Tuesday, February 2, 2010

On Inconsequential Things That Matter To Me (Televised Edition)

1. The End

When was the last time you prepared to watch the final season of a long-running television show, and had absolutely no idea either A.) Where the season would begin, or, B.) Where it would end? This is why Lost is one of the top five television dramas ever made: Because, more than any show, it is a living organism, ripe for theorizing and the subtextual ravaging of hypergenius enthusiasts like EW's Doc Jensen, and yet, despite being subject to more analysis than any single television program in history, it still managed to defy our expectations. We had no idea, and we may still have no idea about many things when it is finished, and if this bothers you--if you are so cynical that you cannot accept the notion that certain questions deserve to remain unanswered in a narrative as layered as this one, a program whose greater purpose was to pay homage to its myriad influences--well, then, you don't really understand this show at all.

2. Life on Mars

There should be a term for a television program/film that you stumble upon via Netflix recommendation, which then exceeds your every expectation. (NetGem?) I am not referring to the American version of Life on Mars, which I'm sure is a fine imitation and will land in my mailbox in a scarlet envelope at some later date; I am referring to the BBC version of Life on Mars, starring the ridiculously likeable John Simm (who also appeared in this miniseries, which is like The Wire, with slightly more upscale accents). Life on Mars is one of those shows, like Lost, that shouldn't really work: The premise itself, of a detective getting hit by a car and waking up in 1973, is utterly absurd, but it somehow finds a way to effectively blur the line between realism and surrealism. Also, anything that incorporates Slade, Sweet, Uriah Heep into a single soundtrack should automatically be classified as "great."

3. 96 Teams

Seriously, this has to be the dumbest idea any college basketball mind has hatched since Kelvin Sampson (to quote Mike Tyson, snubbed for an Oscar nomination this morning) faded into Bolivia. There are a million reasons to argue against it, but allow me to offer a practical one: How the hell are we going to fit 96 teams onto a single bracket sheet? Will office workers everywhere be forced to calibrate their copying machines to the 11 x 17 setting? Even on the electronic typing machines of the future, a ninety-six team bracket is daunting, almost Escher-esque. There are too many choices, and the last thing I want to do when I fill out my tournament bracket is, you know, like, think.

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