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Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Happy Ultimate Day

Lord willing, tonight will be the end of two things that have taken up way too much of my mental time -- The Spurs-Mavs series and Alias. I'm going to concentrate on the latter because it's been going on much longer and its demise defintely deserves its own blog post.

A recap of my history with Alias: My wife and I watched Seasons 1-3 on Netflix DVD in a two-month period, then eventually caught up with Season 4 last year. Since last year's Alias was tepid and uninspiring for the most part (Zombie Nadia notwithstanding, but of course she didn't show up until the last episode anyway, and now she's dead -- or is she?), I kinda lost interest midway through the season, and only watched the last show, which was crazy with a capital C.

Television is weird in that cancellations can always alter the way a show works, especially in a long-running serialized show that tells a story over many successive episodes. Midway through Season 5, Alias was cancelled, but was given 8 episodes to tie up as many loose ends as possible. This made longtime Alias fans wonder in amazement at a potential 8-hour miniseries of Rambaldi insanity. Even though the Rambaldi stuff is way overdone (and up until this point has been most unsatisfying), we knew they had 8 episodes to come up with a suitable conclusion. Well, after hour 6, we really don't know any more about anything than we did earlier in the season. Oh, sure, Syd's mom showed up and tried to give some lame excuse as for why she's such a heartless and evil hosebeast ("I never wanted to have a baby"), and Vaughn came back because come on, he had to -- the chicks never would have allowed a Vaughn-less finale. But for the most part it's just been same-old Alias, and I would have never believed a show based on evil genetic clones and the End of the World could be this boring.

Truth is, the fans are right: The show jumped the shark in Season 3 when Vaughn's wife Lauren became evil (Alias fans can even pinpoint the exact shark-jumping point -- the camera pans out, and the person holding the gun is...Lauren? Oh, man...), re-jumped it when Lauren's mom became evil, and never really recovered. In Season 4 they disastrously tried to make the show's individual episodes self-containing, like The X-Files or, more accurately, The Avengers. Remember the one with Nick from Freaks & Geeks? Yikes.

The ultimate sin came in Season 5 when they killed Vaughn (or did they?) and got rid of Weiss and Nadia, and tried to rebuild the show around two hot newcomers, "hotcakes" and "eyebrow-line." Seriously, I think the mid-season cancellation saved us from a Jennifer Garner-less Season 6, which let's all take a moment to thank ABC, shall we? I remember when I heard the news -- I was like, yes! Now they can finish the whole Syd-Sloane-Derevko-Vaughn-Jack-Rambaldi story, and I don't have to watch the hot computer girl stumble around Barcelona anymore.

Now, Alias' track record with season-ending episodes is seriously spotty. Certainly, the end of Season 2 was classic as evil Francie got hers (or did she?), and Syd passed out and woke up two years later. Season 3's finale somehow seemed like a tacked-on afterthought and a repeat of Season 2. At least Lauren died (or did she?). Season 4's ending was greatness, and I'll kill anyone who says otherwise, even if it did go about 3 steps beyond anything conceived by those trained monkeys who write 24, and even though it seemed like a big middle finger to the show's female fan base.

That, coupled with the fact that they've been through this whole Rambaldi thing before with mixed results, makes me pessimistic for tonight's finale. There are big-time rumors all over the place about a certain main character's death (staying unspoiled on this blog), and it has me worried that they'll just try to tug on heart strings rather than doing the proper thing, which would be to reveal a still-alive Rambaldi (that we've known all along) and have him verbally slap Sloane and Irina Derevko around. You can't hint at Rambadi's immortality and then not show it, can you? Sadly, they'll probably cut that part out to show more of hotcakes and eyebrow line chasing The Cardinal, as if we even care who that is at this point.

Or maybe "Nature will be undone, stars will fall from the sky, and beared nutcases will take over the world." Isn't that how the prophecy went? I don't know. I'm just glad this stupid show will be over tonight, so I can fully concentrate my TV energies on the season finale of LOST.


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