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Doux News: April 15, 2012

This week: Game of Thrones -- Glee -- Fringe -- The Walking Dead -- Titanic -- Sin City Sequel -- Comment of the week and discussion topic

Renewals and cancellations

Game of Thrones was renewed. Was there ever any doubt?

The article says that season three will cover only the first half of book three, and a fourth season will cover the second half. That's smart, since apparently, what's his face Martin writes very, very slowly and HBO could run out of material.

Glee was renewed. Was there ever any doubt?

No news yet about Fringe, which has been the real nail-biter this cancellation season. I'm happy to report that if the series is cancelled, they are *not* going to leave us hanging from a plot thread; they've shot two endings, just in case they need to give us closure.

Josie Kafka has updated her list of spring premieres and finales.

Bits and pieces

The Walking Dead has a new cast member! I have no desire to spoil anyone, so if you avoid casting spoilers, don't click on the link. Not that it really matters on The Walking Dead, since any cast member could die at any time, but I'm particularly happy that this person was cast. I'd been hoping for it.

Speaking of The Walking Dead, AMC is adapting another comic book series by Robert Kirkland. The series is Thief of Thieves which is about a thief who steals things that were stolen by thiefs. There may be a general thief motif. And I hear there's a complete lack of zombies.

ABC is airing a miniseries about the Titanic. Why all the Titanic stuff lately? Because it's the one hundredth anniversary of the sinking. The miniseries was written by Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey fame, but the L.A. Times critique makes it sound like it's not quite up to snuff. Seriously, say what you will about the flaws in James Cameron's monster epic movie, but it's a tough act to follow.

Sin City is finally getting a sequel.

Comment of the week, and discussion topic

One of the best things about having the entire run of reviews of classic shows on my site is comments like this one -- by a reader named Wendy, about the exceptionally heavy and exceptionally excellent episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "The Body."

That got the virtual writers room talking about a discussion of episodes of television that strongly affected us. There are certainly quite a few that got to me, including "The Body." I'm going to try not to post extreme spoilers with my comments in case I mention a series you are still planning to watch (and if you post a comment about your faves, you might want to keep that in mind).

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. My favorite series ever, and there are several episodes that got to me in a big way. "Surprise" and "Innocence" and in fact, the entire Angel arc in season two had me talking to people along the lines of "have you been watching this series?" and "I can't believe they did this!" I remember talking about it at length at a party with a complete stranger who was as blown away as I was. It's what got me writing episode reviews in the first place, which is what started this site. Other episodes of Buffy that just blew me away include "Fool for Love", "Once More, With Feeling," and "Smashed".

Several Supernatural episodes have gotten to me, but as I mentioned in last week's Doux News, "In the Beginning" might be the strongest. I was also deeply affected by "The Dark Side of the Moon," which is Dan's favorite SPN episode. What other show has the nerve to do a dark episode about [spoiler redacted]? (If you're not a Supernatural fan, the photo at the top of this issue of Doux News is from "The Dark Side of the Moon".)

Whenever anyone asks if there has ever been a perfect series finale, I think of Six Feet Under's "Everyone's Waiting". I cried for an hour afterward and thought about it for weeks. The massive game-changing episodes on Alias got to me. So did the jaw-dropping season four finale of Breaking Bad, which is what finally pushed me into reviewing the series. "Walkabout" on Lost, which, again, got me reviewing the series. If we're going way back, Star Trek's "City on the Edge of Forever" and Star Trek: The Next Generation's "Best of Both Worlds" and "The Inner Light" were exceptional. (The reveal at the end of "The Inner Light" stayed with me for days.)

Coincidentally -- seriously, I had already written most of Doux News when I saw this -- there is a Joss Whedon interview that went up yesterday about the film that changed his life. It was Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It made him realize he was an existentialist. I think I'm one, too.

That's it for this week. Opinions, raves, rants, questions? Comments about episodes of television that really got to you?

30 comments:

  1. I love The West Wing, Two Cathedrals. Bartlett yelling and swearing at God *in Latin* is just incredible.

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  2. The Inner Light was and awesome Star Trek Next Gen episode, it stuck with me too! So much so that when I brought in a new kitten last year I named him Kamin. I can't conceive of living as another person for 30ish years and then waking up to your old life.

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  3. Interesting topic, Billie. There were numerous episodes of Lost that emotionally wrecked me, all throughout its run and including the finale. I was also very affected by 'A Hole in the World' from Angel.

    In ones that are little more off the beaten path --- 'Infinite Possibilities: Part II, Icarus Abides' from Farscape was one that took me quite a long time to get over, and is still my single strongest impression of that series when I think back on it.

    And I've always found the 'The Leap Home - Part 2, Vietnam' from Quantum Leap to be an incredible hour of that series. The ending was profoundly moving. Just an amazing look at friendship and sacrifice. I was so thrilled when they returned to this beat in the series finale, because it is the moment that has always stayed with me most strongly from this series. I'm actually getting a bit choked up thinking about it now. I'm such a big softie.

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  4. P.S. I absolutely agree with you on 'The Inner Light.' A stellar episode that has stayed with me, even all these years later.

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  5. Obviously, as a big Whedon fan, all of the Buffy episodes that Billie named left me wrecked. So many great episodes.

    Angel has quite a few, too, including "A Hole in the World," "You're Welcome," "Reprise" and, of couurse, "Not Fade Away." Even thinking about that episode makes we want to curl up in the fetal position.

    Oh, and "Swan Song" from Supernatural, and "Exodus" from BSG. Don't even get me started on the Lost finale. And even though it's not a genre show, the season one finale of 24 is a truly punishing hour of television.

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  6. Dear Billie,

    I've wanted to tell you this for a while now but .....(please don't freak out) I've NEVER seen Angel nor Buffy...

    YES ! the Inner Light ep was one of the ten STrek (all versions) very best written shows of all times (and you can NEVER get it wrong with the Borg). All good things was also brilliant, way more satisfying than the movie Generations that followed.

    The entire run of Dead like me blew my mind. So did Firefly.

    Castle : 47 seconds, Kill shot to name a FEW.

    I could go on and on, but then my comment would exceed the length of your blog...

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  7. The DS9 episode 'The Visitor' is one that still gets to me. Only time the reset button being pushed has ever made me cry.

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  8. I can't remember which episode it was. There was a scene on Bablyon 5 that really encapsulated the series for me. It was the moment where we finally got context for the vision Londo had about the end of his life. It spoke of perception and love, and why people change.

    Oddly enough, although The Inner Light struck me emotionally, Cause and Effect struck me intellectually. I loved almost all the time travel stories through all the trek shows. But that was the one that stayed with me the longest.

    I think I agree with everyone's comments so far. You've brought up some rather great memories of shows that have meant a lot to me. On a slight tangent, related to Star Trek, there is a DS9 book called Fallen Heroes that has lingered with me for a long time. I don't even really read tie-in book very often.

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  9. There are lots of episodes that impacted me profoundly, I particularly agree with Billie regarding the finale of Six Feet Under. I didn't love the show as a whole, but the final episode is an absolutely profound statement on the human condition and sums up the entire run in the last ten minutes. Just brilliant.

    The Inner Light is also of great importance to me because Billie and I first met through a private discussion of the episode. If I am remembering correctly it will be 18 years ago next month.

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  10. No wait, I think its 18 years ago we actually joined forces as part of a shadowy Junta. Its got to be almost 19 years since we first started talking.

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  11. Is 'War Without End' the episode you're thinking of, J.D.?

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  12. Ben, "The Inner Light" originally aired May 30, 1992 (jeez, has it been that long? I feel old) according to IMDB, and I'm pretty sure we started a private email correspondence some time in 1993. I bet you're right that we were talking about that particular episode, though. Your memory is better than mine.

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  13. Okay, then again, maybe we *did* start talking in 1992. The past. Hazy it is.

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  14. I'm really not sure, it could be a part of War Without End, or Sleeping in Light, or was it revealed in that TV movie In the Beginning? Either way it was very powerful. Although now that I've looked back at the series to try and find you an answer there were a couple more that stood out to me. The four episode arc that started with Messages from Earth and ended with Ceremonies of Light and Dark. Also the War without End two parter. Finally had one of the best endings of the series. Strange that those were all in season 3... I guess that was my favorite season!

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  15. Somehow And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place got omitted from that last comment! It should be in that second to last sentence.

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  16. Season 3 was the series' best. I try to rewatch the series everyone once in a while and S3 is always the one I look forward to watching the most.'Z'ha'dum' is still my favourite season finale of any show ever. It's still hard to believe that JMS managed to write every single episode himself and still maintain such high quality.

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  17. I seem to remember really liking 'Waiting for Gethsemane,' the one with Brad Dourif. It was a great performance, and the whole concept of the episode certainly gave one pause and made you think. If I'm remembering correctly. 'And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place' was another one that stands out in my mind as superlative.

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  18. I think it is probably easier to list the season 3 episodes that aren't that good. I'm looking at you 'Grey 17 Is Missing'.

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  19. Speaking of Six Feet Under, my moment of complete TV-inspired meltdown came a couple of episodes before the finale, where the entire family bury one of the regulars (no names, to prevent spoilers). The way they returned him/her to the earth with their hands and their own will-power out in the forest. God, just thinking about it rattles me. So incredibly haunting and beautiful.

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  20. I agree about B5s Waiting for Gethsemene - to be a good person and discover that you were a murder whose memory was erased = very powerful.

    DS9s The Visitor brought tears to my eyes - both during the episode and in the final scene of the series finale when Jake is looking out the window wondering where Sisko is. It did really irritate me that the writers had Sisko appear to Cassidy and not to Jake based on his knowledge of the events of The Visitor though. Now that I'm a father, it gets to me even more.

    I do love TNGs The Inner Light, but I also loved the episode Darmok, about the aliens who spoke in metaphors. I thought it was a very cool concept.

    Dustin - his sails unfurled!

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  21. Buffy was sort of the first show I ever watched. My parents weren't big on TV while I was growing up, so I had some movies that I watched occasionally but no shows. One night I caught part of that first season episode with the bug teacher, and I was hooked. My parents started watching with me, and eventually it turned into one of the big things my dad an I shared, a common point of interest. I'll admit that my Buffy obsession sort of burned out in high school, but that doesn't change how much influence it had over me or how much it shaped how I think about fiction and maybe even life in general. It was the first thing I was really a fan of.

    I have my favorite episodes, of course, but I think the one that really caught me was Lover's Walk in the third season. For years I had this worn strip of paper with Spike's quote from that episode printed out on it, the one that starts, "You're not friends." I don't know what about that little speech of his stuck in my mind, but it did. Something about the way it was worded, maybe, and how nicely the words fit together. I can probably credit lines like that and Whedon's writing in general for at least some of why I like playing with words and feel driven to write.

    So, uhm, yeah. My two cents.

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  22. I think the very first episode that did that to me was 24's season 1 finale. My tv watching up to that point had been a bit irregular (thanks to South African scheduling), so 24 was the very first show where I'd actually seen every episode sequentially, and thus become became really engrossed in the storyline. That final reveal and the reactions to it made me an emotional wreck for the rest of the evening.

    Next came Alias and that S2 finale that changed everything.

    Roswell's 'The End of the World' was also stuck in my mind for a long time after I watched that episode.

    Supernatural has many - Mystery Spot (the last 10 minutes, specifically), Heart, The Man Who Would Be King.

    Fringe - White Tulip and The Firefly

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  23. It's kind of sad for me to realize that while I agree with almost all of your choices for affecting television episodes there's not a single friend or family in my real life who would recognize more than one of those titles. I don't know what that says but I know it's nothing good.

    And the only reason I didn't agree with everything you wrote is because I (please don't revoke my geek card) have yet to see more than two or three episodes of Buffy. I know, I know! It's on my Netflix list.

    RoseCompose

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  24. What a great discussion. I agree with so many of the choices so far for TNG, Babylon 5, DS9, Lost, and, of course, Buffy. Here are a few others that I haven't seen mentioned: for B5, "Severed Dreams" because of a key moment with Delenn.; a couple of Kira centric episodes on DS9, "Duet" and "Enemy Skin"; "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been" and "I Will Remember You" on Angel; and I am sure there are so many more on other great shows but I can't remember names or take time to find them now.

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  25. I can still remember when I got hooked on Buffy, which is my favourite show ever.
    At first, a friend had recommended the show and I started watching in season three. I saw three eps "Bad girls", "Consequences" and "Doppelgängland". I thought the show sucked and gave up. My friend insisted that I should give the show a chance again and I started watching from the beginning. The first season and half of season 2 wasn't that great, but I kinda got hooked though when Spike and Drusilla entered the scene. "Surprise/Innocence" was a great game changer, but I can still remember the moment when I got really really possessed. It was "Passion". That reaction on Alyson Hannigan's face when they got the phone call was sooo devastating, I was an emotional wreck.
    And later on, Buffy delivered many unforgettable moments. "The body" is just one of many. The hightlight for me was season 5, and "No place like home" is a personal favourite.
    It's funny that now when I see those 3 eps I initially watched, I think they are superb. Buffy just needed some getting used to...

    And BTW, I totally agree with Billie that Six Feet Under's finale is probably the best ever made. I was sobbing for hours afterwards. Just brilliant.

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  26. Definitely "The Body" for Buffy. I don't think TV or any other media has better captured the feelings/experience around the topic I have had. Also a shou out for season one final for Veronica Mars - that was the most exciting hour of TV I have ever watched. And probably every "game changing" season opener of Lost...the hatch!!!

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  27. @Dustin - God yes. 'Darmok' is one of my favourite episodes of anything, ever. I really need to watch TNG again...

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  28. Julian Fellowes' Titanic just finished airing over here. I do not highly recommend it. He tried to fit in too many stories over too short a time, so it is hard to invest in any single one. Additionally, it is filmed so that each episode starts with the ship leaving and ends with the sinking. Again, not enough time to invest.

    I loved all the discussion about television episodes that stay with you. I agree with most of the comments posted about the great ones. For me, however, the one scene that I thought was absolutely brilliantly filmed and acted was the final scene of "In Excelsis Deo," the first Christmas episode for The West Wing. The cuts between the funeral and the children singing "The Little Drummer Boy" gets me every time.

    And, although it wasn't a series finale, the fifth season finale of Supernatural, "Swan Song" was the best ending I've ever seen.

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  29. "Additionally, it is filmed so that each episode starts with the ship leaving and ends with the sinking. Again, not enough time to invest."

    In order for those people who have never heard of the Titanic to not have false hope? [/sarcasm]

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  30. Josie -- LOL

    One of the conceits of the show is that you don't find out, in theory, who lives and who dies until the final episode. Unfortunately, most of the characters are pretty obvious...

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