After the breakout success of Lost in 2004, the following year saw three big-budget attempts at science fiction series with dense continuity. Unfortunately, it also saw those three series ultimately fail to hang on to their viewers, through internal problems or network mismanagement, and fans were left with three frustrating cliffhangers.
While they were allowed to complete more episodes than many series that followed them, I suspect this trinity of cancellations is a big reason current TV viewers are nervous about jumping on board complex shows with intricate continuity and details.
I watched Surface, Threshold and Invasion that season, but always found myself much more involved with the stories and drama unfolding on the latter of the three. Despite Katrina-related sensitivity due to its hurricane-themed opening, Invasion did an amazing job of building tension during a possible alien infiltration. V could learn a thing or two from this show.
(S06E11) "E, I've had most of this town, so it was bound to happen that our trees would dabble in the same forest at some point." - Drama
One down and one to go in Entourage's sixth season - a season I should point out that started off incredibly strong and ended up flopping around like a dead fish after those first few stellar eps. However, last week's installment, "Berried Alive," redeemed much of what had been bad and for the most part, "Scared Straight" continued that trend.
With that in mind, there's at least a little excitement going in to next week's finale because we really don't know what's going to happen on a few fronts.
(S06E10) "I'm everywhere Lloyd." - Ari
Poor Lloyd - we knew this would happen. If there's one thing that Hollywood's newest agent should have learned, it's that you don't cross Ari Gold. Yes, Ari gave in and told Drama the truth - Lloyd will do a better job representing Drama - but he did it for Drama. Not for Lloyd. He's already cut Lloyd off from Coakley (and presumably NBC as a whole) and it's not crazy to imagine that Ari will continue to erect more walls in his former assistant's way. However, I've got some theories on how this may play out.
(S06E09) "If that's a personal call you're on Lloyd, I'm gonna waterboard you." - Ari
Ari has always been mean to Lloyd. He treats him like crap, makes him do chores rather than his job, and constantly insults him. However, at the same time, Ari has always been nice to Lloyd too. He's given him one helluva job opportunity to learn underneath him and to some extent, I can understand Ari's plan to toughen Lloyd up a bit before a bump to junior agent occurs.
We know what Lloyd is like though -- he can only take so much. So it was only a matter of time before Ari pushed too hard. On a day when Ari stole Zac Efron from Adam Davies, there should have been a celebration and instead, Ari treated Lloyd worse that we've seen in ages. It's about time this plot went somewhere.
(S06E08) "I'm glad you finally admit the last five years of your life were all fantasy provided by me." - Ari
Because I've been such a big proponent of this season (despite what I'm about to say, I still say this has been the best season since the third), I'm starting to think that everything has been a fantasy up until this point when it comes to Entourage.
There are so many solid plots going on this season and every time I think that something big is gonna happen, it falls flat and leaves me disappointed.
(S06E07) "That's not what this is for." - Lloyd, upon seeing Eric's "gift" and message for Ari
Eric taking Murray's job offer may be the best thing that's ever happened on Entourage. It's opened up this whole new dynamic on the show and honestly makes things a lot more interesting.
Granted, it does push Vince even further into the background of the show, but that's been a steady trend for a while now. I'll put up with anything to get Bob Saget back.
(S06E06) "Listen, from here on, I swear, if one of my friends so much as jerks off, you're gonna be the first to know." - Ari
I don't want this review to come off sounding like I'm annoyed with how this season of Entourage has gone (so far, it's already better than last season and I loved this episode), but I really don't see what direction it's headed in.
Going into this season, there was a lot of speculation that landing a role in Marty Scorsese's latest flick would finally nab Vince the attention, and Oscar, he's been longing for. After the premiere, where all we heard was how amazing Gatsby was, there hasn't been a single mention of that plot. Instead we're getting a lot of smaller mini-arcs that just don't seem to tie together.
(S06E05) "No, we're up for it, but is this gonna be like the old days when you try to pay me back in personal training sessions and shit?" - Mark Wahlberg
Seems like the dynamic of Entourage is really shifting lately, huh? Over the past two or three episodes, Eric has moved to the head of the class, taking over the biggest parts of each half-hour. I'm not complaining, but earlier in the season I did wonder what the result of Vince's success would be. Now we know.
(S06E04) "Wow, you pay for that or is there someone out there that would actually bang you for free?" - Ari
This is shaping up to be a helluva season for Entourage. Only four episodes in, and it feels like a completely different show than we're used to. Rather than wallowing in endless "woe is me plots" (every character on the show has been guilty of them in the five previous seasons), things feel fresh and the characters are growing up. Plus, instead of making me constantly laugh, Entourage is making me do something I never expected -- think.
(S06E02) "Who would've thought I'd be the only one guaranteed to have sex tonight?!?" - Turtle
I know I've said it before, but one of the things that I've always loved about Entourage is how the writers behind the show seem to have this uncanny knack for re-creating exact conversations that I've had with my friends before. I know I'm not the only one out there who's had a laugh with their buddies trying to figure out how exactly did Seth Rogan get laid in Knocked Up? When Turtle made his final point ("His ugliness is oddly fascinating."), it was like deja-vu for me.
Then they went and killed the moment when Vince got that nudie pic of Sloan's friend. That never happens to me or my friends.
While we now take it for granted that great shows are coming from the likes of TNT, FX, AMC, and USA, it was still a relatively new thing then. The idea that the show was ahead of its time comes back upon re-watching the series. With only a couple of exceptions, the odd bit of wardrobe or a tell-tale cell phone, the show looks like it could have been made last week. The story fits that mold as well. It's still relevant, and doesn't come across as outdated.
Along with Surface, Invasion was one of my favorite new shows that season, with each episode getting better and better. By the series finale, I was hooked. I'm still miffed that ABC didn't give it more time to flesh out the story and characters.
Incorporating a sci-fi-alien mystery, a government conspiracy, and plenty of family drama, Invasion had a built-in audience because it aired directly after another sci-fi mystery, Lost. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to keep the series on the air.
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