Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Chuck versus the Apocalypse

If you've been on the internet today, particularly the TV-centric parts, you may have notice something. That fans were in uproar because of Chuck. Apparently this episode of Chuck was so offensive it has now led countless people to boycott the show entirely, or at least they say they will.

All I can say is that some people are quite deluded. Was Chuck last night a great episode? Not really, it was OK but nothing special. Did it make me want to drop the show like a hot potato? NO! I still find Chuck to be one of the most refreshing shows on television. I'm sticking with it till the end.

And yet the episode is getting responses like this:

- "that was the worst episode ever they killed the characters. A comment for one poster on NBC was "The show runners finally killed Chuck..."

- "If we can bring the number of on air viewers below 1 million, the advertisers will take note. You can count on that. You can also bet the advertisers will be on the phone to NBC and the producers of Chuck. Money talks after all."

- "Our sad decision to remove Chuck from our viewing schedule came from the abhorrently low-grade soap opera style this program has delved into. Specifically, forcing characters to behave in stark contrast to their established norms. And all for nothing more grand or "progressive" than cheap shock value."

These just seem completely over the top reactions. Luckily some sane people have been able to speak sense during all of this, particularly the person who doesn't seem to understand that any show with sub-1 million viewers is going to get cancelled fairly quickly, no matter the level of online support.

My main issue is that so many people are planning to jump off of Chuck just because they don't agree with the relationship issues. Whilst indeed the Chuck/Sarah chemistry has been an important part, it's just one of many parts that make up this great show. I think Alan Sepinwall put it best:

"If you're only watching the show for the chance of Chuck and Sarah getting together, you've spent more than two years missing an awful lot of other good stuff happening on this show."

There's a lot to love about Chuck and so many people seem to be shocked that Sarah has decided to hook up with Shaw that they've decided to completely abandon the show despite this being one small flaw, that is probably only a road block on the inevitable coupling of Chuck and Sarah. If you think that Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak are stupid enough to keep them apart forever then clearly there's something wrong or you've simply never seen a "will they, won't they" relationship"

I see no problem with them being a pairing. Chuck and Sarah have drifted apart because Chuck is becoming a spy and less of the man that Sarah had fallen in love with. He hurt her extremely badly, leaving her at the train station alone. So what has she done? She's gone back to her "type", people like Bryce, Cole and Shaw. Manly spies because she knows they won't her, at least not in the same way that Chuck did.

Chuck on the other hand had been pining over Sarah for years and now she hates him. He clearly still loves her but a gorgeous girl has fallen head over hells for him and Sarah is showing no signs of forgiving him. Both characters are in weird headspaces and yet they apparently aren't allowed to be in a relationship unless it's with each other?

I'm not going to say the leap to relationship was handled perfectly. I will admit that the Shaw/Sarah thing could have done with an extra episode just to put it across more but still when you only have Brandon Routh for a set number of episodes and a story to tell in that time, I don't mind if some corners are cut, just as long as the end result is great. Looking at Chuck's track record they're setting up for something epic but the fans on the blogs seem to be forgetting that.

For them this hook-up is the last straw. They don't care to see the inevitable failure of both relationships due to the fact that they're only contracted for a little while. They don't care about the Ring story. They don't care about the great supporting characters. They care about the now and the fact they aren't getting what they want NOW. All good things come to those who wait, but apparently a lot of Chuck fans seem incapable of waiting.

Interesting Reading

I'm just going to include a few links for some more background and comments from people on the matter

Alan Sepinwall's Review
Maureen Ryan's review
Linda Holmes brilliant outline of events for NPR
NBC Board postings (will need to skip to page 10 or so)

And some indivdual comments:
Alan Sepinwall's comment on Shipping in TV
SerendipityWAF (who helped save the show last year)

Overall I thought the episode was OK, about a 7 or 7.5 But honestly nothing that makes me feel like they've jumped the shark or have made a mistake they can never come back from. Whilst the fans did help Chuck back last year, they don't have a say in how the story goes, that's the writer's job. Let's just hope the fans who are up in arms don't enact upon any of their crazy schemes because that could kill what has up until now been a fantastic show. The show is still on the bubble and one weak episode shouldn't mark the end for it.

Of February 2010

Apologies for lateness but this is only a quickie blog post (for now, I will come back later with some extended thoughts on the current Chuck-pocalypse)

Well it's February and not much is going to happen, you'll get some Lost ravings as well as possibly some film musings but I plan on spending much of the half term break being drunk so don't expect too much thoughtfulness. Definitely helps that not much is happening, no really big films and no returning shows or shows ending (apart from Heroes so I'll need to catch up on that). The big stuff is happening in March and April so for now this blog will be snooze-ville (unless I do my Lost review posts).

Stuff Coming Soon
- Heroes Season 4 Review
- Chuck-pocalypse thoughts

Currently Listening to: In Rainbows - Radiohead
Currently Watching (TV): Chuck versus the Mask
Currently Reading: The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Klay (amazing read)

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Top 10 Lost Episodes

A bit late, I watched the premiere. Damn was it good. I actually debated about putting it on this list, but I feel that the time for Season 6 will come in May when it's all over and we can look back on the show as a whole and say whether it was a success or not, but I still think Lost will go down in history as a show which took narrative to new and exciting places. Even if the final episode sucks, it'll just be three hours of a 120 hour show, which has put out so many good hours. Sadly a lot of people will focus on the finale as to whether the show was good or not, something that a lot of people are still doing about The Sopranos' ending.

But anyway, my personal favourite episodes of Lost from the first 103 hours of the show.

10. The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham - Season 5
We'd been waiting two seasons for this episode, why exactly was Locke off the island and why was he using a different name? Luckily this episode delivered in spades and gave us a lot too chew on. Plus the scene where Ben choked Locke using the wire was one of the best scenes Lost has created. Biggest complaint? Possibly the last time we will ever see Walt.

9. The Incident - Season 5
Season 5 was probably one of the weaker seasons of Lost but luckily the finale delivered in spades. It was action packed, romantic and we got a nuclear bomb. Oh and we finally met Jacob. To Lost fans, that's pretty much reason enough to put this episode in any Top 10 list.

8. Man of Science, Man of Faith - Season 2
This was probably the last time we saw Jack as a truly sympathetic character. It also kicked Season 2 off with a bang and whilst it fizzled towards the middle, this episode is one of my favourite ever and also contains my favourite single Lost scene ever. Damn is that opening just a great piece of misdirection, character introduction and an awesome song choice.

7. The Shape of Things to Come - Season 4
This was the first episode of Lost we got after the writers strike and damn was it amazing. First it was payoff to the reveal that Ben was off the island in the future and it was sooo good. But it was confusing as all hell, why was he in Tunisia? In a Dharma jacket? Plus his conversation where he promised Charles Widmore he'd kill Penny! because Widmore's men had killed his daughter (another shocking scene from the episode). On top of all that we got some smoke monster ownage. Yup this episode is pure Lost at its best.

6. The Man From Tallahassee - Season 3
Another episode that we'd been waiting for 2 seasons. It was in this episode we finally found out why John Locke was in a wheelchair and it was just such an amazing payoff. Of course it was down to his father (who would go onto play a pivotal role in another Season 3 doozy 'The Brig' along with Sawyer). And Season 3 added to its explosion quota with that submarine

5. Pilot - Season 1
It couldn't not be on the list, it started it all and is one of the most filmic hours of television ever. You just need to show someone those first 10 minutes and they're hooked for ever. Strong characters, monsters, polar bears and weird French transmissions were just the start of the epic narrative web that is Lost.

4. There's No Place Like Home - Season 4
It came at the end of an epic season and gave us so much to ponder over the hiatus. Why was Locke in a coffin? How did that Donkey Wheel make the island move? What happened to all the people left on the island? Plus storylines came to a close such as the Oceanic 6 story and a cherry on the cake? Desmond and Penny were reunited after 3 years apart!!! I know I'm a sap, but it's my favourite fictional relationship ever and it came as such an awesome surprise I actually cried (I know)

3. Walkabout - Season 1
I could talk about Terry O'Quinn's masterful performance or the cool hunting story on the island, but really there is one reason this episode is seen as a definitive Lost episode. It's that end scene, we've spent an hour with this hunter Locke, with his knives and cool demeanor. But then we find out that off-island he was wheelchair bound. The definitive Lost WTF moment, and if you weren't hooked before hand, then you definitely were now.

2. Through The Looking Glass - Season 3
It's another definitive Lost episode that throws one of the biggest curve balls in Lost history. Not only was there a lot to love in the episode, twists, Dharma Stations, war with the Others, ghost Walt and of course the scenes with Charlie down in the Looking Glass. It's another of Lost's best scenes, had me in tears and is easily the most affecting death the show has done so far. Oh and a little thing in the shape of the flashforward.

1. The Constant - Season 4
The best single hour has ever produced and I know I'm boring for saying so. Simply the best acted, directed, scored, edited and just generally put together episode of Lost in existence. It's where the idea of time travel was properly explored plus we had Desmond and Penny and THAT phone call which like so many other scenes already mentioned is one of the best scenes that the show has produced. But also this could be my favourite scene ever put to any sort of film, movies or TV. It's just that damn good and you're doing yourself a disservice if you haven't seen it.