Friday, March 11, 2011

old TV --Lost

Well, I've finally waded through the end of the Lost series. If you don't know about this TV series, it ran from 2004 to 2010. It told a story about a group of people in a plane crash trapped on a tropical island. Over all, I recommend it as a good TV drama. By the end, you will be tired of Jack's half-tear-filled eyes as he deals with some emotional trauma, and Sawyer brushing blond locks from his eyes to glare his glare of steely rage, and you while be very, very tired of Micheal, but overall, it's far better than your average TV.

Although it takes place after a plane wreck on a tropical island, the story isn't really a Swiss-family-Robinson story. It's not really about survival on a deserted island. In fact the survivors do a lot of things that are pretty inexplicable or even dumb given the circumstances.

Also, there is some sort of monster in the jungle. They can hear it rampaging through the jungle at night, tearing down trees. Among the inexplicable things they do: no one tries to figure out what the monster is, no one seems especially concerned about going into the jungle after hearing the monster, no one thinks about trying to put up barricades to defend themselves from the monster.

It is impossible to imagine that anyone could have actually survived the plane wreck that is pictured in the show (and this fact is pointed out by someone in the show) so some viewers speculated that the "survivors" were really all dead and that the Island was Purgatory or something similar. The producers of the show denied this while the show was going on, but to tell the truth, I think they lied. I think that was the original intent behind the series and when someone guessed it, they decided to change the story rather than have their thunder stolen.

The first season is just a sequence of morality plays, various characters are dealing with the sins of addiction (Charlie), lust (Boone), gluttony (Hugo), greed (Sawyer), pride (Jack) and anger (John) to name just a few. Several of the staring cast are murderers.

Jack is the star of the show and I don't think the writers realized what an insufferable glory-hound he is. They seem to think that he is just courageous, but he is the only doctor on the island (at first) and he consistently takes outrageous risks that other people should have taken instead. If Jack gets killed, everyone will suffer, but he refuses to take that into consideration. He always has to be the one at the forefront taking the most cinematic risks.

I have to say I was pretty disappointed in the ending. Actually, I knew I would be disappointed with a couple of shows yet to go because it was obvious they would not be able to answer all of the outstanding issues in just two more shows --and they didn't.

It seems that my suspicion was right --many of the cases where current characters had visions or other sorts of interaction with former characters turned out to be nothing but make-work for the former actors. Most of those events served no story purpose at the time and now that I've seen the whole thing it is obvious that they were never intended to. In particular, the whole sub-story of how "special" Walt was went nowhere. Instead, they turned the audience favorites into the special ones for the last season.

[SPOILER ALERT]

In fact, the last season as a whole was pretty disappointing. They forked off two versions of history with no coherent bridge at the climax. I claim this is because they wanted to have the ending that was originally planned for the show --where you find out that everyone was dead-- but they also wanted an ending that went along with their promises that everyone wasn't dead. So they just had two endings. It seriously mucked things up.

There was never really an explanation of the Dharma initiative, and never a real explanation of where the "others" came from or an explanation of why they were so vicious. There was no real explanation of what "infected" meant or how it was that the two stars were seemingly able to overcome it while the end-credit actors were not.

This is odd, too because the natural explanation was that the "infection" is what made the others so vicious. The infection happens at the temple of the others. One of the others (Richard) tells Kate that if he takes Ben to be healed at their temple the boy will "lose his innocence" and be permanently one of them. This sounds like he is describing the infection. But no, the infection turns out to be something else. We never find out what he meant about Ben if we don't have this explanation.

There was no explanation of why the others could summon the monster when the others were supposedly working for the enemy of the monster. There was no explanation of why pregnant women died on the island. No explanation of why Charlie had visions that a baby needed to be baptized. No explanation of why Eco was killed. No explanation for having a person pushing the button rather than having it automated. No hint at what the button did or what the failsafe did.

All in all, the authors cheated the viewers over and over by presenting mysteries and then never having a solution to them. It's a shame, too, because it was otherwise a very well-done production.

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