Friday, May 21, 2010

Rant #260: "Lost" Goes Over the Deep End

The day arrives on Sunday night … the television series “Lost” reaches its long-anticipated finale.

I have very mixed feelings on the show. I have watched it with my wife since episode one, and I have been intrigued with it since that time.

I think the original idea was to make an action-adventure series patterned after the "Survivor" reality series on CBS. Not only did this ABC-produced series go well beyond that, it went, well, very, very far beyond a "Survivor" ripoff.

The first season, and probably the second season, were excellent. When the show dealt with the main characters surviving their plane crash and trying to figure out ways to get off the island, that is when the show had its greatest strength.

It was certainly the most believable part of the show’s history. You really could believe that this could happen to you or anyone else.

I think “Lost” took a major wrong turn when it went away from being an action-adventure show to one heavily leaning on the sci-fi element.

I don’t not like sci-fi (double negative, I know), but I think it hurt this series immeasurably. It also turned off many, many viewers, who exited the show in droves. This stuff about the island being special, that the island was sort of a portal for all things related to the world in which we live, was a bit of a stretch.

When the sci-fi component really hit, it took the steam out of the character development. These characters, which were clearly defined early on, took second fiddle to the mysteries of the island, and that, I feel was a major mistake.

And a major mistake was made during the season when the show was put on something of a break or hiatus, only to come back later in the season. That self-enforced chasm was a mistake that the show never recovered from.

Nor was the writer's strike, which impeded it mid-series.

However, I don’t mean to be crying sour grapes here. The writers created a show that people cared about, which is very rare in the current television environment. The show gave people something to postulate about for the ages.

And sure, it has gone on at least two seasons too long, but at least it did not become the “X-Files,” another excellent show that went on probably five seasons too long.

“Lost” got lost in its own creativity, and whatever happens in the finale, it is the end …

I guess.

I have postulated since season one that the end will show that this entire adventure was in Hurley’s mind. The last scene will show him in the mental hospital, and will show that this was his own way of coping with his own inadequacies.

Yes, this was something like a dream.

Sure, I might be wrong, but with this show, anything is possible, and ultimately, that is why it will be remembered …

Until the next “must-see” show debuts.


  1. I'm giving up on the must-see shows since every one that turns out to be one I like ultimately gets canceled with the story arc hanging in the air. My current rant on TV is that the inventive Flash Forward gets canceled while that tired old rehash of V gets renewed.

  2. Honestly, I don't watch very much network TV anymore. It bores me to death, with all the rehashes of things that have been done 100 times over. Case in point is the "updating" of Hawaii 5-O. I doubt that will work.

    One clue as to which borderline shows will survive is to see if the show is actually owned by the network running it. Lost is owned by ABC, so they has a tremendous stake in it, and if it hadn't received very good ratings early on, they might have kept it on anyway because they had more of a financial stake in it.

    That is not a tried and true rule (see the recent cancellation of Happy Land), but it is a reason why certain shows survive and others don't.



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