Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Television folds a pair of Jacks

I do not watch too much television, but for the last couple of years, I've kept up religiously with Lost and with 24. Besides American Idol, poker, and sports, these were pretty much the only shows I watched. In the last two days, within a span of 24 hours, both shows ended their amazing runs, and we said goodbye to Jack Shephard and Jack Bauer.

The endings could not have been more different. Lost, as usual, left me completely lost. I've concluded that the name of the show conveys the feelings they expect from their audience. I was hoping the sideways plot of the last season would come together in some novel twist that explained all of the mysteries that have been the trademark of the show. And, perhaps it did, but if so, it went right over my head. I am more confused than ever - but then again, that may have been the point. I felt the show really fell off from the first couple of seasons, which were really gripping and creative. They ran out of ideas.

On the other hand, 24 really went out with a bang. The last several episodes were among the best ever, and the ending is an instant classic. The writing and the acting were superb, and the finale was emotional. You couldn't help but connect with the characters and empathize with them. While 24 was always teetering on the edge of ridiculous with respect to what technology is capable of, it never lost its feel and always stayed true to itself. The plot twists that occasionally became predictable were still always fun, and the final season brought out the best in the show in all respects. Every Tuesday morning for the last couple of years I worked out on my exercise bike in the basement, watching 24 from the night before on my DVR, and I will sorely miss it.

As to Lost, I'm glad it's over, so I can stop being confused. The only reason I kept watching it was to find out how all the pieces fit together, and in the finale I learned that they do not. No writer is good enough to connect all of those dots.

So, goodbye Jack and Jack. Television will never be the same without you.