Wednesday, May 26, 2010

LOST Finale Thoughts: Would You Know My Name if I Saw You in Heaven?

    Going into Sunday's epic LOST finale event, I knew I'd be emotional, but I did not expect the final show to totally leave me broken down and emotionally vulnerable the way it did.
    My Aunt, who I was very close to, died this past August after an over 2 year fight with brain cancer. In the beginning of the summer I spent a few months helping to take care of her while she received treatment. She too was a LOSTIE, although she was a late comer to the show. I remember watching the Season 5 finale with her.
   When the Sideways storyline was revealed for what it really was in the final 10 minutes of the show on Sunday, I was overcome with emotion. By no means would I consider myself a Man of Faith, but the idea that, in death, I could be reunited with my Aunt and others I've lost in my life was enough to make me hope for something more when I die, then to just rot in the ground. This might explain why I felt not only vulnerable after the show, but little dazed and confused. I've spent so long telling myself that there's no heaven or hell and that when I die I will just be in the ground that I forgot what it felt like to believe in something more then this plane of existence. I don't know if I will ever be a total person of faith, but this awakening in me, a yearning for something more, gives me hope for the future; and I know that, when I die, I hope I will be able to walk up to my Aunt in heaven and that she will know my name.

Would you know my name
if I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
if I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on
'Cause I know I don't belong here in heaven...

Would you hold my hand
if I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand
if I saw you in heaven?
I'll find my way through night and day
'Cause I know I just can't stay here in heaven...

Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees
Time can break your heart, have you begging please...begging please

Beyond the door there's peace I'm sure
And I know there'll be no more tears in heaven...

Would you know my name
if I saw you in heaven?
Would YOU be the same
if I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on
'Cause I know I don't belong here in heaven...
- Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton

Friday, May 21, 2010

LOST: In The Words of Jim Morrison, "This is the End..."

Do you remember where you were on September 22, 2004 and what you were doing at the time? I do. Myself, and about 18 million other people in the US were watching the pilot episode of a new TV show called LOST. At that time, there was no telling what would happen to the show, how much of a phenomenon it would become, but one thing was clear to all who were watching: it was a damn good hour of television. Soon after its start, LOST was being talked about and embraced everywhere, and as a new high school freshman, I couldn't have asked for a better ally. Starting high school is a scary thing, you are back to the bottom of the food chain among students and you don't always know people. I felt like a "Stranger In A Strange Land", so I instantly identified with LOST. Watching the castaways start off as strangers and eventually forge relationships with each other, it really helped me embrace high school more as I went along.

- LOST Season 1 Tribute Video

During the hiatus between Season 1 and Season 2, I was trying to get my father to sit down with me and watch the first season. I knew my Dad would love the show, for he's always been into Sci-fi. However, he declined, saying he was "watching too much TV as it is". For weeks I continued to nag him to watch, until he finally gave in. With each episode we watched, he became more and more hooked. There were some nights where we watched 4 or more episodes. As we finished season 1, and my father watched the famous shot of Locke and Jack peering down the hatch, I remember him turning to me and thanking me for making him watch. LOST became a weekly thing for him and I. At the time, my folks were divorced and I was living with my mom but that didn't stop us from watching the show together or even being on the phone throughout most of it. At a time when I wasn't seeing my father as much as I liked, LOST kept us together and even helped us become closer then we already were. So, LOST not only helped me through high school, it helped me through my parent's divorce.

Lost hasn't been without its controversy. With every episode came new questions with few answers. A lot of fans of the show grew weary of the continuous stream of new questions. For me, while I do want answers, the show has always been about the characters. Over 6 years I feel I've become very emotionally involved in how it plays out for Jack, Locke, Sawyer, Kate, Hurley and the rest; so answers, while nice, weren't priority no. 1. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, the LOST masterminds, were aware of growing fan frustration and also were becoming weary themselves. They had an endgame in mind but with no clear end date to the show they were worried about how to keep it going. Side effects of their troubles included a Bai Ling appearance and two of the most hated characters in, possibly, TV history: Nikki and Paulo. However, once the end date was set and number of shows per season reduced, Damon and Carlton began unfolding the endgame of their epic story and its been a helluva ride.

In my life, I have never seen anything like LOST. No TV show has ever come close to the size and scope of the story LOST has told. As a filmmaker, LOST has restored my faith in the medium of television and what you can do with it. I don't think there will ever be another show like it. As we approach the finale this sunday, I am excited for the conclusion, but also very sad, for a chapter in my life and many others is closing. At this point I would like to thank J.J. Abrams, Jefferey Lieber, Damon Lindelof for creating this show and Carlton Cuse for coming on and helping to keep it going. I also would like to thank Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, Elizabeth Sarnoff, and all the other great writers; Jack Bender and all the other wonderful Directors. Last, but certainly not least, I'd like to thank the amazing ensemble cast for their incredible performances throughout the years: Enter text here.Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Naveen Andrews, Nestor Carbonell, Henry Ian Cusick, Jeremy Davies, Emilie de Ravin, Michael Emerson, Jeff Fahey, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia, Maggie Grace, Josh Holloway, Malcolm David Kelley, Daniel Dae Kim, Yunjin Kim, Ken Leung, Evangeline Lilly, Rebecca Mader, Elizabeth Mitchell, Dominic Monaghan, Terry O'Quinn, Harold Perrineau, Zuleikha Robinson, Michelle Rodriguez, Ian Somerhalder, John Terry, Alan Dale, Sonya Walger, Mira Furlan, Kevin Durand, L. Scott Caldwell, Sam Anderson, Cynthia Watros, Mark Pellegrino, and Titus Welliver.  
LOST will live on forever as the greatest, most game-changing television show in history. I'm happy I was able to go along for the ride and am ready for the end. Namaste.
Enter text here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

TV Upfront Week: NBC

Its that time of year again! Its time for TV Upfronts, where the networks present their fall schedules to advertisers in an effort to secure revenue for ad space. First up this week was NBC. Over the years, NBC has been a fraction of the network it once was. Once a dual powerhouse in both drama and comedy, the network has become, in recent years, a dumping ground for bad dramas(My Own Worst Enemy, Kidnapped) and reality shows(100 Questions). All the while, the network seemed to focus more on developing their comedies. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I watched the trailers to the new fall dramas and saw what appears to be quality TV! I know its not likely all will succeed, but they all looked very interesting, and even better, made me want to watch them.

The Event  is the most mysterious and mythology laden show in NBC's arsenal. It follows intersecting stories between The President learning of a government cover up and a young man's search for his seemingly kidnapped girlfriend. The question though...what is The Event?

The Chase is your standard cop serial but with an added jolt of Jerry Bruckheimer high-octane action. It follows cops as they track down criminals who are on the run. Out of all the dramas, this is the one I'm least interested in, but it still looks exciting. Making their return to TV is Amaury Nolasco (Prison Break) and Cole Hauser (K-Ville).

Undercovers is the new show from the mind of J.J. Abrams. It will live and die by the chemistry of its main stars: Boris Kodjoe (Surrogates) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Larry Crowne, Doctor Who). Good thing Abrams has Felicity, Alias, LOST, Fringe, and Star Trek under his belt, he's certainly proven himself with casting.

Outlaw, starring Jimmy Smitts, looks really good. It was my favorite of the trailers and I really dig the premise. What I dont like, though, is that NBC stuck it at 10pm on FRIDAY! Thats like admitting to the public you want it to fail. Time will tell I guess...

Harry's Law is from David E. Kelly (The Practice, Ally McBeal, Boston Public, Boston Legal), one of the most successful TV producers of our time. I like the choice of Kathy Bates to bring out the quick wit in her character, Harriet. This one pops up around mid-season.

The Cape is the story of Vince Faraday, a lone good cop in a town full of corruption. He is framed as the ruthless criminal, Chess, and is forced to go underground. With the help of a circus leader, played by the under-used Keith David and a blogger played by Summer Glau, Vince becomes The Cape, a masked hero determined to fight off the corrupt and to clear his name.

Out of NBC's new Comedies there were two that I thought looked very good.

Outsourced sounded terrible on paper, but the trailer won me over. The show actually looks pretty funny.

The second comedy is an hour long show called Love Bites.

Love Bites didn't look as promising until I saw the appearence of Greg Grunberg and Craig Robinson: 2 very funny dudes. Also, I gained total confidence in the series when I saw it was from the creative team behind Love Actually, which is the best romantic comedy I have ever seen.

So there you have it, Day 1 of Upfront Week! I'll be back with more thoughts and coverage tomorrow!