Saturday, January 9, 2016

2015: The Shows That Ended

2015 was a year where several of my shows ended. Let us all enjoy a moment of silence as we remember these shows. As usual, thar be spoilers.

Haven (SyFy) - It started off strong, and had a couple of good seasons. Audrey Parker comes to investigate Haven and finds strange things going on. She learns about the "troubles." Then she learns that she's immune, and that she looks amazingly like someone from the past. Later she learns that she's not really Audrey Parker.

Then came a couple of seasons that seemed to lose direction. I came really close to quitting the show, but I always wanted to see how it would end. I was ready for it to end.

All the inconsistencies annoyed me. In the first couple of seasons, the troubles was something that came in cycles. Every time the incarnation of Mara (Audrey) stepped into the barn, the troubles stopped. It also seemed that if someone moved away from Haven, they'd be free from the troubles. But then for some reason, the troubles became more of something that always happened, regardless of whether Mara went into the barn or not. And now you can't escape the troubles by moving somewhere else.

And then there were all the disasters that were severe enough to kill the whole town ten times over. Somehow a majority of people always seems to survive, and hardly anyone moved away! Do you remember how people used to joke about M*A*S*H how it went on longer than there were years in the Korean War itself, and how they only moved their "mobile" unit once? Well, in Haven, I'm pretty sure I saw more people die than there were people living there.

Getting past these annoyances, the fifth and final season (both parts taking more than a year to show) made a good attempt to pull all the loose ends back together. It answered most of the big questions, and even though I felt they were making it up as they went along, I was impressed with what was achieved. I just wish it were 13 episodes instead of 26.

Now it's all over. Everyone's happy. The ending was cool.

But wait ... couldn't William create troubles, too? (No ... I need to stop analyzing ...)

P. S. Who does the Duke Mascot look like to you?

Minority Report (FOX) - Can I pretend that the TV series didn't happen? Maybe in a couple of years, it will be forgotten. I only watched because the movie is by far one of my favorites. There's just something magical when you combine Phillip K. Dick, Spielberg, and a hint of Kubric.

The TV show had Spielberg, but not much else. The show attempted to explain further how the trio of Precogs worked together. Agatha was the best and the strongest. Dash saw all the gore, and Arthur got the names. My response: No, no, no, no, no! That's not how it was in the movie. That just doesn't work. Why did they want to ruin a good thing like that?

Also, the whole time I asked myself, "Why do they call this 'Minority Report' when the writers don't even use that one specific plot device?" Well, in the very last episode, Dash has his minority report, and I slapped my head. No, no, no, no, no! That's not how it works!

Despite all that, I made it through all 10 episodes. There were some good parts. I liked the little twists at the end. I liked how they ran away (everybody runs), setting up for a second season. But at the same time I had had enough. I didn't care what happened next. Goodbye!

Continuum (SyFy) - This was another one of those good shows that went on a little too long, but then wrapped up nicely at the end.

The first season was awesome. There were some strange editing choices, which confused the flow, but that might actually be the fault of SyFy, who most likely cut out some parts to fit in one hour with commercials. Other than that, the time travel rules were consistent and well thought out. The story was interesting. The bad guys had a really good reason for being bad. (We need to make sure corporations don't take control of the government.)

I waited for what seemed to be a long time for season 2 on SyFy. That was another strong season, ending with Alex going back in time in an attempt to save his girlfriend.

Somewhere in there, a couple of funny things happened in regards to time travel mechanics. Kellogg's grandmother died, but Kellogg kept on living. Also, Kiera gave her future mother an artifact, which would be returned to Kiera in the future (the never-ending time loop artifact). Both of these triggered lots of discussion among those of us analyzing this stuff.

Season 3 took off on its own path. The original timeline collapses because Alex no longer exists (however or why that's supposed to happen), and these magical people give Kiera the means to go to an alternative timeline where Alex went. This is where the timeline mechanics broke down, and the story turned into "we're making this up as we go along." The lack of direction and what seemed to be weaker writing pushed this once-loved show near the bottom of my viewing order.

But then Season 4 came back to the rescue. It attempted to finish the Season 3 storyline, while at the same time returning back to the first two seasons. It was also a short six episode season. They successfully changed the timeline. Corporations are no longer in power. Kiera still desired to return back to the future, even though it couldn't possibly be the same as it was before. I was pleased to find that the writers found an acceptable way to have her return to her son. It would have to be in a timeline where the Kiera-yet-to-be grows up in a time where everyone's happy and she never has to go back in time. That Kiera is with her son, never having left him. And our Kiera has a bittersweet ending realizing she can only see her son, but never being able to touch him because he belongs to that other Kiera. Ah!

But wait ... if Kiera is such a big hero, wouldn't the new Kiera know about her? And couldn't they work something out? (Need to stop analyzing!)

Even with the annoyances I listed, I'm planning on watching the whole series again on Netflix. Maybe without the SyFy cuts and with watching more episodes closer together, it'll make more sense. 42 episodes. I can do that.

Resurrection (ABC) - I'm really going to miss this show, and I'm disappointed with its premature ending. I realize many people stopped watching, either because it became "boring" or "stranger," but I never felt the show had much time at all to go astray.

I tuned into the first episode, expecting the usual ABC schtick, but was pleasantly surprised with an interesting story. Decades after having died, Jacob, a young boy, comes back to life and returns to his parents, who are now old enough to be his grandparents. Soon, other deceased people start coming back to visit their prior loved ones. What makes the show interesting is how the people, both inside and outside of Arcadia, react to this phenomenon.

Some are happy with the returned. Others think they are abominations, especially when they exhume a grave to find the original body still laying there. The clashes between people rejecting their loved ones and people trying to protect them sets up the stage for some pretty sad situations. After watching a couple of episodes, it got to where the mini-opening credits started getting to me.

Sure, I can see why people complained about the slowness of the story. The second season seemed to go slower than the first. Yet, I saw it as the writers taking the time to explore different situations.

The religious angle of the second season was also a little strange, especially the whole thing about the birth of the one kid at the end, and that evil preacher dude. The show ends without an explanation, and no real indication of how things will ultimately end up. In fact I'm having trouble remembering how it ends.

You may enjoy watching a few episodes, but be prepared to feel unfulfilled at the end.

Falling Skies (TNT) - I'll finish off this list with another good show that went on too long, and one that became more about how awesome the main character was.

It was an awesome first two seasons, up to where the 2nd Mass makes it to Charleston. The story lines were gripping, and action was cool. My only complaint was the one episode where the enemy was easily thwarted by emitting a certain frequency over the radio. Really? That was the best they could come up with?

Still, I remember the first time they killed their first skitter, and many other stepping stones as they got closer to taking back our planet.

The third season went okay, though it seemed like they were spending a lot of time in Charleston without much going on.

The fourth season went to plaid, with Tom Mason escaping the prison, and with Lexi becoming an adult hybrid overnight, and with children being captured and brainwashed. It just didn't fit with the first three seasons. Still, I watched and tried to enjoy.

The fifth season brought everything to an end. There were a couple of really good episodes in there, but I think they went over the top turning Sawyer into a bad guy. That was pretty silly. Though, Sawyer was right about one thing: the show really was all about Tom Mason. The world really did revolve around him.

Out of all the shows I listed in this post, the final episode of Falling Skies was the most disappointing. All Tom had to do was to hit the queen with that magic bullet, and she practically sat there and let him do it. And then all the ships in orbit exploded?! I really, really, really, really hate that trope.

It all ends with a corny speech at Washington DC where Tom Mason is elected President of the World. Yay!

At least the beginning of the show was awesome.

Finally some honorable mentions. I was about to put Wayward Pines (FOX) on this list, but was pleasantly surprised to learn that it's coming back this summer. Yay! I'll have to come back later and report on this short show that I enjoyed this past summer.

I'm pretty sure Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (BBC) will not be having a second season, but I want to wait and report on that show separately in a few weeks. As far as I know, Susanna Clarke has started a sequel novel. Unless she gives up writing this book to instead write a second series, I doubt that BBC would produce a sequel that would deviate from the book she's currently writing. We'll see, though.

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