Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The two-hour season finale of Lost airs tonight, allowing me to reflect a bit on why it’s the only mega-popular TV show on the air right now that I deign to watch.

First of all, I should outline what aren’t reasons I watch it: I don’t watch for the dorky cross-references and “clues” the writers like to dole out. Also, I generally don’t go online to read message boards and whatnot. When watching TV, movies or reading books, I’m not so much into puzzle-solving. I like being swept up, struck dumb even.

To that end, the writing, directing and editing on Lost are firmly dedicating to ratcheting the suspense up and down at all the right moments. Also the music -- I was obsessed with the severe trombone glissando that would usher in many a commercial break in Season 1. To my disappointment, it was used only once (I think) in the second season, but Missy Elliott or someone should still base a song around it.

The acting is hit-and-miss, with Terry O’Quinn and Naveen Andrews as the most redoubtable. At the opposite end of the spectrum are people like Dominic Monaghan, who maintains my interest only when I’m trying to figure out which British rock stars his character is modeled after. (I think it’s Damon Albarn’s hair-when-he-had-hair, plus Pete Doherty’s heroin addiction, plus Ray and Dave Davies’ familial issues.)

None of this, however, fully explains the unique appeal of the show. It’s a little perverse, what makes Lost especially exciting for me. Basically, I’m waiting for it to suck.

See, I think I’ve watched enough DVD commentaries from TV writers to come to the depressing realization that most of these folks do not in fact have a grand masterplan for story arcs or a series in its entirety. Many times, they don’t even have an episode-to-episode strategy. This is especially, painfully apparent with Lost. And yet, the show maintains its iron grip on me every Wednesday night – partially because of the show’s Hitchcock-on-a-rollercoaster intensity, but also because there’s a tension in wondering just how long the writers can keep all these balls in the air before it all comes crashing down, and the next thing I know, it all feels like a latter-day episode of Twin Peaks.

Or maybe it’s already at that point. I only realized the TP Windom Earle episodes were crap in hindsight. I’ve cut Lost slack in regards to its delayed revelations and red herrings, mainly because I think the good still outweighs the bad. I do, however, have one request: No more coincidences among the castaways. We get it. They’re all on the island for a reason. In fact, I’d love to see an episode that tracks two seemingly disparate castaways and eventually reveals at the end that they in fact were complete and total strangers who led totally differing and unconnected lives before the crash.

3 Comments:

Blogger Patrick Rapa said...

you go girl

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

I think I've actually gotten to the point of being more annoyed than entertained by the show in a way, but still watch the damn thing. It's painfully obvious that they're making this stuff up as the go along and just hope we forget about things that happened, or have the characters say "Hey, this contradicts everything you've seen!" as if joking about it makes it OK.

I left that season finale with the feeling that it would have been a perfectly good third episode of this season. Instead of making Desmond disappear for twenty episodes, had they known this was where they were going, he could have mentioned that he murdered The Kurgan and had a magic, never before seen or mentioned key that proved everything was real and that he had the Minnow docked nearby.

Do all that and stuff like having Sayid sit on a boat for most of your finale and everybody ignoring the blinding white light and deafening noise would be a lot easier to live with.

But anyway, the Planet of the Apes chase between Desmond and Clancy Brown was neat, and hey, crazy four-toed statue, what's up with that? They should call that Toe-zymandias, is what I say!

9:10 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

I was kinda disappointed with last night's episode. They're really going to run the whole coincidences angle into the ground.
I liked most of Desmond's bits and the Locke/Eko stuff. Magnetic walls are always cool. Look out -- household appliances!
Come to think of it, it would have been a better episode had it not been for the last ten minutes, with the ridiculous who-cares plot twists and unresolved threads.
I was even liking Charlie in this one, and then they ruined it by wasting a couple of those final minutes on his boring faux-romance with Clare.
But I will, of course, continue to watch it in the fall.

9:34 AM  

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