Saturday, December 31, 2005

Goodbye and Good Riddance, 2005

Tonight is New Year's Eve. I must say that it can't come a moment too soon. This year has not been kind to me. I've written in this blog about the loss of a friend to suicide earlier this year. I also lost one of my aunts by marriage to cancer. I won't bother you with the details of the other tragedies that have happened in my life in 2005. I guess it is sufficient to say that late in the year it seems to me that I lost any chance I had for happiness. In fact, I fear that I might never be happy. There are some things that time simply cannot heal, and there are some situations in which replacements simply will not do. I guess it's too bad that I am not Christian, as then I could enter a monastery. I suppose there is always the French Foreign Legion. *LOL* At any rate, I am really looking forward to 2006. With any luck it will be a better year and my fortunes will change.

With regards to movies, 2005 was a strange year. The entire year saw the box office in a slump, with fewer people going to the movies in 2005 than had in 2004. Quite frankly, I find this curious given many of the films released this year. Some of them were highly anticipated, among them Batman Begins, King Kong, Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and, most of all, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. One would think with that many blockbusters released in one year that the box office would be booming. Of course, I guess the year saw quite a few turkeys as well--just witness the movie adaptation of The Dukes of Hazzard (moral of the story--bad TV shows make for bad movies...).

Television seems to have been a bit disappointing in 2005. With the success of a unique and original show like Lost, I would have thought the networks would have rushed to develop more unique and original shows. Instead what we got this season were more derivative series--two shows about alien invasions, a Medium ripoff, and yet more reality shows. I suppose I underestimated the average network exec's lack of originality. At least the year saw some short lived, yet very good shows finally come out on DVD. Profit, the brilliant series that ran briefly on Fox in April 1996, was released on DVD this August. At last people beyond its cult following would get to see the revolutionary series. Just a few days ago, on December 26, 2005, the cult show Nowhere Man was finally released on DVD. The show ran for one season in 1995 on then fledgeling network UPN. A cross between The Fugitive and The Prisoner, there hasn't been a series like it before or since.

It seems to me that if 2005 is remembered for anything in entertainment, it may be for the loss of a number of television legends. Indeed, a number of sitcom stars died, some of them the biggest names in television history. This was the year that saw the deaths of Eddie Albert (Green Acres), Bob Denver (Gilligan's Island), and Don Adams (Get Smart). A number of well known supporting actors from sitcoms died as well, among them Elisabeth Fraser (The Phil Silvers Show), Barney Martin (Seinfeld), Frank Gorshin (Batman), Leon Askin (Hogan's Heroes), Pat Morita, and Louis Nye (The Beverly Hillbillies). Among the television legends to pass on were Johnny Carson, James Doohan (Scotty on Star Trek), Skitch Henderson (the first bandleader of The Tonight Show), Paul Henning (creator of The Beverly Hillbillies), Ralph Edwards (creator of This is Your Life and Truth or Consequences), and Peter Jennings. The movies lost nearly as many stars as television did: Virigina Mayo, Ruth Warrick, Ossie Davis, Sandra Dee, Theresa Wright, Ernest Lehman (the screenwriter who wrote North by Northwest), Sir John Mills, Anne Bancroft, Barbara Bel Geddes, director Robert Wise, and Richard Pryor. Literature also lost quite a few big names: Evan Hunter (better known by his nom de guerre, Ed McBain), Hunter S. Thompson, Native American activist Vine Deloria Jr., playwright Arthur Miller, and Saul Bellow. Where the art world is concerned, Native American artist R. C. Gorman died. In the field of animation, Disney veteran Joe Grant and Pixar veteran Joe Ranft both died in 2005. As far as comic books are concerned, they lost their biggest name. Will Eisner not only created The Spirit, the superhero Uncle Sam, Blackhawk, The Black Condor, and The Ray, but he also revolutionised comic books, advocated the recognition of comic books as an art form, invented the graphic novel, and made far too many contributions to the art form to be listed briefly. Even in a year which saw the loss of Paul Henning, Johnny Carson, Bob Denver, Evan Hunter, Arthur Miller, and Anne Bancroft, Eisner may arguably have been the most legendary figure to have been lost.

Anyhow, here's hoping that 2006 is a better year than 2005 was. And here's wishing all of you a happy New Year!

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