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Inconsistent, contrived, boring, pretentious, unintentionally hilarious and full of unlikeable morons. The name of the show? Lost. How accurate.
When I first heard about Lost I was excited, who wouldn't be? An interesting premise and the potential to be truly amazing. I remember sitting down and watching the premiere episodes, to say the least I was impressed. It had its hook that would reel me in: "Guys Where are we?" It was with this line that I said "Hell YEAH! This will be awesome." I spoke too soon. Well, its clear Lost is popular, very popular, and strangely enough critically acclaimed. For a show that prides itself on character development and sustaining an interesting and involving mystery it fails in almost every regard. The first season moves along at a staggeringly slow pace, the writers reveal little tidbits of information, leaving the viewer wanting more. It works to a degree because it whets the viewers appetite for a good mystery but the primary problem is, it becomes progressively obvious the writers have barely any idea as to where the story is headed, highlighted by the season 1 cliffhanger, and just about every other "cliffhanger" the show has ever produced. They simply make it up as they go along and even for regular viewers it progressively becomes glaringly obvious.
The flashbacks were a good idea in theory but so far they have failed in developing, fleshing out or even progressing the characters motivations and arcs. It's disappointing because I think they are an accessible and simple idea of doing this, but alas it all comes down to writing and so far only about four of the episodes with flashbacks were actually interesting and kept me enthralled. They at times add depth to the island story and provide insight into the characters before the island, but are they really needed? Why cant we simply get to know the characters as they are, instead of as they were? Especially when the flashbacks are so terribly written, enough so, that when I hear the little sound that comes with the opening of a flashback I instantly tune out. I've spent two seasons of this mediocre show, tuning out during a flashback, I believe it has become second nature, almost a subconscious message that "you are going to bored just tune out now so you don't have to sit through the painfully bad dialogue and inanely stupid side stories".
The huge cast is a major flaw in the shows structure. There is so many problems with an ensemble this large and it's honestly annoying. They added another three people into the cast in the second season and even more in the third season....it's just too many people. I still don't understand why they can't just focus on a smaller group of people, flesh out those characters instead of adding new ones for the novelty of it. I realize new characters are introduced to serve the plot (see: plot devices) but when the current characters aren't fleshed out or developed as well as they should be, you don't just introduce new characters to keep people interested, instead you develop the characters you have, by making them fully 3 dimensional. I haven't seen that happen yet, instead the writers have decided that the flashbacks are a cheap way of quickly developing them as much as they can...That is lazy. To add to this the characters are very boring and mostly uninteresting, there are a couple of exceptions but they're continually pushed to the side so we can all enjoy another ego trip by the "amazing doctor who can do no wrong and just wishes his daddy would love him," Jack or as i like to call him "SHUT UP". The show continues to pile unsatisfying faux-answers on top of annoying characters that don't develop so much as stagnate, I find it hard to believe that there are people that actually believe there is an ounce of true character development in this show. They're only interested in giving us flashbacks that tell us nothing, giving us answers that don't answer anything, showing us unlikable, humorless, and uninteresting people, and that are just overwhelming boring in general. Wow, I haven't even gotten to the anvils yet. Lost heavily utilizes biblical allusions and symbolism. This can be a good thing if it's subtly done but Lost hammers the message of the episode into your brain with a 47kg jack hammer and then it's pretentious enough to believe that it's intelligent. Or should I say the writers are? They'll even pat themselves on the back continually flaunting their "intelligence" like they are the smartest people in the world. Demon (Damon) and Curse (Cuse), some people just aren't buying it.
I've completely lost interest in Lost. The conflicts are often contrived, the characters are not believable, there are no issues being tackled in an intelligent way, and the plot is made up as they go along. I could fast forward through most of an episode without missing anything. I think people just don't get what an intelligently written, character driven show is, I can tell you one thing, Lost isn't. Its all in the hype and maybe, just maybe if Lost wasn't hyped as the "best show EVER!!!11" or "A character driven masterpiece" by critics and viewers alike, then maybe, just maybe i wouldn't be as bitter as i am. But I am bitter, very bitter.
If you believe Lost is anything more than a dumb entertaining show, with an inconsequential, made-up-as-they-go-along mystery and characters that aren't really characters, then;
You've been fooled.
I'll say this much: Lost is the best one-hour drama, set on an island, featuring flashbacks, with a sinister undertone of mystery and soap-opera like character developments ever to air on television.
Nobuta wo produce (2005)
The three lovable leading characters embody the reason why this show is so damn brilliant
Nobuta wo Produce may not have the most original premise, however the characters are what make the show an original. They are the glue that holds the show together, they are what make you laugh and cry and then laugh some more. Nobuta wo Produce is written with a wit and intelligence rarely seen in television anymore. There are far too many shows that attempt to mask a rather cliché premise with "out there" characters who end up as 1 dimensional caricatures. Nobuta wo Produce knows what it is and that's what makes everything work so well. The three main characters are written with the utmost love and compassion and it shines through with their endearing interaction with one another. Nobuta played by the continually impressive Horikita Maki, is positively endearing and wonderfully acted. Akira Kusano is wacky, weird and awesomely played by Tomohisa Yamashita who manages to add a depth to his character, who first appears as the stereotypical funny guy. Finally, Shuji played by Kazuya Kamenashi is equally impressive, exuding an obvious understanding for his characters plight and projecting that through his excellent leading performance. All three actors give brilliant performances and all three have such a strong chemistry with one another that it feels like they really are the best of friends.
Nobuta wo produce is so impressively written that it breaks the mold of conventional high school dramas by developing the characters in such a fashion that they each have their own definable arc that lead to a beautifully written change in character. Nobuta wo Produce deals with issues of growing up without the overly sentimental hallmark crap, it is honest and true with its portrayal of high school life and how these characters influence upon each other is what shapes them to become who they are. It may not be written in the most realistic way at times but the characters that embody the story feel real, and you will undoubtedly be in fits of tears and laughter due to your growing attachment to them.
Nobuta wo Produce is an original but not in the conventional sense. It is an original because it has such a large heart, that makes you fall in love with the characters. Who are original in every sense of the word.
Funny, scary, emotional, intense, thrilling, sad. And then funny some more.
What else is there to say? The Host elicits every feeling, every sense of urgency, dread, sadness and happiness with ease. And somehow it manages to cram all of that into the first fifthteen minutes. After that it speeds along and doesn't let up. I was with it till the end, laughing when I was supposed to, crying, and even cheering. It is one of those rare films that blends all the respective genres into one with an almost scary simplicity. I shouldn't be surprised, it is from writer and director Joon Ho Bong whose last films the equally brilliant Memories of Murder and the excellent black comedy Barking Dogs Never Bite featured a similar feeling.
How does the man do it? Like with his other films particularly Memories of Murder he manages to break the conventions of the genre by frequently poking fun at the rather stale "monster" genre and by taking a fresh, appealing perspective. It's funny at all the right moments and even in moments when you feel you shouldn't be laughing you cant help but laugh. It's full of vibrantly realized characters, who each have their "moment" that make you laugh at the ridiculousness or gasp at the coolness. It is written with care and love, the pace never stagnates and the dialogue is never forced. The CG monster effects are nice and appropriately unrealistic in appearance. Perhaps too unconventional for American audiences but it really works in the context of the films rather serious yet quirky atmosphere. The acting is excellent, Kang Ho-Song continues to impress, star in the making Ah-sung Ko gives a very good first performance, and the rest of the cast give great performances. All managing the frequent dips into serious and comical and even both at the same time.
The Host is a brilliant, brilliant film. I'm so pleased I had the pleasure of seeing it at the cinemas, the way it deserves to be seen. Despite fitting into a rather common genre, The Host is an original. It is a unique and refreshing film, full of charming characters, awesome action sequences and even an emotional poignancy that weaves itself into the film at the most appropriate of times.
The Host is undoubtedly my favourite film of the year and one of the most entertaining films I have seen in recent years. If you like your films to be highly enjoyable, but also smart and even emotional, you will love what The Host has to offer.
Kôkyô shihen Eureka Sebun (2005)
At its heart an exquisitely told romance with beautifully animated action scenes, and characters created with love
The first time I watched Eureka Seven, I was in a mood of "meh, this is going to suck," it didn't but I definitely didn't love it either. After watching the first two episodes and failing to be interested enough to continue, I forgot about it. Some weeks later, on a forum I regularly visit, people were gushing over it. I was wondering what the hell they were on about; they reassured me that it got better and better and better and better .and then even better. "Mecha just isn't my thing" I said "especially when said mecha rides on lame surfboards through the sky". WRONG. The mecha aspect is such a miniscule part of the show that placing it into that anime genre is a crime against humanity. Instead the show becomes one of the most compelling dramas I've ever seen, anime or not. So yes I continued to watch, the next few episodes were nothing special, humorous in parts, interesting in others. I was growing impatient waiting for an arc to form. And then it happened and everything changed, by episode 30 I was proclaiming Eureka Seven as the best anime I've ever had the pleasure of watching and by the end of it all, Eureka Seven had solidified it's place in anime history as possibly the most beautifully written anime ever.
So what is it about it that makes Eureka Seven so refreshing and wonderful? For starters it's nothing like the general mecha anime, if you look at all of them, they are all named after the mecha: Rahxephon, Evangelion, Gundam etc. Eureka Seven set itself up from the very beginning as a character drama and by naming it after the main female character they achieved this. Eureka Seven is all about the characters. Occasionally there are no mecha battles for episodes at a time, when there is one, they are there to compliment the story and the characters own development. At first I felt Renton was rather annoying and I continually found myself saying "shut up" allowed, whenever he was on screen, however by the end Renton had undergone such an excellently written change, he wasn't the annoying kid anymore he was instead one of the most endearing male leads in any anime I have ever seen. Technically Eureka Seven is an achievement. Every aspect, the music, the animation does its job with finesse. The music by Sato Naoki is superb and at time compels you to tears in even some of the happiest most uplifting of scenes. It weaves itself into the anime and never feels out of place. The animation is mostly consistent but at time it drops in quality, however the high level of art is maintained throughout. The arcing story is always interesting and doesn't fall into boring clichés and contrivances which plague most anime today. The writers indict war and it's meaningless with beautiful tact and subtlety. The mysteries are well told and answers are littered throughout, a lot of them leaving the viewer to ponder over and think about, rather than having them shoved in your face.
Sadly Eureka Seven has slipped under most peoples radars; brushing it off as the same thing I felt it was when I first watched it. Fullmetal Alchemist another offering from Bones animation Studio has managed to make a dent in the anime community, even though I liked that anime quite a bit it pales in comparison to Eureka Seven. Hopefully as word of mouth spreads Eureka Seven will find itself as widely acclaimed as it deserves to be.
Eureka Seven is what every anime, no every TV show aspires to be, something original, intriguing and always fun. It's a rarity to have such a uniquely told story that is full of lovable characters and wondrous technical achievements. Eureka Seven is the best anime of 2005. No, the best anime in years.