Ox Notes: January 28, 2010

Samantha Harris is leaving Dancing with the Stars. This is not a joke.

Citing an increasing workload at The Insider, Harris has opted not to return for DwtS 10. No word on who will replace her, but I’m sure Lisa Canning is available.

Tonight, Jeff Probst’s new reality series, Live for the Moment, debuts on CBS in Survivor‘s 8 ET timeslot. It features real people who faced life-changing events that made them reevaluate their priorities. It sounds a bit like The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan’s Discovery Channel show No Opportunity Wasted.

I’m skeptical that these kinds of TV shows and movies really have the power to change the daily lives of their viewers. While they feel good to watch, I don’t think these programs have a lasting effect. After listening to their positive review of The Bucket List, I asked my in-laws if the movie inspired them to undertake any adventures of their own. They both shrugged and said, "No."

Roger Ebert explains in his terrific review of The Bucket List that, contrary to what we see on TV and in movies, brushes with death don’t usually inspire us to seek adventure. They inspire us to seek comfort in the ones we love.

Turner Classic Movies starts its annual 31 Days of Oscar programming on Monday, February 1. This year’s schedule is organized so that each successive film features one star from the previous movie. Zap2It notes that the TCM event begins and ends with films starring Kevin Bacon.

Maureen Ryan condensed her interviews with Lost creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse into a spoiler-free Q&A for fans. Cuse said that they won’t be doing interviews after the season finale in order to avoid interpreting the ending for fans, citing the show’s ambiguity as a strong point.

This worries me. The writers of Battlestar Galactica also refused to explain their ambiguous series finale, saying that fans could interpret the episode the way they wanted to. Bullshit!

The reality is that the various writers started a bunch of new plot threads during the last season of BSG that couldn’t be logically connected in the finale, so they didn’t even try. That is the height of laziness. I don’t recall any of the tales collected by the Brothers Grimm containing any moral ambiguity or lacking a definitive conclusion.

Lost‘s story belongs to Lindelof and Cuse, and they need to own it. They’ve been drawing the threads back together since things went haywire in Season 2, so they’ve set themselves up to give fans a satisfying conclusion. Don’t take the easy way out now, guys!

The CW is rebooting yet another series. This time it’s USA’s La Femme Nikita (1997-2001), which was based on the French movie by the same title, which also inspired the movie Point of No Return.

Given how poorly series about butt-kicking femme fatales have performed recently — like The Bionic Woman and Dollhouse — I’m not sure why The CW thinks a Nikita revival will work. I’ve got my own theory as to why it won’t. Hopefully my brother, Dr. Lunch (not his real name), will let me know if my amateur sociology is on point or not.

I don’t think women want to watch shows about butt-kicking females right now. The current economic climate demands a different kind of feminine toughness. Right now, being a tough woman means telling your kid that you can’t afford the toy she wants, then enduring the ensuing tantrum. It means worrying about losing the job you have, finding the job you don’t have or explaining to your teenager that there’s no money for college. It means spending your vacation sleeping in a tent instead of a hotel bed.

Right now, I want the option to not be tough. I don’t want to have to beat up bad guys and balance my budget. I want my devoted vampire boyfriend to take care of the bad guys for me.