Getting ‘Lost’ Again
So, last week ‘Lost’ returned to the telly for its final season. It’s the little pleasures in life that I embrace, and a select few TV shows like ‘Lost’ and ‘Fringe’ and ‘Modern Family’ certainly help make the long winter pass by more pleasantly. More about ‘Fringe’ in a moment…
In the last few years I have enjoyed several TV series like ‘Firefly’, ‘Batttlestar Galactica’, ‘Stargate SG1’ and ‘Atlantis’, the new ‘Doctor Who’, and speaking of BBC shows let’s not forget ‘Torchwood’; all of which happen to be science fiction/fantasy shows. But then there’s ‘Lost’. Is this a crazy show or what? When it first aired I didn’t really know what it was going to be about. A bunch of survivors of an airplane crash on an island in the Pacific. Sounded like some kind of ‘Survivor’ retread. And after the first year of ‘Survivor I had pretty much had enough of the scheming, back-stabbing, humiliating soap opera antics of ‘Reality TV’. But I heard it wasn’t another reality TV show, so I tuned in. And boy, was it unlike whatever it was I was expecting! That pilot episode was so riveting, so intense, so mysteriously sudo-science-fictiony and populated by such interesting characters that I was hooked! In the weeks that followed I fell in love with ‘Lost’ and this JJ Abrams guy who would go on to become a media legend and bring about the resurrection of my beloved ‘Star Trek’.
Like most love affairs, my relationship with ‘Lost’ has had it’s ups and downs. It’s misunderstandings, seeming betrayals and downright times of incredulous bewilderment. I think it was in the third season that it started to become so confusing and convoluted that Stephanie gave up on the show, and my loyalty was severely strained. All those characters dying! And those endless months on hiatus. I don’t know how many times I said “This is ridiculous! This will never make a damn bit of sense! Nothing is what it seems. I can’t watch this any more! Aaaaaarrrrgggh”!!!
But… somehow… I couldn’t do it! I couldn’t just turn away. I loved so many of these characters. I had so much of my time, my hopes and dreams and endless internet forum conjecture invested in this insane story that seemed to stretch the boundaries of imagination like no show I had ever seen. And then came the time travel.
You see… JJ Abrams and Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof are geniuses. Or madmen. I guess we’ll know which when this last season of ‘Lost’ finally comes to an end. No, they are geniuses, no matter what! Because this television series they have created is like nothing anyone has seen before. It’s mish-mash of drama, romance, character development, fantasy and sci fi, multiverse-jumping mind-bending mythological quasi-religious allegorical storytelling is at once immensely confusing and ultimately consciousness-expanding in a way that mere TV has never attempted before.
To me ‘Lost’ is a radical experiment in rolling the vast and convoluted story of humanity into one Grand Narrative. It is an amazing labor of many imaginations. And even if it fails to pull its million scattered yet connected threads into some coherent whole by the end, I think the journey of these last six years will be worth it. Because another groovy thing about this show is that it is ultimately about the characters. About human beings. That’s a big reason why I watch it. And because I have no idea how it will all end. And isn’t that cool?!
…Which leads me back to ‘Fringe’, another JJ Abrams creation. What a bizarre show! parallel universes! Horrific experiments! Mad scientists! Otherworldly Observers from somewhere (when?) else watching the events of history unfold. But it’s the characters I love the most about this show, that makes me want to keep watching. I really care about what happens to these deeply human characters. (And if John Noble doesn’t get an award for his performance as Dr. Walter Bishop, something is seriously wrong with this world! He was pretty damn memorable in ‘Return of the King’ too).
Anyway, it seems my big revelation from all this is just how important characters are in writing, any kind of writing. Mythic storytelling doesn’t hurt either, but interesting, real human characters are the lifeblood of literature.
Another valuable thing I’ve learned from TV! And books, of course. Maybe I should post a list on here of some of my favorite books of all time. That would make a fun project! Oh well. Good night.