James Leroy Wilson's blog

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Arrested Development, etc.

I don't know when's the last time I've wanted to see a traditional sitom taped "before a live studio audience." The genre of the half-hour, no laughtrack, filmed sitcom now produces some of the most entertaining television: Bernie Mac, My Name is Earl, Scrubs, The Office, Malcom in the Middle.

Last night I was fortunate to see the four-episode series finale of the greatest of these: Arrested Development. It is theoretically disappointing that the show never found a large enough audience and got cancelled. Even I, who liked the show, didn't see very many episodes in its three-season run. On the other hand, there was never a mediocre episode and we can never say that the series went on too long. Arrested Development is unusual for a comedy in that it had a story arc and, like Lost, one wonders when and how the story will end. Fortunately, the resolution did come; the show didn't leave us hanging.

Speaking of Lost, Mark Johnson at Program Notes sums up my feelings about the show, and also how it compares to The X-Files which also had a series-length story arc:
[L]ast week's [Lost] episode, 'Fire + Water,' which focused on Charlie left many viewers unsatisfied - it was the lowest-rated episode (7.6) so far this season at TV.com. I agree that it was the least gratifying episode this year, but then comes this week's episode, 'The Long Con,' in which we find out why 'Fire + Water' had to end like it did. 'The Long Con' scored a 9.2, and it was great because the twist was set up in prior episodes. Great fiction takes time to build up the drama carefully, sustaining interest, and in the end the payoff is something mind-blowingly special. 'Lost' is great fiction. Stick with it and enjoy the ride, being confident that these writers know their craft.

Sure, a lot of it comes down to personal taste, and maybe I just wasn't that into the 'X-Files' Mythology, as some viewers aren't into the 'Lost' flashbacks. But was I not into it because of my personal taste or because the writers didn't know how to sustain the story? I think it's a little of both.

On another, uh, note, Scott Shepherd, formerly The Partial Observer's Dr. Spin, has a new blog, Another Spin.

1 comment:

  1. It really sucks that "Arrested Development" didn't get more traction. I loved it!