Thursday, May 17, 2012

Season Finales

Ah, the end of the television viewing season.  The end of the nightly TV shows, the beginning of warm summer nights.  The stupidly predictable or wildly retarded season finales.

So I've watched several season finales lately.  A couple of them stick out as just damned annoying.  Let's take the Finder, first.  This is a show about a semi-nutty investigator with a crew of semi-nutty individuals helping him out.  So all season the show's been pretty laid-back.  The investigator guy figures out what he's looking for, and everyone's happy.  It's sort of a feel-good show for me.  There's short episodes of violence, either from the rather large bartender, or from the investigator himself (he's a gulf war veteran).  Both are extremely capable so you know how the violence is going to end.  I think of it rather like, NCIS, only less serious.

So I'm watching the season finale and everything is going all hunky dory, the investigator guy is reconnecting with his estranged dad (awww, how sweet) on his dad's deathbed, and in the last 4 minutes, the show goes all to hell.  One of his people takes off on her own without telling anyone, the investigator gets arrested and his FBI agent girlfriend gets her badge taken away.  Wtf is this cliffhanger ending bullshit?

I hate cliffhanger endings.  Two reasons.  One, you never know if the show is going to be renewed or not.  If the show doesn't get renewed, we never get to find out what happens to those people.  The writers just aren't planning ahead, which is rather sloppy writing, in my opinion, but what do I know.  If you want to have some crazy shit happen during the finale, don't do it in the last 4 minutes.  That's just bullshit.

Two, it's at least months, sometimes a year before the show comes back.  Nobody remembers that far back nowadays.  They're not going to remember what happened last season, they're not going to remember the events leading up to it, they're not even going to remember that it was a cliffhanger ending.  And re-showing the entire season of episodes from the previous year isn't going to help, because people are going to think "Oh, I've seen those already." and not watch them again.  So it's all just worthless effort that's going to piss off your viewers rather than bring more of them to you.  And don't assume that just because you have more viewers than the competition that I don't know what I'm talking about.  You have more viewers than the competition because there's absolute shite on TV nowadays and your shite is less shite-y than theirs is.

Missing just did the same thing with 3 minutes to go.  Now let me explain "Missing."  A mom gets her son kidnapped and searches all of europe for him.  The twist is that her mom is ex-CIA and uses those skills in her search.  The problem with these types of shows is they absolutely depend on the most unlikely course of events imaginable.  Her son goes missing, she finds him, something happens and she loses him again.  Her son escapes, you think he's safe, but he can't be, because the show is called "Missing," and if the son is safe then there's no show.  It's literally so impossible that you can predict what has to happen, just so the show can continue.  For instance, the kid escapes, gets picked up by the mom's friend.  Now, for him not to be safe and the show not to be over, the mom's friend has to be the bad guy.  I know this in advance, so by the time they reveal, oh yea, he IS the bad guy, it's too late.  There's no surprise factor.  So how did the season finale end?  Well, mom found her son!  of course, he can only be missing for so long before it just gets silly.  And then with two minutes to go, the mom goes missing.  Wtf.  So that's next season, finding mom.  And then the season after that, dad will go missing, and then the son's girlfriend, and then the grandkids.  Sigh.  And it's not just me that hates those endings, my mom, who HATES series, has been watching this from the beginning, saw the finale and said "I'm never watching that show again."  So good job, writers.  You just lost at least one viewer.  Make that two, I'm not watching next season, either.

What's wrong with just wrapping the show up nicely?  Sure, do some crazy shit in the finale.  Kill off a major character if you want to.  But wrap it up by the end of the hour, already!  Your viewers will feel better, the characters won't seem like such shams, and people might actually come back next season.  For the drama, or the good writing.  Not to find out what happened, because by then, they won't even remember.

Speaking of finales, I saw the end of the Harry Potter series recently.  Sure, the whole series is a bit lame, but my preference for movies and TV shows is fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, so I tend to check out as much variety in that genre as I can.  So having watched the first couple movies back when they were new, I figured I'd watch the whole thing.  So what did I think of the two-movie series finale?  Didn't like it.  And since this is my blog, I'm not going to leave you hanging on a cliffhanger and tell you to come back next season to find out why.  I'm going to tell you now.  lol

So let's take a couple things first.  Hagred, the big hulking, well, animal handler, is all I can think to call him,   He completely disappears for pretty much the entirety of the last two movies, despite being such a big feature in all the previous ones.  And then he turns up at the end of the movie, chained up in the forest by Valdemort.  Why the hell would they chain him up in the forest is never really explained since they've been killing people right along, but there he is, held as insurance for something.  What, i have no idea, since killing Harry potter has been valdemort's goal all along, but there he is!  he should have just greeted harry with "Hi harry!  Just making a cameo appearance.  Carry on!"  So stupid.

But that's pretty much the way the entire series went.  Characters seems to just be there to help the story along, and then either died or vanished without any explanation of the why's or hows.  Especially in the last two movies, they introduce a bunch of new people just to kill them off.  Now, I know certain things have to happen in a book to make the ending be the way you want it, but for crying out loud, have some rhyme or reason as to why, at the very least so I'm not going "oh, he's not important, as soon as he tells harry what he needs to know, I'll never see him again."  It spoils the sense of immersion, you know what I mean?

Now here's my specific problem with the end movies.  And maybe this gives away a lot, but come on.  The people reading this blog have either seen all the movies already, or never bothered watching them to start with.  Much like I did with the Twilight series.  They make this big deal about the "Deathly Hallows," which are a set of magic items, a wand, a cloak and a stone.  They name the damn movies after them, for crying out loud.  According to the storied explanation, Death is a crafty, sentient entity with great magical power, who HATES it when people try and avoid Death's final embrace.  So the story goes, long ago, these 3 wizards created a bridge over a swiftly flowing river with their magic, and Death was pissed, because he was waiting for their souls when they drowned in the river.  So he pops up and is all "hey, good job, you made a pretty bridge!  I congratulate you on your inventiveness!  You may each have a wish!"  Just like bargaining with a demon, you know this isn't going to end well.  So, Death creates these three items in response to the wishes of these 3 wizards and gets them all in the end as a result of their own desires, much like a demon in most tales will twist your wish to make it the fashion of your demise.  There's a moral to the story, of course; it's basically a cautionary children's tale, but the Deathly Hallows actually exist, and harry manages to come across two of them in his travels and Valdemort is after one of them.  Specifically, a powerful wand.  So here's my problem.  if the Deathly Hallows exist, then it follows logically that their creator must also exist.  So Death is a real, living entity, one who hates people who try to cheat him out of their ends.

You know, like Valdemort.  Who's been cheating death through 7 movies.  And let's be frank here, nobody wants to speak Valdemort's name because apparently, he's so damn powerful, but up against Death he's pretty much a n00b.  Where the HELL has Death been through all these movies?  Hanging out in the background, waiting for harry to beat the crap out of Valdemort?  Why doesn't he make an appearance?  Why isn't he even mentioned at all except in the children's story?  Look, if you're going to introduce a character like Death and then just completely forget about him, that doesn't make any sense at all.  It's like introducing religion as a driving force in the world and then just saying it not only doesn't matter, but never mention it again.  It's not only sloppy writing, and doesn't make sense, but it's utterly ridiculous from a logical standpoint.  Death would literally have to be either dead himself at this point, or be totally insane not to want Valdemort dead as well.  And yet, not only does harry not just summon up Death with any of the deathly hallows, or make a deal with him to get valdemort, or even, you know, just mention "oh, hey death, here's valdemort for you, I know you been waiting for him."  Nope, nothing.

Next, we've got this whole thing about the wand choosing it's owner.  They even introduced a wand maker who conveniently shows up and then vanishes during the story to tell harry that "the wand chooses it's owner."  Well that's great, wands are smart.  Good to know.  Only they aren't.  Wands through this entire story have been completely interchangeable.  Harry, in fact, uses Hermione's wand even during the last movie.  Wands are interchanged through every part of every movie in the entire series, except for poor valdemort.  For some strange reason, his wand has a problem with him using it.  There's some feeble explanation for this, at least.  Apparently draco disarmed Dumbledore, and then dumbledore's wand became his...  but it never became his because it was buried with dumbledore.  Draco never touched it, and when harry disarmed Draco days later, draco was not only not wielding the wand, but he'd never even seen the damned thing.  So this ridiculous explanation that when harry disarmed Draco in a completely unrelated incident, the wand became "his," is just silly.  Wands would be changing ownership every time you got disarmed, and you wouldn't be able to use them again.  Even harry's been disarmed several times over the course of the series, he's never not been able to use a wand.  Why didn't the all powerful wand go "oh, harry's been disarmed, i'm someone else's now!"  Stupidity.

You don't even get a sense of harry finally defeating valdemort at the end, either.  There's so much other shit going on trying to destroy all the hoarcruxes that are keeping valdemort alive that by the time they are gone and harry beats valdemort, the true hero of the story is neville, who manages to destroy the last hoarcrux just because he happened to have some goblin sword they introduced to kill the hoarcruxes.  Which basically makes neville the hero, and takes away any elation harry might have for finally kicking the bad guy's ass.  Seriously, when you finally defeat the bad guy, you're supposed to go "YES!"  That's what happens.  You win, you celebrate.  It's like saying "well, you showed up, so here's a trophy."  You don't get any sense of accomplishment out of that.  You go "oh, well, neville finally killed the last of the hoarcruxes so valdemort wasn't any problem to vaporize then."  You steal all of harry's heroic qualities when you do that, because he's just a distraction at that point.  harry didn't actually accomplish a damned thing.  once the hoarcuxes were gone, anyone could have killed valdemort.  So why is harry even the hero of the series?  They should have called it neville Longbottom and the deathly hallows.

Maybe they can give neville his own spinoff series.

So what happens to the deathly hallows?  These powerful magical artifacts that got introduced just to move the story along, apparently?  Harry drops one in the forest for no reason, after Dumbledore gives it to him.  He breaks the wand and throws it away.  And I'm not sure if the cloak even exists because they mention it but don't give any details about it, so you're left with a wtf as far as that goes.  They might have at least had Death show up to collect the damn things.  But, no, that would make too much sense, apparently.  Honestly, there doesn't seem to be any logical reason to have even mentioned the deathly hallows at all.  Sloppy and stupid writing all around.

Really hoping the Grimm season finale tomorrow night is better.

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