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2006-2007 Reviews

Nov 9, 2006

More ABC Comings and Goings

The one undeniable positive from Lost’s season so far is the introduction of Elizabeth Mitchell as Juliet. So enigmatic a femme fatale, with questionable motives in her secret allegiance with Jack against Ben (or is it just another trick). She’s a keeper. So, if he survives Jack’s surgery, is Ben. Through them, I hope to learn what I need to know (for now) about the Others. But not at the expense of being kept so long from the other castaways.

TV GUIDE

Mar 26, 2007

Question: I know it’s a little early for Emmy talk, but I was so horrified by Lost‘s snub last year that I can’t stop thinking about it. What do you think Lost‘s chances are at this year’s Emmys? I think Elizabeth Mitchell, Henry Ian Cusick and Michael Emerson all have a good chance, as well as the show in the drama category. Also, I heard last year’s snub was due to the producers’ submitting episodes poorer in quality, such as “Man of Science, Man of Faith,” to the nomination panel. I hope the Emmy voters correct last year’s grievous wrongdoing and nominate Lost this year. What do you think?
Answer: I think I admire your faith in the show and in Emmy voters. Frankly, I’d be shocked if the Emmys reverse course to show much if any love toward a show whose reputation took several hits this year: in the ratings and in media coverage over that ill-conceived opening “pod” of episodes. I agree that Elizabeth Mitchell in particular has shone this season, but given the richness and variety of TV drama these days, I can’t help but think Lost‘s breakthrough freshman season (when it won best drama) is going to be its sole trip to the big party. I’d love to be wrong, but I think (speaking in island terms) that ship may have sailed for good.

TV GUIDE

 May 30, 2007

Our Take: Elizabeth Mitchell’s …

Question: Elizabeth Mitchell’s performance as cold and creepy Juliet on Lost this year was smurftastic. What do you think her chances are at the Emmys?

Answer: Well, she crossed the first hurdle: She made it onto our Dream Emmy Ballot!

TV GUIDE

Apr 12, 2007

Juliet: Lost’s First Lady of Mystery

But, soft! What light on yonder island breaks? It is the East, and Juliet is the sun.

Apologies to Shakespeare. OK, apologies to everyone. But how can anyone who’s watching Lost these days not have fallen under the spell of Juliet Burke? So alluring, so enigmatic, strangely both warm and chilly beneath that elusive Mona Lisa smile, forever challenging our assumptions about her ultimate motives. Is she good? Is she bad? Probably both, right? Is she, as Jack declares (and which provided the title of Wednesday’s excellent, twisty episode), “one of us”? Oh, Jack, you deluded, trusting, overprotective fool.

Whatever she is, Juliet’s one for the ages. Even in last fall’s much-derided “pod” of episodes that introduced us to her and the Village of the Others, Juliet stood out, an object of fascination as she asserted control over her captives, while betraying an underlying sense of desperation. Elizabeth Mitchell nailed it from the start, but she really came into her own as a full-fledged Lost-ie this week. I agree with Michael Ausiello. She deserves serious Emmy attention.

Juliet is both manipulator and one of the manipulated, and even when she’s calculating you can see in her eyes that she’s trapped. That’s some powerful acting. The one thing Jack said that is ultimately correct about her: “You want to get off this island more than anything else in the world.” She is one of them, except when she isn’t. (The fact that her infiltration was planned, and the Claire health crisis was rigged, propels the show into loony sci-fi land again, but still, an effective emotional reversal.)

The episode also delivered plenty of answers, or at least provocative new theories, about what’s happening on Mystery Island and certainly about what brought Juliet there: to research and hopefully fix whatever it is that’s killing all the pregnant women. (What an arbitrary island: It cures cancer, heals the lame, but somehow disallows new life, until Claire arrived, to emerge?) What does this mean for Sun? Now there’s a great story to take to the end of the season.

I also loved the flashbacks more than usual, especially as they pertained to life on the island that was happening while we were looking elsewhere. Once again, as in the season opener, I was floored by the sequence in which the Village of the Others watched in amazement as Oceanic Flight 815 broke apart in the sky above. How unnerving to see Ben jump immediately into action, ordering immediate infiltration into the camp of the survivors and for lists to be made, then zipping over to Mikhail’s amazing comm center to start compiling info on the passenger manifest. That led to the wrenching moment in which Juliet was shown via satellite remote that her sister Rachel and nephew Julian were still alive (as of September 22, 2004, the historic day of Lost‘s premiere). In Juliet’s hysteria, Elizabeth Mitchell didn’t just rise to the occasion. She was an occasion.

We all know what happens when Lost introduces new characters that feel out of place or distracting from our primary focus and enjoyment. (R.I.P., Nikki and Paulo.) Juliet Burke is not one of those characters. She really is “one of them,” or better yet, “one of those.” In other words, a keeper. Whatever Ben has in store for our beloved beachcombers in the “week” to come, Juliet’s actions and reactions will be something to watch, to ponder, to enjoy. To me, she’s no longer just an Other. She’s other-worldly.

TV GUIDE

Apr 18, 2007

Our Take:  If you have any “ins” with …

Question: If you have any “ins” with the Emmy panels out there, get Elizabeth Mitchell that Emmy nomination. God knows she deserves it!

Answer: I’m working on it! By the way, our 2007 Emmy Dream Ballot is a little more than a month away! Don’t bother trying to contain your excitement. It’s a waste of energy.

TV GUIDE

Apr 20, 2007

The April 11 episode of Lost …

Question: The April 11 episode of Lost was so good it actually made me upset because Elizabeth Mitchell’s phenomenal performance might just take the Emmy away from Connie Britton of Friday Night Lights. Connie would be lead actress, of course, so wouldn’t it be perfect if Mitchell were nominated for supporting actress so both these outstanding ladies could get the awards they deserve? Who actually makes the decision about which category an actor is eligible in? Is it the producers of the show, the networks, the agents? And do you think they take into consideration the possible competition when they make that decision?
Answer: My understanding is that it’s the actor’s call to submit their own name, in consultation with the studio, the network and no doubt their management. It’s not uncommon for strategy to play a part: How else to explain how Jon Cryer finds himself nominated in a supporting category for Two and a Half Men when Charlie Sheen, the other “man” in the title, is nominated for lead actor? You’re right that Mitchell’s role in Lost would almost certainly be deemed “supporting,” unlike Britton as Friday Night Lights‘ co-adult lead. As much as I admire what Mitchell is doing on Lost, I still think it’s going to be a long shot for that show to get its due this season, given the perception (much of it shortsighted) of its fall from grace.

TV GUIDE

Apr 26, 2007

Thanks to Juliet (more great work by Emmy-worthy Elizabeth Mitchell), Sun learned that the island can increase even an infertile man’s sperm count by as much as five times, and the date of conception was calculated to having taken place on the island. That’s good news/bad news. The good: Jin is the father, no shame necessary. The bad: women who conceive on the island never survive to the third trimester. Juliet’s and Sun’s looks of joy during the ultrasound scene were a marvel to behold, which only added to the impact when Juliet filed her secret and sinister report to Ben, promising to get samples from the other female castaways. As she signed off with an “I hate you,” I couldn’t have loved this enigmatic character more. But can Juliet save Sun, or will she lose her 10th patient?

TV GUIDE

May 25, 2007

If you could pick one pair of …

Question: If you could pick one pair of costars from any show on television that you would say has the best on-screen chemistry, who would you pick and why? My choice, not to influence a great critic or anything, would be Elizabeth Mitchell as Juliet and Matthew Fox as Jack on Lost.
Answer: From Lost, that’s a great choice. She’s the best thing to happen to that show since Season 1. (By the way, any discussion of the Lost finale in Ask Matt will have to wait until next Friday’s column, because of the holiday and other deadlines.)

TV GUIDE

Jul 13, 2007

As we get closer to the …

Question: As we get closer to the announcement of the Emmy nominations, I am encouraged by all the positive buzz surrounding Elizabeth Mitchell. Her performance as Juliet on Lost this year was breathtaking and spellbinding, right up there on my list of TV’s top performances this year, along with James Gandolfini, America Ferrera and Alec Baldwin. Mitchell really helped revitalize a show I must admit I was beginning to lose faith in. With all the good buzz, do you think she has a real chance at a nomination and, hopefully, a win? I can’t think of another supporting actress on TV who gave such an exceptional performance.
Answer: This sort of thing is hard to predict. Can she break out of a large ensemble at a time when so many large ensembles are vying for attention? That’s the real question, and the dilemma. There’s no question she earned a nomination, if not an Emmy outright. I just wonder if her name is recognizable enough to make the cut with the nimrods doing the initial balloting. As you may be aware, several of us here rethought our opinions after Lost‘s stunning season finale, and now we wish we’d put Matthew Fox’s name on our Dream Emmy Ballot as well. I am very curious to see if Lost rebounds this year in the Emmy sweepstakes. (If there’s any justice, there ought to be lots of empty slots where 24 once ruled.)

TV GUIDE

Jul 19, 2007

Lights Out at the Emmys

though I’m crushed that Lost’s Elizabeth Mitchell isn’t in the running (I’m told she didn’t even crack the top 10).

UNBELIEVABLE!

TV GUIDE

Well, it’s that time again

Nothing’s perfect, of course: In particular, I was disappointed that Lost wasn’t nominated for best drama (but Boston Legal was? What?) and that Matthew Fox and Elizabeth Mitchell weren’t recognized for their riveting performances.

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