Saturday, May 10, 2008

Yet another thing...

I don't fully understand. From Matt Roush's column in TV Guide:
Question: I've really been debating recently: Lost or Battlestar Galactica. Lost is probably the most innovative and original drama on network TV in a long time, and I'm a bit surprised it even got made. I think there is a chance it will go down as one of the best shows in history. But at times it's more flawed then people think. There are occasionally episodes that go nowhere ("Tricia Tanaka is Dead," for example.) Sometimes there are the flashbacks no one cares about, like Jack in Thailand, and the dialogue can be very predictable, unlike the story. But when Lost is on its game, it is amazing. (And it usually is, especially this season.) But I've recently been watching Battlestar Galactica, and I wish I had started sooner. The story is dense, yet not nearly as much as Lost, which is both good and bad. The acting overall is better in my opinion, yet Lost has many great actors as well. What makes Battlestar so good, though, is the solid writing. It's much more poignant than Lost since it deals with issues of politics and religion. Overall, they are both great shows that more people should be watching— Grant

Matt Roush: So why are you comparing them, exactly? They both live in the genre of the fantastic and high concept, but are so distinctive individually I don't really see the point. One is an epic mystery adventure in which action is informed by character, revealed through flashbacks and flash-forwards and other manipulations of time. The other is an epic science-fiction quest that, as it has developed, has grown increasingly interior as it addresses the nature of humanity through spirituality, mortality, evolution, politics and war. I can't really fault the writing and acting on either show. They're both so staggeringly ambitious, and if you find one more satisfying than the other, that's a matter of personal taste and not really worth sparking an either-or debate. I don't pretend to understand absolutely everything going on with either show these days, and I'm OK with that.
I don't think the new TV Guide is as good as the old one. I liked the smaller format, and they attempted, from time to time, to talk about important issues concerning this important medium. The new one is heavy on pictures, and gives a remarkable amount of coverage to a few shows (if you don't watch Survivor, American Idol, and Dancing with the Stars, there isn't much for you to read).

However, Roush's answer to this question is excellent, but the larger question is, why must we rank everything? In sports, it makes sense to figure out who's "best," so we have tournaments (or polls) to determine the winner.

But in so many other areas, what's best is either irrelevant or idiosyncratic. In the case above, it's irrelevant whether Lost or Battlestar Galactica is better; they're both (I assume, I've never seen BG) riveting stories with high production values and good acting. It absolutely doesn't matter which one is "best."

In other cases, "best" is idiosyncratic, that is, it's what's best to you. If you believe that According to Jim is the best show in the history of television, it just happens to strike some chord in you, then it's you. And that's fine.

Is it some need for external validation? Does Grant want Matt Roush to confirm his opinion that one is better than the other (it seems he's leaning to BG)?

But, in this case, it's truly unnecessary. Watch 'em both, Grant; don't choose until someone makes you.

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