Season finales 2008

It's done

Normally, around this time of year, I’d be putting out copious reviews of all the US season finales. This year, I haven’t, although a few escaped earlier in the year and at the end of last year. There’s a list of reasons why I haven’t done so many this time around:

  1. With the writers’ strike messing with everything, most of the series haven’t been at their best, so it might be wrong to judge them too harshly
  2. I didn’t realise some series had ended
  3. Some series had ended permanently so there was no point
  4. There’s a great big backlog of episodes that we haven’t watched yet
  5. I’ve been busy

So no Scrubs, My Name is Earl, House, Moonlight, Aliens in America, Eli Stone, et al, coverage this year, I’m afraid. Lost is still to come next week, I think. But, after the break, I’ll give abbreviated rundowns on 30 Rock, Smallville, CSI, CSI: Miami, Numb3rs, Gossip Girl and Supernatural.

30 Rock
Distinctly weaker than it was before the strike, with the exception of the finale and a cracking and unexpected Amadeus parody in one episode. Still the best comedy on TV. The cliffhangers in the finale were a little forced, though, and we could have done without all the celebrity guests during the season. MILF island though…

Smallville
Abandon ship! Yes, everyone’s leaving, including the producers, so who knows if the inevitable "everything falls apart" cliffhanger is going to demand the inevitable "instant reset" button in the first episode of next season. Probably the best Smallville season so far though, with some plot developments, although the cataclysmic struggle the show was building too turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. 

CSI
Quite a bumbling season. All over the place, really. Some very good episodes, some episodes so poor I turned off after just a few minutes. The finale’s a bit of a shocker though, even if you can see the ending coming a mile off.

CSI: MiamiMiraculously, easily the best CSI: Miami season so far. The ultimate judge of good and evil, Horatio Caine, crosses a few lines he shouldn’t have, Eric’s head wound proves not to have been so ephemeral in its effects and there’s some character progression, even if the producers quickly realised that sticking Trip in uniform was a bad idea. And thanks heavens "worst actress in the history of acting" Khandi Alexander’s gone. Quite a shocking end to this one, too, with a nice double-bluff. All the same, there have been some shockingly stupid episodes, too. But then, you knew that would be true, didn’t you?

Numb3rs
Again, another season of general dullness, with nothing much happening, all the exciting developments at the end of the previous season being reversed, and maths being shoe-horned into all sorts of odd places it doesn’t really belong. Still, better than the last season and a good finale that will inevitably be reset at the start of next season.

Gossip GirlAfter an initial start where all the bitchiness was a bit playground and everyone was quite nice, it was good to see some proper evil in the second half of the season, mainly thanks to Michelle Trachtenberg. Serena’s secret turned out to be a bit duff all the same. Still, compelling viewing all the way through, no matter how old you are, and your heartstrings will be tugged in various places by all sorts of couplings during the finale.

Supernatural
A good, strong theme to this season. Some good strong episodes, too, and much fun was had by all. And glad to see they didn’t chicken out at the last moment.

  • Here’s just a few non-spoilery thoughts on a few finales you didn’t cover:
    ‘Scrubs’ – NBC screwed with the show one last time before it bolts for ABC, and showed that last episode out of sequence.
    ‘Bones’ – Had they been able to get in the three episodes lost to the strike, they might have been able to flesh out the details leading up to the big finish. (Heh heh… ‘Bones’, flesh out…. sorry.) As it is, it probably looked logical on paper, but the connection for the audience was lost. I accept what happened, I just don’t like it because I was missing the completion of the lead-in.
    ‘Criminal Minds’ – not a show I watch save for episodes with interesting guest stars or for a particular plotline promised. Decided to check out the finale since everything else was either a repeat or a reality show (ugh). It came down to being really of interest in only the last few minutes – everybody on the team was put into the exact same situation and so we don’t know who got picked for the big “shocker” (which – like you said for ‘CSI’, you could see coming).
    ‘The Office’ – I’ve never been a big fan of the concept; I’m not good with “cringe-worthy”. Never got into the original at all, so it was awhile before I started with this. Still, I always record first so I can f/f through most of the Michael stuff.
    However, it was a pretty decent finale with two characters making their good-byes. (Scuttlebut says that this was due to the spin-off coming in the fall.) One of the sub-plots was very funny, and it had a real cliff-hanger ending.
    I just don’t think the structure of the show (the documentary crew) can support running this show for much longer. But then, I doubt most in the audience would care……
    ‘Boston Legal’ – If this was the series finale rather than just the season’s, it would have made a nice send-off. Didn’t wrap up everybody’s storyline, but the show’s never really been about more than just the relationship between Denny and Allan.
    ‘How I Met Your Mother’ – to me, this is the ‘Lost’ of sitcoms. Very dense with its attention to detail and its callbacks to previous episodes and a timeline that must be strictly observed. They went into the finale’s production with its fate still up in the air, but were still able to pull off a cliffhanger ending that could also serve as a finale. Well played!
    ‘House’ – probably the best of the drama bunch, very well-handled. As with most season finales/Sweeps week episodes, somebody was going on the big hiatus; and this was handled very well to eke out every bit of emotion it could from the characters as well as the audience.
    ‘Reaper’ – this is my backlog show. But from what few comments I let slip into my consciousness, the show apparently really improved after the strike, so I’m looking forward to the run of five episodes I have stored up.
    Looking forward to next week’s ‘Lost’ finale!
    Sorry to have blathered on like that; just thought a viewpoint from over here on what you folks can expect might be of interest….

  • Jonathan Reed

    I’d agree on that House double finale. Quite brilliant writing and some solid shocks that I just didn’t see coming. Also:

    It’s always slightly irritated me how Wilson ALWAYS puts up with House treating him like shit sometimes when they’re supposed to be best friends so good to see House finally getting repurcutions from his actions. Hopefully Wilson’s ill feelings will continue in to next season and create some good tension.

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