Thursday, June 28

endings and beginnings

it's not often that one show ends its run the same night another show starts one. tonight the shows in question were Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Burn Notice. an end, and a beginning. ah, but were they good? well... yes. good. not great.

first, Studio 60. it was perhaps the most hyped new show of last fall. after only finishing half the season, it got put on a short hiatus due to lackluster ratings, and when it came back, it was only for a few more episodes - and then NBC pulled it. not surprising, as many networks nowadays pull shows before they let them finish - ah, but NBC decided to air the remaining 6 episodes this summer, a great move that i wish more companies would do (NBC did not, however, do any advertising for this stunt, which really made me mad, but oh well, can't get everything).

my thoughts on the series as a whole? i liked it quite a bit. i think that it made a mistake about halfway through when it started focusing HEAVILY on the relationship of Matt and Harriet, and there were some episodes that were throw-away ones, they missed opportunities to explore other topics regarding working at an SNL-type place, maybe would have been cool to see more on other cast members, and i can't believe they never had an episode with Wes... but all in all, it was good. what i was most pleased with is that the show must have known it was done before it filmed the final episode because they wrapped quite a bit up. very cool.

one thing i DIDN'T really like about the final 6 episodes is that 4 of them were basically one 4-hour episode (a 4-parter, if you will). the FINAL 4 episodes. it was a bit too much - it could have easily been shortened to 3 - it was cool how they managed to work in how the 2 left the show 5 years ago, and it was interesting how SERIOUS the final episodes got, with political commentary on the war, a brother's life in the balance, another who just had a baby but was having post-op complications... a show about a late night comedy show, and it was serious. dead serious... almost too much. but it was an interesting exercise nonetheless.

so, i liked the end, liked the series, but it could have been better in places. my gut tells me that had this been allowed to continue, maybe have a 5-season run, it would have worked a lot better - as it was, things were rushed and the focus was off topic sometimes (missing other topics). i think they went to focusing on Matt and Harriet after ratings started to plummet because maybe they thought that's what was interesting? well, they overcompensated a little. whatever. i am just thankful that NBC had the wisdom to air the final episodes so that the creators could finish the story they started, and that so could we. bravo.

now, Burn Notice. this has been one of the most-hyped cable shows of this summer, kinda mirroring Studio 60's hype last fall (well, maybe not THAT much hype). i've personally been looking forward to it because it was a novel concept - a spy gets cut off from doing his work, his assets are frozen, and he's stuck back where he grew up, where he ran away from, doing odd-jobs for Average Joes for little pay - and it's got Bruce Campbell.

did i like it? the show has its charm. the main character has a real sarcastic wit so he's constantly cracking wise with voiceover work. the supporting cast - his buddy (Bruce), his mother, and his ex, all provide even more comedic elements... but also dramatic ones too. how would i classify the show? dramatic action with comedic elements thrown in. it's an odd mix.

the plot that had him doing his spy stuff for an Average Joe in this episode was a little ho-hum, but i imagine most of the stories will be like that - which should be fine, as they're just avenues for him to do his spy magic. and it's pretty sweet when he does his spy magic.

i think i'll like the main storyline too, where he's trying to find out who put this burn notice out on him. he first thought it might be the government, then a reluctant client that wants him to hit rock bottom before approaching him for (probably) a nasty job... but toward the end of the show the guy hinted that maybe it's somebody closer, like his buddy, his ex, or his mom. someone that wanted to force him to come home and deal with his personal issues.

and that made things a lot more interesting for me... because he may be having fun with his old spy buddy, his ex, and/or his mother, but then in the back of his mind, and in ours, is the thought that maybe it's one of them. that's the life of a spy - trust no one.

the verdict? i'm going to keep watching until either the formula gets too tired or the mix of genres just doesn't work anymore - i mean a show where you shouldn't trust anyone and it's a comedy? it's... interesting. interesting enough that i'll be back next Thursday.

- kawitchate

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