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This Week's Premieres in Preview

By Stephen Lackey     October 02, 2006


LOST Season 3 Promo Poster
© ABC
This may very well be the biggest week in the entire fall season. Sure there are some shows on, but they all may pale in comparison to the hype behind the season premiere of LOST. Last week ABC showed LOST: A Tale of Survival an hour long recap of the series right up to this season's premiere. The show, as gripping as it is, can be a bit convoluted as they create unimportant subplots in the midseason drag, so these recap shows can be very helpful to catch viewers up.

If you haven't been watching the series so far, there's no way I can catch you up in this one article. I recommend picking up the first two seasons on DVD and just catching yourself up. So for those in the know let's take a look at where the series stopped last season. LOST really kicked in towards the end of last season and this finale finally takes some major steps towards answering fan questions, but still as expected spurs many more questions that'll take us through season three. Michael (Harold Perineau) was propositioned last season by "the others" to lure some of his friends into a trap. In exchange he'd get his son back and a boat to get home in. Jack (Mathew Fox) and Sayid (Naveen Andrews) figure out that Michael is a turncoat and put together their own plan. On the way to the ambush Michael, overwhelmed by his guilt and outted by Jack, admits what he has done but the tranquilizer darts hurtling through the air like some sort of modern ninja weapon herald the fact that his revelation came too late. The prisoners are awakened just in time to see Michael and his son Walt (Malcolm David Kelly) float away on a boat. They let Hurley go sending him back to his camp with a warning for none of his cohorts to never set foot over the line between the two camps again.

Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) makes a not surprising but fairly epic return to the series on a boat he was never able to get out of eye shot of the island. Desmond has given up, not just on escaping, but on everything which helps him form a bond with Locke (Terry O'Quinn) who after finding another hatch with equipment that allowed residents of this hatch to monitor subjects left to push the button. He feels the whole thing is a big joke, and he and Desmond lock down their hatch and refuse to push the button. Here is where we get one of the biggest revelations of the episode. Desmond discovers that the last time he refused to press the button was the same day Locke's plane crashed. When Desmond tries to press the button Locke destroys the computer. A blinding flash and loud sound reveals nothing though. We'll have to see what the repercussions are with the season premiere.

Perhaps the biggest change in the entire series happens in the closing moments of the episode. Up to this point the formula of the series is to show the survivors on the island or show them in different places in flashback. In the last few minutes of the season final we see people in present day and not on the island. These people appear to be in some sort of monitoring station in an arctic climate. So, now we're into the season opener and a lot of questions have been raised. The one thing we are guaranteed is that these questions won't all get answered in this episode. I expect many of these questions will linger all the way through the season. The one thing we can hope is that JJ Abrahams (Alias, Mission Impossible III) will get back involved with the series and keep it rolling forward. We'll be watching Wednesday October 4th 9/8C on ABC.

Another huge premiere this week, Friday October 6th at 9/8C on the SCIFI Channel, is season three of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. This series along with Eureka really broke a trend for me. That trend was that of the fact that series created in house at SCIFI Channel usually suck. Stargate doesn't count because it started on Showtime. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA has easily become the best science fiction series on television since early Star Trek. Great sci-fi isn't only lasers and spaceships; it's also social political commentary, great drama, and great characters. Now I will admit that's a tall order, but BATTLESTAR GALACTICA has lived up to it.

Last season found the military and the new government settling into an uneasy relationship, mostly due to the mutual respect of Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos) and President Roslin (Mary McDonnell). In the last season her breast cancer was actually cured by the hybrid baby of a human and Cylon. I felt like that long running story arc was rushed to an end as were many others in the season. The first half of the season, called 2.0 on DVD is really strong featuring all the things we mention above as being part of great sci-fi. The second half of the season, called 2.5, all felt rushed and a few times predictable. Roslin's cancer was healed in one episode, the two part Pegasus story was ended predictably and basically with a simple plot device to name just a few instances of disappointing story arc conclusions. Now this really frustrated me but I learned why these stories were rushed as I witnessed the final episodes and the start of a new and epic direction for the series that some will love and others will hate.

The last few episodes focused on the election of a new President. During the new elections a planet resembling the refugees' home planet is discovered and becomes a point of contention between the two candidates President Roslin and wannabe Gaius Baltar (James Callis). Roslin and Adama know that Baltar is bad for the people, even if they aren't sure why so when they feel the election swaying in his direction they actually throw it. Their attempt to take the election fails and Baltar is elected. He makes the controversial decision to settle the people on this new planet, leaving Galactica and Pegasus to simply patrol the atmosphere around the planet. At the end of the season the Cylons predictably discover where they have settled and begin bombing runs on the planet. At the same time President Baltar surrenders the planet to the Cylons.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, the original 70's series and this new one have always basically been a remake of the old western Wagon Train. It's this "rag tag" group of people traveling across uncharted territory. In Wagon Train that territory was uncharted America, in Galactica that territory is uncharted space. So, with this latest twist the story changes as the group of people aren't traveling now. The series now feels like an invasion scenario. I'm sure they'll get back into space soon enough but it better not go easy. You can get a good clue now of what to expect by checking out the seven webisodes now online at the Galactica website. They aren't promotional material. They actually fill in the space between season two and season three.

VERONICA MARS, the surprise hit for the CW returns Tuesday October 3rd 9/8C. In this series Veronica, starting this year is a freshmen in college. In the series Veronica is the daughter of a private investigator and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. She also does her own investigating and gets herself and her friends in trouble more often than not. Typically the series has a mystery of the week along with a longer story arc as a subplot running the entire season. Stories are usually based on twists that often affect the overall story arc in ways you don't expect. The first two seasons follow Veronica and her friends through high school but now that she is starting to show her age it became necessary to push her into college to try and help keep the suspension of disbelief in full effect. In any case the show has been solid the past two seasons so it's worth a look.

Other series gearing up this week include SOUTH PARK coming back Wednesday, October 4th on Comedy Central for its 10th season and DRAWN TOGETHERThursday on Comedy Central. All of these new series along with those that have already started such as Heroes, Jericho, and Smallville to name a few means a very hot Tivo this fall. Check back here as we frantically try to review as many of these series as possible.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 15
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rexxdart 10/2/2006 7:04:00 AM
so is TV wasteland gone now? I don't recall a goodbye message or anything and we're well into the new season of television now. what gives?
slackey 10/2/2006 8:20:48 AM
Hello, Maybe I should have done some sort of introduction letter here along with the above article. I've just taken over the TV duties here at Cinescape and would love to hear about some of the things you guys would like to see within the TV columns.
snallygaster 10/2/2006 8:24:00 AM
I asked the same thing last week - looks like Jason and TV Wasteland are gone. As I recall, TV Wasteland was a Cinescape tradition, going at least as far back as Sonya (who came over from the now-defunct eonmagazine). It is odd that we didn't get a farewell from Jason - every other time the TV column was handed from one person to another, there was a farewell statement from the outgoing columinst and an introduction from the incoming columnist, so this switch is rather abrupt in comparison. Stephen, you may want to close your BOLD tag. And you do realize that mentioning Battlestar Galactica will draw out a certain arachnid pest to the board. Praising it the way you did will probably mean even more cut-n-pastes, if that's possible.
snallygaster 10/2/2006 8:44:53 AM
I seem to have crossposted with Stephen's posting. If you want to know what I'd like to see in the column, I rather liked the previous TV Wasteland format. It had the schedule of the week's shows broken down by days of the week, along with a brief synopsis. Usually the synopsis was of the wise-ass sort, but I wouldn't mind a more straightforward description. It would also be handy to note if the episode is new or a repeat. The remainder of the column was dedicated to whatever TV-related subject the columnist felt like babbling about - which was usually interesting and/or amusing. You may want to go back and sample some of those columns to get a feel for the old format. But in the end, it's your column, so find whatever "voice" you're comfortable with and go with it. And welcome aboard, Stephen!
mbeckham1 10/2/2006 9:34:36 AM
While I agree that Battlestar Galactica has become a true masterpiece and stadard barer for genre drama any drama really(easily as engaging as anything on the networks), and Eureka has a very appealing cast and concept, I would argue that in house SciFi channel series up til now have sucked. While SciFi has indeed had more than their share of sucky series, and well more han there share of unwatchable TV movies, they were also responsible bringning Farscape to TV audiences. A series that has arguably done as much as the Whedon trinity (Buffy, Angel, and Firefly) to redefine our expectations for what genre entertainment is capable of. And Invisible Man, First Wave, and The Chronicle, while in Battlestar's weight-class(though Farscape certainly is), are at least in Eureka's league and provided refreshingly intelligent wit and drama in a time the networks were only prepared to give us Survivor and Survivor clones. I second the above post that a breakdown of the weeks schedule would be great. I look forward to seeing more of your colomn.
DaForce1 10/2/2006 12:11:02 PM
Welcome aboard, Stephen. Yeah, an intro would be good, and a breakdown of the shows for the week would be good as well. And please, please, use a tv guide or something of that sort to see what's on for the next week. The previous guy didn't do this and would be hassled just about every week for omissions to the schedule. Good luck, and beware of posters named 'spiderr'. :)
spacekicker 10/2/2006 12:38:52 PM
bah! Stargate is fun. It's not character driven but plot driven fare of the style of the original StarTrek. Battlestar is AWESOME! So I'm positively giddy at it's re entrance into television land, though I hate the fact the seasons are so flippin short and the DVD's are so flippin costly (I should have used "frakkin). And Veronica Mars OOhhhh I swoon. She is after all my wife (okay maybe I'm making that up), and the show is stupendous, STUPENDOUS I SAY (even though there a few qualms with last season. It got somewhat convoluted and how many red herrings are there (When you hear the words "red Herring" does it make anyone think of Tim Curry in Clue?)? And lastly the freakin annoying show called Lost. I love it to a degree of hate. I want to start a petition to get it cancelled merely for the fact I want to see the end and know what the Frak (hah did it!) is going on! Shooot man, that show is going the way of Twin Peaks and by the end did anyone care? Man I love the fall!
slackey 10/2/2006 1:19:49 PM
Ask and you shall receive! An article introducing myself and a little about what I hope to do here is now on the To Do List!
rexxdart 10/2/2006 2:16:16 PM
I'll second, third, whatever the above...the breakdown of the week to come was a much looked forward to Monday morning tradition of sorts for me as I ate my cheerios (honey nut of course, I'm not a communist) and try to come to terms with another week of work. Lord knows TiVo tries but there are still things I would have missed if I hadn't seen them mentioned here.
segascream 10/2/2006 5:34:59 PM
My biggest suggestion (along side the list of what's on throughout the week) is simply to pay attention to shows not everyone is paying attention to (i.e. Lost, BSG, etc...) Genre or not, there's not much need to tell everyone to watch a show that everyone already watches. (Okay, I don't watch Lost, but if I haven't cared about it until season 3, why should I suddenly ignore everything else I'm typically watching to catch it?) But, some shows definatelly need to have attention called to them (off the top of my head: the "new" season of Doctor Who on Sci-Fi, Standoff, Heroes, Studio 60....these are shows that people have heard the hype on, and yeah, they may tune in to see one or two episodes, but by and large, these are also the same types of shows that have a huge first month or so, then disappear off the map thanks to a network that thinks nobody wants to see it). Or how about letting people know that the writing on Gilmore Girls is still top notch, despite an absence of Palladinos, or that ER.....well, is still ER, for better or worse. If not for Jason staying on top of things (and thus keeping us there), I never would have even known about Life On Mars, which is absolutely brilliant. TV Wasteland (or whatever it will now be called) has a responsibilty to keep us informed of things we otherwise wouldn't find out about. Sadly, it's one of the few things on Cinescape that is somewhat up-to-date anymore. I can cope with a loss of Jason (TV Wasteland columnists always seem to move up to better things), but I can't stick around if I'm only going to be reading about shows that everyone already knows about, watches, lives, and breathes.
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