Thursday, May 31, 2007

Season finales

The last week has seen the end of seasons for many US TV shows that I've been watching. For some the end of these has come too soon, but other couldn't come soon enough. I'll attempt to review, or at least give my opinion on, these shows whilst keeping spoilers to a minimum (there are a few thought, so read on at your own discretion).

24 - Season 6
The end of the last series saw Jack Bauer being kidnapped and shipped off to China, so it was going to be interesting as to how they got him back to take part in this series. Needless to say he got back and just in time to. This time round the terrorists of choice were militant Islamists (from an unnamed middle-eastern country) and their weapon of choice was the good old nuclear bomb (in the form of suitcase nukes). Of course this was just the tip of a whole conspiratorial iceberg that would involve a familiar face from the past.

The seasons main theme saw Jack Bauer dealing with many family issues - although Kim wasn't involved. It started off with all the usual fast paced action we expect and kept the implausibility scale rising throughout - this is something fans of 24 have come to expect and can't really complain about. 24 will often, towards the end of the series, attempt to wrap up the seemingly main story-line by bringing out some overarching conspiracy, so it shouldn't be a surprise that this series follows the mold. Unfortunately this time round I just couldn't be bothered with this extra bit of story - for which the implausibility scale was really going through the roof. It was just a big anticlimax and pretty dull to boot, however I don't think that they could have sustained the main story for a whole 24 episodes. This leads me to think that 24 has pretty much run its course. They've already had to recycle storylines, so I don't really see where else it can go. Sorry Jack, I think your days are numbered.

Overall opinion: A good effort to start with, but becoming to stale and generally stupid towards the end.

Score: 6 dead terrorists out of 10.

House - Season 3
At the end of last season Dr Greg House had been shot, which would seem a bit of a downer to most people. The start of this one, however, saw him seeming rather happy, but would it last - unlikely. Being a medical drama we're presented with a variety of medical situations, but these can start to become a tad repetitive. In House the diagnosing of the illness is a large part of the show, but obviously to keep people interested we have to delve into the lives, and relationships, of the main protagonists.

Hugh Laurie still does a great job playing House, and provides one of the most likeable complete bastards that TV has ever seen. You still find yourself siding with him in the majority of situations, because for the most part everyone else seems to be a bit wussy. This season sees someone trying to compete with House for the title of chief bastard, but that storyline does drag on for a bit too long. The rest of the relationships within the show provide enough amusement to keep you entertained, but you can tell that there's nothing more to really add within the group. I think that this has been seen by shows writers/producers and it could be all change for the next series.

Overall opinion: An enjoyable series that's provided plenty of amusement, but ready for a change. It's still sustained by Hugh Laurie's performance, but that's no bad thing.

Score: 7 cases of Lupus out of 10

Lost - Season 3
The last season of Lost saw several of the main characters kidnapped by the mysterious Other's. This one left off exactly where the last one ended. The series was split into two halves (in between which there was a two month mid-season break). The first half focussed on those held captive by the Others and in my opinion it dragged. There was a lot going on, and you learnt a reasonable amount about the Others, but it didn't hold my interest.

After a few slow episodes the second half of the series really picked things up again. Lots of things started happening obviously leading up to some kind of head, which brought back a lot of excitement to the series and meant that I was eagerly anticipating the next episode.

I'm not really sure if I can say that any of the general mysteries of the series were explained this season, but many new things did come to light. The level of crazy was certainly ramped up to a high level by the end of the series.

Overall opinion: A slow start, but it pulled it back at the end leaving things very interesting for the next series.

Score: 7 planes crashes out of 10

Heroes - Season 1
Heroes was a new show so I had no prior expectation except the recommendation of my flatmate. The premise of the show can be seen in my post here. I was hooked on this show fairly early on and this early enthusiasm didn't ebb as the series went on. There were about 5 story threads that came together at various moments in the series. Not all of the threads were as interesting as each other, and certain parts didn't sit as well within the overall story, but they each provided something different and nothing seemed overly strained. One of the outstanding characters in the show was the Japanese nerd Hiro. He was used for different effect throughout the show, not just as comic relief for the whole thing (although when he was used for comic effect it worked well and didn't seem stupid or out of context). Some of the other characters were fairly stereotypical, but that's to be expected from a popular TV series.

The end of the series did wrap up pretty much everything that it brought up, but left a couple of teasers for the next season. The whole premise of the show seems to be made so that new characters can be brought in easily, and old characters got rid of, so hopefully things can stay fresh. I'll be looking forward to seeing how the next series pans out.

Overall opinion: An exciting new series that I enjoyed throughout. Despite seeming to just take the plot of the X-men this managed to make it seem new and is well worth checking out.

Score: 9 mutants out of 10