5.14.2006

Feeling Six Feet Under


So I just finished watching the final episode of Six Feet Under, and I can safely say I've never felt more depressed after viewing a television show than I do now. Not an agonizing sort of depression, but definitely pensive and withdrawn. Often with TV dramas, the viewer is drawn to one or two characters and their plight. But with 6FU, I became emotionally invested in almost all of the characters for lengthy periods of time. And there are a LOT of characters in this show. Hence, I was left contemplating the pain, sorrow, and to some degree satisfaction of several characters. That's a lot of burden.

I'm not going to spoil anything if you've never watched the show -- and much thanks to those who resisted the temptation to spoil things for me over the past couple years -- but I do want to discuss the ending in vague terms. I thought the choice during the final episode to take the viewer into the future to show how the lives of key characters turned out was a poor one. In the past I've left other series or movies wanting to be led in a direction, to have the question answered ... "How did this situation turn out?" But with this show, I did not have that urge. Part of the show's appeal was that it led the viewer in such drastic and unpredictable directions. I would have been happier without having a big red bow tied on the season's final episode. The imagery of Claire driving off into the sunset in her shiny new Prius was enough for me; it gave me the sort of closure I expected, furthering the message that life is unpredictable, which permeated each episode's opening scene.

Still, one minor flaw aside, this was an exceptionally powerful TV series, the likes of which I doubt I'll ever see again. Amazing acting performances; characters with bottomless pits of depth; well-written scripts that balanced the emotionally charged scenes with lighthearted, humorous moments of relief; and plot twists that tugged at the essence of human nature. If you haven't watched it yet, don't be stupid. Start with season one and be ready to devote several days of your life to the TV screen. In this one case, I can say it was worth it.

2 comments:

amy l. said...

Two words. The. Wire.

greymatter said...

I whole heartedly agree, Doug. I bought the first season when it came out on DVD on a reccomendation from a friend, and was hooked. It's totally gripping television, and I've been at a loss to fill its void since the series ended. I didn't quite like what they did with Nate over the last two seasons, but other than that, it was wonderful.