Forever Altering the Television Landscape

Finally exhaling after six long—and ridiculously rewarding—years of loving Lost, I will not yet take on the daunting challenge of summing up What It All Means.  Instead, I will attend to other fare.  But rest assured: I will return to the show so ambitious, brilliant, creative—in a word: unprecedented—that I can’t ever imagine its ilk will be seen again on the small screen.

Fitting too that another iconic show—equal in grace and solemnity and one that also forever altered the television landscape—ended an evening later.  I’ve long maintained that 24 is the best, most addictive show to watch via Netflix: the sublimity of TV-on-DVD fueled by the perpetually ticking clock!  Over the past week, I’ve again realized the verity of that mantra.  Home sick last Wednesday, I was browsing my ‘Instant Queue’ via the PlayStation3, when—in a bout of nostalgia—I decided to check out 24’s pilot.  After all, it had been over eight years since I first met Jack Bauer.

And a very quick four episodes later, Kim had been kidnapped, Teri was already annoying me, and Jack was slowly but surely evolving into the effective, grizzled, and allegorical—if conflicted—embodiment of post-9/11 American terrorism policy. (Admittedly, though, it is a kick to watch Jack threaten to gouge out his very first eyeball.)

Despite a hectic week, I’ve only got six hours remaining to see what happens on the day of the California Presidential Primary, where Pedro Cerrano, er, Senator David Palmer—Dennis Haysbert’s gravitas suffers a bit now knowing that last year he asked my then 29-year-old friend (he turned 56 yesterday) out on a date!—begins to forever change the world in which 24 exists.

Taking a step back from the flat screen, now seems an apt time to vocalize some scattered and random musings, alliteratively entitled ‘Wood Wonders Why . . .’:

Wood Wonders Why . . .

. . . World Cup soccer ever got rid of the Golden Goal?  What is possibly more dramatic then one shot/header/deflection—even own-goal!—to end the most hallowed tournament in all of sport?  It’s akin to combining overtimes of an Olympic Gold Medal hockey game and Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final . . . with the entire world watching with baited breath.  What could be better?

. . . Los Angeles Lakers fans chant ‘M-V-P’ every time Kobe Bryant takes a free throw at the Staples Center?  Yes, everyone knows he’s their pride and joy.  The second coming of West/Kareem/Magic.  But he didn’t win the Most Valuable Player award this year.  Nor did he win last year.  And he didn’t deserve it either season.  The temptation no doubt grows if he has having a tremendous playoff game, say 40 points entering the fourth quarter in a crucial contest?  But in the first half of the first quarter of Game 1 of the conference finals?  Not so much.

. . . Classic Concentration is not in regular rotation on the Game Show Network?  To my mind, it’s one of the two greatest game shows of all-time.  (The other Alex Trebek-helmed gem is the other.)  And yet it constantly gets the shaft—do that many people really want to see seven (!) episodes of Family Feud every day?  Really?

Dueling Mascots

Leave it to the Onion—a big shout out to my hometown of Madison where this hilarious satirical newspaper began its witty ascendance!—to so aptly sum up the recently completed NHL Western Conference finals by breaking down their equally puzzling mascot choices.  Choice quote: “The San Jose Sharks were reportedly just as confused by the Blackhawks logo, failing to understand what a somewhat racist representation of a Native American had to do with hockey.”

Speaking of Chicago’s professional hockey team . . . their big free agent catch, winger Marian Hossa, is again the reason to watch this year’s edition of the Stanley Cup Final. As a huge fan of the Detroit Red Wings, I can’t say I’m too surprised—nor will I admit a bit unpleased—that through the first three rounds, the burly winger only tallied twice in 16 playoff games.  Last season in Hockeytown, he notched six goal in 23 games, but seemed to grip his stick tighter and tighter as the Stanley Cup Final extended farther and farther.  True, he won’t be facing off against his old team this year.  But isn’t the prospect of losing the Stanley Cup for the third straight year—all with different teams, potentially each time on his own home ice—even more mortifying than doing it in back-to-back seasons?

Never known as a pressure player, how will Hossa respond?  So far he’s played well and his team is up two games to one.  But if we have learned anything this playoff hockey season, it is do not count out the Philadelphia Flyers.  Or as one rabid fan so elegantly put it:

“. . . Ritner also says that the Flyers’ secret weapon hasn’t worked all that well for them. When asked what that secret weapon might be, he responded very matter of fact: ‘Marian Hossa.’”

Other ex-Wings are playing in the Cup final for the third (Tomáš Kopecký) and second (Ville Leino) straight seasons.  Each has had impressive series so far.

Inside Baseball

“Every time you go to a baseball game, you are very likely to see something you’ve never seen before”

For anyone who has ever attended a ballgame with me, you have likely heard me utter that adage.  And at the Mets-Nationals game two Wednesdays ago, it came to pass in historic fashion.  New York’s centerfielder Ángel Pagán hit a two out inside-the-park home run in the fourth inning and then followed up the unusual feat an inning-and-a-half later by starting an 8-2-6-3 triple play!

While it was not unprecedented— Pagán was the first player to be involved in both in 55 years—I am certain it will be the only time I ever witness such a twofer in my lifetime.

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