Lost--The Television Series
Television Notes from the Rust Belt—Youngstown, Ohio
Lost—The Post Mortem
I did the seemingly impossible. Watched the entire 120 episodes of Lost.
Let us begin with a partial listing of some of the dead-end plot lines, story fragments, bizarre stuff, and tricks utilized by the writers—I'm not a big daytime soap watcher, but it seems like a goodly portion of this stuff has its roots there—J.J. Abrams has mostly been action/scifi, but it looks to me like he's got a helluva future in daytime serial melodrama. He did one of the Mission Impossibles, and that was my quest—a mission impossible to watch THIS ENTIRE CRAPFEST without a single up-chuck.
I've read some of the fan sites on the Internet about Lost—the fans are really loyal fans—they ate this shit up by the bucket-full. Wanted more, even. These folks must be the same ones who are actually preparing for the zombie apocalypse and thought that Harry Potter was a friggin' documentary. The only reason that I lasted through this dung-fest was because it's on Netflix—no commercials and multiple episodes in a single sitting. If I had been forced to wait a week between each episode, I wouldn't have made it into the third season. Not a chance in Hell—that is where we were, right?
On with the list: Flashbacks, Flashforwards, Flashsideways, Alternate time lines, Strippers (via flashback), Portland Oregon, Marijuana farming in Northern California, Polar Bears on a tropical island, Time displacement, Time travel, Force Fields, Perpetual return of the dead (nobody really stays gone), Person tossed out of a high-rise, All Things 70s, Lots of high explosives (C-4 and old dynamite), Drownings and sucessful CPR, Women (and men) in cages, Spine surgery, Cancer in remission, Tearful hospital scenes, Cardiac needle through the sternum, Electro-shock, Bamboo shoots under the fingernails, Ancient giant statue, a Korean man learning English from a red-neck, Paralyzing spider bites, People buried alive, Plenty of people being shot, Sweat lodges, Kidney theft, Japanese ninja, Quantum mechanics, Secret passageways and hidden panels, Ancient Egyptian symbolism, Diamond smuggling, Psychedelic dream sequences, Past lives, Disappearing islands, “Special” people, Redemption, Oriental ghost whisperers, Polar bear bones in Tunisia, .......Oh, you get the picture. Nothing seemed out of bounds. Nothing.
There were frequent flings with religious ideas—halos, faith, angels and demons, Cain and Abel, drinking from the Cup of Knowledge, defilement of paradise, and the like—mostly Old Testament ideas with a bunch of new wave stuff tossed in—like Namaste. Very 60s and 70s in many aspects. Groovy to the max.
I got the impression repeatedly that the writers showed up the day of shooting with nothing actually written. Seemed that plot elements and story lines were tossed in willy-nilly. With just two episodes left to watch, the writers were still introducing new characters. At that point, I was ready for one of two styles of endings: 1) Star Wars, where in the end, there are no bad guys, only good guys, looking down from heaven, or, 2) Blazing Saddles, where, at the end of the story, everyone, including all the dead guys, gets together for a hootenanny, barn dance, and church social. Looked to me like that sort of thing was where we were headed.
120 episodes, and this is where I was headed. Oh, My.
The 2- hour spectacular ending turned out to be worthwhile. It failed to answer the questions of numerous dead-end story lines, like, well, what happened to Michael (the black guy with the “special” child, Walt)—or to Walt, for that matter, and what was with the polar bears, and where did the giant statue on the island come from, and what was with those dip-sticks in the Dharma Initiative anyhow?, and what about the Japanese Ninja-guy, and what happened to the African priest, and, well, once again, you get the picture. If they ever make a TV or theatrical movie, I'll watch.
At the end of the day, however, this was more of a journey than a TV series, and if you stuck with it throughout the 6 seasons, the ending makes the trip worthwhile. So, you have to put up with the red herrings, dead ends, bizarre behavior, getting frustrated, and all the rest of the crap to get to the happy ending.
OK, I get it.
Not for everybody, but not a complete waste of time either. Give it a look (if you have some time to kill).