Damon Lindelof tries to write his Felina

[SPOILER ALERT: Breaking Bad series finale spoilers contained within]

Damon Lindelof takes the occasion of the Breaking Bad finale to try to make peace with people who've flogged him mercilessly on the internet for the finale of Lost.

I'm sick of myself for continuing to beat this particular drum, so I can't imagine how sick of it you are. If it's unpleasant and exhausting for me to keep defending the Lost finale, aren't you getting tired of hating it? And so … I, like Walter White, want out. To be free. And to grant you the same.

I'd like to make a pact, you and me. And here's your part: You acknowledge that I know how you feel about the ending of Lost. I got it. I heard you. I will think about your dissatisfaction always and forever. It will stay with me until I lie there on my back dying, camera pulling slowly upward whether it be a solitary dog or an entire SWAT team that comes to my side as I breathe my last breath.

And here's my part: I will finally stop talking about it. I'm not doing this because I feel entitled or above it -- I'm doing it because I accept that I will not change hearts nor minds. I will not convince you they weren't dead the whole time, nor resent you for believing they were despite my infinite declarations otherwise.

Fans hear Lindelof's request as they hold a gun on him, asking him to "Say it."  

"I want this," declares Lindelof. 

Fans toss the gun on the ground. "If you want this, do it yourself." 

In actuality, I'm more disappointed with the way Prometheus turned out. By the tie Lost's finale had rolled around, it was practically impossible to pull that one out of the hole it had dug itself.

Prometheus wasn't terrible, but it could have been amazing.

Breaking Up and to the Right

“Breaking Bad” made its debut in 2008 to an underwhelming 1.2 million viewers — which would have caused many programming chiefs to drop it. But the show dodged cancellation and slowly built a following — especially once the old episodes were made available en masse on Netflix.

By mid-2012, about 2.6 million viewers were watching live episodes; now, as the ending approaches, that total has more than doubled to 6 million, which might be small for a network television show but makes “Breaking Bad” one of the biggest phenomena on cable.

From Brian Stelter at the NYTimes.

I wonder if any other show on TV has experienced such a strong and steady growth in viewership across its lifetime. The internet and the availability to stream previous episodes and seasons has not only enabled more complex, linear, multi-episode and multi-season storytelling, but it created an environment in which a show like Breaking Bad could survive long enough to accumulate audience and buzz as it went.

If you aren't caught up and are worried about social media spoiling Breaking Bad's series finale this Sunday, you can use this Netflix-branded spoiler foiler for your Twitter account.  

I'm not even going to take that risk. I'll be turning off all my devices and sitting with a tinfoil hat on my head on Sunday, waiting until I've finished watching the finale in real time before I talk or interact with another human being. 

Narrative volume imperative

I love Grantland's annual TV roundup which they structure as a series of short essays on various pairs of shows. Chuck Klosterman bats leadoff and takes the job of comparing Homeland to a pair of shows that also ran in its timeslot at various parts of the year, Breaking Bad and Mad Men.

For a variety for reasons, 10 p.m. on Sunday is where great shows are now supposed to live. The only snag is that one of these aforementioned shows is not, technically, "great." Homeland is merely "good" (sometimes "very good," for never more than). And I think I've figured out why.
On Homeland, something always needs to happen.

It's a very succinct summary of why Homeland doesn't belong in the pantheon. Homeland is, essentially, a genre show, with a self-imposed pressure to meet some quota of narrative twists per episode.

This shouldn't surprise anyone since the showrunners are the same ones from 24. That was also a program that started with a bang-up first season but then withered over the years as it confined itself to the narrative gimmick of occurring in real time across 24 hours.

In fact, both of the leading programs on Showtime, Dexter and Homeland, suffer from their slavish devotion to their core narrative conceits. What would improve both shows is recognizing that what is great about them is organic surprise, not the form in which it's packaged.