Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Saturday, 16 August 2008
Friday, 15 August 2008
To preface all statements, Lost season 4 was once more utterly superb television. Damon and Carlton are two of the best writers in television and they have assembled an amazing troop of writers (paticular standouts are Drew Goddard and Brian K. Vaughan.) So in Lost season 4 we launched straight into the concept introduced at the end of Season 3, flash forwards, which definately gave the story wind as to be honest the flashbacks were getting stale (yes some stories weren't finished and still aren't but Jack's tattoos and Locke's time in a drug farm are hardly stories the fans really wanted to see.) So let's jump straight in:
The Beginning of the End
The premiere episode launched us straight back into the story. Hurley's flashforwards were cool (as were the cameos from Charlie) and the island story helped to move the story along at an awesome pace. Loads of little reference to the previous seasons (Jack and Kate standing by the front of the plane remembering Charlie is paticularly memorable.) The acting is great, paticularly Jorge Garcia who shows of great gravitas in recouting memories of Charlie to the group. The biggest plot points occur when the Losties are split into two groups Jack and Locke and we are introduced to Daniel.
The episode where we are introduced to all the new characters. Daniel, Miles, Charlotte and Frank. Daniel shows paticular promise with a cryptic scene of him crying over the fake remains of Flight 815. This is also the episode where we get more information on the whole "Everyone died theory" with actual pictures from the fake crash and Frank crushing this in a very interesting way. Charlotte and Miles also add mysticism to their characters with Polar Bears in the desert and ghost people. Finally we find out that Ben has a spy on the Freighter and that the people on it want to take Ben with them.
Sayid's flashforward. Interesting episode. Some Sawyer/Kate play. Locke is in this quite abit and doesn't show any remorse holding old friends agains their will. Really whilst this is great episode only two very important things happen. For starters Daniel (by this point already a firm favourite of mine) introduces us to more time travel ideas with a rocket being fired and arriving half an hour later. Secondly is the fact that Ben is off the island in the future as well along with the Oceanic 6 (currently standing at Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sayid).
Weird episode name for a shipper episode. We get answers to what will Kate's trail look like and who she wants to go home to in the Season 3 finale (Claire's baby son Aaron!!!). The majority of the island story is spent around Kate and Sawyer, although along with the secret room found in Ben's house last episode (with many, many passports), we also find out that Miles wants Ben to pay him a large amount of money in exchange for not taking him hostage (something which results in him having a grenade shoved in his mouth).
A fantastic episode and sister episode to my favourite episode of television last year "Flashes Before Your Eyes". Desmond makes it to the the Freighter where crazy shit starts happening. He starts falshing back to 1996. The episode is superbly shot and tightly edited. The music is great and is overall one of the episodes of televsion EVER. Desmond visits Daniel in 1996 Oxford who explains being "unstuck in time". We get to see Charles Widmore again in another awesome Alan Dale/Henry Ian Cusick. However the best moment is the Desmond and Penny scene at the end. Media is hard pressed to really touch me however the Desmond and Penny story is one of the best love stories ever told. Desmond on the phone to Penny at the end had me in tears and it is downright shameful that Henry Ian Cusick did not get an emmy nomination for this episode as he is downright superb. Also what is up with Daniel being Desmond's constant?
The Other Woman
After the Constant this was a bit of a let down. Ben fancies Juliet. Juliet loves Goodwin but Goodwin is married. Ben has Goodwin killed. Juliet freaks out. Flashback done. Island story. Juliet loves Jack. Daniel and Charlotte go off to a new Dharma Station. They turn it off despite being thought to try and blow it up. Overall not that interesting. However we do get the development that Charles Widmore is looking for the island and set up a fake plane crash!!!!! Now we're talking
The final member of the Oceanic 6 is revealled as Sun. At first we think Jin as well but it's jus the producers fucking with us leading to a beautiful scene at the end with Sun crying over Jin's grave with new born baby Ji Yeon in her hands. On the island Juliet reveals that Sun had an affair. On the Freighter we meet the ellusive captain who tells us Ben set up the fake plane crash and we also find out that it is Michael (not seen since the Season 2 finale) is Ben's spy on the Freighter.
Meet Kevin Johnson
AKA Michael's alias. Flashback revealling what Michael has been up to since leaving the island. Apparantly he tried to commit sucide multiple times. Told his so he killed two people. Was haunted by a dead person. Found by a gay man (now deceased Other Mr. Friendly) who told him to go back to the island and that the island doesn't want him dead. All good for about two weeks work. We go back to the Freighter where he almost blows it up but turns he's not supposed to due to "innocent people". He begins sabotaging the equipment on the boat per Ben's request. All in all a very cool episode slightly let down by the deaths of Karl and Rousseau (purely as the deaths seemed very tacked on).
The Shape of Things to Come
The second truely great episode of the season. Flashforward of Ben's adventures after the island. Reeapearance by Smokey and some great acting by Michael Emerson (paticularly after Alex is shot). Whilst not much is revealled we learn more about the Monster (the fact that it can be controlled by Ben). Lots of action (this episode was Lost producers way of adding to thier explosion quota.) More interesting time bending with Doctor winding up on the beach despite not being dead. Most of all though some interesting flashforwards. Why was Ben in the desert? Why is wearing an arctic jacket? Why Tunisa (same place as the Polar Bears in Episode 2 of Season 4). This all culminated in an incredible scene between Michael Emerson and Alan Dale where Ben promises to kill Penny. Emmy worthy stuff for sure.
Something Nice Back Home
Another bad Jack episode. Whilst the season 3 finale was great "Stranger in a Strange Land" sucked. The flashforward was interesting as we chronicled how Jack came to be the pill popping bad ass he was in the Season 3 finale. Turns out he's living with Kate and knows Aaron is his nephew. Kate is doing something for Sawyer. On the island the story is a tad boring with Jack undergoing surgery to have his appendix removed. Not that interesting especially after "The Shape of Things to Come" promised us so much. Although Claire does go off with Mr. Christian Shepherd
The third amazing episode of Season 4. Locke gets flashback treatment this time, chronicling his lifes journey with some interesting parallels to Ben's life (both their mother's are called Emily for example.) Also we see Richard Alpert for the first time since Season 3 and he seems to be interested in Locke. The scene where he tells Locke to choose three items being escpecially cryptic and ultimately futil as Locke picks up the knife foreshadowing his hunter side. On the island we go back to Jacob's Cabin where we find.....Jacob? Nope it's Christian and Claire who tell Locke to move the island (wtf?). Outside Hurley and Ben share a funny scene. On the Freighter the Captain and the Doctor are killed (explaining why the Doctor is dead in episode 9). Then Keamy and troops go off to the Orchid the same place are island movers are going.
There's No Place Like Home
The last amazing episode of Season 4 which I'm not going to spoil just yet as a) a lot happens and b) I really can't be arsed to write a summary. All I will say is that this episode is perfection. Complete and utter perfection. Damon and Carlton deftly create and amazing 2 hour tour de force chronicling how the survivors get of the island. There are explosions , kisses, reunions, fights, deaths and time travel. Everything that makes Lost so utterly superb. The episode ends with a supreme mind fuck of the highest order and we get other amazing twists along the way (seriously the Frozen Donkey Wheel). Finally the crowning jewel was a completely unexpected turn that had me tears just like the Constant (the other perfect episode of Season 4). The finale had me hooked from beginning to end and was absolutely fucking awesome.
Now for the score. Lost season 4 gets a 10/10 easily. It was only let down by a few episodes however these were aired after superb episodes and so would look crap in comparison. Lost season 4 ends on a note which almost brings to the story to an end and it 's difficult to see how they will continue it. All I know is that come January I will be there to watch the Season 5 premiere "Because You Left".
Wednesday, 13 August 2008
Welcome to a trilogy of blog posts. They won't be related but it will be three posts in three days. Yay.
I start of this epic trilogy with a rant. Doctor Who season 4 was great. It had some amazing episodes (unsurprisingly Steven Moffat's episodes "Silence in the Library" and "
Whilst it was only a set up it was still fantastic setup. RTD shows the strength of all the characters that have been built up over four years of the new Doctor Who as well as two years of Torchwood and one of Sarah Jane Adventures. He also proves that Daleks can be scary. I got serious chills when they blew up that house. Yes it was silly how the Dalek came round the corner and shot the Doctor before he met Rose. I mean really Russell that could have been an awesome scene. Tears, a reunion, Donna getting jealous of these two people who obviously love each other. Ahh yes it would have been awesome. However we did get Captain Jack, Sarah Jane, Martha and surprise appearance from Harriet Jones (one of the best deaths ever btw).
Now I’m gonna preface what I’m about to say about “Journey’s End” by saying it wasn’t my least favourite episode of Season 4 (“Unicorn and the Wasp” I’m looking at you) it was merely a lacklustre finale.
Firstly RTD, please kill of you’re characters. It is three times you’ve backed out of killing a character. Season 1 it was a nice surprise with Jack coming back to life. Season 2 we were expecting Rose to die instead she didn’t but we were treated to heart breaking scene between Billie Piper and David Tennant. Now in season 4 where Donna is supposed to die I want her to die. Not because she’s not a good character, because she was, she was great, it’s just you can’t say “so and so is going to die” and then not deliver. Instead we got a cop out with “her mind has been wiped meaning that the Donna who was no longer exists.” I’m sorry but no. Donna is supposed so why isn’t she dead. We don’t want this bullshit so that she can come back in Season 11 when some writer gets writers block and thinks “lets bring her back through some convenient plot development”.
Secondly RTD can’t write a good conclusion for a sci-fi story. Three years in a row there’s been a Deus Ex Machina ending to end the story. Millions of Daleks killed in seconds. The Master ended by “I believe in Fairies clapping” and now Doctor Donna. In fact Season 4 had at least four possible endings with the Osterhagen Key and Sarah Jane’s necklace. Yes if we actually got some development of these stories they may have felt more influenced. Instead RTD felt more constrained in this feature length episode than normal.
Thirdly RTD YOU FUCKED UP ONE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SCENES OF TELEVSION EVER!!!!! Tennant and Piper were superb in that scene at the end of season 2. Now you decide to revisit and piss away all poignancy in it. Doctor and Rose were brilliant together because it was heartbreaking to know that they could never be together but now you give a human Doctor to give Rose a happy ending. It’s not what was needed. You should have just left fans with the wonderfully constructed scene.
Finally and most significantly camp humour. Get rid of it. Yes it appeals to the kiddies but watching all the companions wheel Daleks, the scariest thing the universe, around a room destroys any future hope of them scaring children again. Also “the TARDIS was built for six”? Just no.
Now the finale wasn’t a complete failure. As always David Tennant was superb as were everyone else. The special effects were good. It’s just RTD can’t write a satisfying science fiction conclusion to save his life. So whilst I’m anticipating his specials next year as long as he focuses on characters and not sci-fi. But I want season 5 even more because Steven Moffat is the true Doctor Who master. Blink is still one of my favourite episodes of television ever and I can’t wait to see what he does with about 4 or 5 episodes a year.
Now this seems to be mostly a critique of the final two episodes but that’s because that is where Season 4 was made and lost. The penultimate five episodes of season 4 were all fantastic with a load of good episodes before (in fact every episode was good apart from the “Unicorn and the Wasp”). “Partners in Crime” blew my mind with that Rose reveal. That is one of the best kept secrets ever. Every other episode was good, with Catherine Tate and David Tennant being superb throughout. It was just the lacklustre finale that let it down.
Overall I would give Doctor Who Season 4 an 7/10. With a better finale it could have easily got a 8 but RTD cocked up
Now other news. Tomorrow an oft delayed post on Lost and the day after tomorrow a post on Screenwipe. Also look forward to my thoughts on many TV premieres for the TV season as well as book, movie and music reviews. And hopefully some ramblings straight from head (including one on why swearing isn’t wrong).