Anyway, another pretty good episode of "Lost" -- this season's off to a great start, and even the flashback was pretty good, deepening the mystery of Sun and giving us some insight into her character and Jin's. Ben is keeping on being incredibly sinister, and it was interesting to hear Sawyer say that Juliet is a lot more of a badass than she appears. I think I've sussed the whole thing behind what's going on with the DHARMA Initiative and why they keep referring to themselves as good people despite constantly doing bad things, but even if I'm right about the big picture, there's tons of details and mysteries still to resolve, so I'm hooked for now. Minor complaints: Sayid seems kinda incompetent for such a badass, and while I'm intrigued as to how it happens, I'm a bit bummed that they appear to have not let Desmond, Locke, Eko and Charlie stay dead. If you start suspending consequence like that, it lessens how much you care about the characters (no point in getting upset if they die if they'll just come back; the emotional power is gone) and nullifies the creation of suspense (you don't care if your characters are in danger if you know they won't really die). Otherwise, good stuff.
- Speaking of "Deadwood", there's an amazingly perfect joke about the show in the last episode of season 4 of "The Wire". I won't spoil it, since I think only episodes 1-5 have aired yet, but it's a great gag.
Yes, through the magic of the internet, I have seen all of the currently airing season of "The Wire"! And though I've said it many times before, let me say it again, because S4 is the best one they've done yet: this is far and away the finest show on television, and probably one of the best television shows of all time. It's so, so, SO much more than just a cop show; it's about the only program I can think of that really has the desire and the ability to offer a systemic critique of pretty much every aspect of American institutional life, and not only not come across as dogmatic or reductive, but actually do it in the framework of a fantastic drama with incredibly well-rounded characters, a complex plot, amazing dialogue, absolutely stunning performances and really funny moments. Creators Ed Burns and David Simon have often said that the main character on the show is the city of Baltimore (and, by extension, AnyCity, USA), and it's abundantly clear that's the case in season 4, where the previous identification character (Jimmy McNulty) isn't even in half the episodes. The season finale made me laugh, left me slack-jawed, and completely broke my heart, while instilling tiny fragments of hope; it's really very moving, which is not an experience I often get from any art, let alone a cop show. If you're watching S4 and have been into "The Wire" all along, you're in for an amazing ride; if you've never seen "The Wire", I beg of you, rent it from season 1 on (season 1-3 are available on DVD, and season 4 you can get off OnDemand if you have HBO). It's only going to have one more season, and then it's gone; and it's one of those shows that twenty years from now will be talked about as one of the greats. Don't miss it.
- Missing "The Nine", though, is easy and fun. After a mediocre start, it plummeted straight into crummy, and man, of all the people who starred in the crummy but popular FOX weepy-drama "Party of Five", the lead in this show is the biggest lightweight. He has to bring gravitas to a lot of his scenes, and all he's got is hair and teeth. Dramatically speaking, he's not so much bringing a knife to a gunfight as he is bringing a flower to a fistfight.