As Mel said to me as we turned off the PS3 having watched the last ever episode of 24, “well, we might as well get rid of the telly now.”
Okay, let’s not get too drastic, but there’s certainly a huge gap in my life where two of my favourite TV shows ever used to be. I’m not going to pretend that either was the best telly show ever made, but I personally loved the bones of both of them.
Both ended very differently: Lost with a big, sweeping, teary climax that didn’t resolve a lot of the long-standing mysteries but provided effective emotional closure for those who watched the show for the characters rather than the plotting, and 24 with a much more realistic outcome which eschewed the easy shocks it could have gone with.
Both were at once satisfying and slightly imperfect, much like the shows themselves. Lost abandoned any pretence of trying to tie up all the loose ends it had left trailing over six seasons, while 24’s climax had to leave a bit of wiggle-room for the forthcoming movie. It provided a satisfying sense of closure to the series without the finality a very definite end would have had. An ellipsis rather than a full stop.
And yes, I cried at the end of both of them, as much mourning the demise of my two favourite shows as responding to the moving drama. I think perhaps the length of each series had something to do with the size of the hole they’re leaving. The weekly routine of watching an episode over16 or more episodes feels noticeably disrupted when the end comes; in a way that shows like Dexter and Californication (two of my other favourites) don’t quite manage over a twelve-week period. It’s perhaps the reason I’ve never quite been as attached to a British TV show in the same way. Soaps aside, most shows have six-week seasons, making them less of a commitment. It’s telling, perhaps, that Doctor Who is one of few shows that attracts real devotees, more so than any other British drama series I can think of. Its extended runs provide a regular dose of entertainment that lasts for months, not weeks.
A few days ago I earmarked a few new TV dramas I may well tune in to now 24 and Lost are done and dusted. Let’s hope I can find something that catches my imagination like these two fantastic, flawed shows did.