Grey's Anatomy

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Grey's Anatomy: Revamped and Reinvented

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So Derek and Meredith, as promised and hinted and prayed for by countless fans, might actually stay together. Might, because TV writers are cruel, and there are plenty of potential soap-opera obstacles in their path.

Still, the prospect of hope loomed large in Thursday's Grey's Anatomy season finale, "Freedom." And for Grey's Anatomy - which has ended many seasons by yanking happiness out of its characters' grasp - this truly counts as reinvention.

According to the Boston Globe, reinvention and recalibration have been the recurring theme of this season on ABC, between the Grey's Anatomy mood shift and the five-year time jump that marked the end of Desperate Housewives.

The MerDer Reunion

It's an important prospect, at a time when some of the network's biggest hits are showing signs of age - and network TV as a whole is fighting harder and harder for viewers. A hit only deserves to be a hit if it still has the capacity to surprise.

The ultimate model for shifting a series' ground rules, of course, is ABC's own Lost, which has its own two-hour finale on Thursday. Each season, producers have turned the show into a hunt for answers to a different question. Last year's surprise flash-forward - along with the all-important announcement of an end date - did that much to reinvigorate writers and viewers alike.

The Desperate Housewives twist, borrowed from the Lost playbook, didn't feel quite so original. In part, that's because a basic skip-ahead has been done before, on such shows as the CW's One Tree Hill, which recently jumped over the college years, and Alias, which years ago replaced one convoluted plot line with another one.

But the bigger problem is that the Wisteria Lane of the future doesn't look much more intriguing than, or different from, the Wisteria Lane of today. Lynette's kids are young delinquents? You don't say.

Bree as a cookbook mogul? Not outside the realm of possibility. Even the big shocks were fairly telegraphed; Susan winds up with a man who isn't Mike, and Gabrielle finds herself saddled with kids and wearing less-sexy clothes.

And there's no promise of a fix for the show's underlying problem - the fact that it can't decide, minute by minute, whether it's soapy melodrama, dark murder mystery, or broad cartoon farce.

Grey's Anatomy has always done a better job of shifting back and forth between comedy and drama, perhaps because the underlying tone is consistent: hyperactive desperation. Besides, the characters, prone to whining as they are, are generally three-dimensional.

That's why, as each one has sinned herself out of happiness over the years, most of them have grown so unlikable.

The writers have probably been cruelest to Izzie, who, by causing Denny's death at the end of season two, shifted quickly from heroine to crazy woman.

Her adulterous, chemistry-free affair with George did little to help. But as of Thursday, Izzie finally seems to be back on the positive side of the moral ledger book, after proving herself a competent doctor and rescuing the love-crazed Alex from himself.

Callie, often treated so cruelly by the writers, gets a surprising chance at love. The Chief gets to go home. Even George gets a little bit of backbone and the prospect of redemption.

And then there are Meredith and Derek, still star-crossed, still whiny, and yet they've banded together (in a stunningly timely plot) to save brain tumor patients.

They've managed to work through more of their mother- and commitment-issues. They're finally getting around to planning their household on a mountaintop.

Will they make it past the building-permit stage? Hard to say. Soap operas never leave everyone unequivocally happy. But a show that made its mark by having fun with melodrama - then somehow forgot how to be mellow - seems prepared to get the party music cranking again.

It's not a terrible way to start anew.

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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I agree with Mary and Lexie. In case you didn't know ashley this is 2008 I've said this b4 grey's anatomy is a revolutionary show it touches on every aspect of real life relationships and drama within society. Gays are apart of our society and if Shonda wants to expand the story line between Erica and Callie whats wrong with that. Hell I'm offended for people of same sex relationship. They do have logo channel but heterosexuals have how many other yeah I thought so. Stop being so malicious everyone deserves to be happy and love who they want. Shonda puts a story line like this to relate to everyone. Callie and erica are cute together and I can't wait for there story line to unfold.

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Ashley!! Why don't you go away you homophobic arse!! GROW UP!! And it's Erica ...

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Hey Ashley, how about you stop being so shallow about homosexuals. I am straight and happen to take offense to your nonsense rambling about gays. WOWWWWW one whole channel devoted to gay people compared to 300 channels that you want to be homosexual free? I understand you have your own views and opinions but that is ignorant to say that you will not continue to watch the show because of gay references. Get a grip.

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Meredith and Derek should be together finally. But Ericka needs to leave. I understand that T.R is gay in real life and thats his business, but I do not want to watch a show with gay people. I love to watch Grey's and even have my husband hooked, but I will not continue to watch and support homosexuals. There are shows and even a whole tv channel devoted to gays, so can we please get back to the drama we have enjoyed in the past, Without homosexuals.

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Well as far as the Meredith Derek relationship, they certainly filled us with hope but in the last shot as Meredith watched Derek walk away you can see a hint of abandonment in her face. She doesn't smile or look content but rather on the verge of feeling like she's been left again. She finally dealt with her problems and he can't even stick around for an hour or so and celebrate? He walks away immediately? I think that the writers are leaving it open like that on purpose, because even though they should put Derek and Meredith together finally (otherwise they fill loose fans just from the exhaughtion of the on again off again romance....i mean look at friends....they almost lost viewers until they gave Rachel a baby with Ross) even though they should give us a break from "'will they won't they'" and give us a new major plot obstacle like someone getting pregnant perhaps....I doubt they will give us the happy ending. I wouldn't b suprised to see the begining of season 5 be meredith standing on the hill and disappointed that he put Rose before her.
Anyway I hope not....i hope they are finally onto some new problem together as a couple, but who knows......

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Might? WTF. They said they would/will/are whatever..... O.o

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what?! Did they just say might actually stay together?? What the heck...that's just bogus! >_>

Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Nobody's memory is perfect or complete. We jumble things up. We lose track of time. We are in one place... then another and it all feels like one long, inescapable moment. So, what does it mean? What do we take away? Which pieces will haunt us? Hurt us? End us? Inspire us? It's just like my mother used to say, the carousel never stops turning. You can't get off.

Meredith

Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

Meredith (closing voiceover)