Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Friday Night Lights": The case of the missing wallet

Spoilers for this week's "Friday Night Lights" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

More thoughts on "Lost," from me and from others

We're nearly a week out from the controversial "Lost" series finale, and I thought I'd share some more of my thoughts on what I think the series ender was about. (Click through to read more).

Friday, May 28, 2010

"The Good Wife" season finale recap: "Running"

Finally caught up with the season finale of "The Good Wife" yesterday. Spoiler-y recap is below, so don't click through if you don't want to know.

Monday, May 24, 2010

"24" series finale recap: "2:00-4:00 p.m."

Spoilers for the series finale of "24" after the break. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

"Lost" series finale recap: "The End"

Spoilers for the gut-wrenching, brain-bruising, heart-breaking series finale of "Lost" after the break. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Friday Night Lights": Is Under Armour the new Applebee's?

Spoilers for this week's episode of "Friday Night Lights" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Watching together, crying alone: The end of TV's "Lost"

Unless you've spent the last several months living under a rock, you know that ABC's towering sci-fi drama "Lost" is coming to an end this Sunday.
Chances are, you are dealing with this in your own way. If you are a non-fan, you're likely flummoxed over the fact that ABC is airing five and a half hours (!) of "Lost"-related programming on Sunday night, including the two and a half-hour finale episode. I don't blame you for being flummoxed, non-fans. I'm a bit bemused myself, and I've seen every single episode and written countless words on the show.
If you're a casual fan (and, to paraphrase "Lost" guru Nikki Stafford, how can anyone be a casual fan at this point?), you're mildly curious to see how the show will end, but firmly believe that life will go on without it.
And then, there's the rest of us. You know who you are, friends. You're the ones who, like me, haven't missed an episode in six seasons. You're the ones who get choked up whenever you think about Charlie floating off into death, or Sun and Jin dying in each other's arms. You're the ones whose eyes don't glaze over when someone mentions one of the show's more obscure references, like MacCutcheon Scotch or Stuart Radzinsky.
You're the ones whose hearts will break a little Sunday night when the show ends for good.
Yes, the depth and breadth of that heartbreak will depend somewhat on what happens in Sunday's finale. But regardless of how we feel about the show's ending, I'm pretty sure we'll still feel the sting of the show's loss acutely.
Why? Why do this show's fans feel such a deep connection to it? I don't know. In the weeks leading up to the series finale, writers, pop culture experts and fans have all offered their theories on why the show means so much to people.
I have no such theories. I'm not even sure I can tell you why I like it, let alone anyone else. But I can't deny this show is special to me. It's never been my favorites series; never topped a list of my 10 best shows of the year. Yet I enjoy writing about "Lost" more than any other show. Yes, the show is flawed. It can be a bit too smug in its mystery. Its dialogue can be a little too on the nose. And there have been waaaay too many episodes in which characters break into groups and wander around the island.
But, even in its weakest moments, "Lost" runs deeper than nearly any other show I can think of. Its allusions to literature, philosophy and religion make it one of the smartest shows on TV. Also, can you think of another current TV show that has inspired such feverish debate? "Lost" flew in the face of the idea, long trumpeted by TV haters, that television rots the brain. "Lost" engaged the mind and the imagination. It actually encouraged people to think about what they were seeing. That's rare, and admirable.
The show also stood out because of its characters -- perhaps the most complex collection of people on TV.  When the show started, we were presented with a group of archetypes. We had the Hot Doctor, the Hot Ex-Con, the Hot Con Man, the Funny Big Guy, the Tough Old Goat, etc., etc., and so forth.
Yet,  over time, many of these characters deepened into special, complex human beings. When we first met cowering Sun and her seemingly brutish husband Jin, we had no idea that they would become the show's Romeo and Juliet. When Sawyer first scowled his way into our lives, how could we have predicted the emotional growth he would experience over this past six seasons? And John Locke -- what a sad, strange journey that character has been on.
Let's not forget that some of the show's most memorable characters -- Desmond, Ben, Juliet, Richard Alpert and Charles Widmore, to name a few -- didn't even show up until the second season or later.
I have no ideas and no predictions about what will happen in Sunday's finale. I'm sure it will be, in true "Lost" style, unpredictable. I have no way of knowing what I'll think about the actual episode.
But I know I'll miss "Lost." Through its ups and downs, it's truly been one of television's most unique viewing experiences.

"Modern Family" season finale: "Family Portrait"

Some quick spoilers on the season finale of ABC's "Modern Family" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

That darn Walt!

As you might know, network upfronts were this week, and a bunch of a new fall offerings were unveiled.
There's some interesting stuff in store, but I might be most excited about this new ABC sitcom -- a wacky domestic romp called "Breaking Bad!"
(For real, this is hilarious. Not sure which is more hilarious -- Jesse in the yellow hazmat suit in the credits, or the applause when Walt Jr. enters).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"Lost" recap: "We're close to the end, Hugo"

Spoilers on tonight's episode of "Lost" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

"Good Guys" thin, but entertaining

Even if you didn't know that the new Fox series "The Good Guys" (premiering 8 p.m. Wednesday) came from the same guy who brought us USA's spy dramedy "Burn Notice," it wouldn't take long to see some clear similarities between the two shows.
Both are fast-paced, quick-witted and feature on-screen titles identifying the people and places we're introduced to. And yes, both shows come from executive producer Matt Nix, who, with the newest offering, cements his reputation as the go-to guy for the sort of action comedies popular in the 1970s and 1980s.
Like "Burn Notice," "The Good Guys" features an iconoclastic main character. This time, it's boozy, mustachioed, grammar-mangling cop Dan Stark (Bradley Whitford of "The West Wing," who is hilarious and nearly unrecognizable).
Like "Burn Notice's" Michael Weston, Dan is a man on the outs with mainstream society. Unlike Michael, Dan is largely to blame for his current situation in life. A former celebrity crime-fighter, Dan is now a self-destructive joke who's been shunted down to the property crimes division. Yet despite his behavioral issues (and his inability to pronounce the word "humidifier"), Dan still has good instincts and a lot of guts.
He also has an equally unpopular partner, the snarky Jack Bailey (Colin Hanks, who sounds more like his famous dad with each role).
Hanks and Whitford are an inspired pairing, and the show's pilot offers a zippy, tongue-in-cheek take on the buddy cop genre. The two guys hop from (or onto) moving cars, run with weapons drawn, and exchange one-liners.
It's the kind of show where a crime boss dispatches "the second best assassin in the world" to retrieve some stolen money. It's also the kind of show where that assassin (charmingly played by Andrew Divoff in a solid guest spot) turns out to be a cerebral gentleman who corrects people's grammar and kills by a code.
It's fast, fun and entertaining. However, I'm hoping that future episodes will add some layers to the characters and the concept. Right now, Whitford's Dan is a bit one-dimensional (and I'm not sure that Whitford, while excellent, is old enough to play a man who doesn't understand computers). I'd definitely like to see him become more fully drawn as the show goes on.
"The Good Guys" has the potential to be an amusing summer series. That is, after all, how "Burn Notice" started out. Since then, that show has deepened enough to offer complicated explorations of the characters and they're relationships. I'd like to see the same thing happen with "The Good Guys."

Friday, May 14, 2010

"Friday Night Lights" recap: Mailboxes, white flags and boos

Recap of this week's "Friday Night Lights" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Lost" recap: The mother of all sibling rivalries.

A thoughts of tonight's revelatory "Lost" after the break. Spoilers are below, so don't click through if you don't want to know.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

"Friday Night Lights" recap: We're not in Dillon anymore...

So, I'm going to try and recap as many episodes of the fourth season of "Friday Night Lights" as possible. Since it's been months since I originally saw them on DirecTV, I'll need to re-watch every episode. We'll see if I actually have the initiative to do this.
Anyway, more on the season four premiere, "East of Dillon" after the break.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"Friday Night Lights" starts fourth season: For the love of God, watch it!

Every so often, a TV show has a truly spectacular season -- a season in which a good show seems even better, or when a show that had previously just been decent becomes truly exceptional. NBC's high school football drama "Friday Night Lights" has long been a strong show. At best, it's a warm-hearted, moving depiction of small town life. At its worst (as in the fairly ridiculous second season) it still has moments that put most shows focusing on teenagers to shame.
But the show's fourth season, which begins Friday night at 8 on NBC, is by far its best. I've already had a chance to watch the season during its run on DirecTV, and I can tell you that it's excellent. When we last left Texas football coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler, as stoically brilliant as ever), he had been booted out of his job as coach of the Dillon Panthers, and shunted over to a position at the poorer, less amply appointed East Dillon High.
Meanwhile, his  wife Tami (Connie Britton, every inch Chandler's match), is still principal at Dillon, and dealing with Joe McCoy (D.W. Moffett), the egotistical rich dad who had her husband forced out as coach. Most of Eric's former players are also in dire straits, with Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) struggling at college, Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) resenting his decision to stay in Dillon and Landry (Jesse Plemons) toughing it out as (seemingly) the lone former Panther to make it over to East Dillon.
It's grim stuff, but the gift of "Friday Night Lights" is that it manages to be realistic and entertaining at the same time. The relationship between Tami and Eric is wonderfully real and sweet, as is their relationship with their daughter Julie (Aimee Teegarden). And Tim Riggins is probably one of the best characters on TV. He's one of those guys who can never get anything right, yet he's not a bad guy. He's just kind of aimless and lazy, yet he has a good heart and a sense of humor.
"Friday Night Lights" can be heart-breaking at times (if you finish the mid-season episode "The Son" without getting even a little misty, you have no soul), but when it works, it's worth the anguish. This season works. Don't miss it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"Lost" recap: Rubba Dub Dub, Don't Get on the Sub

Spoilers for this week's fairly gobsmacking episode of "Lost" below, so don't click through if you don't want to know.

Monday, May 3, 2010

"Breaking Bad" recap: O...M...F...G!!!!!!!

A recap of last night's flippin' INSANE "Breaking Bad" is below. It contains spoilers, so don't click through if you don't want to know.