Friday, May 21, 2010

As Lost ends, what got lost for me

With Lost ending on Sunday night, this paragraph from a story in today's New York Times pretty much sums up how I feel about the series:

"Since Lost itself favors oracular pronouncements, here’s one more: The show had one good season, its first. It was very, very good — as good as anything on television at the time — but none of the seasons since have approached that level, and the current sixth season, rushed, muddled and dull, has been the weakest."

I watched Season 1 on dvd and I loved it - especially the way the back stories of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 slowly unfolded. As things moved forward, I figured the story would be about their exploration of the island and their attempt to get back to civilization.

But in the subsequent five years characters and interconnections multiplied, the violence ratcheted way up, the action moved back and forth through time at a dizzying pace and it got to be too much. The plot was much too complex and I just couldn't keep up.

Seriously, did you care about any of the succeeding characters or stories as much as you did about Jack, Kate and Sawyer, Michael and Walt, Jin and Sun, Claire and Charlie, Rose and Bernard, Locke, Hurley and Sayid, Shannon and Boone?

Plus, I love a good mystery but as time went on, Lost became less of one and more of a supernatural battle between the forces of good and evil. I feel like that wasn't what I signed up for in the beginning.

So while I've kept watching, hoping some questions would get answered, I haven't really felt emotionally involved like I did that first season. I feel like producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were making it up on the fly, without a real sense of where the show was heading or even if it made sense.

Of course I'll be sitting in front of the TV on Sunday night. I really do want to find out how it ends. But I'm just sad that somewhere along the line, amid the smoke and explosions and science and philosophy, the show's human element got lost.


Linz McC said...

I think that is a common opinion but I don't personally agree. I think seasons 2 and 3 fell short but I was really happy with seasons 4 and 5. I agree that the current season has been a bit harder to watch since it is all serving as a lead-in to the finale, so it felt confusing and, at times rushed, at times too slow. But I remember thinking Seasons 4 & 5 were excellent. I think I need to watch the entire series from the very beginning, once I know the way it ends.

Jeff said...

Ben and Desmond are two of the greatest characters on "Lost," and they didn't appear until season 2. The show did wander a bit during season 3, because Cuse and Lindelof weren't sure whether to start solving mysteries or keep expanding them. But after season 3, they gave themselves a firm end date, and the show got better. I agree with Linz that seasons 4 and 5 were excellent. The pacing during this final season hasn't been great, even though I do love the idea of the flash-sideways universe.

I'm going to be sad when this whole thing ends on Sunday.

Linz McC said...

Ben and Desmond are my two favorite Lost characters. Period. I think we'd get along. :) You are correct that it was after they settled on the end date that things improved. I had forgotten about that. I plan on watching the full 12-hour (OK not quite) finale extravaganza, with tissue at hand. What will I do with myself starting Monday?

Esther said...

Thanks for the comments, Linz and Jeff!

Ok Jeff, you got me there. I agree about Ben and Desmond. Although I would have been happy if the whole series had played out as a battle between the plane crash survivors and the Others, led by Ben, and slowly figuring out the Dharma Initiative. I just felt like succeeding seasons they introduced too many characters and plot strands.

And I agree, Linz, it might be more satisfying for me to watch the whole thing from beginning to end. It could be that I enjoyed Season 1 so much because I did watch it on dvd, one episode after another.

If there were ever a way to snip out the Sun and Jin segments, going back to the two of them in Korea, and making it into a movie, I think it would be really interesting on its own!

I think in the beginning, the series was fairly plausible but as things went on it just got more and more fantastical and I wasn't really expecting it. I'm just more of a mystery lover than a sci-fi fantasy person.

Jeff said...

Ah, see... I love stories about time travel and parallel universes, so I've really enjoyed seasons 5 and 6. :) But it's also been a great character show as well. Jack has moved from a skeptic to a believer; Sawyer has evolved from a reprobate into a more caring person and a budding leader (such as when he ran Dharma security last season); Ben has changed from an arrogant man with power into a sad, sympathetic guy who has lost everything.

Lots of people were unhappy with "Across the Sea" last week because they didn't like the answers/non-answers they were given. Me, I disliked it (on first viewing, anyway) because it didn't have any of the regular cast in it and I felt that we were being deprived of one of our last chances to spend time with our beloved Losties.

I've long been skeptical that we'd get a satisfying resolution to the mysteries -- we rarely do on these types of shows. As long as we get some satisfying ends to all these character arcs, I'll be happy.

Pam said...

Linz and Jeff give some compelling comments, but I have to agree with Esther. This show is just too confusing for me. It impossible to follow all the plot twists, theories and storylines that are thrown at us. I've been watching from the beginning, but these last couple of seasons I've only hung on because I knew the end was in sight and that the producers/writers had a destination in mind. I have hung on to the bitter end and I'm looking forward to the conclusion tonight. I fear I may be sorely disappointed, however.

Esther said...

Hey Pam, thanks for the comment. Yeah, I'm hanging on until the bitter end, too! I'm guessing it'll be somewhat ambiguous, though. Just to keep people talking!