So, ’tis the season for shows to wrap and go into hiatus for a few months before emerging again in September and October. I have to say, I love television. I’m not into many reality shows as I am into soapy/drama-filled shows like ‘Desperate Housewives’, ‘Brothers & Sisters’ and the new ‘90210’. There have been so many finales over the past few weeks that people are sure to have missed some. These are mini recaps and what I think you need to either know or have to look forward to when the show (or if the show) returns. Needless to say, if you don’t want to be spoiled then you should probably skip some of these mini-recaps.
1. ‘Ugly Betty’: Well, this finale aired back in April and it wasn’t just a season finale, it was THE END for Betty Suarez and company. Basically, Betty took another job that took her overseas; Daniel, suddenly realizing he couldn’t live without Betty, followed and gave Mode over to delicious villainous Wilhemina. So, after all these seasons, we were left with Betty having grown up a little, gotten some fashion and a backbone and an innuendo of a relationship with her boss, Daniel. not bad, not bad.
2. ‘Melrose Place’ 2.0: Ah, the curse of the remakes. When it comes to remaking a popular television show, I think it usually falls short of the original (unless it’s Star Trek, where all they do is improve upon the last series and jam some special affects to razzle-dazzle the fans). The new ‘Melrose Place’ started off on the wrong foot: in five minutes, they killed Sydney Andrews! Then we’re treated to a half-season arc of ‘who dunnit?’ and in all honesty, I think the show should have ended on that note. Instead, what turned into the series finale (‘Melrose Place’ has since been canceled) just left the entire season on another awkward note: Amanda Woodward, the head diva who never could be beaten, gets out-duped by Ella Simms and is carted off to jail. SERIOUSLY. That’s it! What We’ve Learned: In my opinion, leave remakes of popular shows alone unless you’re going to bring back the entire cast of the original and add in a new character or two. The new ‘Melrose Place’ relied on the old guard (Amanda, Jo, Sydney, Michael and Jane) to carry the show. The new characters were utterly dull and boring.
3. ‘Nip/Tuck’: Well, again, this was a series finale. In all, the former Miami plastic surgeons faced the facts: their brand of plastic surgery is outdated and barbaric and their business was going to tank. Sean McNamara goes off to do good in the world in some third-world country while Christian continues to slum around and hit on women. My thoughts? Boo. After all these seasons, the finale should have been a lot more. Instead it was sedate and boring.
4. ‘Smallville’: I have to admit – I hardly watch ‘Smallville’. It borderlines on remake/alternate reality and I’m really sick of the whole comic book explosion over the past decade. I did however watch more episodes this season … like … 7 or 8. In the season finale, Clark goes up against Zod. Guess who wins? Yeah, but in this re-imagined epic battle between young adult Clark and a far hotter Zod, Clark is shown falling to his death after stabbing himself with blue kryptonite in order to send Zod into a far and distant prison dimension. Oh, and Tess bit the dust and some weird old woman was seen entering her room afterwards. **Why You Should Watch Next Season: Next season is the last season (it was just announced today). All this season there have been hints dropped that Clark was coming closer to realizing his ‘Superman’ destiny. So with next season being it for the show, I think there’s going to be a lot of action, excitement and epic battles jammed packed into what will be a big series finale.
5. ‘90210’ 2.0: Another CW show. Like in the ’90s, ‘90210’ came before the CW’s remake of ‘Melrose Place’. Unlike then, ‘90210’ is getting picked up for another season while the other is canned. In the season finale, lots of crazy high school drama occured: Adrianna and Navid talk out their kinks and get back together! Liam finally finished building his boat and he and Annie go sailing on it at night while creepy Jasper watch and stews from afar! Annie and Dixon’s parents have another spat and she exclaims “You don’t LOVE ME ANYMORE!” Okay, yeah, it seems a bit tame and 1990s of the show to offer up such innocent drama but it was still fun to watch. The once hot teacher Mr. Matthews is now a total drunk; the hot teacher Noami tried to frame earlier in the season turned into a perv and looks as if he’ll force Noami into some real extracurricular activity of the sexual sort; Liam’s prize boat is up in flames and he beats up poor troubled Jasper; Annie confesses to her running over a guy during last year’s finale. There was drama and trainwrecks galore, enough to make me want to tune in next season to see how the kids and grown-ups at West Beverly continue to do their predecessors proud.
6. ‘Desperate Housewives’: This was probably one of my favorite finales of the season so far. Finally the housewives are all ending up in truly desperate situations: Bree’s given up her business to save her son Andrew from being exposed as the one who ran down Carlos’ mom in the first season. As a result, she’s now without a business, Orson left her and the final scene showed her confessing to Gabrielle all about the secret of her mother-in-laws death. Gabrielle turned superhero in the finale as she helped Angie Bolen and clan fight an eco-terrorist. Angie built him a bomb and planted it in the detonator, sending Patrick Logan up in flames. Susan, after spending a season without Mike, got him … and all his debt. So she’s left packing and actually moving off Wisteria Lane – but fear not! She’s just moving to an apartment with Mike and weirdo Little MJ and renting out her house … unknowingly to Mary Alice’s husband Paul Young who’s returning to wreak havoc on the Lane. Oh yeah, and Lynette had a baby and got the serial killer to turn himself in.
**Why You Should Watch Next Season: Apparently there will be more changes next season than there have been since the first season! Out are Angie Bolen & family, Katherine Mayfair and (just announced today) Orson! Drea de Matteo was always slated to leave after this season; Dana Dalany will be off headlining her own show ‘Body of Proof’ so she and Julie Benz (who played Katherine’s love interest Robin) will be M.I.A. for most, if not all, season. Kyle MacLachlan (Orson Hodge) will also be leaving, it was announced today. He’ll apparently film a few scenes for next season to wrap up the Bree/Orson plot before leaving for good. So many changes! I must say … thank GOD. I love ‘Desperate Housewives’ but it needs some major changes. That five-year jump didn’t really deliver many changes. It was also announced that not only will Mark Moses (Paul Young) be a regular next season but the producers have finally chosen a suitable new vixen to fill Edie Britt’s stilettos: Vanessa Williams! Hopefully they will treat her character far better than the last African-American housewife on the lane (remember Alfre Woodard’s Betty Applewhite? Yeah …) and will give her good material to work with unlike most of the new housewives to appear each season.
7. ‘Brothers & Sisters’: This is the show that no one really seems to watch or admit that they watch but I have to say, I like it and mostly because of Sally Field. In the season finale, not a lot happened. Saul got tested for HIV because he’d never gotten tested before in his life. Kitty and Sarah complained about how annoying and nosy Nora can be. Turned out Narrow Lake had an aquifer under it so now the Walkers are in the water business! Yes, people, this was a season finale. Then BAM, things got interesting. There was a massive accident and all of the Walkers, with the exception of the absent Tommy, were involved! They all ran into a truck. I kid you not. ‘Brothers & Sisters’ went from calm and collected to ‘Lost’ episode 1 in 30 seconds. Everyone was beat up, bloody … chaos … and in the end, it was Holly left moaning and Kitty realizing that she had a lot more to worry about than her campaign or the cost of her cancer wig leaking to the press.
**Why You Should Watch Next Season: I have a feeling, though I’d love to be wrong, that season 5 of this show will be the last. It sort of feels like the show has run its course and already ABC has ordered fewer episodes than they did this past season. I feel an ‘Ugly Betty’ situation arising! Anyways, it’s been said that when the show returns next season, they are taking a cue from ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘One Tree Hill’ and fast-forwarding a year or so in the plot. Rob Lowe is out; he’s gone, dead, finished on this show and will be a part of NBC’s ‘Parks & Recreation’. I’ll definitely be interested in seeing all the changes the new company, dead family member and new season has to offer.
8. ‘V’: Okay, it’s a remake. That seems to be ‘in’ among networks these days who’ve run out of original ideas. It’s either a remake of a ’90s hit or a show about vampires and witches. Remember ABC’s dull and horribly crafted ‘Witches of Eastwick’? Well, ABC also remade ‘V’. I have to say … a good part of the first season of this show was a total bore. Every episode felt like a rehashing of the last episode. The season final however … it rocked. Really, if you haven’t watched this show, watch the last few episodes. Basically, Erica (the heroine) has dinner with her stupid son Tyler, his alien girlfriend and her momma, the head honcho and alien queen Anna. What was supposed to be (in Anna’s view) an easy dinner to woo Erica into helping her stomp-out the resistance turned into an attack. Erica, with the help of the Fifth Column, wiped out (for the most part) all of Anna’s un-hatched babies. The last 2 minutes of ‘V’ turned incredible: Anna’s always been in control and alien. Suddenly, she turned primal, screaming in a rage over her dead soldiers/kids. Her reaction? Lay the smackdown on the humans. The sky turned purple/pink as the V ships took up position around Earth. It was one of those big moments we’ve been waiting for: no more ‘nice’ aliens: they’ve basically invaded and mean business. Watch next season: I have a feeling the producers realize that action = ratings. Hopefully we’ll have more of the action packed into the last few episodes running through the entire second season.
9. ‘Dexter’: It’s one of those shows that airs on odd months. Since it aired long ago, I think it’s safe to spoil the big ending. Dexter goes after the Trinity killer, he thinks he’s won the battle since he’s caught and killed off what was probably the best villain the show ever saw. Then he goes home and … bum bum BUUMMM! He hears a baby crying. What’s that … how could that be? Rita (his wife) and the baby are supposed to be off on vacation and away from the danger! He listens to her message: she forgot her keys. He goes into the bathroom and in true Trinity fashion, there she is, slaughtered, dead, naked and drowning in her own blood in the bath tub. And in a poetic gesture, there’s Dexter’s kid sitting in the bathroom with dead Rita … in his mother’s blood. It was the biggest, most shocking twist in ‘Dexter’ history. Now seriously, if that’s not enough to get you to watch next season to see what happens next, I have no idea what will.
10. ‘Damages’: It’s yet to be determined if what aired was just a season finale or the end of the whole series, but here’s what happened: Patty Hewes continued to have her dreams but it was finally revealed what they were all about. That daughter/child that she lost and went to pieces over during the first season? She herself was responsible for killing the child. She basically set herself up to lose the child so that she wouldn’t lose her career. We’ve known Patty was ruthless, cold and driven but this added a new side to her character. Poor Tom. He’s been Patty’s sidekick and we saw what lead to his death: Tobin’s son killed him, drowned him and dumped him in the trash can. Ellen’s purse contained the secret all along that ended up putting the Tobin’s and their hidden money away for good. The Tobin Momma (played by Lily Tomlin) jumped off a bridge after her son disowned her when she revealed to him that a woman he had killed was not his half-sister but his daughter. Ellen found out her mother tried to give her away when she was young but regretted the proposition and took her back. Ellen also found out Frobisher killed her husband in the first season. The undercover cop Ellen was involved with in season 2 came back and turned both himself and Frobsiher in. In all, it could very well be the end of the series but the start of something new: would Ellen return and work with Patty? Will Patty embrace being a grandmother now that she’s put away her son’s cougar of a lover?
11. ‘Modern Family’: Claire wants the entire family to take a photo together and becomes obsessed with making it turn out perfect. Jay has tickets to a basketball game but can’t go because he’s promised Luke to help him with a school project that involves interviewing someone who lived in the 1960s. Gloria, Manny, Phil and Alex go to the game instead and even have a moment where they speak to Kobe Bryant. At the game, when the jumbo tron focuses on Gloria and Phil, Gloria kisses Phil. Claire continues to obsess as the entire family comes together at the end and nothing goes right in her quest for the perfect family portrait. After some arguing, mud slinging (literally), the family finally takes a picture. The episode ends with Jay talking about perfection and how it doesn’t really exist but that he’s happy with what he’s got.
12. ‘The Middle’: Betty White appears as a hardcore librarian who’s determined to punish Brick for not returning 31 library books. Her threat? To hold him back in the 2nd grade. In what’s become a season arc, Frankie realizes that her daughter Sue is pretty much an unknown at school and vows to help her make it onto the no-cut track team. A test surprisingly reveals Axl is academically gifted, prompting his parents to bestow higher expectations and standards on him. The end result? Frankie and Mike refuse to accept that they are lazy parents; Axl isn’t gifted, there was a mix-up in the aptitude tests but he did score his highest grade ever on a history test after Mike pushed him to study; Brick couldn’t find one book but outsmarted the librarian by checking it out at another library and turning it into her so that he could move on to the 3rd grade. Sue was hit by a deer (yes, a deer hit HER) and sprained her ankle. In order to get onto the no-cut team she had to make it around the track 5 times. In an epic manner, it started to rain, she fell, but pulled herself across the finish line and made the team to the family’s and onlooker’s delight. **My thoughts: Don’t get me wrong, I think ‘The Middle’ is a decent show. It amazes me however that it managed to get picked up for another season while ABC chose to cancel ‘Better off Ted’, which was ten times funnier and the new ‘Scrubs’. It was nice to see Betty White play a somewhat nicer character since she seems to have been playing pretty angry, bitter old women as of late.
13. ‘Cougar Town’: Jules and Greyson, most Jules, decide that it’s time to tell everyone about their relationship. No one is really surprised, which disturbs Jules a bit. At once, everyone is excited over one minor detail: no one’s told Bobby! Laurie and Ellie spend most of the episode trying to teach Travis how to develop a defense mechanism to use against an angry woman (his girlfriend, in this case). While trying to come out to Bobby, Bobby tells Jules and Grayson that he’d be devastated to learn that he’s the only single person in their clique. Grayson’s idea? Beach day! The gang head to the beach, bury Bobby in the sand and since he can’t run away, Jules and Grayson use the opportunity to tell him of their relationship … after he spots them kissing. All ends well. **My thoughts: If you aren’t watching this show, seriously, take this summer to give it a shot. It’s been my favorite this season alongside newcomers like ‘Glee’. It’s a fun, amusing show where the adults really aren’t as stiff or mature as they are in other shows. It seriously has some of the most quotable, funniest quips of any comedy on television. I think the writing is very organic and fresh, which at times makes the characters a bit awkward but it’s still amusing. Josh Hopkins, Courtney Cox, Christa Miller and Busy Philipps are among the funniest people on television thanks to this show. I’m already sad to think I’ll have to go months without a new episode.
14. ‘Grey’s Anatomy’: So, the moment I saw the promo for the season finale of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ that featured Chandra Wilson’s Dr. Miranda Bailey being dragged across the floor as she hid from the shooter, I knew I had to put aside my dislike for the show and watch this finale. Don’t get me wrong, I know people are really into the show. There’s just something about it that really turns me off. It’s probably how annoying I find Ellen Pompeo and that Meg Ryan-like expression that’s always plastered on her face. Anyways, the finale. It was 2 hours of blood, gore, intense emotions and characters being shot left and right. My initial reaction? Boy are white people crazy. I rarely see a black character go on a rampage like the very white Gary Clark did. He bought a gun from a Wal-Mart-ish place and decided to avenge his wife’s death earlier in the season by taking down those responsible. So, this guy who never owned a gun suddenly was The Terminator- perfect shot, he’d just show up all over Seattle Grace hospital, evading the swat team and managing to prove that the U.S. needs stricter gun laws.
Well, a lot seemed to happen: Meredith found how she was pregnant and naturally she told her buddy Cristina. In her perky manner, she knew the next task at hand: it was time to tell husband and chief of staff Dr. Derek Shepherd. Enter crazy ticked-off Gary Clark who returned to Seattle Grace with a mission: he was going to kill everyone involved with pulling the plug on his late wife a few episodes back. At the top of his list- Derek Shepherd. Well, a lot of characters got in his merry little way and some didn’t make it: Reed (shot in the head), Owen, Karev, Derek, Percy, and a token nurse (she was black), unknown old doctor and a security guard were shot (an easy way to slash the budget for next year). Derek was shot – Meredith freaks out, miscarries and with the hospital on lockdown, Cristina is forced to put on the gloves and operate. The lesbian couple were in charge of the kids and by the end of the episode, whatever spat they’ve had is over and now they’re back together. In all the chaos, it took Dr. Webber to return to Seattle Grace and confront Clark to get things under control. What’d he do? He simply talked Clark into killing himself to spare himself the ordeal of more suffering, living without his wife and time in jail. Leave it to a black man to enter the scene a) Not try to pull at the heart strings of the killer (ahem, DEREK) or b) Use some pretty good logic to talk the killer out of killing him instead. The episode ended where it began: Meredith stares at her pregnancy test, now moot, and Cristina tells her that Derek wants to see her. Meredith makes that Meg Ryan ‘oh well’ face, tosses her pregnancy test away and trots off to see her husband who is on the mend.
**My thoughts: Okay, so … I’m still not inclined to become a regular viewer. Yes, the 2 hour finale was pretty intense, fun and dramatic but I feel like after you’ve seen one medical drama, you’ve seen them all and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ to me is just the cesspool of medical dramas. Meredith talks to herself and does voice over. Hmm, I remember Doogie Howser doing the same thing back in the ’80s. All of the drama at Seattle Grace has been done to death in other shows like ‘M*A*S*H’ and ‘Chicago Hope’. Humor mixed into the whole serious medical scene? Yeah, Dr. Harry Weston dealt with that on the ‘Golden Girls’ spin-off ‘Empty Nest’. And the strange/odd cases each week? ‘ER’ and just about every ‘Star Trek’ incarnation has done that. Still, I give props to this finale even if it did end a bit too nicely. Where’s the dang cliffhanger? I mean, why not give people something to tune in for next season like a character’s life hanging in the balance? And if this was at all realistic, why did the killer not shoot that annoying as hell Kepner?
15. ’30 Rock’: Not much happened on the finale. The episode picks up where the last one left off: Liz thinks she has to settle for Wesley and plans to take him to the wedding of one of Tracy’s entourage. She has to stop by his office to get his shoes because he’s not allowed back at his office after he gets fired. So she goes and runs into Carol O’Connor, a pilot played by Matt Damon. Jack must choose between Nancy and Avery and it comes down to a baby. Yes, Avery reveals that she’s pregnant and Nancy throws in the towel. Jenna is still dating the guy who dresses up like her in drag but finds out he’s cheating on her – no, not physically but by doing another woman in drag – Cher! She forces him to choose – either he does her in drag or Cher. His decision? A Two-Face solution: half Cher, half Jenna. **My Thoughts: To me, if it wasn’t for all of Jenna’s off-the-wall lines, I think the episode would sort of have been a bore. There was one real cliffhanger of the night: is Kenneth really fired or will we see his triumphant (and expected) return next season?
16. ‘Parks and Recreation’: Pawnee is bankrupt and the city’s government has been shut down. While I don’t understand how a government of any city can just be shut down, even for two days, it’s a situation that I liked seeing played out since a lot of cities in reality are facing budget cuts and money flow issues. So, what happens with our gang in the parks and recreation department? They’re basically left without a job for the forseeable future. Furloughed, you might as well say. Ron is on the committee of Pawnee head-honchos deciding what gets cut and he naturally has lots of decisions. Those responsible for getting Pawnee out of this hole explain two things: the Parks and Recreation department is not a priority and cuts are needed. One of the easiest cuts? Eliminate Leslie Knopp since she makes the most besides Ron. He of course defends her position. What do the others do? Well, they decide to hold a benefit of sorts at the site of the ‘pit’. It’s now been filled in and is a big grassy field (when did that happen? I’ve sort of forgotten about this whole park idea). The government honchos find out and try to shut it down but Leslie and the others get things to work and the residents of Pawnee seem somewhat appreciative. The last scene has a somewhat somber Leslie saying goodbye to Mark, who’s leaving the department for another job. This show isn’t returning until mid-season so it’ll be a while before we see what happens with Pawnee and the rec people. And uh, can we have more scenes of Rob Lowe running or shirtless, please? That’s some must see TV indeed.
17. ‘The Office’: Kathy Bates returns as Dunder-Mifflin’s new owner Jo Bennett and she’s not at all pleased! News of Saber’s faulty printers has leaked to the press and the leak came from within Michael’s crew. The guilty party? Andy, though it’s revealed that a few of the other office personnel including Pam, Darryl and Kelly are all at fault. They plead with Michael to talk to Jo and get her to go easy on them. The result? Jo and Michael go off site for a talk that leads to Jo convincing Michael to read a press statement about the Saber situation so that she herself wouldn’t get bad press. Everyone at the office seems to turn on Andy except for Erin. The no-named IT guy who’s been around periodically through the season has perhaps the most entertaining moment, telling off a lot of the characters who refuse to learn his name or treat him as an equal, even after he tells them his name. Oh, and Dwight has something up his sleeve – he’s buying a building near the building that holds Dunder-Mifflin after Jo tells him he should invest in real estate. Hm. I was expecting a bit more considering this was a finale. I think the IT guy and Angela had some of the best lines (Angela is probably one of the best characters but gets overlooked). And what is up with Ryan? He seems to get more odd or hipster each episode, this one being no exception. The only cliffhanger moment came at the very end during the credits. Jo is leaving and thanks Michael for taking the heat and says whenever he needs something, let her know. He jokes that it’d be nice to have Holly back and working in the office. Jo smiles, nods and said she’ll see what she can do. Gasp! Is Holly returning? Will Michael get his happy ending?
18. ‘Lost’: So, the big ‘Lost’ series/season finale. What to say … I think it was fitting for the show to end with a few questions considering the show was all about unanswered questions and mysteries. For the most part, it was pretty action packed and yet the scenes felt short and few. There were a billion commercial breaks that seemed to extend the show into 2 and 1/2 hour territory. You had different realities clashing: the “we made it to LA! And didn’t crash!” reality where all of the characters, past and present, had a reunion. This was mainly about the characters in their ‘new’ lives meeting again for the ‘first’ time. Then there was the “We’re still stuck on this damn island that we don’t know what it is and we’re going to get off even if it kills us!” reality. In that timeline, Jack faces off with “John Locke” for the final time. Jack wins. He realizes his destiny is to save the island but that it’s Hurley’s destiny to protect it and that Hugo/Hurley is the ‘chosen one’. Hurley didn’t want to accept that it was Jack’s destiny to sacrifice himself for the others but it happened. We have the two realities clashing: in the ‘good scenario’ reality, all of our favorites reunite … at a church … for Jack’s father’s funeral. It seems long overdue considering Jack set out to bury his father, you know, 6 years ago. In the ‘bad scenario’ reality, Jack saves the island and Hugo/Ben turn into protectors. The end? All of the characters are reunited at a church, but not for Jack’s father’s funeral … it’s for HIS FUNERAL! TWIST! Jack’s dead, folks. And all of those Oceanic flight castaways are dead, too. They’re just waiting for Jack to ‘join the party’ per se. So, there you have it … The Island itself was either a test for Jack to accept his destiny and death or some form of exciting, adventure-packed purgatory.
**My Thoughts: ‘The End’ (the episode title and really, the END of the series) was emotional, sad and thrilling, even if there was a weird moment or two that really takes away from the finale. That moment? Trying to resolve the whole Island plot and make it fit with the ‘good scenario’ plot. I mean, I’m fine with them having died during the plane crash. Over the years, we’ve come to realize that plane crashes happen and unless you’re on a boat going on a three-hour tour, deaths will occur. I think the ending was left with room for interpretation because it’s a lot like religion in general: there’s a lot of mystery and personal reflection necessary to make sense of it. There’s a lot of weird moments throughout the series that just aren’t dealt with (polar bears on a hot island, Hurley not losing any weight over 6 years of being stranded). We did get to see just about all of the major players in ‘Lost’ except Michael and his kid but oh well, I guess they moved/passed on without needing to wait for Jack. I wish they hadn’t tried to make so much out of the whole Island/Jack’s gotta save it or Else plot. It seems moot or unnecessary – I’d rather they had taken the series back to the beginning, showing that the characters did indeed die – it’d been very ‘Six Feet Under’ but good! Some are saying that what happened on the Island really did happen – that all of the characters did die at different times and just decided to gather together upon their deaths in this ‘church’. I’m sort of okay with that theory … except if that is the case then we’re still left with the big question of what the hell was the Island?! Oh well.
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