Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Why I Won't Be Watching the New Season of Lost

Imagine you’re at this party and you start talking to this guy. He’s a really cool guy, and he starts telling you a story that is one of the most interesting you have ever heard. It’s a story you think can’t be topped, but then he segues into another, even better story, and you think, wow, this is the coolest guy ever.

Forty minutes later he’s still talking, and it’s all still pretty interesting, but it looks like the alcohol’s running out and there’s this really hot girl talking to a friend of yours and you’re thinking, is this guy ever going to run out of stories? And after another 10 minutes you decide no, he is never going to run out, or pause to take a breath, and you politely excuse yourself.

This is the best analogy I can come up with for why I’m not going to watch the new season of Lost.

If Lost had wrapped up its story at the end of season three it would have been a short but perfect series. But now, as season five is about to kick off, I just don’t care anymore.

It was obvious by the middle of season three that Lost was losing focus. It was still really good, it still had a lot of “wow” moments, but it felt like there was a little more filler, that the show had to go a little too weird to keep up the momentum, and that it was really time to wrap things up. I even thought of blogging an open letter to the producers asking them to make that season the last one, but never got around to it. It is unlikely they would have listened anyway.

I didn’t think the show had anywhere to go by season three’s end until that last “wow” moment in which we get a glimpse of post-island life. Perhaps, I thought, this new twist would kick start the show back into high gear.

It didn’t. Instead, Lost increasingly seemed like a show going in a thousand directions at once. Since season one I’ve been worried that the series could never wrap all its bizarre twists and turns into something that made sense. I thought it would end with nothing but loose ends. But as Lost kept explaining one thing in a convincing manner while introducing something else, I began to think maybe they would pull it off.

As season four progressed though, I came to the conclusion that such a thing was no longer possible. The show has increasingly relied on a sloppy mysticism and it is my belief that the producers have probably convinced themselves that the Island should remain in great part a mystery. I do not believe they plan to offer a satisfactory explanation to all these years of weirdness, and that because they’re not planning to explain, they feel free to throw in more and more "out there" plot turns.

I could be wrong, but it’s unlikely, because you could not at this point explain everything in a two-hour finale. They would have to start explaining things bit by bit from the first episode and do that all season, without introducing any new mysteries. And based on the last four years, I don’t think that will happen.

Season four once again had me thinking about writing that open letter, but once again, I didn’t. It would not have mattered; the producers had actually decided already that they were going to end the series ... in 2010.
I can't go through another two years of unanswered questions, weird pseudo-science, and characters who refuse to answer the simplest question in a straightforward manner (seriously, if I were on that island I would've tied Benjamin to a chair and beat him with a stick until he told me what that smoke monster was). If Lost were a book, I would be jumping ahead to the last page right now.

Will all our questions be answered in two years? I doubt it. I expect the show will end with many loose ends, the producers will decide to make a Lost movie they promise will explain everything, the movie will come out and simply add some more mysteries and everyone will feel like a sucker.

So I'm done. By the end of season four I had simply lost my enthusiasm for what was once my favorite dramatic series. I just don’t care what happens from now one, except to the extent that when the series is finally ended I will go to Wikipedia and find out how it all turned out.

Lost isn’t the only series at this party, and I’ve listened to enough of its stories. Now I’m going to go over and say hello to that hottie from Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles.