Still Lost

I’m sure that most followers of Pileus are too sophisticated and intelligent to have wasted any time watching ABC’s Lost over the last six years.  But I’m one of the unfortunate ones who got sucked into this hugely successful drama.  I started to dislike the show not long after I started watching it.  But lots of addicts hate what they do and are ashamed.  I certainly am.

The pull of the show was obvious: a bunch of unusually beautiful people get stranded on an uncharted island that has mysterious powers and mysterious inhabitants.  Will they survive?  Add in some decent acting, some humor, and high production values and you have a hit.

But I felt early on that I was just being toyed with for the amusement and financial gain of the creators.  Perhaps they felt they were just being “artists” by not wrapping things up in tidy packages.  While it is true that a lot of great literature raises and tackles important questions without answering them, great art is honest about this process.

Lost, on the other hand, specialized in raising hundreds of relatively trivial, yet maddening questions, and then refusing to answer them with the sole purpose of drawing viewers back and, likely, for the amusement of the creators.  For instance, Claire (a brand new mother) simply disappears without explanation when the cast was on one of its various cross-jungle tracks.  No one knows how or why.  A couple of seasons later, Claire is found again, still on the island.  The first question out of any normal person’s mouth in this case would have been “What happened to you?”  But none of them ever ask this question.  Nor are we privileged to learn how a nuclear bomb can be set off on the island with apparently no implications for anyone or the island.  You know, little stuff like that.

I won’t bore or aggravate readers with long lists of unresolved Lost questions.   In the final episode on Sunday, all the “good people” ended up in the afterlife and went to heaven together (so much for avoiding tidy packages).    But by that point, I was too ticked-off to care about any of them very much.  The show had become so frustrating that I lost interest in any of the characters–sort of like an addict who gets to the point of not even enjoying his fix.

My larger question is this: is there a larger question in all of this?  Does this whole frustrating experience teach anything (other than the obvious point to use more discretion in choosing TV shows)?

7 thoughts on “Still Lost

  1. A good rule of thumb is that any novel, TV show, movie, or other work of fiction immediately jumps the shark once time travel is introduced. That happened fairly early in this show IIRC.

    I did watch the finale, and yes, it was awful.

  2. Have you tried Burn Notice? My sons and I just watched all of season one on DVD—no commercials, thank you God (or Netflix)—and we loved it. Cool action, no syrupy plot lines, no gag-inducing sermonizing, pretty intelligent stories, likable characters. We’re starting season two this weekend.

    1. If we are going to recommend tv shows (help us), then “The Shield” is top shelf. Brutal, corrupt cops and politicians in LA keep having to deal with the unintended consequences of their bad behavior. One of the best (but very depressing) endings in the history of television.

  3. Throw away your television
    Time to make this clean decision
    Master waits for its collision now
    It’s a repeat of a story told
    It’s a repeat and it’s getting old

    Throw away your television
    Make the break big intermission
    Recreate your supervision now
    It’s a repeat of a story told
    It’s a repeat and it’s getting old

    Renegades with fancy gauges
    Slay the plague for it’s contagious
    Pull the plug and take the stages
    Throw away your television now

    Oy oy oy

    Throw away your television
    Take the noose off your ambition
    Reinvent your intuition now
    It’s a repeat of a story told
    It’s a repeat and it’s getting old

    Renegades with fancy gauges
    Slay the plague for it’s contagious
    Pull the plug and take the stages
    Throw away your television now

    Throw away your television
    Salivate to repetition
    Alleviate this ill condition now

    It’s a repeat
    It’s a repeat
    It’s a repeat
    It’s a repeat
    It’s a repeat

    – The Red Hot Chili Peppers

  4. I used to watch too much TV. Shows I liked would get cancelled, endings would be abysmal, the writers would turn to stone, etc.

    So, now I skip most of it and if enough of my friends really recommend a show after it’s wrapped, I’ll get it from Netflix. The practical upshot is I’m just skipping everything episodic. There’s one I might actually check out where the major 5-year story arc just finished.

    But I find myself then faced with the prospect of finding (5*22*40) minutes of time to do this, which is 9 solid work days. And in that, I can’t see how I can possibly afford it – live TV seems like paycheck withholdings.

  5. Another show worth watching is Friday Night Lights. In fact, now that Lost is over, it is the only show network show I regularly watch.

  6. I mostly do the Netflix thing too. Mary watches Friday Night Lights. Off and on, I’ll watch Parenthood with her, which is a pretty good new show. Otherwise, the bulk of my Netflix TV diet has been comedies.

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