Thursday, November 02, 2006

Character Assassination

A few weeks ago I wrote about my enjoyment in the hit television show LOST, and worried out loud that the show might be "losing me" as a viewer. I've been concerned for some time about the creative direction in which the writers are taking the show, but I've stuck with it, not least because that Wednesday night date to watch it (through our snowy, static-y television reception) has become one of the few relaxing, fun-together times my hubby and I can count on during the busy week.

After last night, we're wondering if we need to come up with a new date night.

We're still hanging in there...but just barely. There's one show to go in what ABC is now billing as the "fall season" (they're on a six show mini-season kick, followed by a really long hiatus, followed by a new mini-season starting again in January or February, I think) and we do plan to watch it next week. But my dear D., who has been a loyal fan from the first, and was the one who originally got me watching, isn't feeling too sure that he's going to care that much when the show rolls into hiatus. And I'm right there with him.

Last night, they killed off a fairly beloved character. This is not new -- at last count, at least prior to last night, I think they'd killed off at least four major or semi-major characters, not to mention a whole host of "red shirts" -- but what made us both look at one another in near comic-despair was what they did just prior to the killing off of this particular character.

By the way, in deference to FBRE (that's "faithful blog reader Erin") I'm trying not to get too specific about the plot details, because I know she's still catching up on previous seasons! But I think I can forage ahead in a general way and still get my complaints across.

What made both D. and me so frustrated was the fact that it felt like they killed this character twice: first they made him do something completely and utterly out of character, and then they killed him. They've done this before, but never quite so heinously as this time around. It makes it hard to grieve properly (yes, I know -- this is a TV show, not real life, but I still think one needs a little time to process character deaths) when they pull this kind of thing. To make matters worse, this particular little "character assassination," as I'm thinking of it, also showed once again (and this time with vigor!) their utter inability to deal decently or realistically with religious themes. They've struggled here before too, but it never felt so clear as last night. What frustrated us is that in changing the character we'd come to know and respect and feel interested in, they actually imperilled not only his life but his soul. Argh.

I still feel invested enough in Jack's character and storyline to want to give the show at least one more chance, but I confess I'm getting disappointed. And D. is a very loyal viewer of shows he enjoys, and usually far more patient than I...but even he said last night that he just might not tune in again next spring, depending on what happens next week. And then he chuckled and said, "but what will we watch instead?" which is a good question given the fact that we can barely get in just one station! Ah well, there's always episodes of Monk on DVD -- which we've been enjoying on occasion recently, courtesy of a friend. Back when we had time...and better reception...Monk was our favorite show. Right around the time we stopped watching, Sharona (one of our favorite characters) left the show. Sigh. We just can't win!


Erin said...

I'll have to get back to this one! (I say, shielding my eyes as I do whenever a commercial comes on...) But I'm about to get caught up on season two, so hopefully that won't take too long! ;)

Beth said...

Well, I tried not to give anything away! If you read further on (and I suspected you might not) I basically said that I was trying to talk about this in a general way without giving away any plot spoilers, in deference to you. I even gave you a nickname :-) -- you're now FBRE (that's "Faithful Blog Reader Erin!").

Enjoy catching up on season 2. I don't think it was as good as season 1, but it beats season 3 (at least so far) all to pieces.

Erin said...

Hehe, well, then, I shall remove my blinders for a moment...

*several minutes later*

Gah! I hate it when they drastically change a character on a show or movie. Bad emough to deal with a major death (three or four major characters? Jeepers! I guess I'm in for it...) but when it shatters what you thought you knew about this person...

I think "Freaks and Geeks" did that toward the end, especially with Cindy, though they had the excuse of wanting to wrap up a series under knowledge of early cancellation. "LOST" obviously doesn't have that... (I also think George Lucas killed Anakin about a hundred times in the three Star Wars prequels, but that's a lost cause...)

Well, if there's only one week till the break, I guess now is the ideal time to catch up. Though it sounds like I should proceed with trepidation...

P.S. Love the nickname! :D

Beth said...

Ah yes. Poor Anakin. You're right, Lucas "killed him" numerous times in the prequels. I shall never, never really think of those as part of the true Star Wars saga. I think most of who who loved the originals could have done a far better job writing the prequels (one-handed and blindfolded!).

Perhaps I'm being too tough on LOST. But it's really not working for me. I think this is in part (and I don't think this is giving much of anything away) in season 3 they've moved pretty far away from home base and the original community we all invested in early on. They've added lots of new characters (don't ask how --it's too confusing -- though at least the Harlem Globe Trotters haven't shown up yet!).

Don't fret overmuch about major character deaths. :-) You've already met with the first in season 1. Of the few major deaths that take place in season 2, only one's an original castaway. The others were add-ons, but due to some compelling storylines in season 2, they'd become fairly major in my mind.

I've only seen the end of Freaks & Geeks once -- when it originally aired, I think. But I do remember that it felt too rushed and tidy, and I'm sure some character changes were inevitable.

Sigh. You and I really must write some novels soon!

Erin said...

Indeed we must! ;)

My dad brings home USA Today from school most days, and I've seen headlines in there talking about LOST and whether the old characters are being completely overwhelmed... My other friends who are big fans of the show seem disappointed too. :-\ Ah, well, I guess there's always hope for a turn-around!