Lost: Season Six – A Preview to the Beginning of the End

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Just as it became a pop culture phenomenon during its first season, “Lost” will once again be on everyone’s radar as the island drama builds toward its inevitable end with the Season 6 premiere on February 2nd. Though Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof have done an incredible job over the years of juggling all the different storylines and mysteries, it’s asking a lot to think that they’ll be able to end the show without criticism from some of its fans. With that said, however, I cannot wait to see what they’ve cooked up for the show’s sixth season, because after last year’s head-scratcher of a finale, there’s plenty at stake.

The biggest question of all revolves around Jughead. Did Juliet succeed in detonating the hydrogen bomb, and if so, will it really reset time like Faraday led Jack to believe? Early indicators certainly point to that being the case, with several former cast members returning for an unspecified amount of episodes. This includes everyone from minor players like Charlotte (Rebecca Mader), Libby (Cynthia Watros) and Boone (Ian Somerhalder), to more influential characters like Faraday (Jeremy Davies), Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell), Michael (Harold Perrineau) and, of course, Charlie (Dominic Monaghan). No word yet on whether Mr. Eko, Ana-Lucia, Shannon or Walt will also find their way back into the “Lost” universe, but rumor is that Cuse and Lindelof are bringing back everyone they possibly can, and that extends to many of the supporting characters as well.

Of course, there’s also a chance that Juliet hasn’t changed the past, but merely created an alternate reality that branches off the one we know. Don’t forget, “whatever happened, happened,” so no matter what may have sprouted as a result of Jughead’s detonation, that particular timeline will always exist. Granted, even if we are treated to a look at how the survivors’ lives would have turned out if Oceanic Flight 815 never crashed, you can be sure that we’ll still be seeing plenty of the island throughout the season. There’s no way the Losties are done just yet, because there are still a number of questions left unanswered, such as…

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ABC: What’s New for Fall 2009

V (Tues., Nov. 3 @ 8:00 PM, ABC)

The competition: “NCIS” (CBS) “The Biggest Loser” (NBC), “Hell’s Kitchen” (Fox), “90210” (The CW)

Starring: Elizabeth Mitchell, Morris Chestnut, Joel Gretsch, Lourdes Benedicto, Logan Huffman, Laura Vandervoort, Morena Baccarin, Scott Wolf
Producers: Scott Peters (“The 4400,” “The Outer Limits”), Jeffrey Bell (“Day Break,” “Alias”), Steve Pearlman (“Reunion,” “Related”), and Jace Hall (“The Jace Hall Show”)
Network’s Description: A re-imagining of the 1980’s miniseries about the world’s first encounter with an alien race. Simultaneously appearing over every major city in the world, the Visitors (or V’s) promote a message of peace. Through their generous offer to share advanced technology, the V’s build a following that may actually hide a more malevolent agenda, one that twists a very deep component of human nature: devotion. While the world quickly becomes fascinated with the V’s and their link to wonders just beyond the reach of human understanding, FBI Counter Terrorist Agent Erica Evans discovers a secret hidden beneath the skin of every V – a secret that may threaten the lives of everyone close to her. Yet for her teenage son, Tyler, the V’s are his ticket to something big and hopeful — a new chance for mankind to unite in common goals. To Chad Decker, a career-hungry news anchor, his exclusive interview with Anna, the leader of the V’s, is crucial to his dominating the airwaves. Also unsure about the Visitors is Father Jack, a priest questioning his faith in the wake of the Visitors’ arrival. Seeking answers outside the church, Father Jack discovers there are other dissidents who believe the Visitors are not who they say they are, including Ryan Nichols, who is faced with his own life-altering decision when the V’s show up. Never has there been more at stake — it truly is the dawning of a new day.
The Buzz: Like “Eastwick,” there’s a certain instinct to ask, “Why do we need to revisit a 20-year-old property?” In the case of “V,” though, most of those who remember the show fondly will probably nod their heads and consider that, yes, special effects technology has evolved to a point where a concept like this one deserves to reap the benefits. And although the purists will no doubt grimace and claim that it won’t be the same without original creator Kenneth Johnson working behind the scenes, they need look no farther than “Battlestar Galactica” to have a good reason to consider the possibilities for a new “V.”
Pilot Highlight: Personally, I dug the showdown between Anna and Chad when he refuses to offer an interview consisting solely of softball questions and she informs him that either it’ll be all queries that paint the Visitors in a positive light or the interview will be canceled, but the episode’s tie-ins to terrorism were damned intriguing.
Bottom Line: There’ll clearly be a “we’ve seen this” reaction from the generation who grew up with “Independence Day,” but it’s already clear that this is not your parents’ “V.” It may not prove to have any more legs than ABC’s last stab at alien infiltration (“Invasion”), but it’s going to come down to whether or not the viewers who come in for the curiosity factor, thinking, “Hey, I liked the old show, I wonder how the new one will be,” are going to given enough to sell them right off the bat.

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Shameless commerce with “I Sell the Dead”

I usually like my horror best when it’s well mixed with comedy. Moreover, this LAFF selection has gotten some good responses elsewhere, but I’m sorry to say that “I Sell the Dead” was my first real disappointment of the festival. It’s a fairly classic example of the kind of film where the cinematic “frosting” is sickly delightful, but where the actual movie “cake” beneath it is mostly a dud. Written, directed, and edited by Glen McQuaid on his first feature, the film is largely told in flashback as career grave robber/ghoul and alleged killer Arthur Blake (Dominic Monaghan, “Lost” and LOTR) is encouraged to recount his lengthy career by a fearsome but jovial cleric (geekfilm stalwart Ron Perlman).

Young Arthur (Daniel Manche) begins his profession under the tutelage of experienced corpse dealer Willie Grimes (cult/indie horror regular Larry Fessenden). Willie’s a rough sort and ready to do young Arthur in to curry favor with his fearsome main customer, an evil scientist who pays mostly in blackmail (the memorable Angus Scrimm, a.k.a., the terrifying “Tall Man” from the “Phantasm” series). But at heart he’s no murderer and the two become close friends as they eventually branch out from simple grave robbing to the commercial possibilities of dealing with the bodies of vampires, zombies, and assorted other deceased creatures, both undead and unusual. Eventually, Arthur’s ghoulishly sexy Lady MacBeth of a girlfriend (the terrific Brenda Cooney) complicates matters just a bit.

Writer/director/editor McQuaid is a designer and effects artist with a keen classic film and EC comics-inspired visual sense and a gift for horror-based humor, but the story he comes up with here is episodic at best and lacks anything resembling a spine. Moreover, while there are some wonderful gags and genuinely creepy moments starting about half-way through the film, it’s a long slog getting there and a fairly long feeling slog after.

I share McQuaid’s affection for the modestly budgeted horror/comedy/camp classics of old and “I Sell the Dead” is a nicely designed homage. However, without any clear emotional spine to the story, the director’s strong visuals and obvious enthusiasm for the genre, strong acting from the entire cast, and terrific score by composer Jeff Grace, sadly doesn’t add up to very much entertainment. Still, I know that fans of the endangered art of comic horror will want to seek this one out anyway. I hope they get more fun out of it than I did.

  

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Is Charlie coming back for more “Lost”?

That seems to be the new rumor going around the ‘net today following the release of a new ABC promo featuring Patrick Dempsey, Ed O’Neill, Courtney Cox-Arquette and ex-Lostie Dominic Monaghan. While TV spoiler guru Michael Ausiello has received word from a network insider that “There’s obviously a lot of ABC talent in the promo… It doesn’t necessarily mean that Dominic is returning to Lost,” it’s hard to argue otherwise considering the promo ends with Dempsey telling Monaghan “You’re so dead,” and Monaghan coyly replying, “Actually, I was.”

The fact that fellow cast member Emilie de Ravin was just announced as returning to series regular status for the final season, it would certainly open up the opportunity for Monaghan to return as well. Whether it’s as a ghost or a real person (what if Juliet really did change the past?) is uncertain, but whatever the case, I know that lots of fans (myself included) would just be happy to have him back. We’ll have to wait until January 2010 to find out, but for the time being, it’s definitely worth speculating about.

UPDATED: As it turns out, the rumor was just that — an unfortunately untrue rumor. Mr. Ausiello has gotten the real scoop, and it involves Monaghan joining another hour-long show on ABC. Any guesses? Ausiello’s comment section is already filling up with suggestions, including one I like (“V”) and one I don’t (“Grey’s Anatomy”).

  

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