!

This video, though it is meant as a joke (and some of the questions in it actually WERE answered), hints at the big picture. As I already tried to point out in the bogus mystery arc, it’s not okay anymore, to leave everything unanswered, that was started with the promise of being more. Having people think things through was never an accident on Lost, but very much intended. Even I can write a super-mysterious, bizarre story together in ~10 minutes, with maybe a dude waking up without his memory and suddenly goons are after him, lots of intense chase-scenes follow and whatnot – but if I end it without ever explaining who he was, why he lost his memory and who was after him for what reason, I’m still a hack. Because delivering these answers, is exactly what would have made such a story MORE. This is, what would have required some skill. This is, what’s hard and is born out of creativity.

  • Ever wondered, what was in these vials, Desmond used to inject himself with in season 2 (they even had the numbers on them)? What was the sickness everyone was talking about? Was it even real?
  • Why and for what did they build the runway in season 3? They used it in season 6, but they couldn’t have known that then. Ben never struck me as the guy, who wanted to have a private jet.
  • Who built the statue when, for what reason? Why did it have 4 toes?
  • What was the reason for the temple? Why did some people hang out there? It wasn’t really to be protected from the monster, because the only protection against that, was the powder they poured on the ground. That they could have done anywhere.
  • What was the powder? Why did it stop the monster?
  • Why did Jacob never ask his people to do anything, when he had so many followers under his command? What were they doing all day long, except killing time?
  • Why was Jacob such a good and determined fighter, when Richard attacked him, but a “helpless baby” when “Locke” came to kill him with Ben’s help? Ben was sent to kill him the same way as Richard all those years earlier…
  • What was the lighthouse? How did that shit work?
  • Sonic fences? How did they build this way back in the seventies, when such tec lacks today?
  • What became of DHARMA? They were “purged” on the island, but it was clear they existed on the outside as well. Were all of them killed on the entire planet? If not, why didn’t they use their stations, which could find the island, to return? If they did stop existing, who is still making the food drops?
  • Why were “the natives” even enemies of the DHARMA folk? Shouldn’t they have been friends? They had the fences to repel the monster, they could have really used those at the temple. They clearly weren’t friends of the monster either (or they wouldn’t have needed defences against it) and fighting/stopping that was the whole point of all of Jacob’s followers (or him having such).
  • What was the purpose of Ilana? Why did Jacob tell her she was important and was needed, when all she actually did was dying in an accident with dynamite? In hindsight it looks like he was pulling her leg, with the most dire consequences (for her).
  • What became of Ezra James Sharkington?
  • How did Locke’s father end up on the island? Ben told Locke at this point, that the secret of the island was like a box and everything you could wish for would then be in there. But now that seems to be complete hokum, no? Since that doesn’t seem to be the case, did Ben’s folks simply grab Locke’s dad? Seems like a lot of work for such a little ploy.
  • Why did the monster kill the pilot? And all the other poor shmocks, that just happened to cross it’s way? Later on it seemed that he would only attack people that would try to keep him on the island and ignore the rest.
  • Why did he gather people around him (like the survivors from the temple), when he clearly needed none of them, except maybe the candidates? He didn’t care at all, when most of his company got killed by Widmore’s mortar attacks. He just saved Jack.
  • What happened to Cindy? Was she killed?
  • Did DHARMA produce any useful scientific data during their stay?
  • When Jacob made Jack “like him”, he mumbled a few words to the drink he gave him. He never told the sentence (or anything else for that matter) to Jack, so Jack didn’t use the phrase when he appointed Hurley his successor. How come it worked anyway? Was Jacob just fucking with Jack? Or didn’t Hurley become like Jacob as a consequence? It really can’t be important/necessary AND at the same time, without consequence if done wrong.
  • What’s up with WAAAAAAAAAAALLLLTTTT? They opened up a whole world of questions about him and then ignored the hell out of it. What was so special going on with him? The way TPTB left it, it seems like there was an intended story arc, that somehow didn’t pan out.
  • Why are certain dead people (like Michael) stuck on the island, whispering? Ben Linus wasn’t exactly an angel and wasn’t condemned to this…
  • When “the others” took in Jack/Kate/Sawyer at the end of season 2, why did they take blood samples? What did they test and what were the results?
  • How did Jacob leave the island, when the woman who raised him stated that she made it, so that he and his brother could never leave? Was it because he drank the wine? And since he was just an ordinary guy, how did he travel? DHARMA had their sub and whatnot, but Jacob had absolutely nothing.
  • Why did the swan station require a human to push the button, if it was always at regular intervals? Why not have an automatic script do it? It’s such a waste to deploy humans just for that.
  • Why did “Dr. Marvin Candle” use a different alias in every orientation video?
  • How did DHARMA fit their VW buses into a submarine? (Thanks go to L for suggesting this question)
  • How did Eloise Hawking (when she was messing with Desmond) know what would happen to the guy in the red shoes? It’s as far out as the moment, when Widmore’s electro-magnetic machine sent Desmond into the “afterlife” and back… Holy *beep*! (Thanks go to O for suggesting this question)
  • How did the others return Ben Linus back to the DHARMA initiative, when he was shot by Sayid and miraculously healed after? An almost dead kid suddenly healed again, must have raised some eye brows? (Thanks go to O for suggesting this question)
  • Why was the monster unable to alter it’s appearance again, once it looked like Locke? Previous to that, it could assume the form of every dead person. What gives?!?
  • Whatever happened to Christian’s actual body?
  • How did Widmore find the island, when Jack vandalized the lighthouse, instead of using it to signal him like Jacob wanted? Jacob does say after, that he will find another way, but Widmore was trying for ages to find the island and now he suddenly succeeds in no time? If Widmore was Jacob’s guy, why didn’t he help him earlier in his return?
  • Why did the countdown in the DHARMA/swan hatch display hieroglyphics at some point? Further hieroglyphics were visible in the temple, where Ben was fooled by the monster. But DHARMA and the natives were 2 different groups, why would they use similar signs? Were they one group at one time? Do they have common roots? (Thanks go to O for suggesting this question)
  • Why/how did Penny know, that she could find Desmond by searching for electro-magnetic anomalies? Why were her guys somewhere in the ice to do this? (Thanks go to O for suggesting this question)
  • Did Kate spend the rest of her days in prison, because her verdict, after coming home as one of the Oceanic Six, was to stay in the same state, which she clearly violated?
  • Why was Ben so obsessed with all that fertility stuff? Why did mothers die on the island? What did the rest of the others deem more important, but didn’t pursue, because Ben was the boss?
  • Didn’t they say in one episode, that Claire was given an implant? And Juliet needed to give her injections? A pretty extreme thing to never mention again. (Thanks go to O for suggesting this question)
  • For what purpose did they transmit the numbers on the radio tower? (Thanks go to O for suggesting this question)
  • What was up with that rocket Daniel Faraday fired and the different time values the test returned? If time passes different on the outside, why did they return to their normal timeline, when they left the island? Shouldn’t they have noticed changes?
  • Why does spinning the wheel always teleport people to this specific spot in the desert? How does a wooden wheel (!) influence light in a cave anyway?!? (Thanks go to O for suggesting this question)
  • Why did the smoke monster only begin to exist, when Jacob threw his brother into the cave, when the drawings beneath the temple suggest that the monster existed for a much longer time (the drawings apparently existed before Jacob and his brother were even born). Was there already another smoke monster, before this one, that was defeated like “Locke” by earlier “heroes”? (Thanks go to O for suggesting this question)
  • Why did the others have an apparently powerful sheriff, that only existed in one episode? What was her fate?
  • If the smoke monster was behind all appearances of Christian Shephard, how come Jack saw his dad off the island in the hospital one night? Didn’t Christian appear to Michael on the freighter too? The smoke monster can’t move over water without a boat…

All this, without going back and re-watching episodes I haven’t seen in 5 years.^^

I don’t suddenly hate Lost now, because even the most shitty ending doesn’t take the fun and entertainment out of the earlier episodes (personally I enjoyed season 3 the most, with season 1 being second place), but at the same time I don’t intend to make up excuses for this ending to appear better than it actually is because I loved the show. Neither should anyone.

//Update 2010/12/18

“The End” was a finale that was never going to please everyone, and so Lindelof and Cuse’s decision to not even bother trying was admirable […]

Top 10 Episodes of 2010: “The End” (Lost)

Well this is just as awesome an explanation as they come. :D