A Farewell Look at the Final Four
I have to give credit to ABC for giving its small number of fans a chance to see the final episodes of Eli Stone, Pushing Daisies and Dirty, Sexy, Money. Since they were already produced, “burning them off” as it’s called, certainly allowed them to earn some revenue against expenses.
Fortunately, in all three cases the producers had enough of a head’s up to tie up the major storylines putting a button on each series.
As reviewed over at ComicMix, I thought they did a nice job closing out Pushing Daisies, especially since the comic continuation will be read by a tiny fraction of the viewing audience. Emerson got to glimpse his missing daughter and Chuck was finally ready to reveal her existence to the grieving aunts (one of whom was actually her biological mother). The fairy tale series could easily have had a card reading: And they lived happily ever after.
Eli Stone continued to move the character arcs along with a growing thread for Eli’s purpose on earth, having these visions and how he handled them differently than his tortured father. The legal cases remained interesting if a little far-fetched and quickly dismissed, but the human drama remained strong. Having Eli and Maggie reconnect was a nice tangible reward for our hero but better yet was the sense of closure he received by having a vision wherein he had a chance to speak with his father. While feeling a tad rushed, the entire series wrapped pretty nicely and I will miss this one tremendously.
Father issues were the driving force behind Dirty, Sexy, Money as Peter Krause’s Nick allowed himself to be sucked into the seductive world of the Darlings so he could find out who murdered his father, Dutch, the Darling’s consigliore. The show was an intentionally over-the-top prime time soap with one outlandish sub-plot replaced by another, constantly stirring the pot. It was a guilty pleasure for us but not essential watching. Still, we were intrigued to see how things would wrap up and here, it was clear the production team had a lot less notice. The final episode, aired Saturday, was a rush as it tried to close out each and every storyline. Along the way, knowing we were promised the answer to Dutch’s death, I began to guess. My fear was the under-utilized Donald Sutherland would be the obvious candidate and therefore they’d take the easy way out. But, over the final half-dozen episodes, it was clear Blair Underwood’s scheming capitalist was taking orders from someone and as he started to explain himself
to Nick in the finale, I saw that they’d reveal Dutch faked his death and he was the one out to destroy the Darlings. And sure enough, in the final moments, Underwood said Dutch was alive and the last shot was the stunned look on Nick’s face. Rushed and untidy, the series ended abruptly and I wished they had at least one more episode to have done a better job.
NBC also gets kudos for allowing Kings to complete its run on Saturday nights. Apparently, during the press tour last week, touting the new season, Angela Bromstad, president of prime time entertainment, said of the series, “I think that it was an amazingly big swing and a great production, and Michael Green is a phenomenal writer… I think our challenge now — and hopefully what you see with the new shows is in a really crowded marketplace — you have to sell something. People want to know what something’s about. That was a very complex idea. It was a show that was originally developed when I was there before [with] Laura Lancaster. We thought it was too highbrow and sophisticated to sell in a 30-second spot. It doesn’t mean we’re not looking for big ideas, but they have to be big ideas an audience can grab onto and relate to.”
Too high-brow to sell in an ad? How absurd. I’d fire the ad staff before giving up on the series.
Kings wasn’t perfect, but it was a fascinating look at a “what if?” scenario set against the Biblical story of Saul and David. It had a look and a language unique on all broadcast and cable television. It had a vision and a purpose and was filled with relatively unfamiliar faces, allowing you to be invested in the characters. Creator Michael Green was abandoned by his network and it was fitting the final scene was of David, now exiled, finding his way in hostile territory.