Monday, March 05, 2007

Oh, you have GOT to be kidding me

April 23?

There are no new episodes of Heroes until April 23? After that episode? You fucks!

That's...that's just mean, man.

24 and Lost have the right idea: show your entire season in one uninterrupted block, week after week, no repeats, no hiatuses. Certainly not a hiatus lasting six weeks, you bastards.

Of course, Lost is squandering their nonstop schedule by wasting episodes -- the last two have been of substantially lower quality than usual (last week's particularly, one of the worst the show's ever aired), and the unmistakable impression is that of a show shuffling its feet and waiting for sweeps to start before rolling out its big events. Uncoincidentally, that's exactly what Lost did last year: tap their feet for the first half of the season, then unleash a barrage of brilliance in the final ten episodes to redeem themselves.

The commercials for this week's episode show promise, but then I spotted this synopsis on a Lost fan page:

Sigh. Why not a dance competition while you're at it? Or a karaoke jam? Anything else that will sap the episode of any tension and suspense. 'Cause we know at least half of the show will already be taken up by uninteresting, masturbatory flashbacks we don't care about anyway.

One of the (many) reasons it takes me so long to write an episode of Revolver is that I formatted myself in a corner: I decided at the beginning that each episode would take place in the living room of the house. (This was because I wanted the focus of the piece to be the dialogue, which is the one aspect of my writing I've never, ever been happy with.) It took me all of two episodes to violate that concept, and seven for me to stage an episode where the house isn't seen at all. But the basic structure has remained, and it turns out that I don't find it that easy to write several interlocking stories in long, unbroken scenes in one or two rooms. The structure has handcuffed me into spending less time thinking about what to write and more time thinking about how to write it. So it takes an awfully long time. (Well, that's one of the reasons, anyway. You probably know the others.)

But Lost has the same problem. At the beginning, the writers decided that each episode would feature pre-island flashbacks for one character, revealing some of their backstory and developing themes that would illuminate the present events. Of course, they've violated that exact premise several times already (we've had a couple island-only flashbacks, and married couples have had to share their flashbacks), but the basic structure still remains: every ten minutes or so, we hear the whoosh noise, and we're looking at someone's past.

The problem is we've been on the island with these people for two and a half years now (in real-world time, anyway; 74 days in the show's chronology). And, frankly, I don't care anymore about the flashbacks -- the present is far more interesting to me. I say drop the flashbacks and just tell me what's happening now, especially if the most compelling past events you can tell me are "How Jack Got One of His Several Tattoos" and "Hurley's Greedy, Deserting Dad Is the Reason He's Fat."

But then, if the best present events you can come with are "Hurley Fixes an Abandoned Car in the Jungle" and "Sawyer Plays Ping-Pong," maybe I should just be grateful with what I have.

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