It’s surprising more TV shows don’t employ time jumps. They’re a thrilling way to skip past content no one wants to see, or a way to shake things up when plots and character are beginning to grow stale. The three-year jump in last night’s Parks and Recreation season finale accomplished both: we didn’t have to sit through ANOTHER pregnancy story AND Leslie isn’t suffering for her dream anymore; she already has it. (Also, Jon Hamm.) Let’s take a look at other WHAT IS HAPPENING TV time jumps.
1. Battlestar Galactica
The most effective example, and the one that inspired Michael Schur.
The BSG move was my personal inspiration, right down to the way we shot it, which is the Parks and Rec version of Gaius Baltar putting his head down on his desk and picking it up one year later. I found that creatively thrilling, as a fan, so that was our template. (Via)
Also, “next season four of them are Cylons.” Ben’s OK with that. Anyway, one moment Gaius Baltar is being sworn in as the president of the Twelve Colonies and a nuclear blast destroys Cloud 9; the next, it’s a year later, and New Caprica City has been settled and Adama has a mustache and WHAT IS GOING ON. “Lay Down Your Burdens” completely threw me off the first time I saw it, but it needed to be done — it was a daring, fast forward risk from a slow-moving series that brilliantly paid off.
It’s a shame that Lost is often negatively defined by its disappointing series finale. Because the finales in its four preceding seasons are great, including “Through the Looking Glass,” a.k.a. the episode with NOT PENNY’S BOAT and WE HAVE TO GO BACK. It’s fun reading old recaps from when the episode first aired, back in 2007, when the mystery of where the show was heading was exhilarating.
The flash-forwards prove Ben’s point and in the final moments as we learn “when” we are, Jack divulges to Kate that Ben was right. It’s a fascinating development that not only has implications on the characters and the story but on the structure and the way the narrative is told from this point on. We’ll probably have to wait sometime before we are given any clues as to how the series will progress from this point on but we doubt this will be that last flash-forward the series has to offer.
As for who was in the coffin, some of you might be inclined to stare at stills of the newspaper clipping that Jack had, but we’ll leave that speculation for another day. (Via)
Woah, people speculated about TV before Breaking Bad? WEIRD.
3. Desperate Housewives
I stopped watching Desperate Housewives early on in season two, around the time when it lost any hint of “satire” and began to glamorize the characters. So I only heard about the polarizing time jump afterward, and went back to watch it later. Basically, in the season four finale, “Free,” Dana Delany’s Katherine shoots her abusive husband Wayne. The housewives tell the police it was out of self-defense, and she gets off. FIVE YEARS LATER, everyone’s still desperate and bored suburbanites everywhere call their girlfriends to gab about Susan kissing a man who ISN’T Mike. Wine sales increased by 87%.
Little did we know the events of “The Telling” would effectively destroy Alias. But at the time, it was awesome. Vaughn picks up a shaken, scarred Sydney in Hong Kong, when she notices a wedding ring on his hand. Then the bombshell drops: she’s been missing for two years. It’s jarring and even a little scary — we share Sydney’s confusion. If only seasons three-five could’ve been as good.
5. Six Feet Under
Me, watching the season three premiere, “Perfect Circles”: who are they operating on? what’s with the footage of Nate? WAIT NATE’S DEAD. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? BRING BACK NATE. Wait, there’s Nate. WHY CAN’T HE READ? WHY IS HE A REDNECK? Oh, phew, it was a dream. I think?”
I think everything’s going to be OOOOOOOOOOOK with Nate…