Goodbye to The Hour

I'm going to miss these folks.

I’m going to miss these folks. Also Hector, Marnie, Angus, and Randall.

Every character was fascinating. Every bit of dialogue needed to be heard. Not one moment of screen time was wasted. The Hour spun stunning interwoven tales of ambition, corruption, intrigue, romance, and grief–one big arc for each season. It was most beautiful to look at: rich, deep, and dark in color, but never muddy or dim. The visual composition was impeccable. Television doesn’t get any better.

Since its recent cancellation, I have been muttering about the criminality of taking something this good off the air before its planned run is over. The creators had planned three of these six-show seasons; now, it’s ending at two. The BBC stated, ” We love the show, but have to make hard choices to bring new shows through.”

What they bring through in its place might well be more popular, but it is unlikely to be anywhere near as good.

And it ended on something of a season cliffhanger, as we don’t know for sure if Freddie survives his injuries, although it is a pretty sure bet that he does. I can’t imagine the writers killing him off; he’s too central a character.

Sad, sad, sad.

On the other hand, I would rather have a show taken off too soon than to stay on too long. Those that stay on too long are like a favorite restaurant that changes ownership, like a Mexican place my husband and I went to years ago. We went one evening, and the name had changed. Same menu, and no change in decor. We even recognized most of the employees. The manager assured us everything was exactly the same. But when our meals arrived, I wanted to stand and shout, “NO! This is not the same food! You have used canned refried beans! Did you not think we could tell the difference!??”

House was canned refried beans at the end. So was the American version of The Office (although I did not watch it all the way till the end). I could name many others, and so could you. And that canned taste lingers. Sadly, a tinny taste will taint my memory of the entire series. The early best efforts are poisoned by mediocrity at the end.

Ending a series is an art. Some of my favorite final episodes were of Seinfeld, The Sopranos, and Six Feet Under, although the latter certainly had its wobbly moments toward the end of its run. I’m looking forward to a good ending for Breaking Bad, for Mad Men, and for The Good Wife, when they’re done. Every great series deserves a great ending. I wish The Hour could have had theirs.

Photo:Hour1.jpg

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