Had I seen these posts before mine I would have, at the very least, included them at the end of my write-up. Or else I would have simply directed you to more eloquent words on the ‘Net than I typically provide. As it stands, both Matthew Baldwin and Ken Jennings seem to share my opinion (or some form of it) regarding the Lost finale. That means a lot to me, because Matt is far funnier than I could hope to be and Ken is far smarter than I could hope to be. In addition Jason Kottke posted this amusing video regarding the mysteries that “don’t matter” even though “all of this matters”.
So I used to watch this TV show about these people who crashed on a tropical island with polar bears, dead people, smoke monsters and lots of mangoes. There were all sorts of mysteries about the reason for the people being there, the origin of those already on the island, why the winning lottery numbers were evil, where the Egyptian statue with 4 toes came from and how a 10 year-old boy grew 6 inches in less than a month. It was called Misplaced or something like that… Lost! That was it. Lost.
Anyway, the audience grew frustrated because after a few years all we had learned was that polar bears don’t do well in Tunisia (although they are smarter than Sawyer), Jack has the world’s lamest tattoo (next to Megan Fox), DUIs will get you killed off the show, Cheech Marin is still the go to Hispanic filler actor and Kate will screw up even the most fool-proofed plan. Maybe some more was revealed, but thanks to the writers’ strike episodes were spaced out months apart and everybody soon forgot what the show was even about. Rather then stretching the agony out over a few more generations and risking a “Heroic” drop in ratings, the mysterious guy in Jacob’s cabin decided to end the show after season six. That meant yesterday.
At this point you should have been able to figure out that I’m talking about the Lost series finale – an episode so hyped that it fell only 93 million viewers shy of MASH’s viewership record. Maybe some people are just planning to watch it at a different time when they can fast forward the 45 minutes of commercials…
You’ve probably heard about how the show polarized the audience much like a high-frequency sonar fence, with dedicated Losties on one side and a power-hungry evil smoke monster on the other. Personally I’m sick of everybody either hating or loving something – can’t anybody have a lukewarm reaction these days? Just stick me in the middle and fry my brain with those sonar beams, because the finale didn’t provoke me too much either way.
For starters I did, in fact, like the ending. Sorta. You see, I liked the explanation of the “sideways” timeline. I liked the gathering in the church. I liked the cyclical nature of the closing shot (I’m a sucker for cyclicals…). There were a lot of things to like. But I also feel that I just saw watched the finale for seasons 5 and 6 and am waiting for information regarding those pesky first 4 seasons. I’m certainly no hardcore Lostie – The Woman didn’t start us watching it till the show was halfway through its second season and we never really gave much thought to the Internet tie-ins – so there’s bound to be some “questions” I have that were “answered” in some form elsewhere. But that isn’t exactly my problem.
To some extent I guess I really just wanted some acknowledgment of it all. Speaking to a co-worker who liked the finale better than I, she suggested that just a little shoehorning of the DHARMA Initiative into the grand scheme of finality would have worked. Something along the lines of showing how they were one of many ways that civilizations had tried to understand the Island over the centuries. Right now it feels like 80% of the first 4 seasons was like Communism – merely a red herring.
Don’t think that I’m trying to convince anyone that they shouldn’t have enjoyed the episode or the series as a whole. Also don’t think that I’m fishing for explanations. I’m nearing 600 words into this post and don’t really feel like putting together a list of questions about the identity of the man in Jacob’s Cabin or how Walt was special or the origin of the statue or even why Aaron ended up in purgatory (bummer, man). Maybe it’s the fact that those questions were even asked at some point that’s bothering. It seems as though many of the “mysteries” were completely irrelevant – in a way it makes much of the series seem not as good in retrospect.
After all of the hype and whatnot I feel, as my sister said, “unfulfilled.” It was far from the lowest point the show hit, but didn’t hit the high point either. Oh well, it is… was… is just a show. And on the bright side I’ve already enjoyed excellent season finales from Community (the best show on TV), 30 Rock and Medium and look forward to more tonight with How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory. Then I can enjoy life with an empty DVR.
If you follow my ramblings outside this here blog you may already realize that I made the big mistake of catching up with Heroes. Yeah, yeah, I realize you all stopped watching by the end of the second season – good for you. Me? I needed real confirmation that the writers never got their heads out of the asses. And boy did I get it.
So right now I’m watching the second episode of the final season of Lost – another “sci fi” show with an excellent first season that suffered through some down times – wondering how they managed to avoid the same pitfalls. And then it hit me – Heroes tried to be Lost, while Lost was content being itself.
While the writers of Lost have spent plenty of time (too much on occasion) developing characters, they realize that the driving force behind their show is the mystery of the island. As convoluted as the show gets, we’re all just sitting on the hypothetical edge of our seats waiting for the final pieces to the puzzle to be revealed. And that’s what keeps the show moving forward and, more importantly, keeps the audience interested.
Heroes, on the other hand, found such success in its first season thanks to the intrigue of watching people discover their powers all while moving forward to a singular goal. While there were some mysterious elements (e.g. “The Company”, who was really good or bad) that was all secondary. Yet they decided that, after a season of horrendous teenage love angst, those should be the driving force. But how many times can you really debate over whether or not Sylar is bad? (He is) Or whose side HRG is on? (His own) And its not just those characters, any new characters (or old ones brought to the forefront) get the same exact treatment. Did anyone, even for a second, buy that Nathan and HRG’s government agency was a good idea for anyone? Or that this stupid carny character was anything but evil? No. So why pretend that it’s a mystery?
And this is skipping over the fact that the writers seem to think intrigue is developed simply by characters not telling each other anything. Or that a pseudo-lesbian “subplot” was thrown in out of nowhere. Or that Sylar is practically unstoppable, yet every time he is stopped the “heroes” let him go. Or any number of other ridiculous plot devices bogging down what was such a solid idea all those years ago…
Will I watch next season? Maybe the same way I did the second half of this season – online while skipping through about 80% of it. But I’d rather they just cancel the series right now. Who cares if the finale left the door open for the next chapter. Does anyone believe the next one will suddenly stop sucking?
Can I get a “Hell yeah!” from my fellow Lost fans?
So far this season has been a blast. They’ve got a good pace going and they actually seem to be revealing key information in every episode. I like the direction it’s going in, and have a feeling that the writers might just be able to pull together a solid conclusion that brings the show together in the end. But my biggest fear is that it will be nothing more than a conclusion to the show.
What I mean is that Lost has been a rather sprawling and convoluted show that has dragged its viewers through a lot of ups and downs. To end the show by simply tying up all of the loose ends and some logical explanation would be a bit of an injustice. There needs the be some sort of meaning behind it all. No, I’m not looking for deep philosophy from a TV show, but if they all wake up from a dream there’s going to be a lot of rightfully pissed viewers.
I’m not one to engage in much speculation, but recently this theory on Lost‘s time travel passed across my browser (WARNING: A whole lot o’ speculatin’ goin’ on over there). And let me just say this: if Jason is right, I’ll be one happy camper. I actually got excited at the prospect of his theory being the idea the writers are working on. So any of my fellow fans that are interested in looking at possible answers, click on over and tell me what you think. Normally I’m better at just waiting ’til the end, but this one has set the proverbial donkey wheel in motion.
The writers’ strike ended the other day, and thank god for that one. I was beginning to get worried that I’d be stuck with a shortened season of One Tree Hill. It’s tough enough following plots that… wait… what did I say? I meant Lost. I was worried about Lost. Of course. I mean, who watches that teenie bopper crap anyway? Does anyone really care if Brooke can succeed without her mom’s help or if she’s really competing with Peyton for Lucas’s affection? Or if Mouth will realize that Alice is no good for him, but Millie could be the real thing?
Duh… as if…
Yes, it’s finally returned. That ultimate achievement in television culture that ties us together as we try to figure out what could come next. What mystery or secret will be revealed next. What trials will the characters face that will determine their survival. And, of course, how many points will they score. That’s right, Jess has returned to present us with another season of Lost-vivor!
Oh yeah, and the new season of Lost premiered last night – that was pretty cool, too.