Monday, March 31, 2008

Exemplary Damages

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I can't remember the last time I tuned in week after week to see a continuing TV series unfold. Maybe LA Law on the old RPN 9, and before that St. Elsewhere and Hill Street Blues back in the day when the old GMA 7 had the number on all the US series that mattered.

Back then, the series run seemed to play by the whim of the network honchos. We got whatever they decided to give us that particular week: a rerun, the episode following last week's, or an episode far ahead in the order of things. And in the absence of IMDB, we were none the wiser.

So week after week we tuned in mostly to find out what went down and what's in store for our favorite characters. But then we also tuned out, missed a few episodes, and jumped right back in again without losing appreciation of the episode at hand. We always got our fix because although references were made to episodes past, each new one most likely contained a fresh plot or subplot -- a case, a murder, an illness -- that was resolved by the end of the hour.

Damages focused on one single case the entire 13-week season and in that lay the compulsion to tune in and compunction in tuning out. That is why we made time to watch week after week which, in the face of (d'oh!) adult priorities, is quite an investment. That is why we vowed not to let this one go the way of 24 and Lost where our questionable devotion made us lose track and fall off the wagon, and turned us into hillbillies among our friends ("What? Don't you have TV?"). That is why the series finale airing tomorrow night better. Not. Suck. There'd better be a pay-off or there'd be hell to pay.

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