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April 24, 2006 | by  | in Opinion |
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Give us your eyeballs

Last year Lost, an apparent new phenomenon in television, reached New Zealand television screens. It was meticulously promoted by TV2, and was shrouded in mystery from its very first episode. Indeed, Lost was all that and a bag of chips. Millions were, and still are hooked, and I am sorry to say that I was one of them.

But after the pitiful Revelation episode, which was nothing but a budget saving clip show, my pessimism quashed any good feelings I had towards the show. Here I was thinking Lost was a step in a new direction…boy was I wrong.
Lost is just another in a long line of good quality American TV programmes, killed by popularity and the quest for eyeballs. If a show is even a little bit successful in the States it is stretched out, produced to death and merchandised relentlessly – thus ensuring every shred of dignity is squeezed out, leaving nothing but a trail of steadily declining ratings and out of work actors. For working examples, see 24 or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Television need not work this way. The Office, which was both a mainstream and cult hit, was only two seasons long. The temptation of more must have been there, but the decision to end it at its peak was worth much more than a few more seasons of good ratings. Sadly, this is a rarity in mainstream television.

Television is a medium of entertainment. When we watch television we do so with certain expectations. We want to be entertained, taken from our own realities, so to speak. However, in this current era we are now in is only interested in one thing…your eyeballs. Well actually that is two things, but you get my drift. We are being used. But we, the audience, are not the only ones.
We are living in a world where values are undercut for sales targets. Actors, directors, writer come together to create TV shows as pawns in a corporate game. These pawns are only deemed to be talented when the ratings allow them to be. TV shows are not shaped by writers and producers, but are forced to fit around ads and pop cultures’ passing trends.

What we’re left with is shows like Lost. They start out with promise, people get hooked, and as ratings go up, quality goes down. We will probably never find out what Lost is all about, and frankly I do not care anymore. The hype will not last, the executives will get impatient and the ending will be forced.

I have come up with a few interesting paths I think Lost could take to redeem itself:

  1. Global Warming slowly rears its ugly head and the island is covered with water. Lost is then renamed Atlantis, and the core cast is replaced by friendly sea horses and a hot mermaid.
  2. A pack of rabid wolves rips apart every last survivor, except the dog. The wolves adopt the dog as their own and Lost becomes a feel good tale about the quest for your roots.
  3. Lost goes all Alive, and it becomes a big cannibalistic mess. Only the toughest will survive…
  4. The survivors and ‘The Others’ all visit the cocaine plane, everyone gets fucked up and a truce is declared. The new found friends band together to build an island paradise and Lost becomes the new Fantasy Island.
  5. Newly rejuvenated dinosaurs awaken from a long hibernation on the island to find a tasty assortment of ugly little mammals to snack on. The show becomes a thriller, man versus dinosaur.

Well that is my rant over and done with. Enjoy the rest of the season.

One to watch

Saw 2

(2005)
(Special Features Only)

Ok, so Saw 2 as a movie is pretty ho hum. It has nothing on the original. It tries too hard, and fails to deliver the knock out punch that made Saw so shocking. However, Saw 2 redeems itself somewhat with its special features on the DVD release.

The special features are mainly to do with the traps of Saw 2. If you have seen the original, or have read plot outlines of either movie you will know that Saw and Saw 2 are based around some psycho who kidnaps people, places them in do or die situations and lets their past mistakes come back to haunt them. In Saw 2 the traps are gruesome and clever in their execution.

The used needle pit was by far my favourite trap. Picture this: a pit of 120,000 dirty needles hides the key to an antidote to a nerve gas that is slowly killing off the characters. One of the damned is thrown into the pit and as she writhes around trying to find the key, and needles are sticking her left right and centre. Brilliant. Making the needle pit look real and yet still remain safe for the actress was no easy task. Every single syringe had to have its needle removed and replaced with a harmless plastic one. Various fake limbs and wounds were used to make her suffering look as realistic as possible…and trust me, it does.

Every trap in Saw 2 is explained and its secrets revealed in this special features section. If you are always left wondering at the end of a horror how they make it look so real then you need to watch this. It may kill the mystery however, like watching one of those shows where an outcast magician reveals the secrets of other magicians.

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