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The summer has officially begun, as far as television is concerned. On Monday we watched the Season 1 Finale of "Heroes," and last night we saw the two-hour Season 3 Finale of "Lost." No spoilers will be mentioned in this post, as I know that some of you are either catching up on DVDs or may watch one or more of these series in the future.

As much as I've enjoyed these two shows, I felt fairly certain that they were both going to end the series. I'm pleased to note that this isn't the case. The finale of "Heroes" resolved the first season metaplot, but made it clear that there's a big story coming up. Likewise, "Lost" resolved some things, but like my other favorite J. J. Abrams show "Alias," even as we received an answer or two, many new questions were hanging around waiting for us to show up.

Both of these shows are demonstrating a trend which I think is quite positive in television storytelling. Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelhof (creators, writers, and executive producers of "Lost") have said that they consider each season of their show to be its own book. When one season ends, the new one begins with an entirely new focus that promises to be more or less resolved by the end of the season, even though the overarcing metaplot may still be developed. This makes the show fresh with every new season, while still retaining the themes and flavor that made the show intriguing to begin with.

While "Heroes" is apparently following this example, "Lost" really did a trick on us this season. Hopefully without giving too much away, the show is going to go in a radically different direction next season (if the "flashback" sequences and the ominous words of the writers are any indication) while still - presumably - retaining the mysterious atmosphere of the last three seasons. I'm looking forward to it.

The thing is - with "Lost" - is that by the very nature of its sub-genre, many mysteries in the show may never be answered. Already there have been one or two things which seem to be red herrings, and while we've gotten answers about some of the Island's mysteries, there are many things which have been brought up and not seen since. Having said that, the writers have assured us that the Big Questions about the Island will ultimately be answered, and a lot of backstory stuff was answered in the Lost Experience "Alternate Reality Game" last year. But given that one of the show's big influences are Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus! Trilogy, I think it's reasonable to assume that there will be many weird, unexplained things in the background that will simply remain that way for the sake of maintaining the aura of surreality and supernaturalism. I think I'm okay with that.

Another thing that the writers on "Lost" mentioned was that shows like this (and by inference, "Heroes") simply wouldn't have been possible before the advent of the internet. The degree of complexity in these shows' plots and background 'mythologies' would have, in their estimation, been considered too complicated for pre-internet TV; but with people able to interact and theorize in online forums, consult wiki pages like LostPedia, and engage in interactive games like the Lost Experience, shows can now have a new level of depth to them. I think it's a great trend, and it stands to make television more intelligent (by giving intelligent shows a better chance at mainstream survival) and interactive. Of course, the danger is in having a show that requires people to become involved with internet fandom in order to really "get" them - I feel like I allow my pastimes to take up enough of my attention as it is.

Anyway, "Lost" is supposed to continue until 2010 - three more seasons - and then it will end. The writers say they've had the ending in mind since the first episodes of the series, which is very good to know as far as television series are concerned. "Babylon 5" had a beginning, a middle, and an end, and was a great series for that. "Twin Peaks" had a beginning, but then David Lynch just made stuff up as he went along, and as a result, once Laura Palmer's murder was solved, the show quickly declined into lameness.

So I'm pleased, is what I'm saying.

In other news, I've been listening to a number of podcasts lately since my lovely wife bought me an iPod for my birthday. I do like the podcasts - they're nice to listen to while doing chores around the apartment or penciling my comics pages, and they're specialized enough that I can find podcasts for the things that I find most interesting, without commercials - everything from James Lileks' goofy "The Diner" podcasts to gaming shows like "2d6 Feet in a Random Direction" and Dr. Rotwang!'s new "I Waste the Buddha With My Podcast" to old standbys like the street-evangelism show "The Way of the Master Radio". To be honest, it makes me want to start recording my own podcasts. I could talk about the Faith, gaming, movies and television, art school and comics, what Marilyn and I are doing these days...all the stuff I yammer about in my blog, but with the added bonus of music, the sound of my nasal, phlegmy voice and my killer Sean Connery impression. I even have a theme song picked out. Oh, and sound effects - as many Hanna-Barbera cartoon sound effects as I can cram into thirty seconds at a stretch.

Okay, maybe not so much that last part. I just said that to make Michael interested.

Well, maybe someday, when I have a microphone for my iPod and my head gets even more bloated than it already is.

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 24, 2007 at Thursday, May 24, 2007 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

7 comments

It's so nice for me to have found this blog of yours, it's so interesting. I sure hope and wish that you take courage enough to pay me a visit in my PALAVROSSAVRVS REX!, and plus get some surprise. My blog is also so cool! Off course be free to comment as you wish.

10:03 PM

Like World of Warcraft, I'm hesitant to get anywhere near the world of podcasts because I may become, like so many, a pod-slave, always tied to the thing. I barely turn on my cell phone unless I have to, and I'm addicted enough to e-mail and blogs now that I think I might actually lose my appendages and just become a rolling media-sponge if I go any further.

And you have no time for podcasts! Heck--you spent pages rambling about TV shows here; how much more when you're scouring the internet for sound effects and background music? You have comics to create, young man! When you're a famous cartoonist, then you can make silly radio shows (most likely to be delivered by intravenous synaptic injection).

That said, I would totally listen to thirty seconds of Hanna-Barbera cartoon sound effects. I'd put it on an endless loop--if I had an iPod, that is.

12:16 PM

There are actually only 2 more seasons of 'Lost'... the 2008-2009 season, and the 2009-2010 season. Grand total of 5 seasons, just like 'Babylon 5'.

I love the idea that 'B5' had the beginning middle and end planned from the getgo instead of meandering, but alas, the new 'Battlestar Galactica' has ruined the chances of my becoming a 'B5' junkie. I actually introduced one fellow at work to 'BSG.' Initially he was resistant to the new series because he was such a purist & diehard fan of the classic series, not to mention his beloved 'B5', but he quickly changed his tune. By the time he had watched Season 1 of the new 'BSG', he brought me the first two 'B5' movies but was apologizing profusely for their lameness and kept insisting that I didn't have to watch them if I didn't want to do so, and proclaiming his newfound love of 'BSG' the "best sci-fi show ever" (his words!).

Look out you world of sci-fi geeks...If you haven't been converted, yet, you will be! Just wait! :o)

1:48 PM

Yeah, I fully expect to become a raving 'BSG' fan as soon as I get the opportunity to watch the series. I really liked the miniseries/pilot, and I'm quite pleased to see how they've revamped the show. I really enjoyed the original series, but I know it doesn't age well at all. I mean, I was a little kid when I first watched it on TV. Space discos and Cylon gunslinger episodes are more acceptable when you're five years old and it's 1978.

I fear 'B5' may be the same way, and I know that you've got to slog through the "D-grade Star Trek" feel of the first season to really get the BANG of the rest of the series. As much as I'd like to show it to Marilyn, I know I'd spend the first season apologizing for the cheese, encouraging her to stick it out. With 'BSG' out there, it sounds like the effort might outweigh the payoff. I can just let go of that and be happy with my own memories of watching 'B5' without trying to inflict it upon my wife.

3:32 PM

Oh, and Michael - you're assuming I don't already do all that. You should see my list of bookmarks on the computer...

3:35 PM

My wife and I watched the complete Alias series through Netflix. Very entertaining show, with superb, consistent, writing that gets you interested in even the secondary characters. I'm currently waiting on episodes from the short-lived comedy TV series "Police Squad", which I would imagine few of you (whom I collectively, and respectively, refer to as my little brother's geek friends) remember. It was the inspiration for the "Naked Gun" movies.

Anyway, I agree with Joshua, your blog is consistently interesting.

Exit stage left....

11:04 AM

Why, thank you, Kham. As a matter of fact, I do remember seeing a few episodes of "Police Squad!" back when it was on television. It was probably in re-runs in syndication when I saw it (since I remember it being on in the afternoons), but I remember liking it - especially the end credits, when everyone would do a "freeze frame" (typical of the television shows of the time) while everything continued to go on behind them - things falling apart, cars crashing, birds landing on the actors, etc.

Granted, that was many years ago, so I have no idea how it stands up today - but then again, I'd probably get more of the jokes now than I did then.

4:04 PM

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