Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Oh so many questions . . .

I was going to compile a list of unanswered LOST questions but the topic is already old.  Anyway, somebody saved me the trouble.  If you're a fan--especially a disappointed fan--you must watch this:


There, no more LOST from me.  Promise.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

First Thoughts on the last LOST

The following is pretty much right off the top of my head.  These are my first reactions to the end of LOST and the totality of the series so there may be some clumsy wording (and analysis) ahead.

The LOST finale clearly worked on an emotional level.  It hit all the right buttons as characters were dramatically reunited.  But, hey, that's what LOST has been doing since season one: separating its characters and then reuniting them.  The formula always provided an emotional punch: a tear in the eye and a lump in the throat.  And so, in the end, we got that all over again.  Only this time, dead characters were allowed in on the reunion. (Yes, I know, technically all the characters who reunited did so after death; but for awhile there during the finale the show played as if the dead characters were "coming back to life" in this "alternate" universe).  Bottom line?  The LOST finale was one big emotional reunion. 

And it worked.  Yes, indeed. 

But did it work on an intellectual level?  Well, I think here the show was clearly lacking.  From the beginning, LOST has played like a mystery ("Guys, where are we?")  Outside agents--external forces--were threatening our lead characters.  We (and the characters) didn't know who was doing what or why.  But we were promised answers.  Oh, yes, we were promised.  The producers promised answers.  The network, with its constant barrage of promos, promised answers. Heck, even the characters regularly professed to have answers.  And yet, I hardly think the answers we got were satisfying.  Why?  Well, they weren't answers to the mysteries that fueled the story.  Sure, some might argue that those kinds of answers weren't important--that it doesn't matter if we know what the underground wheel was, or why turning it moved the island in time or provided transport off the island (to Tunisia, of all places).  It doesn't matter why Walt was important, or how the giant statue came to be built on the island, or why the timer in the hatch flipped to Egyptian hieroglyphics. These questions don't matter because the story was never really about these mysteries; it was, instead, about the characters and their need to "find" themselves in one another. 

Fine.  I can buy that.  But I would also argue that the narrative never became sophisticated enough to place those internal character struggles firmly and satisfyingly in the foreground.  Time and again, LOST relied on a surface narrative--an urgent, concrete conflict--to provide momentum.  Any story about character insight or revelation usually felt tagged-on.

In the end I don't think LOST lived up to its promise.  There was something hollow about it, something missing. 

Still, I'll miss the show.  It was compelling and exciting and extremely well-made.  And I have to say, I was engaged with it to the very end.  But while it kept me guessing for six years, I don't believe it will keep me thinking for nearly as long. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

One Thing's For Sure . . .

 . . . when you get out of the habit of writing on your blog, it is easy to stay out of the habit.

The TV season is winding down and the excitement about some shows is building.  Honestly, I'm as psyched as you can get about Lost, right now.  There are but a few hours left in what has turned out to be one of the most experimental and demanding network shows ever aired.  I've got a number of thoughts and questions (among fans, who doesn't?) and figured I'd scribble three (of the many) down here:

Will the two timelines merge in any specific way?  Is one more "legitimate" than the other?  The "flash-sideways" or "alternate" timeline concept is the trickiest thing the show has done to date.  Some think that the sideways timeline may be a "fake" world, or a "dream" experienced by the various characters.  Either scenario might turn out to be the case, but I hope not.  The alternate, "what if" reality is a familiar and popular SF trope.  (According to the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, it dates back to 1934 and Murray Leinster's short story, "Sideways in Time." Since then it has been used in countless stories and novels, spawning a new subgenre, "Alternate History," now so prevalent in SF that it has its own annual award, the "Sideways Award.") Now that Lost has established an alternate reality, I think this alternate reality has to stay intact.  It cannot dissolve at some future point.  That doesn't mean the characters from one world can't become aware of the other (as, it seems, Desmond, has), it just means that both worlds are now legitimate branches in time and therefore have permanence.  And so, as the events of the "island" timeline draw to a close, how cool would it be if Lost were to re-boot itself into a seventh season, one where we see the lives of the LA characters unspool themselves into new and unpredictable directions?  Lost could become its own spin-off!  (I know it will never happen, but still.)

Will we ever see any of the "kids" again?  I'm holding out hope that the various children of the Lost universe will make a dramatic re-appearance by season's end.  I can picture Penny sailing up to the island with Walt, Aaron, Charlie and Ji Yeon all on board.  Clearly, these kids had something special about them, right?  I still demand to know what the deal was with Walt.  And there was mystery about Aaron, too. C'mon Lost writers, don't leave us hanging!

Will the Jacob/Man-In-Black backstory (airing tonight, 5/11/10) fill in enough blanks?  I want to know about the bodies in the cave!  About Alvar Hanso!  About the big statue and the other ruins on the island!  I want to know why Ben could summon the smoke monster!  I want to know why the monster appeared in so many other forms (Kate's horse, anybody?)  Time is running out, and it sure seems like there is a lot left to explain! Will the show come through?  We'll see . . .