Monday, May 23, 2011

The Lost Year

It's been a year since the finale of Lost.  I wrote about it then, and more than once since.  It split the fan base, though the reaction was more negative than positive. One friend told me the more he thinks about the finale, the better he likes it.  I probably feel the opposite.  It was not only weak, but hurt what went on before.  (And I have a new complaint that I didn't fully realize then.  While it's nice for the dying Jack to see his friends fly off the island, it wasn't a big deal anymore.  Under the old regime, their lives were always in danger and they couldn't leave.  With Hurley in charge and their enemies dead or neutered, they can sit around and enjoy the tropical paradise for a few months before taking off.)

The Island stuff was weak, but the altaworld was meaningless, and arguably made everything meaningless.  Still, I can't name a series that had me more involved, or entertained, than Lost.  For the first five seasons, I can't think of a better show.  Nothing can take that away.  And the characters and situations had so much residual interest, I was still intrigued by season six, even if it was a letdown.

I could explain more particularly, but I've already done that.  Looking back at what I wrote last June, I wouldn't change anything, except that maybe now I feel even more negative.

But let's not go out on a harsh note.  Let's remember some of the good moments from season 1 through 6 (though only one of them makes my top ten of the season list):


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So your favorite characters are Ben, Hurley and Locke.

10:09 AM, May 23, 2011  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Lawrence King had trouble posting this so I'm doing it for him.


Have you been following the flame wars that resulted from George R.R.
Martin's criticism of the ending of Lost?

Here is an interview
in which he elaborates and clarifies his points. The best section is
his discussion of whether the ending of Lost retroactively
weakens the entire series.

On that question, I am midway between your opinion and Martin's.

But all three of us agree on a point he made: "If the payoff had been
equal to the set-up, I'd rank 'Lost' among the very best series in the
history of television." Although I would probably say the very best,
even over Buffy and Babylon 5. Well, maybe not over
Firefly but that's a different animal altogether.

Martin's collaborator also makes a brilliant point (emphasis added):

"Things like 'B5' or 'Lost' or 'Battlestar Galactica' -- or 'Game of
Thrones' -- are presented to the viewer as chapters in a longer story.
If the viewer accepts that, they give you something --
specifically they put off narrative gratification in any individual
episode with the expectation that it'll pay off later. If you don't keep
your end of that deal, they (meaning I) feel cheated."

I think he's right. A locked-room mystery is amazing because the author
produces a solution that you thought was impossible. A locked-room
mystery without the final chapter is just dumb.


And for those who say "Lost resolved the character development, which
was the whole point," I ask, what show were you watching? Jin's
character development had to do with his painful relationships with his
father, his father-in-law, and his wife. The first two of these were
forgotten after season five, and the third was irrelevant (since all
they really did after reuniting was hug each other and then die
together). Sawyer's character development was an even deeper and more
complex thing, until the season finale of season five, when it turned
out that he was in love with Kate (a woman he had known for a total of
four months) more than he was with Juliet (the woman that he not only
lived with for three years, but for whom he actually grew up),
and then season six ignored all of his depth, instead turning him into
merely an occasional foil for Jack.

I guess the finale didn't make me feel as if the altaworld was a fantasy
and the rest was real. It made me feel as if Jack was real, and all the
other characters were part of his fantasy. How else can you explain
that Jack -- not their own families -- was the central person in the
lives of Boone, Shannon, Jin, Kate, and the rest?


8:42 AM, May 24, 2011  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I think I'll try to respond to this in a new post. (I've been having trouble with Blogger lately so I just hope I have the capacity to post anything new.)

9:33 AM, May 24, 2011  

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