Saturday, October 14, 2006

The New Yorker remerges (for the time being) a little LOST but not worse for the wear...

It’s been a long time folks. And I can’t say I haven’t missed this little party called blogging because I have. Now, let’s get down to business.

1) LOST

Two episodes into the new (third) season my head is spinning and I barely recognize the show. Probably, because at times, it feels like a COMPLETELY different show. New characters, new locations, new scenarios, new storylines. I supposed that’s all well, good, and expected for any intelligent and creatively done show that evolves over seasons, but something is amiss. That wonderful vibe that they captured in the pilot, and first season, and less so but still in the second season is gone. A bunch of strangers from all different walks of life who are banded together under the same banner of “let’s not get eaten by polar bears” and “lets get off this crazy island” and “what the hell is going on in this crazy island.” That was something special, and in the construct of LOST it felt new and refreshing.

Cut to this season. The season premiere only dealt with three of our characters, Jack, Kate and Sawyer. Now I love Sawyer, and Jack is alright, though teetering on the bland side, but Kate seems to have descended even further into the territory of the vulnerable hot piece of ***. (On a side note, how Raiders of the Lost Arc was it when she came out in that dress and sat down in front of Henry Gale and the full spread of food. It was Marion and Belloq all over again, though not as classy or exciting.) But I missed the rest of the castaways and that feeling of “teamwork” as they all worked together to solve one problem or another. But let me back up a minute here. It goes without saying that the teaser for the premiere was meant to be another shocker, like last year’s reveal of Desmond in the Hatch. And truth be told, I was surprised by it. I didn’t expect in the slightest that the “earthquake” was actually the Oceanic flight plummeting down from the sky. Nor that the seemingly idyllic community was located on THE island. It was jaw dropping to be sure. But a variable had changed for me –I didn’t care as much. I didn’t really care because I knew, or at least strongly suspected, that the reason behind this village, the rationale of the Others and their motives in going after the survivors, none of that, was going to be explained succinctly for at least another I don’t know, one to two seasons, --if that. It’s like the Russian dolls that stack inside one another seamlessly without end, until finally you get to the last wooden figurine, and realize, that it’s only a smaller version of what you started with, and is hollow on the inside.

I guess that’s my biggest fear for LOST. That they’re never going to answer the questions, and that they’re only to going to keep on generating more and more, defying logic and rationale at every turn. Let’s take a look at for instance, last season, when Michael was brought to the Others shantytown, where they lived in little tents and dressed in rags. Later, Michael would lead Jack, Kate and co. back down there, and they would attempt to enter yet another hatch which, as it turns out, didn’t exist. The metal doors merely masked a granite wall. In this week’s episode, one of the Others mentions to Henry Gale hurriedly, (in what I believe to be a huge writer’s oops!), “But they found the decoy village!” Gale responds, ever stolidly, “That’s exactly what we wanted them to do.”

I think I actually laughed out loud at that moment. Really? It’s exactly what you wanted them to do? Why? So Hurley could turn back and tell the other survivors what he’d seen here. And what kind of an impression would that make? “Hey dudes. It looked like they had a Hatch, but actually, --looks like it was fake or something…oh yeah and they took Jack, Kate and Sawyer too.” First of all, Hurley would be in a panic about the fact that his friends were taken, --the least thing on his mind would be the fake door. And even if he did discuss the “fake hatch” opening with the other survivors, that doesn’t necessarily reveal the village as a “decoy village.” I can’t deny that I’m curious as to the possible valid explanation for the “decoy” village. I’m interested to see what they come up with, because it sure seems like an awful lot of work on the part of the Others, towards an end which remains a mystery.

After watching the first two episodes in this season, the question that resounds with me is, is this season really going to become about human behavioral studies and experiments? Them trying to break Jack’s psychological resolve, and manipulating Sawyer and Kate into getting romantically involved, only to play them each off against one another in some bizarre sort of love triangle? Whatever it is, I hope they at least cut to the chase, because watching Kate and Sawyer break rocks, even under the threat of electric shock? Not interesting. Also, it was not at all a shocking reveal that Kate and Sawyer were being “watched” by Henry Gale via monitors when they were speaking to one another at night back in their cages. Of course they’re being monitored, that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone at this point. If Sawyer and Kate themselves don’t realize that, then they are idiots.

In this week’s episode, I liked Sun and Jin’s flashback, in part because it actually gave closure and answers to their storylines, and also because it continued to give more depth to their characters. I thought it was great that Sun shot the woman on the yacht, I definitely didn’t expect it. I liked the idea that the Others are so sure they know the survivors, and yet Sun proved them wrong. What I did find disappointing was Sayid’s “plan”; it made no sense. So Sayid hoped to start and fire and attract the Others via smoke, so that he could kill them, and then hopefully somehow learn where Jack had been taken? This plan also entailed “tricking” Jin because once Sayid started the fire it would be “too late” to turn back, (Wha? Why?). Not only that, but Sun was left by herself, on the boat, which was a good two hundred yards away. Sure he told her where the gun was but if he (or Jin) was really concerned about her safety they’d have her stay close. Even if in the past LOST has dragged its feet in divulging the island’s secrets, it has always typically been good at creating interesting episodic action and adventure plots. But the plotting of some of this second episode at times just felt lazy and sloppy. One of the last scenes of the episode where Henry Gale comes into Jack, felt particularly so. It’s already been made clear that the Others know what’s going on in the outside world, they have contact and communication with it, --hence how they know so much about the survivors. So for Henry Gale to come out and recite the occurrences of the past two months in 2004, was no real surprise. (Also, the Boston Red Sox winning the world series clip/gag is OLD) Then there was more of the classic cagey talk, where words are coming out of the characters mouths, but in effect, NOTHING is being said. (Paraphrasing) Henry Gale: If you cooperate with us, we will help you get home. Jack: Cooperate with what? Henry Gale: We’ll tell you when the time is right. Grrrrrrrrr. I’ll bet you will Henry.

I know what some of you are thinking. “Stop complaining, and just stop watching it!” But I can’t –for several reasons. It’s like the boyfriend that your friends tell you to dump, but you just can’t let go, because deep down you know you still have feelings for him. I love LOST. Or at least I did. I’ve been disillusioned for sure, cheated by it, annoyed with it. But I can’t let go, or at least I’m not ready to. I still care enough about these characters that I plan to tune in to see what happens next, and I do want to see how they wrap everything up. But my care is dwindling, and never more so than with the start of this season. I’d like a little payoff please. A little light shed on the truth, and answers that don’t feel like more questions. I’m frustrated and I want my old show back.

I miss Danielle Rousseau.

Heroes review forthcoming….

13 Comments:

Blogger DoorFrame said...

You forgot the AWESOME twist where Kate's dress really belonged to Rousseau's daughter! Man, I didn't see that coming.

12:00 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Indeed

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow. the ny'r returns with more medicore dribble.
we were hoping you were done.
your thougts are soooo relevant to LOST.
i'm sure they will take your blabbering into consideration.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Daddy Background said...

Hi there. Welcome back. Good to see you again. Looking forward to more posts.

10:51 AM  
Blogger The Coen Bros. said...

Hey anonymous, vent all you want, but have the sack to show your name.

I, for one, am glad to get a post from New Yorker. It's been too long. As for what you are saying about Lost, good points all. But that is the nature of the genre. No show of thsi type can sustain itself. I know a lot of people are moving toTV from film to make these long form series, but in the long run, film is just a better medium. Films end. There is closure. And more than that, usually the makers of the film know how they are going to end everything. They know the arc from the start.

TV can't. Shows are fluid. Actors leave or get pregnant or audiences shine to a certain story and so they focus on that path. TV networks meddle and ask for more sex, guest stars, theme weeks. So, when I watch TV shows, I give them a little leeway. TV shows suffer cause they are on TV and they need to milk them for money. It's something you have to live with.

12:43 PM  
Blogger DoorFrame said...

Man, guest stars, that would be great!

It could be a modern day Gilligan's Island. I mean, I don't see any particular reason why the Harlem Globetrotters COULDN'T show up on the Island... right?

2:00 PM  
Blogger The Coen Bros. said...

Or Scooby Doo. Imagine Phylis Diller or Tim Conway on the island. Or that talking car and his crew.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow ny'r, a knight in blogger armour to protect your mediocre writing.

2:25 PM  
Blogger The Coen Bros. said...

I challenge you to a duel, sir.

4:05 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

A duel in my honor! I thought I'd never see the day!

Coen Bros. --I agree with your point about TV. Sort of. It does seem like hardly any TV show, no matter how good at one point it might have been, gets to go off the air with true dignity. As you pointed out, networks and channels generally like to milk things for every penny.

HOWEVER, that being said, I think the TV medium offers a lot of great qualities, that film does not. It allows the viewer the chance to watch their beloved characters morph and grow, and evolve (if done well of course) over the period of several seasons. Sure there's plenty of crappy TV and films out there these days, but so many films seem crappy today because they don't bother with real character development --which lies at the heart of TV.

I think sometimes that writers not necessarily knowing exactly where their creative ship is going to come to port can yield intriuging results. If nothing else we may see some interesting, pretty scenery along the way. When things begin to cave in it seems, is when everything in the show becomes capitulated around the unsaid and the untold. As LOST seems to be, (and as the wonderful X Files did before it for instance) Don't dance around the elephant in the room, --move into the parlor.

9:30 PM  
Blogger The Coen Bros. said...

True, TV gives you time to develop characters, but again, the biggest problem is that there is no incentive for closure on a show. If you end a show, you stop making gobs of money (DVD, synd. aside). So, almost every show hopes that they wil go another season. I have heard that Lost is made to go roughly 6 seasons. But if it is still huge by season 6, ABC will not let it die. They will Terry Shiavo that show and it will keep going like the Sopranos, or the Simpsons, or the X-files or or or or . . .

9:30 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Will there be an upcoming shout-out to the new best show on television, The Office, which captures all the best features of television that you just mentioned?

11:30 AM  
Blogger calena57 said...

WHAT A GIRL!!!!!!!!!!
LOVE TO READ YOUR BLOG AS WELL AS YOUR RETORT TO STONE THROWING.
I NEVER SAW LOST, BUT I AM WATCHING A GOOD SHOW, I CAN,T WAIT TILL TOMORROW TO SEE PRISON BRAKE

3:00 PM  

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