Welcome to the BURN CENTER!

Hey folks, Jonny Napalm here welcoming you to my charred little corner of the sky. Here I will be sharing views on all the things I love and adore and loathe with the burning passion of a thousand suns. Be aware.. my views tend to the nerdtastic, so... you are warned.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Prophets in Programming...

I'm a bit of a sucker for series that get lost by the wayside... Over the past couple weeks I have got a little bit lost in nostalgia and reviewing some great programming that falls away or gets left behind, when it doesn't manage to lock onto an audience.  Three series in particular come to mind just because of a similar thought-thread through them, those being Kings (a great program I reviewed earlier), Kyle XY, and Eli Stone.  The interesting thing about all these programs is that they've got a prophet involved.  It's an odd concept to get thrown up on television... especially with as much fear networks have talking about God and religion in their medium.  With Kings we get David and Samuel both guided by signs and portents... a subtle approach done mostly with intriguing camera shots, music and slightly out of place events.  Kings has the strongest and most vocal use of "god" and the divine.. it's an intriguing thing to note that this is the shortest lasting of the three series with a single season with 13 episodes.

Eli Stone on the other hand managed 2 seasons of 13 episodes each (only 23 of which actually aired in proper sequence) which were fun and compelling drama with great eccentricities.  I loved this series and was a little bit heart-broken when it ended so abruptly (without even airing it's final 3 episodes that wrapped up the series).  This series had some REALLY great acting in it.  With Johnny Lee Miller as Eli, a lawyer who becomes entangled in visions of life and events beyond his ken, that he slowly begins using to produce social changes around him... with supporting cast including Natasha Henstridge, Victor Garber, Julie Gonzalo, and Loretta Devine the show included musical numbers and some great visuals, along with some truly spectacular guest performances.  The show is visible as a Berlanti production, having a great many similarities to Everwood, and to his current show No Ordinary Family.  The final episodes, that became viewable overseas first, and later with the DVD release were absolutely essential to drawing the series to a close, which actually REALLY does finish.  Which is much better than the final "prophet" series managed.

Kyle XY was something else though... A Sci-fi family show that originally aired on ABC Family of all places.  Our final "prophet" is an intriguing character who acquires the name Kyle from the first people who get to know him, and basically learns how to be human from the outside in.. becoming a gentle young man with extraordinary gifts who wants to find out where exactly where he fits in the world.  While this show got 3 seasons (the longest running of the 3 series mentioned herein), sadly this is the least cohesive of them... With the show-runners and writers formatting their seasons in half season segments all ending in cliffhangers.  While its a common enough practice on episodic television,  I find myself more drawn to series that actually tell cohesive stories over the course of a season.  Still, this show has one thing that made it TRULY remarkable... one of the most genuine and evocative depictions of a family that I ever saw on television.  The Tragers of Kyle XY are a loving, a very real family that still have their rebellions, conflicts, and troubles that still manage to converse about those problems, and it was the family that brought the series from just a good little scifi show to a great little drama.

The thing that got me the most about these three series... and that I think would have spoke deeply to many people who could have seen them, was the Idea of committing to making your social environment better.  While there's great drama in and around the series, and the character interactions...the true stories are the ones where we see our hero making changes in the world around them... those were the remarkable ones.

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