Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Disappearing acts

Since "Lost" is about to go bye-bye for the next three months, I wrote a column expressing my dissatisfaction with a lot of what's happened this season.

Haven't seen "Gilmore" yet, but some thoughts on "Friday Night Lights" and "House" -- both of which featured characters who went without a trace at some point -- coming right up...

Well, based on the early numbers, it looks like the "Friday Night Lights" audition in the "Studio 60" timeslot didn't bring a single new viewer back to the Tuesday airing. Not that I expect the show to survive to next season anyway, but couldn't they at least tease me with false hope every now and then?

As for the episode itself, a much stronger effort than last week. I like that the show isn't ignoring the realities of Street's recovery (the no ejaculation rule is a bummer, though I would think/hope it's temporary), yet is willing to be just sunny enough to show him and his two backstabbing pals having a fine old time on their day trip. Taylor and Saracen both struggled in their own way between, as Matt put it, doing what's right for the team versus what's just right. They're essentially in the same situation: considered too young and inexperienced for the job, in the position because of Jason Street, constantly having their authority questioned, etc. One of the things I like most about this show is the natural rhythms of the dialogue, the way conversations circle back over the same handful of phrases ("He was promising things") without sounding like a Sorkin pedeconference, and either Saracen or Taylor tends to be at the center of those exchanges.

The writers are still struggling with what to do with Tyra, who parachutes in for a few scenes each week that have little to nothing to do with the rest of the cast. The shame of it is that the actress playing her seems much more talented than the one who plays Lyla, but she's a square peg right now. (Smash isn't doing much better, spotlight-wise, but at least he's on the team, and the previews next week suggest he's finally getting his moment.)

So with Voodoo gone and the last win all but overturned, how dead is their season? Can a Texas high school team with two losses get within sniffing distance of the playoffs? What's interesting is that we've now gone six episodes and only seen three games. If that pace keeps up, Berg and company may be able to save up on life without football stories for next season... ahh, who am I kidding? Let's move on before I get too depressed.

Nice to see Pruitt Taylor Vince, my favorite character actor whose name sounds like it's listed backwards, wearing a ginormous fat suit on "House," but the meat of the episode was Detective Tritter's roto-rootering of House's life and pill-popping. Wilson is a terrible liar, and I look forward to seeing how he and House get out of this mess. Back during the Vogler arc, people kept speculating that House would wind up saving Vogler's life. The writers avoided the thorn in the paw approach back then; can they resist that temptation again? And what the hell happened to Chase for the second half of the episode? Does he hate fat people that much?

What did everybody else think?

5 comments:

kristinj said...

The FNL ratings are disappointing. I hope against hope that NBC will be willing to take the show through a whole season, as they're allegedly close to doing with Studio 60 - I think there's some incredible storytelling to be done. I thought the Street/Lyla/Riggins scenes were beautifully executed; sweet, but the undercurrent of sadness still so palpable, right up to that gut punch of a reveal for Street at the end. I also liked that Landry was given more screen time; the whole issue of crossing over to a different set of friends is a real one in high school, and we're lucky we have as strong a character as Saracen to be the one going through such a struggle.

Regarding House, Chase hates fat people that much, huh? It's not bad enough he's pegged as the self-preserving weasel of the show. I liked it better when they'd at least contrast that behavior with Chase having excellent patient rapport.

Katie V said...

I think it's high time that I checked out Heroes (haven't yet because I hesitate to get into new shows until I feel confident they're not going to be yanked after a few episodes)...I haven't given up yet on Lost, but I am in complete agreement with your column. I've always taken an "I'm along for the ride" approach with this show, but my patience is being sorely tested these days. I'll be back watching again in February, probably, but we'll see how long that lasts if things keep up as they have been this season so far.

Todd VanDerWerff said...

Interestingly, the Lost producers gave Ausiello at TV Guide an interview today. They still talk a good game, but they sound almost BITTER about the fan response for the first time -- maybe that's me projecting.

Oddly, the second part of the season sounds like it will have almost all of the stuff fans had wanted out of this season. I'm wondering if ABC will just ditch this new strategy and go to a 24 model next year. Dancing with the Stars is far from a compatible lead-in.

Matt said...

ABC might do that next year, since it has another BIG SHOW that it can hype reliably in Grey's. I think there was real (and justifiable) fear that Grey's wasn't going to get traction on Thursday, and they wanted a drama to be their anchor for a fall launch.

Also, given that The Nine is failing to get traction, they may play with the Lost slot--try it at 8 or 10 PM.

vance said...

Oh I hope NBC at least gives FNL a chance, despite the low ratings (WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE DOING WATCHING DANCING WITH THE STARS ANYWAYS?) I agree though, I think the Tyra actress is great but has had little to do with any of the major storylines since the start. Still, everything else in the show is so well written and acted that I'm totally sad that no one seems to be watching.