Tuesday, August 16, 2005


I don't think I'd ever written anything in here about Six Feet Under, so I'll see where my mind takes me and just write. Sorry I don't have an outline, or anything specific in mind. I'll do my best.

I started watching Six Feet Under while I was teaching high school at The Woodhall School. We didn't have HBO, but I got ahold of the episodes on the recommendation of my father. It was into the third season by the time I started watching, and through the wonders of the internet, I'd caught up by the summer of 2003. I watched the entire fourth season On Demand in a day and a half in September, 2004, and the fifth (and final) season is just wrapping up next week.

I've shared my dad's love for this show ever since I first saw it. I thought it was novel and gritty and real, even in the face of what sometimes seem like absurd plot twists. Basically, I think of it as a soap opera with cursing, occasional nudity, a big budget and amazing acting. I could take you through Nate and Brenda's relationship, and it could have been something out of Guiding Light or As the World Turns, but for the incredible writing and acting.

On Sunday, July 31, I felt like I lost somebody I've known for a long time. It disturbed me a little bit, to see how close I'd gotten to a television show and its characters. I shed more than a few tears the next week, watching an episode that felt as much like a memorial service for the viewers as for the characters. I knew that what happened would happen (or I'd strongly suspected it, anyway), but that didn't make it any easier to accept when it happened.

I'll be sad when the show's done, but it's also nice, at the same time, to see a show's producers quitting when they're ahead. The show was great, and it had a good run, and it's going to end on its own terms this Sunday.

Now for the frustration. With Six Feet Under ending, and Sex and the City gone, you'd think that HBO would have the good sense to hang onto an amazing show like Carnivale. But no, they cancelled it unceremoniously, saying that they thought they'd told the story they wanted to tell. That, my friends, is bull, pure and simple. Watch the show, and you tell me if there's resolution of any sort at the end of the second season. What makes me sad is that there's virtually no chance of it getting picked up again, so we'll never know what happens.

I also have been watching Freaks and Geeks, which my roommate purchased and I'd never seen. This is a great little show, and again, there's no reason why it should have been cancelled. It's clever, it's well-acted, and there's something for people from ages 13 to 60 in it. In a way, I'm glad I never got into it when it was on, because I just would have been disappointed when it was gone. Same with Futurama, to tell you the truth. A show from the creator of The Simpsons, more clever than The Simpsons on its best day (which really is saying something), and with virtually limitless possibilities, killed in its prime by a network that thought Skin and Temptation Island were better bets. Thinking about the fate of Futurama makes me almost as sad as watching the episode "Jurassic Bark," and for those of you who know me, that's saying something as well.

My guilty pleasure, so far as television is concerned, is Smallville. I've always been fascinated by comic book mythology, even though I've never in my life read a comic book. I've read books about comic books, watched movies about comic books, and read websites about histories of comic book characters, but I've never had the stones to get into comic books. For all of its similarities to Dawson's Creek, and all of its cliche "villain-of-the-week" episodes, there's something about Smallville that really shines through. It's great to see the origins of a character like Superman. We all know where the story comes out, but the writers have all sorts of room to play around before they get there.