Episode 62: “Beginnings and Endings…”

We’re back!

Sorry, totally didn’t mean to take a week off, but sometimes stuff happens. This week, Cheryl and I talk about Pilots and Finales.

We took the time off to watch some of the best pilots and finales and TV history. It’s quite an amazing experiment and I can’t recommend it enough if you want to write for TV.

That being said, let’s get to the show!

till next week…

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One thought on “Episode 62: “Beginnings and Endings…””

  1. Glad your back, safe and sound!

    I haven’t watched MASH since it went off the air, but I think Radar got some kind of (honorable) hardship discharge due to his father dying (without Radar’s help his mother would lose the farm or something like that). In reality [IIRC] the actor was sick of playing the character and worried that he’d never get cast as another character again if he didn’t get out while he could. (cough)

    I remember the finale pretty well (even after all thse years), since it made me decide to never watch the show in syndication (and I haven’t!). Like Cheryl I remember the “chicken choking” and related scenes (which I didn’t expect or “like” at all, but in retrospect I guess I respect), not the waves goodbye at the end.

    I guess I was just relieved (not emotional) when they got to go home because I had stopped watching the show (for the most part) in the later seasons as I thought the quality had gone downhill. But I finally did get quite a laugh decades later when “30 Rock” really made (subtle but hilarious) reference to the “chicken choking” scene when Alda guest starred on one of the episodes!

    I liked the original movie “Mash” a lot, but I think of that as something totally different than the TV show. I only vaguely remember the TV pilot… I had forgotten that Spearchucker was in it! That’s great! (Alas, I guess the network or sponsor nipped that in the bud.)

    I never saw “Cheers”, and your description of the finale makes me glad I didn’t!

    I saw the original “Newhart” (set about twenty miles from here), but not the second series. But when I heard about the finale I almost wished I had watched it!

    Only saw pilot and first few eps of “Next Generation” — didn’t care for it.

    Never saw Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Shield, etc. Primarily because of not having cable, but from what I’ve heard about them I probably only would have been interested in “The Wire” and maybe “Six Feet Under”.

    I think it’s asking to much to stick around for five or eight episodes to see if you like the show! I don’t recall ever doing that. That is, I think I’ve liked every show I’ve watched from the first episode, including LOST.

    Speaking of which, while I think in general you’ve come up with a great exercise for writers (watching the pilot and finale of long-runnning drama shows), I most definitely DO NOT think it is a good way to get people interested in (or a fair representation of) LOST!

    Not only because the finale was so bad (and had little to do with the rest of the show except the sixth season), but because the pilot was fairly generic. (As you said, filled with stuff to please ABC and hopefully get good ratings for what was at that time simply a two-hour movie with no guarantee of even a single half-season order.)

    I’ve always told people who are thinking about trying LOST to start with the second episode and third episodes (or third and forth if you count the pilot as two episodes), “Tabula Rasa” and “Walkabout”. If you’re like me you’ll love the show and be hooked by then (well, these days [alas] as long as you can put anything you’ve seen or heard about the finale out of your mind). And if you’re not hooked by then, then definitely don’t keep watching as you never will be.

    So it kind of saddens me that Cheryl invested all that time (four and a half “hours” [defining an hour as 41 minutes] if memory serves correctly) without ever seeing a single episode of the real series! (The first two episodes, that I mentioned above, were made something like eight months after the pilot! And with the help of some great writers like David Fury who weren’t involved with the pilot [or the finale!].)

    To answer Cheryl’s question (as best I can because I’ve never heard the term “iron dinosaur” before!), I think the pilot was killed by “the smoke monster” (who turns out to be the ancient bad guy in non-corporeal form). But as Manny said, it doesn’t much matter as so much of the pilot was self-contained and ultimately irrelevant (the long search for the pilot and radio essentially ends with the pilot getting killed and the radio destroyed).

    All you really need to know for the following episodes is that a group of people crashed on an island… something you know even without watching the pilot. (Though the pilot certainly had some good scenes. But it was designed to be a self-contained two-hour movie in case the show wasn’t turned into a series.)

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