Sunday, May 23, 2010

What I expect tonight from "Lost"

"I haz tide up the looz thredz"


James Hanley said...

And did it? (Having never watched it, I wouldn't recognize a loose thread in the show if it came off my own sweater.)

Scott Hanley said...

Just a sample of the "Lost" method: somewhere in the first or second season, a plane flies over the island and drops a pallet full of food, all bearing black and white generic labels and the name "Dharma Initiative." The castaways enjoy the food, but the island residents ("The Others"), who have been kidnapping the castaways, especially the children, claim it's their food and the castaways have no right to it. The implication is that these airdrops are a regular affair.

In later seasons, we learn that the Dharma Initiative has been defunct for some thirty years, killed off by The Others. So now it makes no sense for anyone to still be dropping food in 2004, so the writers just drop that plot element without explanation. No more airdrops, no more references to them - they just never happened.

Later still, when most of The Others are dead and the few survivors have more or less joined forces with the castaways, no one ever explains - and the castaways never ask - why people were kidnapped or whatever happened to them. They were just extras.

That was the Lost method - continually invent a new mystery to keep the suspense going, and just move on to another mystery at the end of the next episode so the viewer would go, "Oh, wow, now what?" and just drop most of the older mysteries. If I wanted to be encyclopedic, and plow through all the episodes again, I bet I could easily list a hundred or more plot elements that just make no sense, in light of later events. Everything was written purely for the impression it would make in the moment, with no thought to how it would all fit together. Makes The Chronicles of Narnia look coherent by comparison.

Scott Hanley said...

Actually, it was worse even than that. The producers had an obligation to offer some sort of explanation of what they thought this whole movable, time-traveling, magical island actually was - it's the Big Mystery from the very first episodes. And they totally dodged it, hoping that we'll be satisfied to know that after the castaways are dead, they'll all show up in the same afterlife to reminisce together. Beyond lame.

James Hanley said...

Bizarre. And people kept watching it, instead of saying, "Oh, screw that"? I can't quite grasp the thought-processes of such people. I remember the first season of 24, I watched pretty regularly until Jack Bauer literally died, was revived in the hospital, then within a few minutes got up, walked out, and immediately had strength to kick more ass. At which point I said, "Oh screw that" and have never watched a minute of it since.