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TV roundup 11 June 2009

Posted by jordanfarley in TV news.
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Tuesday saw the season finale of Smalville on E4 in the UK, the latest series to come to an end for the year after Lost, 24, Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles and  Dexter (season 2, though season 3 has recently started on FX). For most of these shows it proved to be their best seasons in years, a sparkling return to form for Jack Bauer and full season story arc for Clark Kent which didn’t revolve around Lex Luthor for once.

Lost delivered one of its best ever season endings (second only to the wonderful ‘flash forward’ of season three), with a gripping action heavy double bill centred around blowing up the island unfortunately dampened a little by the decision to reveal Jacob’s perplexing story in the flesh, though no doubt this will become a crucial part of the final season next year.

It’s a shame Fox has decided not to renew the Sarah Connor Chronicles for a third series as it proved to be a much more rewarding creation than McG’s big screen incarnation of the franchise. Though it lost its way a little half way through the second season the final four episodes were fantastic, bringing to a close several long gestating story arcs in a satisfying way, together with tantilising glimpses of a future war where John Connor is a mysterious, but absentee figure head (the way it should have been in the film) and some shocking deaths. One to remember on Blu-ray.

Keifer Sutherland may be in the news nowadays more because of his off-screen antics, but he still impresses as Jack Bauer. The seventh season was much anticipated after a years delay caused by the writers strike and while it might not have lived up to the expectations of die hard fans it was a welcome weekly thrill ride for most of us with the return of Tony Almeida, a raid on the White House and Jon Voight’s complex villain Jonas Hodges standing out as series highlights. Even Kim Bauer’s return was handled well with no head-smackingly stupid Kim in distress moments to rival the infamous cougar scene from series two and a genuinely heartfelt reunion with her father. Final episode was a stinker though with one cliff hanger too many and no real sense of closure on most of the major plot threads.

Dexter has gone from strength to strength with each new series, centred around a deliciously sinister central figure with well considered overall series story arcs delivering the kind of complex tales films can’t even touch. Michael C. Hall is a revelation in the role and the success of the series so far is well deserved. Series three recently started on FX in the UK and the plot premise seems just as intriguing as in the first two series, but it has a lot to live up to.

My Name is Earl has been consistently brilliant for four years, it will be a shame if it gets cancelled and I’m glad to see Californication back on Five USA a filthy, albeit sleight, comedy series worthy of attention. But Damages seems to have run its course. Closely following the formula of the excellent first series proved to be a mistake with an overly complex narrative brought to a far too neat conclusion with little of the tantilising moral questions viewers were left with at the end of the first. Patty Hewes is a character for the ages but if they hope to bring her back the series needs a radical overhaul.

Finally Smallville’s eighth season was easily the best since the first few. It was a gamble to take Lex out of the picture this series but the Doomsday plotline proved to be a huge success, rewarding viewers with several of the series’ best episodes so far and a wonderfully bleak conclusion which unfortunately failed to deliver the fight to the death the series had seemingly been building up to. The promise of Zod putting in appearance next year however has got this one Superman 2 fan practically wetting himself.

Special mention must also go to The Shield, possibly the greatest cop series of all time (though I have yet to watch my copies of The Wire). Vic Mackey’s tortured life came to a brutal conclucsion at the end of series seven, bringing story threads set up in the very first series full circle as Mackey’s hopelessly complex quest to rid himself of his past sins unravelled around him. The conclusion to the penultimate episode left me in disbelief for days after and the sombre, cathartic closing moments of the final episode proved to have a much greater emotional resonance with me than when The Soprano’s faded to black. A triumph.

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