Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Secrets of Lost Revealed!

I was big fan of Lost during it's first season. Before that I had been into X-Files and Twin Peaks. I was ready to sign up for more mind games. The central pleasure of the show was always trying to sort out what the heck the was going on. What is this show about?

They piled mystery on top of mystery. The crash, the island, the numbers, the polar bear, the hatch, the smoke monster, the "others", the flashbacks... The show had riddles within riddles. Enigmas came from so many different directions it was hard to imagine what was at the root of it all? What could be the tie the binds? What is really going on in this world? What are the rules?

By this middle of season 3 the show was a hit, but answers were no where in sight. More and more imponderables appeared. The episodes didn't illuminate the plot. The creators were just digging themselves a deeper hole. Tantalizing turned into tedious. I stopped watching. As the seasons went on, I stopped caring.

I got caught up in the cultural moment and curious about how they would wrap it all up. I returned for the Lost finale on Sunday. It was not impressive.

As a TV consumer, I would be perfectly happy to be the blind man groping at a misleading portion of the elephant. I want the misdirection. But there has to be greater whole. There needs to be an elephant. The creators need to know it's contours. The audience can be left guessing, but the clues need to be clues to something (however preposterous). But if you're the creator of a mystery that you're teasing and stretching out over years (which, come to think of it, I am) then you, the author, better know what is going on in your story.

I'll call bullshit on Lost. There was no plan. There were no reasons. They just threw one thing after another on the screen. Once in a while, they made some sort of ad hoc, after-the-fact attempt to explain some portion of what had come before.

That's not a mystery. It's a waste of time.

1 comment:

  1. I watched the show the whole way through, and, yeah, it does hurt to have no real answers at the end. The writers basically had no idea what they were actually doing. Imagine an extended murder mystery where at the end they reveal "We still don't know who the killer is. To be honest, our clues were kind of random and don't fit together in any logical fashion. But that detective was a really well-developed character!"