Lost

Lost, the third of the three seasonal television I’ve been following this year, closed out its first season with a two-hour episode on Wednesday. It was a solid finish to a good debut season.
The major problem with the finale was that it felt padded out to 2 hours. The slow-motion montage of the Lostaways getting on the plane felt like filler, as did the extended comic relief scene of Hurley barely making the plane.
A new character makes his first appearance in the previous episode and then goes off as the only person who is not a main character to go play with dynamite. Hello, obvious red shirt. The writers did a good job of maintaining the surprise as to whether he would survive the episode.
Hurley just making the flight is almost a shout-out to TAR7. (In the TAR7 finale, Joyce and Uchenna just barely made the first flight to Miami after the pilot re-opened the door.) Of course, Uchenna and Joyce had much better luck after getting on the flight than Hurley. Considering luck, the
The scene with the rafters and the others was brilliantly chilling. Coming after the scene where we think that they might be Rousseau’s crazy delusion. But shouldn’t the Lostaways be a little more curious about the power lines coming onto the island (that Sayid found on his way to Rousseau’s pad) and the transmitter.
The problem with a show like Lost is that the season finale can’t really bring closure. After all, the Lostaways will be back on the island next year and need to fill another 24 hours worth of television. Because this is mainly a character-driven show, rather than plot-driven, …
While J.J Adams and the Lost writers have done a great job in creating characters and setting up the mystery of the island, I fear that they have posed questions but have yet to figure out the answers. Lost could end up like the X-Files, which lost its interest as it answered questions with new questions (and didn’t have enough character-driven stories to balance the lack of answers.) Lost still has a lot of potential in how the characters adapt to their situation. But the writers can not go too long without at least answering some questions. How the characters react to those answers seems to be some kind of set up for the next season– in particular Locke and Jack and the hatch, Hurley and the numbers, someone (either Sayid or Locke, I’d guess) and Rousseau.
The problem that Lost faces is by using too much time to set up the characters’ histories and backstory, nothing happens on the island. The finale gave room for some actual plot: the fate of the raft crew (and how they get back to the island), interaction with the others, and whatever new plans to get off the island.
The first season of Lost was very successful in setting up the mystery of the island and establishing a core group of characters. Its future success will depend on whether Adams and the writing staff either actually have a master plan for revealing bits and pieces of the mystery or do a good job of improvising and piecing together planted plot points into a coherent set of answers.
I watched most of Lost in 3 or 4 episode blocks rather than serially every week which I think is the way to go. On DVD, the show will probably shine.
Salon.com: Still Lost
TeeVee.org: Lost Explained: “All of the characters in Lost are in Zork. The whole show is one giant text adventure game.”
Slate: Arzt’s History: “Ever since he uttered his first lines on the May 11 episode, this character was clearly earmarked for destruction, as expendable as one of the “red shirts” who used to get systematically picked off while exploring planets on the old Star Trek.”

Five Years

Breakout the birthday cake. Sometime in May, AndrewRaff.com turned five years old. In internet years, that’s, um, carry the one, er, old. Of course, regular blogging only dates back to January 2002, so it’s not quite that old school.

Letters, we get letters

And some are just plain weird:

I THINK ITS DIGUSSING AND PERSONAL PEOPLE THAT FIND IT ATTRACTIVE WHEN SHARKS ATTACK ITS NASTY AND ITS NOT HIMAN. IF THEY ARE LEFT ALONE AND NOT DISTURBED THEN THERE WOULD BE REASON TO ATTACK

I don’t get it. Any ideas?

Latest Listening

Last week, I bought a couple of albums (via iTunes) for the first time in about three months.
Beck is one of the few artists whose albums I’d go to purchase as soon as they’re released. I didn’t quite buy Guero as soon as it was released, but it was the first album I bought since it was released. The first track, E-Pro evokes Devil’s Haircut, Odelay’s opening track, but takes one its own identity with its catchy na-na-na chorus. The other standout track is the breezy Girl. The album may be the first from Beck that actually mixes his sonic collage/new jack swing side with the folk/acoustic side.
I considered buying Ben Folds’ new album, but instead picked up the first (eponymous) Ben Folds Five album. I first heard the Ben Folds Five on Vin Scelsa’s Idiot’s Delight (back when it was on WNEW, when WNEW was still a rock station) and thought, “hey, these guys are fun,” and eventually bought Whatever and ever, Amen when it was released. I kept my eye out for the eponymous debut, but even when I did find it, I never found it priced below $17.99.
But the trio’s debut album is different from their two subsequent major label releases because of the attitude. On their debut, BF5 is a punk band dressed in the clothes of a pop piano trio. The combination of reckless energy with pop songs on piano is a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the band’s subsequent albums couldn’t keep up the same energy level.
Whatever and Ever had some of this same energy, particularly on One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces and Song For the Dumped, but diluted across the rest of the album. I never bought the third BF5 album. They played at Tufts the week it was released and the show was really boring. Trying to become more polished sucked the energy out of the band and its live show. The band lost the raw energy that it captured on its first album.
I have yet to buy their album, but I have been listening to The Ditty Bops shows from the Internet Archive. These two women play catchy music that draws heavily on the sounds of the 1920’s. It’s fun stuff. The Ditty Bops will be at Mercury Lounge on June 9.
This week, I also picked up the Arrested Development Season 1 DVDs, while Fox picked up Arrested Development for a third season. They haven’t made a huge mistake.

An Indecent Proposal

Yes, the quality and quantity of my posts here has fallen off a bit. Considering where I started, it’s hard to believe it could get any worse. As I try to catch up with a backlog of information, I am going to be focusing on one subject for this next week. That subject is indecency regulation.
The starting point is a paper I wrote last semester for a seminar on Telecommunications Law:
Indecent Proposals: FCC Indecency Regulations and the First Amendment
One upcoming post will look at indecency rulings over the last five months. Another post will examine the proposals to regulate indecency on cable and satellite. Ideally, a final post should integrate all these ideas into a single coherent paper.

Star Wars, those crazy Star Wars

I am resigned to go to see Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, but have no expectations that it is going to be a good film. I feel like I’ve obtained at least $50 worth of entertainment from Star Wars and Empire, so Lucas has already earned the money I’ll spend on Episode III, no matter how bad it is.
Recently, I watched Star Wars, Empire and Jedi (remastered original editions, not the revised, special editions) on VHS. The standout feature of the films is not so much the plot, the acting or characters. The sound design, however, is brilliant. The John Williams score is as close to perfection as a film score can achieve. The incidental sounds– the noises of light sabers, starships, droids, doors and landspeeders– make the film seem larger than life. All on-screen actions are tied to a visual sound cue that is unobtrusive, but gives the film more weight than it would otherwise. The ambient sounds simply make the film seem more real.
Sound Design of Star Wars: “In my first discussion with George Lucas about the film, he – and I concurred with him – that he wanted an ‘organic’, as opposed to the electronic and artificial soundtrack. Since we were going to design a visual world that had rust and dents and dirt, we wanted a sound which had Squeaks and motors that may not be the smooth-sounding or quite. Therefore we wanted to draw upon raw material from the real world: real motors, real squeaky door, real insects; this sort of thing. The basic thing in all films is to create something that sounds believable to everyone, because it’s composed of familiar things that you can not quite recognize immediately'”
Reviews of Revenge are decidedly mixed. But does it even matter? No matter how bad the film is, millions of people will watch it because of the Star Wars brand.
Woo-hoo!
New York Times (A.O. Scott): Some Surprises in That Galaxy Far, Far Away: “This is by far the best film in the more recent trilogy, and also the best of the four episodes Mr. Lucas has directed. That’s right (and my inner 11-year-old shudders as I type this): it’s better than ‘Star Wars.'”
Wired News (Christopher Null): Star Wars Ends With Solid Sith: “And so we’re faced with the third Star Wars prequel, Revenge of the Sith, simultaneously the most anticipated and dreaded film of the summer. Nearly a decade of hype, dashed expectations and Jar Jar Binks jokes have finally come down to this, by all accounts the last Star Wars movie that will ever be made.”
Meh
Salon.com (Stephanie Zacharek): Same old Sith: “In a weird way, the story actually makes sense on-screen: Lucas (who also wrote the script, in case you couldn’t guess) seems to have taken some care this time, and compared with its predecessors, at least, the picture moves along reasonably swiftly and with an almost shocking adherence to dramatic logic.… But “Revenge of the Sith” is still crap.”
Look at what “sith” is an anagram for…
The New Yorker (Anthony Lane): Space Case: “The general opinion of “Revenge of the Sith seems to be that it marks a distinct improvement on the last two episodes, “Th Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones. True, but only in the same way that dying fro natural causes is preferable to crucifixion.”
The Bink Zone: I hates Lucas! I hates it forever! “In every act of creation, there’s the temptation to keep making it better. This temptation must of course be resisted. At some point, you declare it done. Not perfect, but done. You let it go and move on. If there are things you don’t like, apply the lessons learned to your next work of art.”
And finally, Bill Murray sings Star Wars

Finito!

By the way, I’m done with law school.
Seriously.
I don’t know where the time went. I still feel like I haven’t even started half the stuff I wanted to get done during the last semester.
Of course, the end of exams isn’t really any kind of milestone. Graduation isn’t for another couple of weeks. And nothing is really done until after the bar exam at the end of July.
And only then do I really get to face the gaping void of unemployment.