Today’s Unrelated Things: Joss Whedon, Action Hero; and “The Killing”, Inaction Victim

For Rosie Larsen, justice was served far, far too late.

Last Friday AMC announced their cancellation of The Killing after two controversial seasons. What launched as a grim-‘n’-gritty crime drama with a unique tone and a promising premise strained to sustain viewer patience, culminating in a season-one finale that launched a thousand ‘Net-fits when it ended To Be Continued. TV fans raised on the complete, self-contained, season-long arcs of superior shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Veronica Mars were unaware that any showrunners in this age would still rely on the ancient TV model of ending a season with a DVD-boxed-set-ruining cliffhanger. We former might have been more forgiving if the season had been more satisfying. Alas, ’twas not the case here.

Before season two premiered, my half of a conversation with a friend digressed into a diatribe about my discontent with the show and my bold plan not to watch a single episode of season two, despite the thirteen hours of my time already invested without benefit of closure. My tantrum went like so:

I patiently allowed myself to be strung along for thirteen hours’ worth of watching one truly original character, several mopey characters, and one aggravatingly incompetent protagonist. I labored under the delustion that the season would be a fulfilling story in and of itself. I waited it out through thin and thinner, enduring unbelievable acts of stupidity committed in extreme slow motion by characters that would’ve been fired or murdered long ago if the same had happened in real life, under the expectation (fostered by precedents set by other, better shows, not to mention 99% of all other whodunits throughout recorded entertainment history) that closure for the simple question of “Who Killed Rosie Larsen?” would be forthcoming in a timely manner.

When the show revealed itself to be an extended tease for a resolution that might or might not occur in some future season, unless they decide never to solve it, which they totally could if they wanted to, meaningless press releases in recent months notwithstanding, and when showrunner Veena Sud confirmed that they never intended to solve the mystery in season 1…I was not remotely happy.

And it wasn’t just for my own sake, but for my wife’s, whose reaction was even more vehement and scary than mine. She and I rarely watch any new TV shows together, but just this once she had trusted my recommendation and given The Killing a shot. It was fun to watch the show together, to compare our notes and thoughts on a shared experience.

So that blew up in my face. When the finale ended with the complete non-solution and the one original character betraying us, she instantly swore off the show, and she’s not fully trusted a TV recommendation of mine ever since.

So thank you, Veena Sud, for helping me not spend more time with my wife. I’ve never been this excited about not watching a TV show, but now I’m zealously anticipating any and all Schadenfreude I can derive at your show’s expense.

…but I’m feeling much better now. I honestly expected this to be a minority opinion that would long forgotten somewhere around the show’s fifth season. Apparently I wasn’t the only upset customer who upheld their promise, refused to tune in again, and passed the time until the finale aired and online news sites reported the mystery’s solution.

For what it’s worth, my wife bought me season one of Sherlock for our eighth anniversary a couple of weeks ago, in hopes that we’ll have time to enjoy it together. Neither of us has seen an episode yet (I’ve watched one brilliant scene online, under the title “Sherlock Holmes, Grammar Nazi”), but trustworthy people keep recommending it. Here’s hoping.

* * * * *

Since I’m not really in the mood for a complete downer of an entry, enclosed below is something completely different. If you’ve already seen it six times in the last week because your friends flooded all your Internet inboxes with links to it, I’ll understand if you groan and fire up your escape pod now.

From the producers of The Guild, a new Web series called Written by a Kid springboards from simple storytelling segments with children ages four to nine, who still say the darnedest things after all these years. Whereas Bill Cosby would only allow each of his interviewees a brief moment in the spotlight, Written by a Kid moves one step beyond and turns each child’s improv short-story into an animated tale of whimsy and wonder.

Episode one is called “Scary Smash”, about a one-eyed monster on a milkman-murdering rampage and the SQUAT team captain that takes seven days to stop him. Starring Dave Foley (Kids in the Hall, NewsRadio, A Bug’s Life) as the dead milkman, Kate Micucci (stuff I’ve never seen) as a latecomer to the war, and, in his first starring action role, TV’s Joss Whedon (TV’s Angel, TV’s Firefly) as that steadfast captain, Gerald by name, who wields a sword and a shield and a gun and a small gun.

…and now you know how to count to ten hundred.

If you watch as many YouTube shows as my son does, you may also recognize some of Gerald’s poor, ineffective soldiers in split-second cameos, including YouTube stars Rhett and Link, and executive producer Felicia Day herself.

For a first effort, it’s not bad. It may be the last time in this kid’s life that he will know the joy of having a script produced without a rewrite by a meddling studio hack.

Y’know what I liked best about it? It told a complete story in four minutes flat.

What do you, The Viewers at Home, think?

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