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Killing It
June 21, 2011 5:23 AM   Subscribe

A few nights ago, AMC aired the final episode of the first season of the formerly critically acclaimed television series, The Killing. Based off of the highly regarded Danish television series Forbrydelsen, the show centered around two homicide detectives investigating the murder of a seemingly innocent high school girl in Seattle. Heavily marketed with the tagline "Who Killed Rosie Larsen?", the show's finale sparked a nearly unprecedented degree of outrage among television critics, with some going so far as to call it "the worst season finale of all time." [assume SPOILERS in all links and below the fold]

Much of the ire came from the critics' assumption - and growing desire - that Rosie's killer would be revealed in the season finale, as was the case in the Danish version. Instead, the writers included a final plot twist that cast doubt on the guilt of the show's suspected perp and implicated the show's most likeable character in a (possible) mass conspiracy.

Reaction was harsh.

Bill Simmons in Grantland: "I can't remember a single show damaging a network's brand this severely, to the point that AMC either needs to apologize, offer the entire Breaking Bad series on DVD for 85 percent off, or even publicly distance itself from the show the same way a sports team distances itself from a star player who does something horrible."

Alan Sepinwall at hitfix.com: "[the finale] is a mess, and an insult to the audience who have stuck around for the last three months. And based on my conversation with Sud, it sounds like we're getting more of the same next year. So this will be the last review I write of The Killing, because this will be the last time I watch The Killing. Because I have no interest in going forward with a show that treats its audience this way.

Andy Greenwald in New York Magazine: ". . . all of this led to a finale that spat in the face of convention, logic, and the audience. There was tone of condescension about this entire project from the start — all the talk of defying audience expectations, of how the writers would sort of 'figure out' the killer’s identity as they went along. All of this reeked of poorly thought out elitism, like a college freshman clutching a half-read copy of Siddartha and explaining to everyone how they just 'don’t get it, man.'"

Todd VanDerWerff in the LA Times: ". . . one of the most frustrating season finales in TV history."

And the Onion AV club, in another critical review, outlines the show's various red herrings, unlikely coincidences, and fabulous plot points that don't add up.

In the midst of such vitriol, showrunner Veena Sud gives an interview in which she states "We never said you'll get closure at the end of season 1. We said from the very beginning this is the anti-cop cop show. It's a show where nothing is what it seems, so throw out expectations. We will not tie up this show in a bow. There are plenty of shows that do that, in 45 minutes or whatever amount of time, where that is expected and the audience can rest assured that at the end of blank, they will be happy and they can walk away from their TV satisfied. This is not that show."

Somehow, though, the showrunner's claim that the audience would not get closure did not reach Ginia Bellafante at the New York Times, who wrote on Sunday evening that An Obsessive Killer is Revealed in a Stylish Whodunit. Accused of writing a review without even actually watching the final episode, Bellafante dug in and wrote a defense of her article, stating that it is clear to her who the killer is.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates (228 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Homicide: Life on the Streets did this so much better with the Adeana Watson murder.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:27 AM on June 21, 2011 [21 favorites]


the anti-cop cop show

The Wire?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:27 AM on June 21, 2011 [15 favorites]


Serves them all right for not just watching the Danish version.
posted by bonaldi at 5:28 AM on June 21, 2011 [31 favorites]


"the worst season finale of all time."

This charge would be more meaningful if it weren't used on some show every year or two.
posted by DU at 5:32 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The hate directed at the finale is ridiculous. This show has been consistently excellent all season long, and that was a thrilling twist at the end. People on the internet just like to hear themselves yelling about something.
posted by jbickers at 5:33 AM on June 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


Yeah, honestly, what is with countries just making their own crappy versions of shows and movies that could just be shown with subtitles?
posted by Mooseli at 5:36 AM on June 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


The show had proven itself ludicrous well before the last episode. Anyone who went ino the finale expecting anything more than they got has only themselves to blame.
posted by Trurl at 5:36 AM on June 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


It looks like Bill Simmons just doesn't want to pay full price for the "Breaking Bad" box set.
posted by drezdn at 5:37 AM on June 21, 2011 [22 favorites]


I didn't even realize the series had begun.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:40 AM on June 21, 2011


Perhaps the mythical Hollywood Happy Ending isn't so mythical?
posted by three blind mice at 5:42 AM on June 21, 2011


So. Once again, porting a decent show/movie/story to America screws it up. Didn't see that plot twist coming!
posted by Old'n'Busted at 5:42 AM on June 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


But they promised us the Cylons had A Plan!
posted by orthogonality at 5:46 AM on June 21, 2011 [37 favorites]


I haven't seen it, but sometimes them's the breaks. You don't always get what you want, even as an all-powerful television critic.

Twin Peaks, too, was an intensely frustrating experience--but also, to my mind, one of the best shows ever to be broadcast. Did it unfold the way I wanted it to? No. Was it easy? No.

Again, I haven't seen the show, so I can't compare The Killing with Twin Peaks. But to say you have some sort of "compact" with a television show is ridiculous. The best shows, like Twin Peaks, follow their creators' visions, which may lead you down rabbit holes. Tough luck, that's art. The worst shows are just there to sell advertising. It's not art, it's the marketplace, and to think otherwise is to delude yourself.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 5:47 AM on June 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


The plan was to get geeks to watch and earn money. A decent finale was an afterthought.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:49 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Season Four of Breaking Bad starts in a month. No one will remember The Killing by then.
posted by dortmunder at 5:51 AM on June 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


Also, it doesn't rain that hard in Seattle, and it certainly doesn't rain that hard for two weeks straight.
posted by qvantamon at 5:54 AM on June 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Admiral Haddock, Alan Sepinwall (easily the greatest TV reviewer in America) counters the Twin Peaks line of defense:
Now, in fairness, "Twin Peaks" had a similar marketing campaign back in the day, and they didn't close the case in the first season, but there were a couple of key differences. The first is that "Twin Peaks" wasn't based on a Danish show that had, in fact, solved its case within the confines of its first season (albeit a first season with 20 episodes to this show's 13), and therefore created an expectation of same in anyone who knew that. The second is that by the time that first "Twin Peaks" season had ended, it was clear that there were so, so many more reasons to watch and enjoy that show than simply finding out the killer's identity.

At this point, "The Killing" has virtually nothing else. It utterly failed to make Rosie herself matter. It failed at making Stan and Mitch into anything but monotonous engines of grief. It failed to make the political campaign the least bit interesting at any point. And while it briefly turned Linden and Holder into three-dimensional humans with the episode a few weeks ago that put the investigation on hold, a lot of that was undercut by the Holder reveal here at the end. Obviously, the stuff about his addiction, his sister and his nephew was true, but the building of the relationship and trust with Linden wasn't.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:55 AM on June 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


TV viewers who are into a show for the long haul seem to expect a predictable story arc with clearly marked heroes. Given that the hero is the viewer's surrogate on the screen, casting doubt on the hero's likeability reduces this audience's ability to enjoy the show vicariously and makes them watch the show as fiction, which relatively few are interested in.

I've had these ideas for a long time, but they found strong confirmation when I had a chat with a roommate about how Sliders had to have ended (and I was crazy to think otherwise, apparently).
posted by Nomyte at 6:00 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Myles McNutt has an excellent piece on this as well, Hiding Behind the Brand: How The Killing Threatens the Future of AMC.
posted by gladly at 6:05 AM on June 21, 2011


This charge would be more meaningful if it weren't used on some show every year or two.

The bar just keeps getting raised!
posted by Dr-Baa at 6:06 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really wanted to fall in love with this show. I watched the first two episodes and it didn't happen - should I give it more of a chance?

Data point: I'm okay with frustrating, irritating, infuriating finales. I'm still in love with Battlestar Galactica, for god's sake, even though much of it (including, obviously, the finale) made me want to throw the television out the window.
posted by rtha at 6:06 AM on June 21, 2011


I guess I'll just watch the Danish series. I started watching this. I thought the premier episode was fairly good and showed some promise but I just got into other things. I do think it is possible that the show is just bad. That happens too. It is much easier to make a show seem like it's going to get good than to make a show actually good. I think that is what's going on here. John From Cincinnati had that effect, Lost probably had it too. I am suspicious of blaming the audience on something like this because if you've watched any the Killing you know that any audience that made it to the last episode is about as patient and thoughtful as you have any expectation of encountering.
posted by I Foody at 6:07 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Where was all this outcry when LOST was going on?
posted by curious nu at 6:09 AM on June 21, 2011 [21 favorites]


[The show is] based on a Danish show that had, in fact, solved its case within the confines of its first season (albeit a first season with 20 episodes to this show's 13), and therefore created an expectation of same in anyone who knew that.

I would think this is exactly why AMC would change the ending. After all, what's the point of watching the series if everything's predictable, if you already know how it's going to end?
posted by daniel_charms at 6:10 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Silly Amercians you could have just read some subtitles and enjoyed an excellent series. Do I have to watch this adaption to see how bad it actually is?
posted by vicx at 6:11 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wait, a killing of an innocent girl in the pacific northwest whose murderer is not revealed and things just get weirder. Twin Peaks? Is that you?
posted by rmd1023 at 6:11 AM on June 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


I had a chat with a roommate about how Sliders had to have ended (and I was crazy to think otherwise, apparently).

How did Sliders have to end?
posted by drezdn at 6:15 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


This convinced me to watch the Danish show. I never heard of The Killing before this thread, but plots with beginning/middle/end appeal to me greatly.
posted by Danila at 6:16 AM on June 21, 2011


Homicide: Life on the Streets did this so much better with the Adeana Watson murder.

Homicide got to cheat a little on this account, because, IIRC, the murder was never officially solved in real life either.
posted by drezdn at 6:16 AM on June 21, 2011


How did Sliders have to end?

I too would like to know. I love discussions about viewer expectations and how to construct stories.
posted by Danila at 6:17 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, a killing of an innocent girl in the pacific northwest whose murderer is not revealed and things just get weirder. Twin Peaks? Is that you?

Yeah, I couldn't help but draw similar comparisons as well when I watched the first few episodes (in fact many did). The difference being, Twin Peaks had a slew of compelling characters and interesting subplots. The Killing just never got me to the level to care about anyone or anything much.

I will check out the original show though, based on the recommendations it keeps getting.
posted by Dr-Baa at 6:17 AM on June 21, 2011


I haven't seen the show, but:

"I can't remember a single show damaging a network's brand this severely, to the point that AMC either needs to apologize, offer the entire Breaking Bad series on DVD for 85 percent off, or even publicly distance itself from the show the same way a sports team distances itself from a star player who does something horrible."

Grow the fuck up. You sound like a spoiled child. Change the channel if you don't like it. Or go outside.
posted by empath at 6:17 AM on June 21, 2011 [17 favorites]


The stuff I'm reading about this show in the links above--little resolution, good guy not so good--reminds me of some really interesting European police stories like Insomnia and Red Riding. Is this actually anything like those?
posted by heatvision at 6:19 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


"the worst season finale of all time."

It'll have to fight Seinfeld for the title. But it'll have to fight the American Life on Mars first.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:19 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I did not mind the ending, except for a few timing issues.

If Richmond drove off from the gas station immediately, where did he park when he chased Rosie through the forest? Did he drive into the park?

When did Holder have a chance to frame Richmond? If the photos were only created that last day, and he only got Richmond as Orpheus (and therefore a good patsy) the day before . . . something doesn't add up.

Also, they kept treating Seattle like a kind of small town, where everyone knew each other. Why not choose a smaller town?

I found this ending a lot less obnoxious than many others, and it's weird to say "no cliffhangers! bad!" for a season instead of a series ending.
posted by jeather at 6:20 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


And man, if you want to talk about stories that go off the rails after a year? Go watch the 36 hour long Let's Play of Deadly Premonition on youtube. I mean seriously, what the fuck, Japan.
posted by empath at 6:20 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It really failed to meet expectations. They tried to leave the plot aside/move it really slow and focus on the characters (which got LOST where it got), but in the end they REALLY left the plot aside, to the point of non-believability (really? each episode is a day of investigation, but the detectives only actually work about 15 minutes per day?), while putting random people on screen blatantly hammering "I'M RELATABLE! EMPATHIZE WITH ME!".

I gave it the benefit of the doubt until the end, and actually liked the episode that everyone seemed to hate and think was pointless (and now, in retrospect, they were right). I wouldn't mind the cliffhanger ending if there were something else, but really, when you get down to it, there isn't.

For someone who mentioned that they "failed to make Rosie matter" - that was intentional - the intention was that we were supposed to see the whole thing through the detective's POV, where it was just some unknown impersonal girl, that they knew nothing about. Where they failed was that they tried to keep this up while giving 20 minutes screen time to a family grieving for a girl that, by the writers' own design, nobody fucking cared about. A third of every episode felt like crashing a stranger's funeral - lots of emotion going around, and none that you can empathize with.
posted by qvantamon at 6:20 AM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


The best shows, like Twin Peaks, follow their creators' visions, which may lead you down rabbit holes.

Eh, I gotta tell you, there were pretty clearly some big chunks in the middle of Season Two that weren't following anyone's vision at all, including the respective directors and writers of those particular episodes.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:27 AM on June 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


Huh. Interesting the NYT critic is digging in and defending a position the show's producer says is wrong.
posted by mediareport at 6:30 AM on June 21, 2011


They tried to leave the plot aside/move it really slow and focus on the characters...

Given how unlikable and uninteresting those characters were, this was a mistake.
posted by Trurl at 6:35 AM on June 21, 2011


I mean, if, by the end of the series, your attitude towards the grieving mother is, "Ha! I'm glad your daughter's dead!", there's a problem.
posted by Trurl at 6:36 AM on June 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


I watched the first double-episode of the Killing, after recommendations from trusted friends, and absolutely hated it. I remember telling my wife I wish we could just read the wikipedia page of it to get all the spoilers and then flush it down the toilet of forgetting. Basically, that AV Club story was exactly what I wanted! Thanks for crafting such a nice post!
posted by activitystory at 6:37 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Where was all this outcry when LOST was going on?

LOST took 2-3 seasons to build up the frustration that The Killing seemed to have generated by about six episodes in.
posted by anazgnos at 6:46 AM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


"the worst season finale of all time."

It'll have to fight Seinfeld for the title. But it'll have to fight the American Life on Mars first.


Carnivale is cracking its knuckles.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:53 AM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


~Where was all this outcry when LOST was going on?

~LOST took 2-3 seasons to build up the frustration that The Killing seemed to have generated by about six episodes in.


Speak for yourself. I bailed on LOST approximately 20 minutes into the first episode. Twice. My spidey-sense just started screaming "Get out now! This will not come to any good!"
posted by Thorzdad at 6:54 AM on June 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


I couldn't even get past the first episode, it was so awful, so I am hardly surprised it turned out this way.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:55 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Speak for yourself. I bailed on LOST approximately 20 minutes into the first episode. Twice. My spidey-sense just started screaming "Get out now! This will not come to any good!"

It's too bad. You missed one of the best shows in the history of TV.
posted by empath at 6:56 AM on June 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


Seriously though, the original Danish series (which has sequels!) is excellent, and worth tracking down if you can. It gets a little red-herring-tastic in the middle, but it is incredibly dramatic and well paced and the performances are off-the-charts good.

Plus you'll be walking around saying 'NannaBirkLarsen' to yourself in a cod-Danish accent for weeks afterwards. Track it down and read the subtitles, it's worth it.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:57 AM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


"the worst season finale of all time."

It'll have to fight Seinfeld for the title. But it'll have to fight the American Life on Mars first.

Carnivale is cracking its knuckles.


Someone find someone who watched Heroes so that show can weigh in.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:58 AM on June 21, 2011 [12 favorites]


TV viewers who are into a show for the long haul seem to expect a predictable story arc with clearly marked heroes. Given that the hero is the viewer's surrogate on the screen, casting doubt on the hero's likeability reduces this audience's ability to enjoy the show vicariously and makes them watch the show as fiction, which relatively few are interested in.

I think it's more like TV viewers expect story arcs to actually have an arc shape to them, rather than an increasingly steep series of cliffs. The problem is that in order to keep a show on the air, the writers have to keep the tension up, especially between seasons. Any actual resolution would ruin it. So you have these shows that are purposely designed to never give any kind of closure to any major plotline, and instead of viewers leaving the show satisfied you have viewers who stop in disgust when they realize that all of the loose ends will never be tied up. And when the series finally does end, the writers have way too many open plot issues to resolve in a few last episodes, so the diehard fans who have been expecting some sort of writing miracle to explain absolutely everything end up being the most disappointed of all.
posted by burnmp3s at 6:58 AM on June 21, 2011 [24 favorites]


Haven't seen people get this bent out of shape over a TV show since South Park pre-empted the second episode of the "Who is Eric Cartman's Father" story to do an all Terrance and Phillip episode.

And when they finally did reveal Cartman's father, it was pretty lame, so don't expect much here.
posted by Naberius at 6:59 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


When Mrs. Trurl got excited by Season 1 of Lost, I told her, "Remember The X-Files? Remember what I said was going to happen? And you said you didn't care? And then it happened? And you were pissed off?"

"I don't care," she insisted. "I'm enjoying this."

Then of course the same thing happened with Lost that happened with The X-Files. And she was pissed off.
posted by Trurl at 7:00 AM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I need to rewatch the pilot, but IIRC one of Holder's first phrases in the series is, in the park, something in the lines of "What up, looks like someone killed a hooker, yo!"

Then they took 13 episodes to figure out that someone killed a hooker.
posted by qvantamon at 7:00 AM on June 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


I was really enjoying The Killing up until the finale. I had the pleasure of watching 2-3 episodes at a shot, so it was probably a different experience for me. The ending with Holder & Belko & Richmond threw me, i'm not sure what to think.

As for the Twin Peaks comparisons. I understand the comparisons between the underlying story, pacific northwest setting, etc.. but the feel is totally different. While Twin Peaks was very quirky, hilarious at times, and had good A, b, and c storylines, The Killing is more like watching Law & Order or some other 'cop show'. The feel is entirely different.
posted by jbelshaw at 7:01 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


How did Sliders have to end?

In the bathroom, if my experience with White Castle is any indication.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:05 AM on June 21, 2011 [17 favorites]


It's hard to credibly argue against a season finale right away. Many people hated The Sopranos finale but I think generally it's not seen (rightfully so IMO) as one of the greats. It's absolutely possible that a second season of The Killing could redeem what we now see as its faults. Thus, it's easy for people to criticize the criticism of a bad finale, and I absolutely agree that an ending being unsatisfying does not necessarily make it a bad one, or the wrong one for a given story. I guess time will tell, but I think as things stand it was not a good finale.

The show in general never lived up to what it wanted to be. It tried to grab the Twin Peaks vibe with the northwest setting and dead girl and musical cues (obviously some of this coming from the original series) but the mystery never really got off the ground. Instead we got several half-assed and obvious red herrings (boyfriend, teacher, strange family friend) and poorly executed character development. The initial concept of really focusing in on a family's grief while most cop shows just gloss over that was great but didn't lead anywhere but an undercooked mob story.

To give some credit, I personally like the resolution of the initial scene of the finale coming off the cliffhanger. Generally you get to the scene where a main character is trapped in a room with who has just been revealed as the (seeming) killer and you know how it's going to play out. Having Linden get a phone call, revealing someone else knows what she knows, and then leaving to get more evidence felt like a good way to deflate that trope. Plus, if Richmond really didn't kill Rosie, he'd have thought what she found out was about his online persona, not about the killing he was being unknowingly framed for.
posted by davextreme at 7:06 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


shakespeherian: "Someone find someone who watched Heroes so that show can weigh in."

We all gave up long before the series finale, so nobody can tell you exactly what happened during that episode.

Of course, Heroes had a notorious spaghetti plot. During the writers strike, the show's producers were apparently pretty concerned that the show would be axed entirely during the strike, and decided that, instead of going on hiatus, to wrap the entire thing up in one hastily written and produced episode.

If that wasn't bewildering or chaotic enough, the strike ended, the show wasn't cancelled, and they were still on the hook for the second half of their season (and then went on to make 2 more after that). It was very.....postmodern.

It's a pity too, because the first season was genuinely good.
posted by schmod at 7:07 AM on June 21, 2011


Metafilter: People on the internet just like to hear themselves yelling about something.
posted by blucevalo at 7:10 AM on June 21, 2011


The problem is that in order to keep a show on the air, the writers have to keep the tension up, especially between seasons. Any actual resolution would ruin it.

This is why I think the finale and the season structure is so brilliant. People just assumed that they were going to get "one mystery per season, everything all neatly tied up." Which is not any more ambitious or smarter or "better" than the CSI model of "one mystery per episode, everything all neatly tied up." It's just slower. What we have here is a cliffhanger, and a damn fine one, that sets up the ability to have some neat overlap between this case and the next one, early next season.

And to address the link up above (the AV Club one) in which the writer lays out a huge bulleted list of plot points that were never returned to: This, again, is where I think the show is particularly smart. So it turns out that the creepy sex room in the basement of the high school isn't involved in the murder. The police investigated it, determined it's not involved, moved on - just like real police do. They don't go down every rabbit hole and explain everything they encounter. They have to stay on the case they're working on.

I'm sure I sound like total fanboy for this show, but I do believe it did so many things excellently. I thought this episode, in which the two main characters get taken totally off the track of the investigation, was especially brilliant. Some truly outstanding dialogue in there, and a great setup for the finale's twist.
posted by jbickers at 7:10 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lost was goofy and silly from the get-go, and every absurd Soap Opera twist just made it more fun. Anyone who enjoyed it did so with an air of mindless indulgence: Oh yes it's just lost who care what is really going on haha except I really do.

The Killing took (takes) itself sooooooo seriously. I bailed on it during a scene where the main character runs her fingers down a computer screen and whispers "ELLL DIABLOOOO"

No thanks.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:11 AM on June 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's a pity too, because the first season was genuinely good.

I remember-- I watched that first season of Heroes, and I maintain that it wasn't actually good so much as it had the feeling that it was a decent first season to a show that would become very good in the future.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:13 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I kept waiting for Richmond to beat the living shit out of Linden when she was in his darkened apartment looking at the Orpheus emails. I turned to the wife and said "He should punch the shit out of her!"

Of all the plot holes/problems that I've read about, nobody has said anything about this.
posted by kuanes at 7:14 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now, in fairness, "Twin Peaks" had a similar marketing campaign back in the day, and they didn't close the case in the first season, but there were a couple of key differences. The first is that "Twin Peaks" wasn't based on a Danish show that had, in fact, solved its case within the confines of its first season (albeit a first season with 20 episodes to this show's 13), and therefore created an expectation of same in anyone who knew that.

"The Office" was based on an English show that came to a bleak end in only 2 years and then stopped, leaving Jim and Pam's romance unresolved. Anyone who knew that knew that what the US "Office" was doing was entirely different, and should be judged on its own merits, and that "having an expectation of same" was foolish.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:16 AM on June 21, 2011


People just assumed that they were going to get 'one mystery per season, everything all neatly tied up.'

Which was a reasonable assumption given that the tagline of the show was "Who Killed Rosie Larsen?" and was used all season.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:16 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


All the commenters recommending Forbrydelsen are correct, it is is quite excellent. Two things, though: its ending, while clear, is also unsatisfying (and somewhat derivative of a rather famous film.) And it is not available in any legal form to U.S. viewers, doubtlessly to protect The Killing's franchise.
posted by mojohand at 7:17 AM on June 21, 2011


I didn't make it past the first episode of this thing. Did they ever stop doing that thing where they mix all the "atmospheric" background noise way too loud so you can't hear what anyone is saying because HEY LOOK GUYS IT'S SOME RUSTLING PAPER AND ALSO THERE IS RAIN.
posted by enn at 7:18 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


But to say you have some sort of "compact" with a television show is ridiculous. The best shows, like Twin Peaks, follow their creators' visions, which may lead you down rabbit holes. Tough luck, that's art.

Art is usually also craft. In the pursuit of "making art," the artist is painting, or sculpting, or playing a saxophone, or what have you. In this case, the medium is a television show and the complaint is with the writing—or "storytelling," if you prefer. Now, sure, you can buck craftsmanship and go all Jackson Pollock on your audience...but expect backlash, because storytelling has certain canons. If you violate them, you had better be able to pull it off.

And yes, advertising plays its role, too. If a network advertises a show with a hook ("Who killed character X? Tune in!"), then there absolutely is a "compact" between the show and its audience that the question will be answered. ABC aired a show called Murder One years ago that traced a single murder trial over the course of one television season. That trial could have ended with a guilty verdict or not—but if its final scene showed the defense attorney asking for a continuance and the judge saying, "Okay everybody, back tomorrow! [Fade to black]," then that's betraying the audience. I'd quit watching.
posted by cribcage at 7:21 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I only watched the first episode, but as a Seattle resident it annoyed me enough to not watch more than that, because:

- During the beginning scenes where it was always pouring rain before they let viewers know where it was taking place I said to myself, "Most likely want viewers to guess that it's taking place in Seattle, because of you know, it rains here all the time."

- The fact that it was filmed in Vancouver, made all of its "Seattle" scenes off-kilter for me.

- It appears they had a script where they didn't originally know where it was taking place, but just plugged in local Seattle places:

"Give me a working class neighborhood" - "Ballard".

"Give me a place where rich kids live" - "Mercer Island" (completing ignoring the fact that Mercer Island has its own school district and someone from there wouldn't go to the same high school as someone who lives in Seattle).

"Give me a town where a rich kid would pick up a lower-class woman at a bar" - "Tukwila".

"Give me a large park where prostitutes frequent" - "Discovery Park" (despite that it has no reputation of prostitution that I've heard of).

- City politics that had no relation to reality. A car that belongs to the campaign of a city council member? There's a city council member that lives a couple of blocks from me. I think he usually bikes to work.

- Those long brooding aerial shots of Seattle landmarks saying "Really, this is taking place in Seattle. See the Space Needle? That's in Seattle."
posted by ShooBoo at 7:21 AM on June 21, 2011 [21 favorites]


was it all a dream?
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:21 AM on June 21, 2011


If a network advertises a show with a hook ("Who killed character X? Tune in!"), then there absolutely is a "compact" between the show and its audience that the question will be answered.

According to the teaser at the end of the finale, it will be answered. Next season. That's called a cliffhanger, and it's a time-honored tradition in storytelling. Why are people getting so upset about this particular usage of it? Again, like Sud said in the interview, they never said it would be answered this season.
posted by jbickers at 7:24 AM on June 21, 2011


Potomac Avenue: "The Killing took (takes) itself sooooooo seriously. I bailed on it during a scene where the main character runs her fingers down a computer screen and whispers "ELLL DIABLOOOO"

No thanks.
"

That's a damn shame. The Danish original, by contrast, had some very flawed and interesting characters who mainly expressed themselves in very terse ways. Lund, the female detective in the original, is a very driven and obsessive woman whose relationship with both her son and her boyfriend falls apart over the series, even as she closes in on herself and shrugs off concerns and anger from her colleagues and family. She is absolutely fascinating to watch as she changes through the series.

Legal or not, you should track it down. Oh look, here it is, I'm sure you can figure out how to watch a different region DVD.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:24 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I liked it better when it was called "Twin Peaks"
posted by Renoroc at 7:25 AM on June 21, 2011


I liked it better when it was called "Twin Peaks"

and the Slowpoke Award for MeFi Thread No.104761 goes toooooooooooo
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:28 AM on June 21, 2011 [13 favorites]


Isn't this show based on a Swedish TV series? I haven't seen that, is it any good?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:30 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


So people are outraged that a show isn't predictable enough? This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by Uncle Ira at 7:31 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Agree with ShooBoo -- why didn't they just set the show in Vancouver? And this is coming from someone from NYC who still enjoyed Rumble in the "Bronx".

Another one of the excruciating aspects of the show is that the cops are so very bad at their jobs. NYMag.com has a great little piece where they ask real detectives about the show. With Holder (the rookie), it makes some sense that they're getting up to sped, but the worst mistakes are Linden's. Yet we're supposed to assume that she's some sort of wunderkind -- her boss won't let her retire, she regularly obsesses over her job to the point of neglecting her kid and her boyfriend, and for what?
posted by lesli212 at 7:31 AM on June 21, 2011


According to the teaser at the end of the finale, it will be answered. Next season. That's called a cliffhanger, and it's a time-honored tradition in storytelling. Why are people getting so upset about this particular usage of it? Again, like Sud said in the interview, they never said it would be answered this season.

I haven't seen the show, but from what the reviewers are saying, the anger comes from something like this: posted by Rory Marinich at 7:32 AM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Then of course the same thing happened with Lost that happened with The X-Files. And she was pissed off.

Why be born when you're just going to die in the end?
posted by pokermonk at 7:33 AM on June 21, 2011


Good grief, didn't you people WATCH Twin Peaks?

I liked this show a lot, more for the sense of dread I felt all the way through than anything else.

Have to say I also felt a sense of condescension from those Veena Sud interviews.

In the end, it's just a story. It was fine. Not brilliant, but some parts of the telling were brilliant. Definitely not the best show on TV or anything.
posted by FunkyStar at 7:34 AM on June 21, 2011


So, while I haven't actually seen this show (and probably won't), this has been an interesting discussion. The always-awesome Jason Mittell has a few points that speak to some issues raised here:
So The Killing‘s first problem is that it over-invested the dramatic stakes in one main question, both through its storytelling strategies (mostly by leaving the characters insufficiently fully realized to make us care about their curiosities) and its paratextual promotion centered around the core mystery. When you invest so much narrative energy in one point of curiosity, you better deliver on that question. Mo Ryan’s (and many others’) frustrations over not getting closure on Rosie’s murder is not because the show absolutely needed to resolve the mystery to satisfy viewers, but because there was nothing else driving the narrative forward. Compare this to Twin Peaks, where the lack of closure to Laura Palmer’s murder at the end of season 1 was sustained because there were so many other interesting things to care about. (Although those of us watching live back in 1990 were plenty pissed.)

Surprise is the weakest of these three storytelling tools, as its exhilarating effect is fleeting, it’s easy to abuse, and the impact diminishes every time it’s used – in other words, it’s the crystal meth of narrative. Surprise is the moment of thwarted expectations, when what you expected to happened didn’t. The Killing loves its surprises, and in this way is similar to 24 at its worst. And on both shows, the surprises are mostly hollow, without sufficient motivation within the storyworld except just to keep us guessing and chatting at the watercooler (or on the Twitter).
I really just love the phrase "crystal meth of narrative."
posted by DiscourseMarker at 7:35 AM on June 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


I mean I get that Pacific Northwest and Investigation Into Murder Of Teen Girl makes it all Twin Peaks-sounding, but saying that The Killing is at all like Twin Peaks is sort of like saying that Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is similar to The Seventh Seal, because, you know, chess with Death.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:39 AM on June 21, 2011 [20 favorites]


Why be born when you're just going to die in the end?

Ah, but our Creator - if there is one - isn't just making shit up as They go along.

The same can not be said of the creators of Lost.
posted by Trurl at 7:40 AM on June 21, 2011


Oh, and I wish this series was a Twin Peaks copy; interesting as that show was, it had many flaws that could be fixed on a re-do.

The other reason I don't get why Linden cares so much about this case is because she does act like a good cop in the sense that, for the most part she depersonalizes the victim. Her murder is just another puzzle to be solved, which I imagine is how homicide detectives keep from going completely insane.

And when detectives do over-identify with a victim, I think it's often because there's something about the victim or the survivors that they really relate to. But we & Linden know next to nothing about the victim, and her parents are whiny, selfish, vindictive assholes. And the viewer has a kinder view of the parents' struggles than Linden does. They're pretty much just obstructive assholes to her.

(For a great movie about the investigator getting overinvolved with his victim, check out the Gene Tierney film noir Laura)
posted by lesli212 at 7:40 AM on June 21, 2011


Darren Richmond's a busy guy. He's running for mayor while having an affair with his aide and simultaneously having a string of affairs with dead wife-resemnling brunettes and consorting with teenage callgirls. When does he have time to get anything done on the campaign?

I think the one-day-per-episode structure of the show contributed to people's frustration with it. The pace might be realistic, but if you're checking in a week at a time and not much happens between episodes it gets a little tedious. Unless they make stuff up that doesn't make sense, like Linden angrily confronting her long-absent ex-husband about abducting their kid one day, then having no problem with the idea of the husband seeing the kid the next day, which nothing in between to explain the change of heart.

Discovery Park, where the body was found, is about seven miles from downtown Seattle, through two residential neighborhoods. How did the killer (or killers!) get back to town? The park's also out of the way from a trip down I-5 coming south from the casino.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:41 AM on June 21, 2011


That's called a cliffhanger, and it's a time-honored tradition in storytelling.

In context, I disagree. This isn't a cliffhanger; it's bait & switch. Cliffhangers follow a formula of implementation (like all devices). For instance, imagine picking up a book whose cover says, "The new thriller from Author_Y!!"; halfway through the book, a main character is murdered, and on the final page you learn that the villain will be revealed in a sequel. That's a cliffhanger. Now imagine the book's cover said, "Who killed Character_X? The new thriller from Author_Y!" The murder happens on the first page, and the final page reads as above. That's bait & switch.

Also, remember the context is television. Full seasons are promised to no one, let alone second seasons. Viewers have all summer to contemplate their choice whether to watch again, and that's an emotional decision ("Did I enjoy it?"). Good TV writing aims to bring viewers back—yes, maybe via cliffhangers, but also by providing elements of resolution. Like all art: alternating dissonance and consonance, tension and release. Teeter too far toward one end, and it's no surprise if you lose your audience.
posted by cribcage at 7:41 AM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ah, but our Creator - if there is one - isn't just making shit up as They go along.

I beg to differ.
posted by dortmunder at 7:41 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


As a Seattle-ite fan, I look forward to more slow plodding episodes with ridiculous amounts of rain in every shot. Thanks for keeping the stereotype alive The Killing, it keeps Californians in California.
posted by NotMyself at 7:42 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


People who disliked LOST because it made things up as it went and tried to keep you involved probably also hate jazz and improv comedy.

Yeah people tried to figure out where the hell LOST was going but it was never like "I wonder what these dudes' big plan is", it was more like "Shit, how the hell are they going to make that work".
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:42 AM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah, yeah, ShooBoo, cry me a river. Having visited Seattle, lived in Vancouver and currently living in the DC suburbs, I can tell you that Vancouver looks a hell of a lot more like Seattle than it does the DC area they tried to sell us in X-Files.

There are few things in this world as laughably ridiculous as having Mulder and Scully pull off to the side of a crumbling and utterly empty two lane back road in the middle of the night and get out of their car beside a tiny, rusting bridge over a creek in the middle of a vast, empty, swampy plain with nothing as far as the eye can see but darkness, reeds, and swirling mist, and have the super text tell us this is "Bethesda, MD."
posted by Naberius at 7:44 AM on June 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


I thought the first 4 episodes were amazing, though I remember I sort of had to keep talking it up to myself by the fourth, when all we'd seen from Michelle Forbes (who'd been great thus far) was the same one-note grieving. Then they threw in the deeply offensive terrorism red herring, followed by the even MORE offensive female genital mutilation red herring (both of which I believe probably would have made more sense in the original Danish series), and the whole thing just kind of fell apart for me. I kept watching to find out how it resolved, though, even though I didn't much like it anymore--and then it didn't! UGH.
posted by liketitanic at 7:47 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really just can't fathom that people are still so upset about this. I watched the show the whole way through and while it definitely wasn't the best thing on the tube, I never felt "cheated" by it. It was a bit clunky in parts, but all in all I thought it was completely watchable. But all this outrage over the ending is just ludicrous. Honestly- there are far more egregious problems in the world.

The stuff I'm reading about this show in the links above--little resolution, good guy not so good--reminds me of some really interesting European police stories like Insomnia and Red Riding. Is this actually anything like those?

I never saw Insomnia, but I did see Red Riding and the Killing is really nowhere near as good as that. It's not as ambitious in its scope or its story development.
posted by dave78981 at 7:47 AM on June 21, 2011


It appears they had a script where they didn't originally know where it was taking place, but just plugged in local Seattle places

The "Boston" setting of Fringe is equally convincing.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:49 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


ShooBoo, it would fucking tear your brain out of your skull to live in LA.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:49 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's called a cliffhanger, and it's a time-honored tradition in storytelling.

An old-school cliffhanger served a different kind of purpose. They were usually completely unrelated to the main plotline and were just a cheap way to end on an "exciting" note. When you saw an episode of Doctor Who, and at the very end of the episode a robot showed up from out of nowhere and started choking the Doctor, you never had any doubt that he would not only get out of that situation but also eventually defeat the Cybermen or whatever and move on to some new adventure.

People who disliked LOST because it made things up as it went and tried to keep you involved probably also hate jazz and improv comedy.

I liked Lost, but jazz and improv comedy are not really analogous in my opinion. Lost is more like a shaggy dog story, so much over the top setup that at a certain point you just have to realize that there is no possible punchline that could justify all of it.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:53 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rory, I think we're in agreement (again, I haven't seen the show, and don't have a dog in this fight). To be clear, I wasn't advancing Twin Peaks as an apology for whatever letdown people felt in this season finale; it was to say television never owes you satisfaction. When it's good, it's because of an uncompromising vision of its creator(s). When it's bad, it's just bad by design.

I've worked on TV shows, and my dad is a TV director. There's some shows I really enjoy (Twin Peaks, the Wire, Dr. Who--your typical MeFi fodder), but for the most part, it seems (to me) to be a scandalous waste of time, energy, and human talent.

Castigating a TV show for not giving you the satisfaction you demand--nay, deserve--is like asking your dog "Who's a good boy?" and having a tantrum when he doesn't reply "I am, master!"
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:56 AM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


People who disliked LOST because it made things up as it went and tried to keep you involved probably also hate jazz and improv comedy.

I like jazz just fine. (See today's front page.)

But in my recollection, the makers of Lost never said, "We're just improvising as we go to explore different creative ideas." They knew well that this wasn't what people were watching for.

No, as I recall, they went out of their way to tell viewers what they wanted to hear - that they knew specifically where they were going and that people would be satisfied at the end when everything was explained.

They lied. Everything was not explained and people were not satisfied.
posted by Trurl at 7:57 AM on June 21, 2011 [12 favorites]


television disappoints, film at eleven.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 7:58 AM on June 21, 2011


There are few things in this world as laughably ridiculous as having Mulder and Scully pull off to the side of a crumbling and utterly empty two lane back road in the middle of the night and get out of their car beside a tiny, rusting bridge over a creek in the middle of a vast, empty, swampy plain with nothing as far as the eye can see but darkness, reeds, and swirling mist, and have the super text tell us this is "Bethesda, MD."

Amongst my friends here (in North Texas) there's a fairly infamous scene in the first X-Files movie where they're supposed to be in Dallas, and you see a giant mountain range in the background. There's no mountains anywhere near Dallas.

Even better though, was an episode of Supernatural that was supposedly set in Richardson, TX. The setting on the show was one of the typical swampy sleepy tiny towns on a deserted highway road. Richardson in real life? Dallas suburb with a huge number of telecom companies and a university. Though I can excuse that one since it was probably just an inside joke because one of the main actors is from Richardson.
posted by kmz at 7:59 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really just can't fathom that people are still so upset about this. ... Honestly- there are far more egregious problems in the world.

I have never been able to fathom the kind of logic that concludes, "If you are criticizing a television show, then you are basically enabling genocide in Sudan." Yes, more egregious problems exist in the world. Yes, discussing a television show consumes time that could be spent working on some of those problems. As does watching said television show—which you did, the whole way through—or eating a muffin or flying a kite. Assume that we feel appropriately guilty. Can we go back to criticizing the dumb show now?
posted by cribcage at 7:59 AM on June 21, 2011 [21 favorites]


How did Sliders have to end?

By being cancelled because of shitty ratings by two different networks?
posted by dersins at 8:01 AM on June 21, 2011


Amongst my friends here (in North Texas) there's a fairly infamous scene in the first X-Files movie where they're supposed to be in Dallas, and you see a giant mountain range in the background. There's no mountains anywhere near Dallas.

Sounds kind of like the mountains you sometimes saw in the background in Jackie Chan's Rumble In The Bronx movie.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:02 AM on June 21, 2011


Comparisons to Twin Peaks are shallow at best. The reveal of the killer was forced by the producers; Lynch lost some interest due to that and the show meandered in the second season.

Ultimately, Laura Palmer mattered to the plot because Laura Palmer symbolized the town: a fresh innocent exterior concealing an abusive past, that retro charm over decidedly modern and cosmopolitan lusts, with a smile masking the deepest sorrow. Every step towards solving her murder was an investigation into what was killing the town. She is beautiful and her time has passed, wrapped in plastic and left like a little present for Pete, the last innocent within twenty miles, to stumble across like a tourist stopping for a cup of coffee in this tourist-friendly burg.

Without touching back to that, The Killing never stood a chance.
posted by adipocere at 8:07 AM on June 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


So people are outraged that a show isn't predictable enough?

No I think they're outraged that a show with some initial promise twent off the rails and turned out to be a very poorly written and poorly executed waste of time. They might also be a little annoyed at the "oh, you just can't handle anything unconventional!" handwaving.

(I have never seen The Killing...I just like popular media criticism)</small
posted by anazgnos at 8:08 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


What a bunch of complainers.
posted by delmoi at 8:08 AM on June 21, 2011


One of my favorite WTF? moments in recent television came on the now-canceled NBC cop show Life, in which the main character gets in his car in LA and drives to Pelican Bay state prison, then, apparently, turns around and drives back, all within a couple of hours. It's a 12-hour drive, minimum, one way.
posted by rtha at 8:10 AM on June 21, 2011


One of my favorite WTF? moments in recent television came on the now-canceled NBC cop show Life, in which the main character gets in his car in LA and drives to Pelican Bay state prison, then, apparently, turns around and drives back, all within a couple of hours. It's a 12-hour drive, minimum, one way.

He must get his cars from the same place as Jack Bauer.
posted by kmz at 8:11 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ultimately, Laura Palmer mattered to the plot because Laura Palmer symbolized the town: a fresh innocent exterior concealing an abusive past, that retro charm over decidedly modern and cosmopolitan lusts, with a smile masking the deepest sorrow. Every step towards solving her murder was an investigation into what was killing the town. She is beautiful and her time has passed, wrapped in plastic and left like a little present for Pete, the last innocent within twenty miles, to stumble across like a tourist stopping for a cup of coffee in this tourist-friendly burg.

So the secret political message of Twin Peaks is that ultimately SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER our parents' generation raped us and left us for dead? but that also something something demons? SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

Sounds about right.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:12 AM on June 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


I watch shows that are worse than The Killing (Burn Notice) and I'm not disappointed by them.

As others have mentioned (and it's the point of the FPP main link), AMC has branded itself as a channel that shows quality original series - one that approves programs that will entertain and engage in a non-mindless fashion. Sure, some TV is mindless, but some isn't -- it's the same for every single entertainment medium, and entertainment is a valuable and important part of human experience.

Would those of you saying "get over it" be as dismissive if those who invested 13 hours in The Killing were complaining about, say, a shortlisted Booker Prize novel? TV is only the idiot box if you tune into nothing but idiocy. Messages can and do push the boundaries of mediums.
posted by lesli212 at 8:17 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sounds kind of like the mountains you sometimes saw in the background in Jackie Chan's Rumble In The Bronx movie.

Another case of Vancouver standing in rather poorly for another location. (They more typically use Toronto for fake New York.)
posted by Naberius at 8:18 AM on June 21, 2011


Can we go back to criticizing the dumb show now?

Criticism of the show is fine, but the outrage over it seems shallow to me. Some of that is tempered in the reviews by professional critics, but if you read the comments on any given review of the Killing at the AV Club, you might see what I'm talking about.

I have never been able to fathom the kind of logic that concludes, "If you are criticizing a television show, then you are basically enabling genocide in Sudan."

The logic goes like this: If you get OUTRAGED! over every little thing- like, say the unsatisfying plot of a tv show- outrage means less when it really is called for- like, say the genocide in Sudan.

I think that although the show was somewhat unfulfilling, there were redeeming qualities. I think the actors did a good job and I think some of the writing was excellent. It was a flawed work, definitely. But I'm ok with that. I'll watch it when it comes back.
posted by dave78981 at 8:26 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Accused of writing a review without even actually watching the final episode, Bellafante dug in and wrote a defense of her article, stating that it is clear to her who the killer is.

An example of her reasoning:

Another turn that left me pretty convinced that Richmond is guilty is that Belko, the surrogate uncle of the victim’s family, attempts to shoot him. It seemed crazy to me that the show would deploy the same plot point twice: having both Stan Larsen (with his pummeling of Rosie’s former teacher) and then Belko attack a suspect who was ultimately innocent. Maybe the show is that lame, but I honestly don’t think it is.

Very persuasive.
posted by Trurl at 8:28 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why wasn't Belko arrested for being an accomplice in the kidnapping of the teacher?
posted by kirkaracha at 8:30 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes but you see all these characters and their stories were boring.
They were vessels by design. That's why the destination became all that mattered.
You can make a story work in the way you're suggesting with strong scenes, interesting characters, dialogue that strays off path. They didnt. The mayoral race was massively inconsequential, the parents were vessels for constant grief (and in the end, awful people), the detective was a frowny one-note character who BTW sucked as a detective, the victim was...a girl that may have been a hooker but really who cares, the partner was sort of interesting but ultimately grating in more than small doses.
So it's a bunch of uninteresting robots bumping into each other in shitty weather and mumbling utility dialogue. That's why it's ALL about destination here.

Quick! Name a scene from this season that was engaging that DIDNT have to do with the murder. Can you? MAYBE the vegetarian-with-a-fish-sandwich scene. Maybe.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 8:30 AM on June 21, 2011


Is this the new spoiler thread?
posted by mwhybark at 8:33 AM on June 21, 2011


Quick! Name a scene from this season that was engaging that DIDNT have to do with the murder.

Well, off the top of my head ...

  • A basement in a high school where kids go to have sex, not knowing that the janitor is watching them through a peep-hole

  • The oddly Lolita-like relationship between a teacher and his student(s)

  • Belko's mother, as well as their relationship

  • The dynamic between Sarah, her son and her social worker

  • The entirety of episode 11

    There are tons more, but like I said, top of my head.

  • posted by jbickers at 8:35 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    Name a scene from this season that was engaging that DIDNT have to do with the murder.

    Wasn't there a scene where Mireille Enos changed her facial expression?
    posted by Trurl at 8:42 AM on June 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


    There are tons more, but like I said, top of my head.


    Her and her social worker? Really. That was a blip at best. So what you are saying is that those scenes you bulleted were so interesting that you would gladly watch a show with them and no murder or investigation?

    Most of those were parts of the investigation. Again, thats all utility stuff. I am talking about scenes that make this MORE than a procedural. A reason to care. And there are barely any there.
    posted by Senor Cardgage at 8:44 AM on June 21, 2011


    Impossible. She has to squint all the time to see through the rain. And the sourpuss look is to convey that the show is bleak. Also demons.

    Elllll DIABLOOOOOOOOO
    posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:44 AM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


    That the Onion AV Club seems to synopsize or review every episode of every show ever made never ceases to impress and horrify me.
    posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:44 AM on June 21, 2011


    The logic goes like this: If you get OUTRAGED! over every little thing- like, say the unsatisfying plot of a tv show- outrage means less when it really is called for- like, say the genocide in Sudan.

    So 90% of Metafilter is a problem, then?
    posted by liketitanic at 8:46 AM on June 21, 2011


    "The constant torrential rain is SYMBOLISM. That murder is SAD. You need your art spoonfed to you and that spoon also needs a tiny bow on it because you just dont get it!"

    (Possibly a real quote happening somewhere right now)
    posted by Senor Cardgage at 8:50 AM on June 21, 2011


    They lied. Everything was not explained and people were not satisfied.
    Cool.
    posted by fullerine at 8:54 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    I think the Leverage episode where they steal a minor league baseball team called the Beavers (Portland) from a field called PGE Park (Portland) in what's supposed to be somewhere in New England is my favorite location stand-in, as a Portlander.
    posted by OverlappingElvis at 8:56 AM on June 21, 2011


    Remember when the boyfriend got tired of waiting for her to wrap up this One Last Case and was afraid it was going to send her Over The Edge like happened that other time so he flew back to Seattle unannounced and they sat down in the hallway of her apartment building to talk about the problems in their relationship?

    Yeah, that was stupid.
    posted by Trurl at 8:57 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    I am talking about scenes that make this MORE than a procedural. A reason to care. And there are barely any there.

    We agree to disagree - I found myself caring very much about these characters, especially toward the end.

    But here's something I've learned about myself: I tend to like most art that I experience. I'm evidently really, really good at the whole suspension-of-disbelief thing - to the extent that I've never guessed the ending of a Shyamalan film. I'm just willing to go along with where the artist wants to take me.

    tl;dr - this show might have sucked, but I loved it
    posted by jbickers at 8:58 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    Is this the new spoiler thread?

    This thread did the spoilers perfectly. Disclosed that the links had them, and kept the spoilers inside the click-through. Despite the caricatures of the pro-spoiler contingent here, that's all **I** want. Thanks, H&O.
    posted by norm at 9:00 AM on June 21, 2011


    I think the Leverage episode where they steal a minor league baseball team called the Beavers (Portland) from a field called PGE Park (Portland) in what's supposed to be somewhere in New England is my favorite location stand-in, as a Portlander.

    I had a hard time getting through an episode of Leverage simply because the whole time I was thinking "and this is a soundstage in Clackamas. And this is in the Central Eastside Industrial District. And back to the soundstage in Clackamas."
    posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:01 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    We agree to disagree - I found myself caring very much about these characters, especially toward the end.


    I can respect that
    posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:01 AM on June 21, 2011


    My big problem with "The Killing" lies more with the fact that it's plotted out so thinly that neither the viewer nor the characters can figure out what the means, motive, or opportunity for killing Rosie Larsen was in the first place.
    posted by evoque at 9:07 AM on June 21, 2011


    Actually, Rory, I know you're being sarcastic but that is precisely it. Lynch's dream logic has the inner demons of the adult generation (think of the Horne family!) as the monsters and he condemns the willingness of even the kindest to turn a blind eye to the abuse. Laura's mother, who would not see, is punished by inescapable sight. Think about the villains of the piece — all middle-aged adults with endless machinations and betrayals. The worst of the younger generation merely ape them.

    The whole town is as rotten as old, soggy lumber, with the pillars of the community as the greatest offenders. Twin Peaks, for all of the schmaltz and the eccentric country ways, is a town with an entire venal generation cannibalizing their young. Even the best and the brightest the FBI has to offer are drawn in by the illusion. Wicked Windom knows what the true heart of the town is: a ring of twelve young sycamore trees leading to a house of dread, with monsters preying upon victims and bigger monsters lurking still.

    He touched on it in Blue Velvet, but here Lynch goes full on: Twin Peaks is meant to be every nostalgic burg from the "good old days" shown to be as awful as anything we have going now in the country.
    posted by adipocere at 9:11 AM on June 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


    So 90% of Metafilter is a problem, then?

    I don't know if I would say that. I think that the constant use of hyperbole and outrage in discussions is a stumbling block to fruitful discussion, but Metafilter does an especially good job of keeping that kind of thing under control- with some notable exceptions, like whenever Wikileaks is discussed.

    This all just my opinion. If you want to go ahead and be all outraged over everything, don't let me stop you.
    posted by dave78981 at 9:16 AM on June 21, 2011


    This all just my opinion. If you want to go ahead and be all outraged over everything, don't let me stop you.


    This is the single-worst post I have ever read anywhere, in any medium, in my entire life.
    It is AIDS in word form.
    posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:19 AM on June 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


    Not sarcastic! I'd never heard the Laura-Palmer-as-Twin-Peaks theory, but it makes a lot of sense, and I like it a lot.
    posted by Rory Marinich at 9:20 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    Is it canceraids though?
    posted by dave78981 at 9:20 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    Haven't seen the show but it seems that burnmp3s "wins the thread" here.

    So you have these shows that are purposely designed to never give any kind of closure to any major plotline, and instead of viewers leaving the show satisfied you have viewers who stop in disgust when they realize that all of the loose ends will never be tied up. And when the series finally does end, the writers have way too many open plot issues to resolve in a few last episodes, so the diehard fans who have been expecting some sort of writing miracle to explain absolutely everything end up being the most disappointed of all.

    Bingo! Everyone loses, the biggest fans most of all. You end up feeling like Canucks fans, rioting, pillaging, tearing shit up in a primal rage.

    I guess.

    Because I've almost always been the first kind of viewer who stops " ... in disgust when they realize that all of the loose ends will never be tied up." Except now, having a long ago witnessed the slow, sad demise of once great shows like MASH, HILL STREET BLUES, ST ELSEWHERE (all of which just went on way too long) it's no longer disgust; it's more a resigned stoicism. I'm just glad to have had something that really was good for a while. SIX FEET UNDER was like that for me. I stuck with it for most of the first season but certain aspects of it slowly got under my skin -- the predictability of its unpredictability more than anything, as what once were very human and believable characters and situations just grew more and more weird and "unrelatable".

    One show I'm still with after four complete seasons is MAD MEN. I chalk this up to two basic factors (other than the obvious incredible research, design, sense of place, well honed characters). Factor 1: the story arc is strong both for every season and overall, and it's consistent (characters and/or themes don't suddenly change to suit bored or "dead-ended" writers' needs). Factor 2: even when an plot rabbit-hole opens up for a bit, it's almost always well explored and/or resolved (not unlike a solid short story or one-act play).

    STORY really is the hardest part of any creative process that involves linear narrative lasting more than say ten minutes. You can have the best actors spouting the best verbiage against the best sets with the best special effects going wild in the background ... but it's all ultimately a waste if it's not built on a believable, compelling, realistically unpredictable narrative.
    posted by philip-random at 9:20 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


    METAFILTER: AIDS in word form
    posted by philip-random at 9:21 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    "the show centered around two homicide detectives investigating the murder of a seemingly innocent high school girl in Seattle."

    So, Twin Peaks?
    posted by Eideteker at 9:24 AM on June 21, 2011


    Mad Men astonishes me because at this point it's been so consistently good for so long that I just go into every episode expecting brilliant pacing and excellent writing and subtle ambiguous performances. I know that a group of writers is behind every episode and at any point it could fall apart, but the entire show feels like destiny unfolding.

    Opposite it is Breaking Bad (and I'll point off both shows are AMC's, and they're the two best dramas on TV), which is radically different. I trust it too, but my trust there is that Breaking Bad will never do the thing I'm expecting. Or else if they do it, they'll go about it in such an ass-backwards way that it'll still astonish me. Like the episode "I.F.T.", in which something we saw coming for a whole season finally happened, but it still managed to be fresh and devastating.

    Those two shows in tandem are like a whole thesis paper on how two things can be good while being nothing like each other, and I submit them as the end of every argument about how television "should" be, and also about how TV that sucks should be forgiven for sucking, because honestly? You can't take ballsier risks than the risks those two shows took and they made it work.
    posted by Rory Marinich at 9:26 AM on June 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


    So, Twin Peaks?

    *takes Slowpoke Award off Renoroc's chest and stabs it gleefully into Eideteker*
    posted by Rory Marinich at 9:27 AM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


    So, Twin Peaks?

    Except that the innocent high school girl found dead in first scene who turns out to be a part-time prostitute at the local casino doesn't also turn out to be a metaphor for the secret corruption of every small town. Please try to keep up!
    posted by nicwolff at 9:28 AM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


    Hey, does this show remind anybody else of another one? An old one, pretty weird from what I remember... can't place it though, for some reason. With a name something like Double Mountain? Two Apexes?
    posted by kmz at 9:30 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


    This whole stupid show is basically Small Wonder with shittier weather.
    posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:33 AM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


    You know it's true
    posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:33 AM on June 21, 2011


    If youre being honest with yourself.
    posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:33 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    And it is not available in any legal form to U.S. viewers, doubtlessly to protect The Killing's franchise.

    Importing region 2 DVDs is not illegal, nor is owning a player that can handle them.
    posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:38 AM on June 21, 2011


    The amount of vitriol directed at Veena Sud seems way, way more personal and ad hominem than usual. I wouldn't be surprised if her sex, race, and (to be sure) colossal pretentiousness had a lot to do with that.
    posted by waxbanks at 9:39 AM on June 21, 2011


    It's like they come up with two new mysteries for every one they solve!
    posted by Trurl at 9:39 AM on June 21, 2011


    It's weird how these things work.

    This show apparently aired more or less the same time as Game of Thrones, but I've never heard of it.
    On the other hand, I can't seem to go a day without a story on Game of Thrones, despite there not being much difference in the audience size.
    posted by madajb at 9:39 AM on June 21, 2011


    That the Onion AV Club seems to synopsize or review every episode of every show ever made never ceases to impress and horrify me.

    The Onion AV Club will be cited, decades from now, as strong evidence that we richly deserved to be wiped out by the laser-alien dog spiders, peace be upon them. The mania for recapping individual episodes of dense serials is an unusually shitty trend in American culture right now.
    posted by waxbanks at 9:42 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    How did Sliders have to end?

    Sorry for the late reply. Sliders "should have ended" with the cast returning to their Earth. Nothing other than that would apparently have done, because any show that "pulls" any "twists" with an ending its fans "want" is "insulting the fans."

    This, of course, after a major character leaving the cast permanently and another one getting pawned off into alien bondage for a good long stretch, eventually coming back none the worse for the wear.

    The mere existence of this vocabulary of terms and this mode of thinking is why I stay far, far away from "shows."
    posted by Nomyte at 9:45 AM on June 21, 2011


    Anyone watched the Danish and the US versions like to comment? I've watched the first and not the second and I'm unclear how they map to each other. Did the 13 episodes of The Killing do the entire plot of the 20 episodes of Forbrydelsen?

    A digression: Forbrydelsen is a good cop show, maybe even a very good one. But not great. There's a superfluity of outrageous coincidences and red herrings, the lead cop (Lund) has a bad case of "cop intuition" while her offsider (Meyer) is sometimes bafflingly dull and underused, many questions are left unanswered. But still, it's very entertaining.
    posted by outlier at 9:46 AM on June 21, 2011


    Mad Men astonishes me because at this point it's been so consistently good for so long that I just go into every episode expecting brilliant pacing and excellent writing and subtle ambiguous performances. I know that a group of writers is behind every episode and at any point it could fall apart, but the entire show feels like destiny unfolding.

    QFT. By its third season it had trumped The Sopranos in most categories; all it lacks in that regard is a performance with the sheer biblical-epic scale of Gandolfini's (Hamm is wonderful too, damn yes, but he gets to explore a narrower emotional register) and of course Edie Falco; Elizabeth Moss and especially January Jones just can't compare. Mad Men is pretty close to flawless, so long as you ignore the blinking light in the back of your viewermind that says 'RACE.'

    The criticism of The Killing seems weirdly off-key, but it'd be nice to start with basic premises: it was less competently put together than any of the recent heavy hitters (the Davids' shows on HBO, Mad Men, etc.). That kind of perspective would make the endless 'Awwww no resolution!' bitchery seem less adolescently whiny.
    posted by waxbanks at 9:49 AM on June 21, 2011


    He touched on it in Blue Velvet, but here Lynch goes full on: Twin Peaks is meant to be every nostalgic burg from the "good old days" shown to be as awful as anything we have going now in the country.

    I think this is complicated somewhat by Fire Walk With Me, because the first half-hour or so is Kiefer Sutherland wandering around a purposefully-bizarro version of Twin Peaks where the cops are assholes and the diner has shitty food and everything's in terrible shape, and then when the Twin Peaks theme finally kicks in with its over-the-top synth and you see the Twin Peaks sign there's genuine affection and warmth for the town. So while, yes, there's a good deal of Lynch exploring how good and evil are intertwined and possibly just different perspectives on the same weird fabric, I have a hard time reading either Twin Peaks or Blue Velvet as a critique of nostalgia/'good old days' mentality. If anything, I think Lynch uses these tropes to subvert the notion that something that seems wholesome sometimes is a cover for something sinister; I think that, for Lynch, things that are wholesome can also be sinister, without abdicating their wholesomeness. Blue Velvet begins with that incredible montage of like the white picket fences and the fireman going by on the firetruck and waving with a big idiot grin on his face and then there's two hours of Frank saying 'Daddy wants to fuck' and then at the end there's the same montage of the white picket fences. I think Twin Peaks is about how Laura Palmer can be simultaneously an abused drug addict who cheated on her boyfriend and just a sweet girl who everyone loved.
    posted by shakespeherian at 9:51 AM on June 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


    ... with some going so far as to call it "the worst season finale of all time."

    Have they even heard of Battlestar Galactica?

    That finale was so bad, I coined a new phrase to describe it.
    retsuck
    ret·suck
    [rett-suck]

    –verb
    to produce a series finale so mind-bendingly awful, it makes every preceeding season suck in retrospect.

    "I had so much respect for Ronald D. Moore, until he retsucked Battlestar Galactica with that shitpile of a series finale."
    posted by Afroblanco at 9:51 AM on June 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


    Are people still pretending that BSG season 4.5 existed? The finale of season 4.0 was appropriately depressing as fuck for the show and was not one percent as idiotic.
    posted by jeather at 9:53 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


    The amount of vitriol directed at Veena Sud seems way, way more personal and ad hominem than usual. I wouldn't be surprised if her sex, race, and (to be sure) colossal pretentiousness had a lot to do with that.


    Oh please.
    Well...one out of three aint bad, I suppose.
    posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:01 AM on June 21, 2011


    Dammit, the more I think about the finale of The Killing the stupider it gets.

    So Holder gave Linden the fake tollbooth picture, but also called the Highway Patrol back with Linden's badge number and info, thereby guaranteeing that they would call her at some point and blow his story? Even if the frame-up was just meant to cost Richmond the mayoral race, not get him convicted – how did Holder know they wouldn't call her before they arrested the councilman?

    And then: Linden takes the call from the Highway Patrol on the plane – but then doesn't call her boss to let him know that they're about to perp walk a city councilman with no evidence?

    These aren't wild coincidences like the many we had to accept to enjoy the show's performances – this is the characters we are supposed to be most interested in acting in completely nonsensical ways. And this is on a network whose slogan is "Story Matters Here"?!
    posted by nicwolff at 10:02 AM on June 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


    Those two shows in tandem are like a whole thesis paper on how two things can be good while being nothing like each other, and I submit them as the end of every argument about how television "should" be, and also about how TV that sucks should be forgiven for sucking, because honestly? You can't take ballsier risks than the risks those two shows took and they made it work.

    I really suspect it just boils down to good writing: compelling characters, decent pacing, sharp conflict, an appropriate resolution to the implicit promises made. I watch a lot of TV, and that's what most of it lacks--and where even good shows sometimes go off the rails.
    posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:06 AM on June 21, 2011


    Huh. Interesting the NYT critic is digging in and defending a position the show's producer says is wrong.

    Formalism FTW.

    The show is what the show is, no matter what the writers or producer say.

    I haven't seen any of the show, but based on reading, I would probably have to agree with her. The dude is guilty of the murder, but the story behind the murder is the real mystery. Surprise.

    That the Onion AV Club seems to synopsize or review every episode of every show ever made never ceases to impress and horrify me.

    Television Without Pity
    posted by mrgrimm at 10:15 AM on June 21, 2011


    By its third season [Mad Men] had trumped The Sopranos in most categories.

    Nothing has trumped The Sopranos, waxbanks:)
    posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:22 AM on June 21, 2011


    The Killing's main problem was that it was on AMC and not CBS. Had it aired on CBS it would have seemed fresh and original in context, and being on CBS I would have safely ignored it not knowing any better. On AMC, purveyors of fine content like Mad Men and Breaking Bad, I had to at least check it out.

    The first three episodes weren't all that bad. But while you could apply Afroblanco's "retsuck" to something like BSG or The Smurfs movie (sight unseen) and Neil Patrick Harris' career, it doesn't make much sense for The Killing. It began to suck as soon as the second red herring was introduced and dropped. In retrospect, I'm not all that surprised by the finale. The only thing the show knew how to do was introduce a suspect, lie to the viewer about why that suspect was valid and then drop the suspect and move on. That's the finale in a nut shell.

    I found myself watching it just to see how bad it could get (and not in the Breaking Bad way).

    I haven't seen any of the show, but based on reading, I would probably have to agree with her. The dude is guilty of the murder, but the story behind the murder is the real mystery. Surprise.

    Uh. No. The finale proves the opposite.
    posted by eyeballkid at 10:23 AM on June 21, 2011


    It will be very interesting to see what kind of ratings the Season 2 opener gets.
    posted by Trurl at 10:26 AM on June 21, 2011


    This post is literally the first time I've ever heard of the show, and I follow TV, so I can't imagine it's too popular? ... 2.3 million for the finale. Not bad, but not zombies.
    posted by mrgrimm at 10:31 AM on June 21, 2011


    *SPOILER!!!*

    Twin Peaks sucked, too.
    posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:31 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


    I agree - Twin Peaks was about the town more than the murder. The Killing has never been about anything but killing. I think it's a really stupid comparison.
    posted by FunkyStar at 10:36 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    You take that back. Whatever its problems, it did not suck. Now, FWWM I personally like, but I don't even try to argue it ...
    posted by mrgrimm at 10:38 AM on June 21, 2011


    Twin Peaks was about David Lynch showboating.
    posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:41 AM on June 21, 2011


    The Killing is about how the murder of a young girl affects the lives of the most annoying mother since Jodie Foster in Flight Plan, who is grieving, a grumpy incompetent detective, and a politician that has principles, let's make that clear, he has principles, let me spell that out in a very stereotypical way, caring for poor people kind of principles, except that (surprise!) he doesn't.

    It tried to be character driven, but only half of the characters were actually likeable. To be fair: the father was OK when he wasn't just sobbing for 10 minutes, Gwen and the Aunt were OK, Belko was very interesting and could have used more screen time, and even nosebleed girl could have used some more screen time for the consequences of the whole sex video thing. And Holder was great (the 90s lingo thing got old, though).

    But they seemed to spend most of the time in the most unlikeable characters, in the most unlikeable situations.
    posted by qvantamon at 10:45 AM on June 21, 2011


    I kinda wanted to catch up on this show. Too much TV and too little time. I am going to have to find something give up, like work or going outside.

    How does it compare to the Red Riding Trilogy?
    posted by Ad hominem at 10:47 AM on June 21, 2011


    Twin Peaks was about David Lynch showboating.

    Your opinions are bad.
    posted by shakespeherian at 10:50 AM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


    Twin Peaks sucked, too.

    There's one in every thread.
    posted by Bookhouse at 10:51 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


    Now, the middle chunk of season two of Twin Peaks sucked hard and fast, but that first season is a jewel of television probably never to be matched again on network television.
    posted by Bookhouse at 10:52 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


    How does it compare to the Red Riding Trilogy?

    You know that moment in RRT where you realize that they had a concrete plan and were able to execute it over three separate stories? The Killing finale would be the exact opposite of that.
    posted by haplesschild at 10:55 AM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


    Critics are complaining about plot holes in TV shows now? Well, I have news for them. Their favorite TV shows have plot holes too.

    The two legitimate complaints they could have about the season finale are:
    1. Everything about the murder should have been resolved in one season.
    2. I don't like that Holder did something unethical.
    Well, for 1, TV shows don't necessarily work like that. With a novel, the whole thing is published at once. TV shows are not. When it got good reviews, the show got renewed, and the writers went in the current direction.

    For 2, this is a typical fan complaint. The fan likes a character and then the writer makes him do something unethical or kills him off. This can suck, and you can argue that it was a bad decision, but you can't then claim that "I watched all these boring episodes and then you screwed up my favorite character". If you didn't like the show in the meantime, why would you watch it.

    Now, I can sympathize with people who get tired of watching or reading something that goes on too long. The Wheel of Time books were like this for me. I simply stopped reading them. Writing harsh articles criticizing the writers with a shotgun approach to pointing out previous flaws (that you overlooked before) because you have to wait for a conclusion seems over-the-top.
    posted by demiurge at 10:55 AM on June 21, 2011


    something something Wild Palms
    posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:55 AM on June 21, 2011


    How does it compare to the Red Riding Trilogy?


    Now THAT'S a fucking show. Go watch that instead, you goofballs.
    posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:55 AM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


    something-else something-else Prime Suspect
    posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:57 AM on June 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


    Now, the middle chunk of season two of Twin Peaks sucked hard and fast, but that first season is a jewel of television probably never to be matched again on network television.

    In an ideal world, Twin Peaks would have ended half-way through Season Two with the resolution of who-killed-Laura-Palmer. Because it all actually does resolve there, particularly (though weirdly and perhaps transgressively) if you slot FIRE WALK WITH ME in after that.

    Unfortunately, being a half-way successful American TV Show, they had to keep it going, because there was still advertising lucre to be grabbed. Talk about going down the rabbit hole .... But then that final episode actually is pretty amazing (speaking of weirdness and transgression) -- just turn everything on its side and blow shit the f*** up. LET EVIL WIN.
    posted by philip-random at 10:59 AM on June 21, 2011


    Because it all actually does resolve there

    Nah, they started introducing new shittiness way before that. Windom Earle is mentioned before that, and you already have Catherine dressed as Mr. Tojamura. Not to mention you've got Nadine in that idiotic thinking-she's-18-and-has-super-strength plot since like the third episode of Season Two.

    Also: Dick Tremayne.
    posted by shakespeherian at 11:16 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


    Twin Peaks was a great show, and practically gave birth to a generation of awesomely cinematic series. (yes, I'm looking at you, Six Feet Under, the Sopranos, Lost, Mad Men, The Wire, and Breaking Bad) But they made Lynch reveal who killed Laura Palmer 6 shows into the second season, and that pissed him off, because you're not supposed to drop the MacGuffin. That's the whole point of the MacGuffin. After that, he lost interest in the show, and it devolved into pointless wandering, with some goofy shit that wasn't Lynchian goofiness, but merely goofy goofyness. Something about ferrets and the Civil War. Also, they introduced an antagonist, Wyndham Earl, who wasn't scary at all, like not even a little bit. Unlike Bob, who, just thinking about him sends chills up my spine. Like that one scene where Laura's mom sees him in the living room ... (shudder) ...

    But Season 1 plus some of season 2 was just golden, golden entertainment, with some genuine scariness sprinkled throughout.

    "... we lived above a grocery store ... my name was Mike ... his name ... was BOB!"
    posted by Afroblanco at 11:18 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    I duly watched this dumb fucking self-important rainy waste of time until last night's season ender.

    Fuck "The Killing". I'll try "Forbrydelsen" when I can get my hands on it.
    posted by everichon at 11:18 AM on June 21, 2011


    The first two episodes of the Killing were pretty good I thought. Nice atmosphere, compelling characters and an engaging mystery.

    Then around about the third episode, they decided to sausage slap the audience. The first sign of trouble was when the cop dude smokes dope for a few minutes with some cheerleaders and they lead him to the basement of the high school where the teens made out....

    ....except that the basement of this otherwise normal school had

    a) no electricity
    b) blood stained walls
    c) pools of standing water

    I watched four more episodes in hope it would pull itself together, but no luck. Instead they upped the sausage slapping until I got silly-fied into a dazed stupor. E.g. the mayoral candidate guy is having a discussion with his hottie assistant and his political aide in the office. The aide leaves, and the candidate immediately makes out with the hottie right on the desk. Without closing the door. The aide just left. He could come back for a pencil or something. What are the rules in this universe? (Oh, i see, it's a pencil-less universe, my mistake)

    There's more: The scene where the mother leaves the two kids in the garage, in the car with the engine running. The sister discovers them and she's horrified. But the only thing is that the garage door is actually OPEN.

    Anyhow, that's just off the top of my head, there's other stuff too. I quit after episode seven because combined impact left me unsure whether i was being slapped with baloney, salami or someone's uncooked meat sock.
    posted by storybored at 11:19 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


    Metafilter: unsure whether i was being slapped with baloney, salami or someone's uncooked meat sock
    posted by eyeballkid at 11:23 AM on June 21, 2011


    that first season is a jewel of television probably never to be matched again on network television

    It's a little know fact that Twin Peaks started as Joel Schumacher's art school project. The assignment was to create a TV pilot in the David Cronenberg oeuvre. Unfortunately, Joel got poor marks on the project, because his professor, Michael Bay, thought the pilot was too subtle. So they brought in David Lynch to hammer the audience over the head with more STYLE, STYLE, STYLE, STYLE! When it was done, they all gathered in the editing room and cut the film into pieces, then reassembled it in random order.

    It was genius the way that MarkovFilter is sometimes genius.

    And yes, I confess that I've been engaging in a bit of overwrought hyperbole. Because that's pretty much the way the series was filmed, not to mention the way it's fans talk about it. Pointing out that Twin Peaks is overrated practically requires overwrought hyperbole. Certainly it deserves no less of an effort.

    The American version of The Killing, however, isn't worth the effort. 'Nuff said.

    /Twin Peaks derail
    posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:32 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


    > But while you could apply Afroblanco's "retsuck" to something like . . . Neil Patrick Harris' career

    Woah now let's not say things we're gonna regret.
    posted by chaff at 11:34 AM on June 21, 2011


    Oh jeez!

    Okay, okay, deep breath, and...

    Is this something I'd have to have a TV to understand?
    posted by Naberius at 11:58 AM on June 21, 2011


    Forbrydelsen is, in my humble opinion, one of the best pieces of television I've seen to date. I caught a couple of episodes on TV and then decided to stop watching and wait for the DVD (which turned out to be a mixed blessing given that I then couldn't stop watching the damn thing until the wee hours of the morning).

    The thing is, to properly appreciate Forbrydelsen it is probably best viewed with some knowledge of the Nordic crime drama canon. The crime drama that comes out of this region is incredibly good, for example: Rejseholdet (Unit One), Ørnen: En krimi-odyssé (The Eagle: A Crime Odyssey), and Wallander. Most of these shows really hit their stride a couple of episodes in, but watching that progression is fascinating stuff. Best of all, these characters are adults: they have their flings, they raise their eyebrows at their co-workers, they make those errors in judgement that we all make... whilst one would *think* that we see this in English language television, these shows just reflect the complexities of how people behave in a way that I've not seen elsewhere.

    THEN you get to compare and contrast the Nordic crime dramas with the French ones, for example, Engrenages (Spiral). EMBRACE THE SUBTITLES, FOLKS!
    posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 12:01 PM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


    Is this something I'd have to have a TV to understand?

    Why comment on an FPP about a tv show if you look down on those that watch tv? Just to show us all how above that sort of thing you are?

    Bravo.
    posted by dave78981 at 12:09 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


    Is this something I'd have to have a TV to understand?

    No, you could watch The Killing on a computer, possibly like the one you are using to post to MetaFilter, unless you are using Lynx, which I bet you aren't.
    posted by everichon at 12:14 PM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


    Plus you'll be walking around saying 'NannaBirkLarsen' to yourself in a cod-Danish accent for weeks afterwards.

    For me it was "Troels Hartmann".
    posted by gyc at 12:14 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


    Is this something I'd have to have a TV to understand?

    I don't have a teevee, but I do have friends.
    posted by shakespeherian at 12:17 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    Woah now let's not say things we're gonna regret.

    Actually, chaff, he meant that the Smurfs movie might retsuck NPH's career because of his involvement in it, not that his career has already fallen in some manner.

    The Killing was really disappointing. AMC, with it's reputation thus far for quality television, dropped the ball hard.
    posted by graventy at 12:26 PM on June 21, 2011


    Ohhhh I didn't know he was in the Smurfs. I thought it was somehow about Dr. Horrible devaluing Doogie Howser in some way and I was totally confused.
    posted by chaff at 12:39 PM on June 21, 2011


    "is sort of like saying that Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is similar to The Seventh Seal, because, you know, chess with Death."

    You meant Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey. And not chess, but Battleship, Clue, electric football, and Twister. It's also the perfectest casting of Keanu Reeves ever.

    This television show The Killing of which you all speak sounds poorly thought out. This thread does remind me how much: I enjoy Mad Men; I keep meaning to watch Breaking Bad; and I would like at some point to re-watch Twin Peaks, which I taped from TV onto VHS way back when.

    "You have sunk my battleship!!"
    posted by artlung at 12:43 PM on June 21, 2011


    Have they even heard of Battlestar Galactica?

    see, here is the difference, BSG was a redo of a mormon parable. All i ever expected of it was that, and it was fine. That and being sci-fi also made it pretty much okay that it became batshit insane. The only sci-fi show (and really the way to do these long form ones like this) is Babylon 5, he knew where it was going, and even if you didn't like it, you knew they weren't making it up as they went along. That said, i do also love Farscape, which did pretty much make it up as it went along, but that was also the feeling of the show, going off the rails and out of control in a fun way.

    I also love deconstructions and reconstructions, but this show did it in the WORST ways possible. The whole "were going to throw the expectations of the audience" thing is silly, after what, the third episode, it became this:

    1. Near end of episode, make it almost clear X killed her.
    2. Cliffhanger!!
    3. Reveal in first minutes that X didn't.
    4. Spend episode dropping red herrings.
    5. New suspect! Y.
    6. go to 1

    Every episode was like that, and that's one reason it got insulting, to do the exact same thing for the end of season. That and sooo many cliches it made Battle los Angeles look creative. The fact that we also have gotten to expect AMC to do better tv than SyFy.

    Do they owe us anything? Nope. Do they deserve a second season, not even remotely.
    posted by usagizero at 12:54 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


    I saw this post and decided to watch the finale, which I hadn't seen yet, right this second in hopes of being able to both read and participate in this discussion before it got wildly out of hand. Given there are now nearly 200 comments, I think I've missed my chance, but I'd like to give my opinion anyway.

    Perhaps my expectations were influenced (lowered) by reading that this episode was OMG THE WORST FINALE EVER, but I enjoyed it. I kept thinking, 'Ok, this seems like what I was expecting/hoping for, there's tension, everyone's in character, Linden's fucking finally going to CA, the crazy character is acting crazy, oh hey didn't see that plot twist coming, cool!' And come on, people who are disappointed with Holder, this is fascinating character development! And odds are good that he was set up somehow or doing it for a good reason (he's got an estranged family, that kinda thing is ripe for exploitation). This is American TV after all, we couldn't be lucky enough to actually get a morally-complicated main character 'good guy.'

    Which is another thing. I went into this series assuming that, in its awesome darkness, it would be a lot like Durham County, an amazing Canadian show. I mean, if you hated The Killing, you maybe shouldn't bother with it, but if you like gritty, angry, messed-up procedurals about the not-so-sunny side of life, it's the show for you. Hell, even if you hate it, it's only six episodes to a season (three seasons total), so you could knock the whole thing out in a long weekend. It's not really a detective show about who did what; like The Wire, you see a lot of crimes as they happen, so it's all about proving it and the fallout that occurs in the detectives' lives. You stare into the abyss, etc etc. Much like The Killing. Having never seen the Dutch show, I didn't have an expectation that the murder would be solved, I only expected that the show would make me want more and more of it, which it did.

    Finally, I notice all the critics linked in the post were male. I don't want to get into some gender studies shit here, but in my experience, men are more likely to see themselves in male characters, and given a suitable female character, women are more likely to associate themselves with a female character. Again, in my experience, more shows have strong female leads than strong male leads, so it's possible women have more practice at empathizing with the main character regardless of gender, but that's neither here nor there. What I'm driving at is that the male critics may have been more likely to feel betrayed by Holder's perceived actions because was their guy, whereas viewing the series through Linden's eyes, the audience would've had a much harder time trusting him fully, because she didn't.

    But like I said above, I'm sure there's a very good explanation for his actions that we'll see in the second season. Actually, that's what I'd find disappointing, if it turned out Holder had done it for some stereotypical Law & Order-esque reason. Also I'd be sad if there was no more Callum Keith Rennie, I'm still holding out for him to secretly be the murderer, since he's had so much practice with those roles, and he did leave town right after, just saying. But I guess on the whole the series is a lot like Lost, in that the less seriously you take it, the more enjoyable it is. If you want a series where the plot twists actually pay off, watch Doctor Who. Although I suppose that's my advice about anything television-related, since I think Stephen Moffat is arguably one of the strongest writers/producers in the world right now, possible misogynist statements aside.
    posted by Grafix at 1:02 PM on June 21, 2011


    Finally, I notice all the critics linked in the post were male.

    Actually, the one who called it the worst season finale ever was female.
    posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:24 PM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


    "the male critics may have been more likely to feel betrayed by Holder's perceived actions because was their guy, whereas viewing the series through Linden's eyes, the audience would've had a much harder time trusting him fully, because she didn't. "

    The feeling of betrayal isn't because of what Holder did, it's what the writers did. In a good script you get to know the main characters better as the series goes along. It's like buying a car. You get in your new Camry and take it for a spin. You might hit some loose gravel and you find out how the steering handles.

    In The Killing, we started out with Holder as a kind of cool, bad ass kind of guy, you knew he had a checkered past. But in the finale what the writers did was destroy the investment the viewers made in the character. They just jerked his character around for the sake of a cliffhanger ending.

    I'm not saying you can't have plot twists but they have to be internally driven from what the viewers understand of the characters. You can even have way out plot twists (like the series-long conspiracy in the Shield) but if you don't have it centred on what's true about the characters, forget it. It'd be like my Camry suddenly turning into a mallard duck.
    posted by storybored at 1:34 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


    In The Killing, we started out with Holder as a kind of cool, bad ass kind of guy, you knew he had a checkered past. But in the finale what the writers did was destroy the investment the viewers made in the character. They just jerked his character around for the sake of a cliffhanger ending.

    My wife and I were talking about what an amazing job the actor did with this role. Because over the course of the entire season, we both oscillated between liking the guy and not trusting him. I mean, he smoked pot with high school students to earn their trust. He clearly has secrets, and demons, and I think this is a really deeply layered, fascinating character, and the portrayal was just amazing. With that final twist, our reaction was not, "Hey, they jerked that around for the sake of a cliffhanger," it was, "Okay, yeah, I can see that. He's messed up enough that he could be a bad cop. Or he could be doing this for some good-cop reason that is not clear yet."

    And come on, "destroy the investment the viewers made in the character"? The character exists in a fictional universe that is independent of you. He is who he is, he does what he does, whether you care or not. It might be the case that what he did at the end was a cheap trick of the writers, or it might be entirely consistent. We don't know yet, because the story is still in progress. (See also: Doctor Who)
    posted by jbickers at 1:46 PM on June 21, 2011


    I mean, he smoked pot with high school students to earn their trust...


    Are we absolutely sure about this?
    I have this idea there was an explanation in a later episode with Holder mentioning something smelling like pot - but wasn't the real deal? Or am I just making it up?
    posted by Jody Tresidder at 1:51 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    Are we absolutely sure about this?

    Yeah, it was mentioned later that the herb was some kind of fake pot that narcs used.
    posted by dave78981 at 1:54 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    I would've been perfectly willing to see the world through Linden's eyes if she was a relatable character at all. Probably the worst cop I've seen on TV outside of The Shield. At least Holder occasionally made progress on the case. She told the parents it was the teacher, and nearly got him killed. (Twice!) She stole evidence from the FBI that wasn't even involved in her case. She stumbled upon the casino thing. She stumbled upon the Orpheus connection.

    I get it, she gets wrapped up in cases. But why? She had no connection to this girl. *We* had no connection to this girl.

    The story she tells in episode 11 is a case I could get involved in. That should have been this show, maybe.

    For it to be successful, I think the show needed to build a damn case around someone. Instead of just Dad! no. Teacher! no. Dad's friend! no. Janitor! no. etc etc.
    posted by graventy at 1:54 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    I mean, he smoked pot with high school students to earn their trust.

    He actually didn't. It was some kind of fakey pot. This is something they did with every character in the show. First introduce some kind of, oooooooooooh, dark secret and then explain the secret away as innocuous, Holder is in rehab and his sponsor is keeping money for him, or, in the case of Bennett, the evil teacher with a taste for young girls, altruistic (saving a young girl from female circumcision).
    posted by eyeballkid at 1:54 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


    >>"the male critics may have been more likely to feel betrayed by Holder's perceived actions because was their guy, whereas viewing the series through Linden's eyes, the audience would've had a much harder time trusting him fully, because she didn't. "

    >The feeling of betrayal isn't because of what Holder did, it's what the writers did.


    I've been noticing this tendency a lot, where a criticism that is coming from outside the story (as in, technical criticism, or addressing writing/plotting/story problems with something from the larger framework of writing in general) is answered by defense coming from inside the story. Crudley put, if I say, 'why would the writer make this character so flat and unengaging from a dramatic standpoint' and somebody responds 'you don't understand, that's just how he (the character) is, because x happened to him when he was a child and he's trying achieve y...' and so on...these two viewpoints sail completely past each other.
    posted by anazgnos at 2:02 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    Are we absolutely sure about this?

    Yeah, it was mentioned later that the herb was some kind of fake pot that narcs used.


    Right, there's no chance that he was lying about that ...
    posted by jbickers at 2:02 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    Right, there's no chance that he was lying about that ...

    lol
    posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:11 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    And come on, "destroy the investment the viewers made in the character"? The character exists in a fictional universe that is independent of you. He is who he is, he does what he does, whether you care or not.

    I agree the character exists independent of me. But what I think a good writer does is to get you or me to care, empathize or relate to the character. It sounds like this has happened for you (in the Killing) but not for me.

    Perhaps this comes down to personality. I don't find erratic behavior an endearing quality in anyone I'd like to consider a friend. But more fundamentally, i think i need to understand someone on some fundamental level before I can connect.

    If I take Breaking Bad as a counterexample, Walter is a character that has a solidity to him right from Episode One. You knew what this guy was about. You couldn't predict absolutely everything that he did, but you understood it.
    posted by storybored at 2:13 PM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


    This is American TV after all, we couldn't be lucky enough to actually get a morally-complicated main character 'good guy.'

    The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Shield, Deadwood, Mad Men, NYPD Blue, Oz, Dexter, Firefly, Sons of Anarchy, Rome, Boardwalk Empire and what the hell I'll throw in The Mentalist for a chuckle.
    posted by Bookhouse at 2:16 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


    Yeah, American TV is full of morally-complicated "heros".

    This has been a great thread. I know nothing about the TV show but I am enjoying the hell out of this commentary.
    posted by the young rope-rider at 2:19 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    Finally, I notice all the critics linked in the post were male.

    Actually, the one who called it the worst season finale ever was female.


    Which is what I get for scanning quickly through the post instead of going back through the links. My fault, thanks for the correction.

    storybored: I threw that theory out there as a possibile explanation for something I saw expressed but didn't feel or understand, so thank you for sharing your view on it. I guess part of the appeal for me is the feeling we don't really know the characters, and that on the whole we don't necessarily like all the characters or their actions. They're twisted tunnels and while you can see where they start, you can't see where they end (much like the plot of the show). Why should we know the characters? The whole premise of the story seems to be that they don't know each other and the tragedy it can lead to.

    I think you're right about it being possibly a personality thing: I don't find erratic behavior a likable quality in real life, but I like my life to be safe and happy and predictable, which, outside of children's programs, does not make for great TV. Breaking Bad was indeed a much 'realer' story in a variety of ways, but while I think it's a great show with superb actors, I lost interest during the second season.
    posted by Grafix at 2:21 PM on June 21, 2011


    If I take Breaking Bad as a counterexample, Walter is a character that has a solidity to him right from Episode One. You knew what this guy was about. You couldn't predict absolutely everything that he did, but you understood it.

    Exactly. That's something that makes a character realistic and human instead of arbitrary and annoying. Surprises are actually creative and interesting because they have to work within the confines of defined characters who have their own ways of doing things. It's no fun to have random shit happening that doesn't make sense. Once you know the characters, know what's at stake for them, know the way they do things, know what they might be thinking, know their flaws and their limits...it gets interesting.

    Anyone can do something surprising when given unlimited leeway and the ability to conceal everything from the audience. Surprise, here are some aliens! Surprise, it's all a dream! That shit was banned from my freshman creative writing class for a reason. It's boring and irritating, like that childhood friend you had who would invent new rules every time they started losing a game. Yes, it's "just a game" but you have invested time and energy into figuring out the rules. Changing them fucks that up.
    posted by the young rope-rider at 2:28 PM on June 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


    I feel like a sucker for watching the whole season. The first two episodes really did look like it was going somewhere, but instead they decided that crazy plot twists - at the end of every single episode - were more important than character development or coherence.

    My guess is that Rosie found a time machine and murdered herself to stop a werewolf apocalypse.
    posted by Sibrax at 2:30 PM on June 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


    Actually, I enjoyed The Killing much more than AMC's Walking Dead. The latter is entertaining, but also kind of...eh.

    Maybe it's because I don't particularly care that much about who killed Rosie. That is kind of incidental to the whle thing for me. The characters are way more interesting; how they evolve because of the murder.
    posted by New England Cultist at 3:02 PM on June 21, 2011


    The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Shield, Deadwood, Mad Men, NYPD Blue, Oz, Dexter, Firefly, Sons of Anarchy, Rome, Boardwalk Empire and what the hell I'll throw in The Mentalist for a chuckle.

    Maybe 'morally complicated' wasn't the phrase I was looking for. I can only speak to the shows in the list that I've seen, but for the most part, the lead characters have distinct moral codes. They might not line up with mine, or society's in general, but most of them have a sense of good and evil and a line they won't cross. Dexter wouldn't kill some random person, he only kills people he considers 'bad' (but I've only seen through season two, so no spoilers!).

    For instance on Firefly, I'd consider Jayne morally complicated. But Mal is the main character. Would Mal shoot an innocent little girl for a big payday? No way. Would Jayne? I don't know, but I'm pretty sure he'd at least think about it. OZ (and especially Chris Keller) is a pretty great example actually, and everyone on that show was pretty messed up. Still, Beecher, at least when he's sane, definitely has a moral code and believes what he did was wrong, despite the fact that other characters sometimes use his sense of morality against him. I should've considered premium cable shows in my statement above, since they tend to be subject to pretty different conditions which I think makes it easier/more likely for the writing to go in complex and morally gray directions.

    House would be a good example of that self-interested and flexible morality from broadcast TV. He seems to have lines he wouldn't cross (I think?), although exactly where or what they are, I'm not quite certain. Cal Lightman on Lie to Me is another, although that show was cancelled last month, so maybe not a great example. Tigh from Battlestar Galactica might count, as again his morality seems distinct but situational, and to him the ends very much seem to justify the means. Man this is a fun list to make.
    posted by Grafix at 3:03 PM on June 21, 2011


    It wasn't the final episode that did me in, it was the crappy programs before that. The basic problem is unbelievable characters, especially the lead. This sums it up (and was written before the season finale). What the hell is up with Sarah Linden? The parents of the dead girl were far more interesting than the cops, but the show pissed that away as well. The unbelievability of the faked photo at the end was the final straw. Sucky series.

    (But I can't wait for the final season of Breaking Bad.)
    posted by CCBC at 3:05 PM on June 21, 2011


    Part of the tragi-drama of The Shield is watching the moral codes of the lead characters slowly disintegrate. The Sopranos is notable for Tony and Carmela's absolute inability to remain morally consistent even within the most lax and self-chosen moral codes.
    posted by the young rope-rider at 3:05 PM on June 21, 2011


    most of them have a sense of good and evil and a line they won't cross.

    While most of the people on the list have "moral codes," they almost all violate their own codes pretty consistantly. Are you looking for the word "amoral"? Because amorality doesn't strike me as complicated; it's the same as a purely good character.
    posted by Bookhouse at 3:15 PM on June 21, 2011


    Law & Order: IFC.

    I got four episodes into this thing. On episode four, I started checking my email, reading twitter, etc. Then I decided I really didn't care, and also that The Killing was kind of a buzzkill after a new Game of Thrones...to be honest, I think GoT was what really killed it for me. I wanted to and expected to like The Killing -- it's great looking, atmospheric, and stars three of my favorite characters from BSG (Leoben, Admiral Cain, and Gaius Baltar's house) -- but I just kept waiting for a sign that there was something inside this pretty suit of clothes, and it never came.

    Anyway, I'm a little bit worried about AMC, but not that worried.
    posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:51 PM on June 21, 2011


    The Killing also had Helo as Linden's secret baby daddy later on. Even though his presence made no sense in the story, I squeed.
    posted by lesli212 at 3:55 PM on June 21, 2011


    Breaking Bad is a great show, but I have a couple concerns about it. One is that the family scenes tend to be slow and draggy; there's only so many awkward dinner table conversation I can take. The other is that sometimes I question Vince Gilligan's motives. Watching The Wire, you can tell that David Simon is an advocate of decriminalization. You could tell this even without the decriminalization story arc, or Simon's public statements. You could tell in the way that he humanizes all of his characters -- even the "bad" ones -- and makes the drug war the real villain. I don't always get that from Breaking Bad. Sometimes I get the feeling that Gilligan is moralizing drug use, which I'm kinda not okay with. Still, it's a great show, with solid performances all around. It's possible that I'm overthinking it.
    posted by Afroblanco at 4:33 PM on June 21, 2011


    Part of the tragi-drama of The Shield is watching the moral codes of the lead characters slowly disintegrate.

    I know what you mean here but it still doesn't get much more disintegrated than the first episode. Did Mackay do anything worse in the entire run of the series?
    posted by Justinian at 7:53 PM on June 21, 2011


    Watching The Wire, you can tell that David Simon is an advocate of decriminalization. You could tell this even without the decriminalization story arc, or Simon's public statements. You could tell in the way that he humanizes all of his characters -- even the "bad" ones -- and makes the drug war the real villain. I don't always get that from Breaking Bad. Sometimes I get the feeling that Gilligan is moralizing drug use, which I'm kinda not okay with. Still, it's a great show, with solid performances all around. It's possible that I'm overthinking it.

    I think it's actually an interesting observation, because what it really makes me reflect on is how little Breaking Bad is actually about anything like a realistic take on the drug war. That's not a criticism, exactly, because I love Breaking Bad; it's my favorite series currently on TV, and may be my favorite series period. It's an observation, to wit: Gilligan uses drug dealing and the crimes associated with it as tropes to drive a show that's about...other stuff.
    posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:48 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


    Why would you reveal who the killer was if the entire premise of the show is based on finding out who the killer is? That would be self-defeating - there wouldn't be a show left. I think people made the mistake of thinking the show was going to be a procedural cop show instead of a serialized cop drama.
    posted by KWile at 1:27 AM on June 22, 2011


    After spending much of yesterday defending this show, it occurred to me this morning what I desperately want the show to do in its second season: Add musical numbers, a la "Blackpool." I want to see Holder bust into a Smiths song in the middle of an interrogation, so very badly.
    posted by jbickers at 5:47 AM on June 22, 2011


    Where is my spin off series?

    THE KILLING: YUTANAS
    posted by matthewstopheles at 6:03 AM on June 22, 2011


    You know, I've just realized while reading Television Without Pity's review that *all* of the pertinent information about Richmond and how he committed the crime came from Holder. He's the one that compared the gas numbers and said something didn't add up. He suggested an alternate route had to have happened because of the mileage. He suggested the gas station where Richmond filled up ("trust me."). He provided the photo.

    This makes me think that Holder knows exactly everything that happened because somebody else did it and strung him along with clues or something. I don't know if that makes the finale any better, but it suddenly got more interesting.
    posted by FunkyStar at 11:08 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


    Why would you reveal who the killer was if the entire premise of the show is based on finding out who the killer is?

    Right, the unattainable overall goal of a series is a common element (see the TV Tropes page). But in most cases it's a sort of meta-goal that is not directly related to what the characters are doing episode to episode. So on Lost where the overall goal is arguably for the characters and audience to figure out all of the secrets of the island, everyone is continually in the state of not knowing what is going on, but on any given episode there are sub-goals or sub-mysteries that get explored. Trying to figure out who the killer is, and being wrong, over and over again is not really a sustainable narrative structure in the long run. It might work for a season, but eventually people will realize that nothing that happens in any given episode actually matters. Most long-running shows about cops solving a crime either more on a cat and mouse aspect between the actual criminals and the cops, or on a mystery solving investigation aspect where the focus is more on figuring out details of the crime rather than investigating suspects.
    posted by burnmp3s at 12:22 PM on June 22, 2011


    Y I T A N A S
    posted by matthewstopheles at 6:50 PM on June 22, 2011


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