At the bottom of the primetime pool…

Courtesy ABC

Credit: Ron Soltys

The 2008 battle between the big, bad entertainment industry and the writer underdog will be remembered for various reasons. The lack of a Golden Globes Award ceremony. The dawn of the reality age. The encroaching likelihood that Oscar may not get his red carpet due.

But how will you, the viewer, be left? In the dust, clinging to reruns, made-for-TV movies and your ever useless remote control?

Not quite yet.

Here’s some hope. Not much.

But a little bit.

LOST? A 1988 screenwriter walkout lasted 22 weeks and cost the industry more than $500 million (almost $870 million in modern terms). This time, a major sticking point is residuals, which offer writers a steady income.

What the writers want…

• Residuals for shows and movies streamed over the Web and cell phones

• Doubling of residual payments from home video sales

• Extension of guild pay and benefits to writers for reality and animated TV programs

… What the producers say

• No pay for streaming TV shows on the Web; form of promotion

• Too early to negotiate pay for online shows; technology is still changing

• DVD sales are needed to offset rising marketing and production cost

Source: MCT

…Get lost…

Watching ABC’s “Lost” is like piecing together a mosaic. But its pieces are a bit more complex than colored bits of glass.

No, the tiles of “Lost” are more like ancient four-toed statues, flashbacks that reveal connections between supposed strangers and electromagnetic hatches.

As “Lost” enters its fourth season, some viewers may feel completely lost amongst countless clues and unanswered questions.

But this, after all, is the main draw to the show. The plot is far more complex than a group of Oceanic Flight 815 survivors struggling to live in the wilderness of the mysterious island that they landed on by chance.

As season three ends, it becomes apparent the crash wasn’t random, and the island isn’t just any island. There is some magnetic attraction, perhaps quite literally, drawing these people to the island.

Not understanding all this “Lost” jargon? Here’s a quick recap. After more than 70 days on the island battling the tropical wilderness and a strange group of people living on the island called “The Others,” there is hope of rescue. Lead character Jack (Matthew Fox) reaches the outside world via satellite phone. Strong opposition to this rescue is addressed in the finale.

During the last half of season three, an Italian woman Naomi parachutes onto the island, claiming to be sent by a desperate woman Penny (Sonya Walger), looking for her lost lover Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick). She brings a satellite phone, which Jack uses to call her crew on a freight boat miles away.

Fan-favorite Charlie reveals before his death in the finale that Naomi was not sent by Penny, leaving viewers to ponder her real identity and intentions.

The premiere of season four will be one of conflict as the survivors split. Half want to be rescued and to follow Jack. The other half follows the sometimes annoyingly spiritual John (Terry O’Quinn), believing Naomi is untrustworthy and the island is calling them to stay.

This season will address the island’s power and alleged dangers of leaving. The season also tackles the identity of the Wizard of Oz-esque Jacob, women’s deaths during pregnancy, the fate of pregnant Sun Kwon (Yunjin Kim) and the hatch’s explosion. Kate (Evangeline Lilly) is possibly pregnant with Sawyer’s (Josh Holloway) baby, something that will be confirmed or denied within the first four episodes

A third group of people, which producers say are more dangerous than The Others, will be a major theme much like The Others were in season three. Perhaps this situation will humanize The Others as the audience learns that their mysterious research and lifestyle has been out of a need for safety from this third group.

The sub-plots will be more intricate and fresh than ever this season with flash-forwards similar to the one that season three ended on. Numerous deaths will occur in these flash-forwards that depict the lives of those who are rescued and those who stay on the island. These deaths are part of what Emerson describes as a scarier and more violent season. In both the flash-forwards and flashbacks, deceased characters Walt, Libby and Charlie will reappear.

As for other characters, “Lost” keeps things fresh. Five new reoccurring characters will be introduced, including “The Wire”‘s Lance Reddick as a frightening corporate recruiter.

And good news for Michael fans: He’s back. Harold Perrineau who plays the dedicated father confirmed he will be filming for the entire season. Other characters to reappear include Penny, Mikhil, Mrs. Hawking and the pilot of 815.

The official description of the show says “even heroes have secrets,” something that viewers may learn all too well in this revamped, yet characteristically “Lost,” season four.

Contact all reporter Brenna McNamara at [email protected].

…Hold out for a hero…

The second season of “Heroes” was cut short due to the Writers Guild of America Strike, but other media allow for the story to continue.

This unfortunately means that we will have to wait until the strike is over to see the rest of the season, which ended with a flash forward to “Volume 3: Villains”. In the preview Sylar injects himself with a cure for the Shanti virus, which renders anyone with powers powerless, and makes his comeback.

Season Two introduced the lovely Kristen Bell (“Veronica Mars”) to the cast as quasi-villainess Elle Bishop. The season also ended with many very big twists: the deaths of Niki Sanders and Nathan Petrelli and Hiro’s defeat of the immortal Adam/ Takezo (but will he ever die?) and the return of Noah Bennet, who was shot in the eye (in a very Sin City-esque scene) by Mohinder.

Until the strike ends, “Heroes” fans can get their fix with the supplemental webcomics, available on the show’s homepage that give insights into the characters’ (heroes and villains alike) minds and histories. Probably, the most interesting of these is that of Adam Monroe/ Takezo Kensei titled “The Ten Brides of Takezo Kensei.”

Eager fans will also be kept entertained by Saving Charlie, the first official novel based on the television series by Aury Wallington, who wrote on “Veronica Mars” among other shows. The novel follows Hiro Nakamura, who has the power to control time, in his journey to save the love of his life, Charlene “Charlie” Andrews. It also explores the ins and outs of the potential consequences and effects of Hiro’s power, as changing the past could affect the present and future. Other regular characters from the series that make an appearance in the novel include Sylar, Kaito Nakamura, Kimiko Nakamura and Ando Masahashi.

Along with the novel, the graphic novel that follows the series is also available, featuring artwork by several prominent comic book artists, including Jim Lee. As enjoyable as books and comics can be, fans will agree that television is the series’ most fitting medium. Let’s just hope that this writers strike ends soon (and in favor of the writers, or something mutually beneficial) and that the Screen Actors Guild does not follow suit.

Contact all editor Allan Lamb at [email protected].

…Rock and love.

After a year of highly publicized train wrecks, the “Rock of Love” contestants from the first season were one group that wasn’t recognized enough for all its trash-worthy glory. The psychosis of Lacey from the first season could outshine Britney Spears any day.

So VH1 thought it would try again.

The basis of the show is to turn Bret Michaels (lead singer of Poison and typical rockstar-sexaholic) into a one-woman man as he narrows down 20 contestants to find his “rock of love.” The second season kicked off Sunday with a whole new slew of hilarious encounters and fascinating social behavior.

It’s a pretty genius idea — mix one part famous rock star, 20 parts fans willing to humiliate themselves for a chance at love with said rock star and innumerable parts alcohol. That’s the 21st century’s idea of good television.

They are also just the ingredients needed for 60 minutes of pure female chauvinism (see: one contestant says, “Sex means everything to me”) and unforgettable desperation (see: drunk girl on lap of man she met five minutes ago says, “My father was never there, and I just want someone to love me”).

Ah, yes, viewers were introduced to a new batch of women who made quite the impression the first night. As Bret said, “They’ve got to do something that’s going to make them catch my eye.” For most of the women, that meant getting half-naked and pole dancing or getting drunk. (First episode highlight: One girl gets too drunk and sleeps through elimination.)

The vapidity of the characters in this rockstar plot run amuk is still there this season. There should be several interesting twists in store throughout, such as whether Bret finds out that Megan was the winner of “Beauty and The Geek 4,” or if he’ll actually pick the one contestant his own age.

What this season doesn’t seem to have is some kind of saving grace for the females. I can’t decide if the first season I actually watched because I was hooked on the fact that this was happening or because the producers tried to at least put in some strong, stable, confident women ( i.e. Jess, Sam) whom I was rooting Bret didn’t pick because they were much better than that sleazeball.

“Rock of Love” is enjoyable because it’s fascinating that women can do such things to themselves and each other — especially on national television. It’s one of those shows we hate to love. We know that this is wrong. That women shouldn’t be treated like this. That Bret Michaels needs to grow up, and love shouldn’t be the first area he does that in. It’s a strong example of a new type of reality show that “Flavor of Love” started — promoting negative stereotypes for the minority involved, yet being such a car crash that we can’t help but take our eyes away.

(Let’s just hope that this writers strike ends soon (and in favor of the writers, or something mutually beneficial) and that the Screen Actors Guild does not follow suit.)

Contact guest all reporter Jackie Mantey at [email protected].