television


Part 2 of the Pilot.

What we get in this episode is Character development, and a lot of it. So much information is crammed into 45 minutes, that I feel a bit Like Alex Delarge after watching it again. With this info comes a bit of foreshadowing, some of which doesn’t pan out for two, three or even five seasons.

What sort of character development? Well, It seems Kate is some sort of criminal. They keep it vague enough to fix us at the edge of our seat, and employ some wonderful editing, crosscutting from Kate relieving Sawyer of the only gun that they know of on the island, to her on 815 during the crash turbulence, then to Jack’s discovery of her criminal past, and back over to her on a mountainside leading a signal search party. We are barely told anything, and are left with the mystery of what this woman who seems inherently good could have done to be in so much trouble…

Charley is a drug addict. This was really no big surprise. The rock star drug addict is a bit clichéd but Dominic Monaghan pulls it off in such an endearing way. I love that Charley feels the need to interject “Ever heard of Driveshaft?” into the first thirty seconds of any encounter. Charley’s addiction storyline seems to be a personal demon story arc at first, but as anyone that has ever known a person with any sort of addiction issue, it will spiral out of control and suck in all the people around him or her…. Terrific set-up here for a redemption (song) story.

Shannon can speak French! There were so many moments where Shannon shied away from the group, claiming that “the boats will be there soon,” she doesn’t need to help, “there will be people for that,” establishing her as the epitome of a rich brat. Her brother Boone, the yin to her yang, is constantly trying to help, sometimes to the point of making a nuisance of himself. Their polar opposite personalities makes me think of a horrible Paula Abdul song for some reason….. which is then more blatantly referred to by Claire when she asks Shannon “Is he your boyfriend?” about Boone. Ewwwwwwww, I’m getting a Luke and Leia Star Wars vibe here.

Back to the French though. Shannon listens to the recording left by Rousseau over 16 years ago. This small but powerful moment will not completely play out until the final season. Bits and pieces of what is said will be explained and revealed over the six seasons.

A few other hints of future events peppered throughout the episode were:

– Jack Lies to the others on the beach about not finding any survivors in the cockpit. He begins making those hard decisions right away. HE decides what they NEED to know. He places himself in a leader role because he believes he needs to.

– The polar bear in the woods leads directly to the Dharma storylines and experiments that have gone on here.

– Sawyer, emotionally reads his letter that he keeps in his pocket. What is it? Who is it to? Who is it from? Mystery!

"These are my words."

– The line is drawn in the sand as early as this episode between Jack and Locke. They haven’t even shared more than ten words, but editing tells me that the central conflict will be between these two characters.

How?

I’ll show you.

While talking to Michael, Jack searches for a blade to operate on Federal Agent Mars. He finds a straight razor in a shaving kit, and when he pulls it out, it is featured menacingly in its own close-up. A close up like this is always used to bring the object to the attention of the audience. This shot says to me “Keep an eye on this blade! This will be important.” Or it is symbolic. This is a tool that can be used to heal or kill. How will it be used?

CUT TO: a Close up of a Backgammon set in the sand. John Locke’s hands come into frame setting up the game. Walt approaches to ask about the game. John explains the nature and history of Backgammon. Light and Dark. Conflict. Good and Evil.

A transition like this is not a happy accident. This is masterful writing. Without even knowing it, the audience knows who is against who. A weapon was brandished followed directly by a conversation about good and evil.

The stage is set.

Lastly, Charley got to utter the exact words that spell out THE mystery that lasts until the very last episode and even beyond, “Guys, where are we?”

So we have conflict, multiple mysteries, plot threads established, and only barely scratched the surface of just how damaged this ensemble cast of characters is. What a great show.

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Lost is over.

Some think “The End” suggested there were more tales to be told. Hurley and Ben remaining on the island was the equivalent of a western hero riding off into the sunset. You as the audience know there are still wrongs to be righted, evil to be fought, mysteries to be solved. But, we’ll never see these fights, because for us it is over. It was over right when they all crossed over into the great unknown in a Poly Faith sacred building.

I’ve embraced my other two blogs and have a new focus for the next few months—-Zombies!

Bite m--- I mean---Click me to read about zombies

I think we can all agree that the final season of Lost is one of the most argued about seasons of television ever. People are ravenous about how right they are and others are just wrong wrong wrong. If you’ve ever wandered through a Facebook message board on the subject of Lost, then you know what I’m talking about. I posted a link to one of my blog posts once, and it led to the near criminal level of harassment by a man ( I think it was a man) who conspicuously had the same name as a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy character, and even more conspicuously, looked just like Lou Feriggno. That was the first time that I saw how crazy this show was making people. This person decided that he was absolutely right about everything and was willing to take time out of his day to literally hunt down people on the internet and insult them via Facebook, Twitter, and any other venue he could uncover. I followed his harassment of other people for one afternoon and was amazed how crazed this person was.  It got pretty personal. I had no desire to be beaten up by the Hulk. Although he probably looked more like this guy though.

CYBER BULLY!

So, my point. People, not me, but people, are dissatisfied with the end. Certain people have pointed me in the direction of fan fictions that would have played out the final season in an entirely different manner. I looked at two of them. They weren’t horrible, but I enjoyed the final season more than these ideas.

I began writing a response to one of these hypothetical endings. It was only supposed to be a paragraph. ONE paragraph.

That wasn’t enough space to say what I needed to say.

That paragraph opened up to a one-page treatment of sorts. Still not enough.

That treatment then expanded into an outline with character descriptions.

Some of the scenes needed dialogue. So I wrote it. When I was through, I realized I had written fan fiction. Shit.

What I had written was an alternative “B” storyline which could have been in the place of the Afterlife/ Purgatory / Sideways / Happy Ending storyline. I don’t know how this happened, but it did. And (embarrassingly) here is the first couple parts:

What if this were season 6’s flashes?

Episode 1 – We open on a young man that we do not know (or do we?) on a small two-person sailboat in a large harbor full of giant cargo ships. He is looking for a crew to help him find a mythical island said to hold the key to the origins of mankind. He has no family. He is an orphan.

He has recurring dreams of violence and darkness. In these dreams a group of people are battling for their lives on an island that isn’t an island. This dream always ends with an explosion of pure white light that is engulfed in a cloud of darkness.

He wakes from the dream and walks up into the city from the harbor. He enters a bar, where a heavy-set man makes fun of him for not being old enough to drink, “Maybe you should go back to your mommy little man.”

He continues to the bar where a woman’s voice speaks to him from behind, “You’re Aaron, right? I’m Anise.”

He turns.

“Do I know you?”

“No. But I know you. I dreamt about you.”

Episode 2 –

Aaron repeats, “Do I know you?”

“I’m Anise, and I’ve been dreaming about you since I was a child”

In her dream, Anise is always standing with Aaron, and holding his hand as the white light explosion erupts towards them.  They establish that they remember each other from when they were children.  They remember being on a plane, then on an island.

Next time—–  They find a charter and a man named LaFleur.

If you happen to be a Lost fan, (well what would you be doing here if you weren’t?)  and you are  in New York on Saturday September 25, at 4:00PM, the 2010 New York Television Festival will be hosting a series of events around the city, amongst which is an event entitled Creating Character: A discussion with Michael Emerson.

First Appearance - Season 2, Ep. 14 "One of Them"

Michael Emerson took a guest  appearance and became one of the most compelling characters on one of the best shows in the last decade.  He would consistently surprise in a show full of surprises.  His technique and mastery of his innate creepiness is something to be admired.  He can crack his voice as he raises an octave and create a tension most actors  never come close to achieving.   When Ben enters a room you never know if he’s going to hug, stab, converse, shoot, or just shake hands.  He is a wild card in a deck full of jokers.

Here is a description from the NYTVF website about the event:

The character of Ben Linus on “Lost” is one of the most memorable in the history of the medium. The actor who embodied him, Michael Emerson, was cast as a result of his Emmy winning turn as another indelible character: William Hinks on “The Practice.” Join us for an actor¹s point of view on how to create memorable characters.

I will gleefully be in attendance to bask in the presence of one of TV greatest villains.

Oh yeah!  The best part is—– It’s free!  Go get  tickets while you can! at this link :

http://www.thefestguide.com/nytvf2010/Creating_Character.html

Hello. You want to hang out and create character?

A Cinema Fantastica Post:

With the Walking Dead, created by Robert Kirkman for Image Comics, premiering on AMC on Halloween, I’ve decided to watch a selection of Zombie films over the next few weeks to prepare myself for what will hopefully be a terrific addition to one of my favorite sub-genres.

Routine: a : a regular course of procedure b : habitual or mechanical performance of an established procedure

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/routine

Routine is something that happens to all of us. We fall into it and don’t even realize we’re there. In the midst of researching a new screenplay, I decided to take a few routines in my life and turn them on their ear.   Since I was thirteen I’ve shaved my face from right to left. I’ve never gone in the other direction. Even when I broke my wrist, and had to do it left-handed, I kept to the same pattern. Last week I went from left to right. It was sooooooo weird. When I was done I practically needed a blood transfusion. Since then, I have only gone from left to right. It seems like a small change, but it really isn’t. It’s monumental, because I am doing exactly the opposite of what come naturally.

How does this relate to zombies? I’ll get to it.  I’ve never faced a zombie horde. I’ve never had to shoot a dead person in the brain in order to stop them from barreling forward to eat my flesh.

I would know how to though.

To read the rest, click here –> ZOMBIES!!!!!!!

or on this screen shot:

Now, we all know that Polar Bears do not belong in Hawaii.  It is not their natural habitat.  The Dharma Initiative had them for their studies, and at some point, they teleported the Bear off the island, using the Donkey Wheel.  I guess.  I never thought about that until now.  How did they get the bear to turn the wheel?  Hmmm.  Strange.

I think there was a second polar bear though, and he was teleported to Kenab, Utah.  How do I know?

What is behind me?

A few days ago, through a series of random events, a room full of drunken people applauded me for my love of Lost.

Here is how it happened.

Last Friday, it was HOT. We had a few days in a row of near 100-degree temperatures. On a day like that, the last thing you want to do is turn on the stove. So we went to the bar for dinner and a beer. Sitting on the patio in back, I noticed that the furniture is similar to the IKEA furniture I bought a week ago. That gets me thinking.

Five days earlier than that, I was in my backyard water-sealing our new patio furniture. It was really hot that day as well. At one point I went inside for a glass of water and noticed that the TV was on. My hands were covered in sealant, so I carefully picked up the remote to turn it off. I decided to check the DVR. It was nearly at capacity. The largest file on it was the Lost finale recorded in HD. (Yeah, I haven’t erased it! Big Whoop!) I wondered if I should erase it finally. I tossed the remote on the coffee table, and the finale picked up from where I left off at last viewing. The final ten minutes was playing in beautiful HD. I was mesmerized. I sat down and watched.

My wife came in to see where I was. I turned the TV off. I looked guilty. She was outside in the hot sun doing work, and I’m drinking ice water in the living room watching Lost. When I said “Lost–,” She said “Oh. Ok.” And accepted that I got distracted and it was beyond my control.

Back at the bar, last Friday, I made all of those connections in my head and began talking to my wife about the finale for the umpteenth time. She asked how did I just go from “isn’t this great patio furniture?” to “Jack stumbling through the bamboo forest.” I began to explain, when a man walked up and interrupted “Are you guys here for the high school 20th reunion?”

I told him “No.” I should have asked, “Is there an open bar?”

He smiled as he walked away, but then he stopped.

He approached us again with a weird smile on his face and said “I know you from someplace. You look just like that guy from that TV show.”

My wife laughed out loud, because people constantly mistake me for someone else.

I asked, “What show?”

He said “Lost.”

My wife said “Daniel Faraday?”

He said, “Yes!”

I said I was not he.

Then about a half-an-hour later, I walked to the bar to settle my bill. I walked past the reunion party, when the same guy pointed me out to the crowd. He declared, “See! I told you Daniel Faraday was here!” And I was applauded by a room full of 37 and 38-year-old drunk people.

Through a random series of events: Ikea, water sealing, a full DVR, a heat wave, my love of beer, and my chameleon-like ability to look like other people, I was applauded for Lost. Weird.