I loved and will always love the TV series, LOST.
I’m not as crazy as some people can be but I’m not as hateful as some people are about the final season of the show. It was quite clear that the finale revealed the parallel timeline to be the epilogue and not the whole “they were dead the whole time” — what does it really mean to be dead? Could it be the final few minutes of Jack dreaming up a whole scenario as his brain shuts off? Or is it the life after life that isn’t comprehensible by our logic in this world?
But, it existed in a time when it seemed almost impossible for it exists. And compared to the shows that did come after it… you could poke holes here and there and express the agony and pain of certain arcs that could have been tightened up or expressed more. There were the important bits that made it fun and addictive. And then, there were the important people moments. It drew upon its own love of other source materials, some that were apparent and clear and other sources that seemed a little blurred or coincidental.
You looked at the stuff that Damon Lindelof liked as movies and he mentions things that just made sense to his own choices as a co-showrunner for a show that had a lot of intrigues and different timelines and flashbacks and flash-forwards.
- Touch of Evil
- Raiders of the Lost Ark
- Pulp Fiction
- The Shining
- The Godfather Part II
Thinking about it… especially, how he mentions The Godfather as an example… it just wonderful how we can take particular storytelling techniques and try to use them in a new meaningful way that can be seen different or used for a similar purpose. Or touching on the fact that there can be a sense of dread without ever really doing much but creating enough tension through the characters and their surroundings.
Sure, there were moments when the reveal killed the fun. I think that’s the whole shitty part of it all and adds to the whole debate between choosing to be a mystery writer vs. a suspense writer. And to be honest, I think there is more fulfillment to be remembered as the suspense guy.
After LOST, I wanted to really find something to fill my void and I discovered the show Fringe. At that time, it was, as I remembered (and it’s quite hard to remember because this was like years ago), designed to be the opposite as LOST — not as serial but enough of one so that it was thrilling but also you could watch it out of order and still enjoy it and not be so confused about what the hell is happening.
Then there was a show Person of Interest that really grabbed me for a while — the closest thing to a gritty The Dark Knight Trilogy as a series but stripped of its colorful characters and replaced by two characters that resembled aspects of Bruce Wayne and Batman as two separate individuals. A bit of a stretch but it was sure entertaining. But it was too episodic in many parts so I never got to the ending of the series.
Fringe was a good filler for Heroes for the most part… and then I threw in Misfits but it was never the same. The adrenaline rush and sense of urgency were thrown into the garbage by season two.
But for LOST, it’s hard to find a good replacement — as it’s so out there. We have our Netflix and other streaming services but… I don’t think there will be a crazy experimental show like it ever again. And there was something magical for the wait for a new episode and to carefully think the previous episode over and over. The modern-day series that we get are so tight and consistent but… it’s too much binging and at times shows are not as thrilling with those specific restrains that make the writers go crazy.
The closest thing to that feeling again was when Breaking Bad was still on the air and I was simply fascinated by what would happen next. Of course, the ending was always something to be debated about. But that’s another story.
The one thing great about LOST was the ensemble of characters that were different and had particular defining traits. They all had certain skills — like think of Jack… the guy was forced to be the leader but he was always the natural born leader. And being a spinal surgeon, it just sounded cool. I mean, now that we know that character was originally designed to be killed off in the pilot and have Kate be in charge… it could have gone a different route. But here we have this character that had the best skill set in terms of being stranded on an island and having the right mindset (sometimes) to deal with the high pressure.
Kate could have held the main role just as fine if they were able to do what they wanted to do. She’s the mysterious girl but she’s resourceful and adaptable. Sawyer the loveable asshole and being cunning and resourceful. Basically, the Han Solo of the group and then we have our buddy duo of Hurley and Charlie… the fanboy and rock junkie… and the torturer, Sayid. And more and more and more… John Locke… all fuck, it was great. I love the clash of ideas and beliefs and skills. It was like watching comedy improv and having certain combinations, you could have a different mix of adventures and results.
Some of them work well together. Others couldn’t play ball at all.
I won’t go off and list everyone and analyze. Others have done it more thoroughly and probably have more insight. But I do have to say that I miss this crazy show. And yes, I know it borrowed heavy from Stephen King’s The Stand and had certain characters inspired and certain arcs and plot devices (*bomb*) recycled. I mean, to be honest, I think having a quick explosion is sort of lazy to quickly clean shit up but… hey, it works sometimes and it really pisses people off to go on a path of vengeance.
Like a good novel, I felt it was designed to be watched at least twice. Once you knew the overall structure and had a sense of all the characters involved… it’s sort of new trip watching the show and seeing certain characters show up early and being all mysterious. Because it’s a different kind of suspense… the kind that Alfred Hitchcock would try to explain — to have the audience know more than the characters on the screen.
We can’t always have the benefit of having the people watch certain things twice, but it was great to have that effect. And to really enjoy certain aspects of the island itself — which felt comparable (especially in the beginning of the series) to the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. Like there’s a hidden character that is watching the characters alongside us. The only difference is that it doesn’t know we are aware of it as a separate entity. Unless it does know that we are the other viewer.
Wouldn’t that be an old shit moment?