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copyright 1999-2006

tv: lost, veronica mars
by Yee-Fan Sun
| 1 2 3 

I've always had a tendency to race through things -- too eager to get to the finish, the obvious goal, sure that arriving there sooner is necessarily better. Patience, I know, is a virtue; sadly, it's never been one of mine.

In many ways, then, I suspect TV is actually a healthy medium for me to get my narrative fix; at the mercy of both the network and the pacing of a show itself, I'm forced to sit back and wait for the story to unfold in its own sweet time. Watching television shows, good television shows, has taught my impatient self that there's a lot of fun to be had in relishing the slow lead-up. I've learned that questions can be every bit as satisfying as answers, that the journey is just as important as the destination. I've learned that a little patience can offer great rewards.

Still, I can't help it: a good story has a tendency to consume me. I get obsessed; I need to know what happens next. This, of course, is the beauty of the DVD, which lets me zip through an entire TV season in a steady succession of nightly mini-marathons, while still restraining my natural impatience within the confines of each 40-minute-long episode itself -- making me take the time to pay attention to those all-important details.

Nowhere is this more true than in the plot-centric world of the mystery/thriller. It's a genre that has the fabulously infuriating characteristic of constantly dangling the possibility of imminent answers in front of eager viewers like myself, while working its darnedest to draw us on a long, convoluted path. The beauty of these stories, of course, is that they make us think that if we only exercise our noggins enough and pay sufficiently careful attention, we might be able to find the answers before they're handed to us, confirm how brilliant we are. A good mystery/thriller will give you enough clues to make you feel clever, but still, let's face it: in the end, we don't want to outsmart the storytellers. What we're really hoping for is the satisfaction of some big surprise. As it turns out, we kind of like being strung along; we don't want to know all the answers ahead of time; that would be too easy. The resolution's important, sure, but it's far from the best part; instead, it's the bumps and bends and loops that get us there that offer the biggest fun. It's something two of my favorite new shows from last year, Lost and Veronica Mars, both proved in their debut seasons, now available on DVD.

o o o

Starring: Naveen Andrews, Emilie de Ravin, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia, Maggie Grace, Josh Holloway, Malcolm David Kelley, Daniel Dae Kim, Yoon-Jin Kim, Evangeline Lilly, Dominic Monaghan, Terry O'Quinn, Harold Perrineau, Ian Somerhalder
Buy: The First Season

It's every traveler's worst nightmare: during the long flight from Sydney to Los Angeles, Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 experiences a major malfunction, and goes down in a blaze. Crashing on the sandy shores of an unknown tropical island, the few remaining survivors pull themselves out from the wreckage.

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