Sunday, August 26, 2007

On The Lot is over!

On The Lot is finished, probably quite literally. I ended up watching it until the second last week, when I turned it off in disgust.

It wasn't too bad for most of its run. Each week they had five or six short films by the contestants. They would run a 30 second spot showing the contestant producing his or her film, then they'd run the film, then Carrie Fisher, Gary Marshall, and some movie making guest would comment on the films. Carrie Fisher was an okay judge. The guest judges were usually the most brutally honest. Gary Marshall was a rambling waste of oxygen (as was his sister, Penny, when she took over one episode). Some of the films were pretty good, some were awful, but it was usually pretty entertaining.

I hoped to see longer films in the second last episode. They were down to three film makers, so I thought, "Cool, they can produce films that were twice as long." I thought it might be hard for them to do a longer film with only a week between episodes, but I figured they'd have some way to do it. At the very least I thought they'd do a regular length film while a crew filmed the contestants, showing you more of the process involved in making a movie. Either option would be interesting. Instead, they decided to insult the audience.

Every week the contestants would shoot a film and play it on the next episode. Not so for the second last episode. Instead of double length films or even three new films, they had the contestants pick their two best films from previosu episodes and they reran those. That's right, the penultimate episode, where they wanted to encourage people to vote for the winner, was a greatest hits show. I was so upset at the travesty that I shut off the TV right then and there. A number of people on the show's web site were peeved, too. I didn't bother watching the final episode. I did turn it to the channel just in time to see who won, and then I turned it off again.

This was a mess of a show from the beginning. It was patterned after American Idol when it should have been patterned after Top Chef or even Project Greenlight. They blew the opening episode by not showing any movies. The first set of movies turned out to be the contestants' sample movie (the movie they made to get into the show) even though it wasn't advertised as such. At least one of the films was essentially a ripoff of two old Twilight Zone episodes, but none of the judges caught it (and praised the film instead). The second place winner produced a film early on that was offensive to people with mental disabilities, yet he still made it to the final two. And there was the insult in the second last episode. They did pretty much everything they could to wreck the show from the get go. The ratings were poor, so it's highly unlikely that there will ever be another On The Lot. Funny enough, I'm okay with that.

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