Spoiler alert: If you are still catching up on some of these shows, please don’t read this post as I may be revealing some of the twists or surprise endings.
Leading up to the last episode of Lost, questions about the Island, the flashes-sideways, Jacob and the Man in Black, and so much of the mythology had been building up throughout the season. I had wondered why the show’s creators kept introducing more questions while answering so few. Surprisingly, the finale chose to answer almost none of them. Instead, as each character’s eyes were opened to their lives on the Island, we caught flashes from the show’s six seasons. The episode ended with the memorial service for Jack’s father Christian, but the whole thing was a memorial to the series. It seemed disappointing to introduce so many mysterious elements without the intention of paying-off with some answers, but the ending felt surprisingly satisfying because it focused on the characters and how far they had come over the course of the show. Similarly, 24 was coming to the climax of an uneven season (and an uneven run overall), where many things didn’t seem to make sense (Really? Dana Walsh is responsible for both evil plots?). As Jack started to go off the deep end, the show became surprisingly exciting. He became like the Terminator as he took down his hit list one after another. The show really drew on its strength: making Jack the moral centre. Even if he’s making people spill their guts (literally). or stabbing them with fireplace pokers, even when he has to assassinate the President of Russia and destroy the President of the USA, we still believe that they deserve it and Jack is doing the right thing. I especially enjoyed the intimate ending between Chloe and Jack where in their goodbyes you can see how far they have come together (and we along with them).
In contrast, Heroes was so far off the rails that when it ended, I was happy to see it put out of its misery (please don’t do the two-hour tie-things-up movie, NBC!) I had forgotten the show as it had once been when it was in my top five (and it seems that the creators had too). Nothing made sense, the characters had become horribly irrelevant and annoying. Plot twists (which used to be such an amazing part of this show) were nonsensical. This last season’s carnival story arc proved that the creators had no idea what to do with this show. As much as I’d love it if they gave the show one more shot to try to turn it into what it could have been, I have no faith that another season would have helped. FlashForward was the opposite in my eyes. I know that many have criticized its first (and only) season for many of the same reasons that I just lambasted Heroes, but I was always interested in its story and I’m pretty sad that the series won’t get the chance to make good. I still want to know about the shadow organization causing the blackouts. At least we got some closure with the finale catching up to the events of everyone’s flash forwards. They left us with a second blackout and a teaser of a much longer flash forward for which we’ll never know the outcome. Maybe it’s for the best. Once we learned that the future could be changed, the flashes seemed to lose some of their power.
Maybe I should be more cautious about my quick love for new series (especially after the tragedy that was Heroes) but this season debuted some of my favourite shows. Modern Family is a hilarious and heart-felt series that everyone should watch. It filled a space in my viewing roster that The Cosby Show and Family Ties had once occupied. The season finale where Claire frets over getting everyone together for a family portrait is a great piece of sitcomery, where good writing and acting bring out the humour and joy in a relatively ordinary situation.
The Vampire Diaries was one of the surprises of the season. I had written off the series as an overwrought teen show with tiresome vampire fantasy elements (I was getting Twilight-fatigue), but what turned it around was a good balance between suspense and melodrama. Yes, there’s still a lot of the mopey teen angst which most adults would roll their eyes at, but with frequent introduction of new characters and numerous twists in the story about the town vs the vampires, the show’s pace is blazing fast. The season finale left us wondering whether Jeremy had become a vampire (I don’t care) and what will happen with Catherine back in town (I’m curious to find out the true relationship between Catherine and Elena; but I’m not interested in any more of Catherine posing as her).The other surprise was The Good Wife. This show had not even been in my viewing roster (though there was a permanent spot for legal drama that went unfilled). A show about the disgraced wife of a fallen state attorney starring Julianna Marguiles did not appeal to me. However, when bloggers and tv pundits started raving about it, I’m glad I decided to check it out. Despite a season of enjoying title-character Alicia Florick (with trusty scene-stealing sidekick Kalinda) handling interesting cases while maintaining her chaotic family life, I was not very interested in the finale cliffhanger. I didn’t care whether she chose her husband, Peter, or her boss, Will. Neither men seem to be good enough for her. Nevertheless, I can’t wait for next season.
Glee, still has a couple episodes yet to air, but I have enjoyed this show so much! It’s mostly for the splashy performances, but some of the drama and comedy are also great. I have especially enjoyed side-character Brittany, with her one liners — she’s become the cheerleader version of Ralph Wiggum. I hope they don’t run out of songs or story too soon. Plus, I’d love to see some character turnover. Hmmmm … is it too soon to watch them do Bad Romance again?
So happy that Medium will be back (and not Ghost Whisperer). The season finale took a cue from Lost and FlashForward to show us a possible future if Allison died — quite an emotional episode. It reminded me why I love this show (not that I needed reminding). Fringe went where I didn’t think it was going to go this season — into the emotional lives of the characters. Walter Bishop has become one of the best-written characters on TV, and John Noble’s acting is top-notch. The season-ending foray into the alternate universe was thrilling, but a bit quick. It hinted at so much more than there was time to deliver. It boiled down to another cop-fugitive chase story with the alternates hunting for our Olivia and Walter. I wished it had been more about the overall plot of invasion or whatever it is that Walternate is planning. Also, having come off of The Vampire Diaries’s Catherine-Elena switcheroo, alternate-Olivia’s posing as our Olivia was a total non-surprise. I’m actually more interested in how Olivia’s going to get back to our universe (but I guess she’s done it before).
Castle is non-stop cop-show fun all carried on the charm of leading man Nathan Fillion and the chemistry of the cast (which makes being a detective look like so much fun!). I am not interested in the will-they-won’t-they love quadrangle drama between Castle and Beckett. I just want them to get back to the cases and the banter. Supernatural had a great finale. After getting used to the Whedonverse’s annual apocalpytaganzas, I didn’t realize that the final fight to defeat Satan himself at Armageddon could be so low-key. It was a really touching ending and the cliffhanger of Sam coming back from Hell is a bit of a tease, but I’m actually more eager to see how they reinvent the series next season. Chuck is definitely getting good at game-changing. When the show first started, little did we suspect that the Bartowskis were almost as much a family of operatives as the Bristows (from my beloved show, Alias). While the season-ending call to Chuck’s mysterious mom does not hold a candle to Sydney Bristow’s cliffhanging encounter with hers, I’m still pretty intrigued about where they’re going to take this (and I’m just glad that we get another season of a very fun show). Speaking of fun, how great was Mayim Bialik as Sheldon’s computer-matched mate on The Big Bang Theory?! (“Tepid water, please” — She slays me!) I’m glad that Penny and Leonard are still over, but I want Penny and Sheldon back. Their interplay from opposite ends of the spectrum was comic gold.
I was so happy with this season that I was sad to see it end so soon. Nevertheless, summer is here with its sunny days and fresh air … who am I kidding? Bring on True Blood, Burn Notice, Drop Dead Diva, White Collar, Lie To Me, and Psych!