Thursday, May 26, 2005

LOST Aftershocks

So here we are. Three months of Lostlessness.

I’ve spent a lot of the day reading various message boards like this one on .

People from here to the other side of the Mississippi have been putting in their two cents, pitching their own ideas about what they think the secrets of the island could be – or at least what they SHOULD be.

Everything from nanotechnology to military experiments, to psychic powers have been brought up. Some people thought the two hour season finale that aired last night was terrific. Others thought it was terrible. While a few stood somewhere on the middle ground, thinking it was entertaining but flawed.

I’m not sure where I stand quite yet on the finale. There is no arguing the fact that I enjoyed watching it. I was completely riveted to the TV screen the entire time, and thank God for TiVo, because I was able to blur past the commercials without having the mood interrupted by brash advertisements for Tide detergent.

Without a doubt, I find LOST to be the most intriguing drama on network TV, if not TV as a whole. It has terrific characters with good chemistry, strong acting, and in terms of dialogue and character development, the writing is very well good. As for the overall story arc, I think there is tremendous potential, although there were times during the season, where I felt like the “mysteries” of the island storyline only advanced about a centimeter. Still, since X-Files declined, and then eventually left the air, I have been missing my solid one hour sci-fi TV show, and LOST has fulfilled that void for me.

The finale last night, was exciting but also frustrating. While I understand the argument that the writers/producers can not let the cat out of the bag all in one go, I do wish they had done some further reveals for some of the questions that have been building since Day 1 on the island. Aspects of the show like the monster, and the elusive “hatch” are basically still as mysterious as they were the first time they were introduced weeks ago. While it has certainly helped in keeping my interest over the summer, I do feel as though they could have given us a little more. Also, while disturbing, I’m not sure how I felt about the appearance of the others as casually dressed seabillies who looked more like they listened to the grateful dead, then they were vicious murderers and kidnappers. I have to say the reveal (of course we don’t know this for sure yet) that the others were not at all linked to anything supernatural was kind of disappointing to me as well. I thought that would have been an interesting direction to go in with a lot of possibilities. I also think it could have connected in well with some of the other storylines they have already established.

Here’s a theory for you. Let’s say, hypothetically speaking, that the writers and producers themselves don’t really know much more about the future of the show, than what they are “revealing” in each episode. Often with shows like these, episodes are contracted out to other writers, who watch a bunch of episodes on their own and sort of come up with their own take on the storyline. These creative mercenary types haven’t been along for the whole ride, devising “Le grande scheme” of the overall plot arc. They just create a take on an episode and go with it.

Furthermore, what if this group of writer producers was helmed by a really successful busy TV producer/writer, who already had another show on the air, and helped conceive the initial concept of the story (in broad strokes of course: there is a plane crash, people get stuck on this weird island…”), but then couldn’t really work on it full time, and would only pop in occasionally to see how his secondary ship was sailing. Yelling for his crew members to throw in “cool stuff” like a monster, or a hatch. And what if the writers did this, and as they tried to construct logic out of this sea of ideas, they would latch onto certain runners, or clues if you will. Like a sequence of numbers that keeps popping up everywhere, but whose actual meaning eludes even the very writers who include them in the script. Of course, the creators and writers would never confess to this, and would assure audiences at every opportunity that every little iota of the show has meaning, and that there is a definite “plan.” A velvety curtain of publicity behind which several men cower with pencil and pad in hand making sure the images on the screen continued to appear as complex as they seemed.

Interesting theory isn’t it? I think it is my favorite of all the different ideas floating out there.

But at the end of the day, does it even really matter?

As I scroll through the message board entries, reading how people have researched everything from numerology (in relation to that mysterious sequence of numbers) and the political philosophies of John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (two of the characters on the island have the last names Locke and Rousseau), I wonder if it matters if the writers intentionally put these things in here. Is it necessarily bad if people are discovering potential double meanings anyway? I mean, maybe the writers chose names like Locke and Rousseau, with general thematic elements in mind…but its quite possible these were short-term choices, and won’t necessarily matter that much in the long run of the show.

Guessing what will happen in the upcoming season(s) is fun. But I giggle when I hear people speak so positively about the entire trajectory of the show. How they be so sure? How can they be so sure the creators of the show are so sure? Ideas are constantly changing, they are always in motion and fluctuating. When I said at the beginning of this blog post that I wasn’t sure how I felt about the finale yet, I think what I really meant to say was I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that these writers may very well be flying by the seat of their pants, and making it up as they go along. On the one hand if they start to flail so much that they begin to create inconsistencies with the story, it will be disappointing. But as long as they stick to the rules that they’ve made for themselves, it should be interesting to watch how they unlock the very secrets that we wish to hear whispered in our ears. The writers/producers have already succeeded in casting talented and charismatic actors, and creating terrifically engaging characters. This is the basis for any great show; without this foundation, even the most intriguing story lines would crumble.

I don’t know about the rest of yous, but I’ll definitely be tuning in next season, master plan or not.

P.S. Season 1 DVD is released on September 6th, not that I pre-ordered it already on Amazon or anything….


Anonymous Crazy Monk said...

You really think JJ is spending more time on Alias than on Lost? Certainly doesn't seem that way. In any case, I like your theory the best too, since that's how Alias also played out -- as far as I'm concerned, that show ended on the Superbowl episode, even though I managed to watch over a season and a half after that. Lost is sometimes compelling, sometimes annoying, and oftentimes excellent on a per-episode basis (see the first Locke episode). It's never been great in terms of a long-term story arc. I'll keep watching until its Superbowl episode. And hey, at least it doesn't get sidetracked with insular episodes as often as X-Files did...

Your comment about Lost being the best show on air: you might be right about basic cable, but sci-fi or not, Lost can't touch Deadwood with a 20 foot pole. Just finished watching the 2nd season finale: a masterpiece of character and language. Love it.

10:10 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Some of us don't have the luxury of HBO, ahem. I've heard Deadwood is terrific too - I've been meaning to rent the DVD's. I've also heard The Wire is astounding. I wish those damn DVD sets weren't so expensive. Oh well.

11:40 PM  
Anonymous Crazy Monk said...

Well, I rented the first season of Deadwood. And let's just say that I viewed the second season using less than legal means. However, I received The Wire Season 1 this past Christmas and after viewing that, the $65 for season 2 was more than worth it (season 2 of The Wire was probably the best season of any TV series, ever).

12:41 PM  

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