Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lost and Gone

After six mindblowing seasons the strange beast known only to the television masses as Lost finally came to an "end" this year leaving the Tuesday night TV landscape as barren as women stranded on a certain mysterious island. This, for me, will be the end of watching prime time shows for a while because quite frankly with the exception of Lost everything really just licks big, hairy Bavarian ballsack. I remember once upon a time a little show called CSI enticed me back to television like a Spanish whore in heat, but now I'd rather gouge out my own eyes and shove a red-hot poker up my nose and into my own brain for a full frontal labotomy that watch that tired show or any of its shitty spin-offs.

But Lost, well it was something different. I remember hearing about it from friends and coworkers for some time and it was on my List. Yes, the sacred List which detailed the movies and TV shows that I was planning to set aside time to watch in between all of the spending time with the wife, raising my child, recording a podcast, being the President of France and murdering prostitutes. No wait, scratch that last one. Anyhow there was this one dude at one of my jobs and he kept bugging me and bugging me to watch this crazy show called Lost until I got so fucking annoyed with this asshole that I had to punch him in the face. I mean, isn't that how real men settle disagreements? Well after coming to and discovering that: A) He had spontaneously fainted and broken his nose and B) Someone had mysteriously rifled through his wallet and taken all his petty cash he proceeded to tell me more about the show and I must admit that I was intrigued. Eventually he brought me the first season on DVD which I watched... with gusto. And I was blown away.

What my eyeballs witnessed back on that fateful autumn night would forever change my life. I thought that perhaps this joker had exaggerated the awesomeness of this (*disgusted snear*) prime time show because of some kind of mental deficiency caused by inbreeding or brain damage. Well that still might be the case, but at least he was right in this instance. The Lost pilot was one of the most emotionally engaging, action-packed, and intelligent pieces of art I had ever seen on that behemoth known as TV. I was hooked, and what was more, so was my wife. (I just thought I'd mention it because our taste in movies and television are usually quite different, although every once in a while she likes some cool shit. She watched the entire series of Sopranos with me which could indicate a superior taste in movies or a predeliction for laundering money and killing snitches. Either way it's pretty fucking cool.)

From then on we were hooked. And for my wife and I when we get hooked on a series we get fucking hooked. I mean straight up addicted. We stay up all night watching episodes because -especially with a show like Lost- we just have to know what happens next. I mean when we're on a kick our show watching actually interferes with my productivity at work due to severe lack of sleep. But sacrificing both my work and personal relationships was well worth it because for my money the first season of Lost is about as good as TV gets. All I can say is: wow. Double wow. Thinking about all the goodness packed in that first season makes my pants feel a little tighter. Don't get me wrong I loved the whole series, but for me the first season will always hold a special place in my heart. The problem -if you consider it a problem- was that the creators of the show just set the bar way too damn high.

The first season of Lost was just so emotionally compelling and I can remember so many poignant moments or episodes that really tugged at the heartstrings and caused my heart to grow three sizes. There was the entire pilot, which was perfect. Then the episode where Locke (Terry O'Quinn) helps Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) overcome his heroin addiction (remember the moth!). The episode when Charlie almost dies after being abducted and strung up by his neck really got me too. When Jack (Matthew Fox) follows his "father" and finds the cave stuck with me. Then there was the first dedicated Locke episode which was truly inspiring and when you finally realize that he was used to be in a wheelchair I just got this lump in my throat that my doctor assured me was the result of a surge of what he called "emotion" and not the beginnings of throat cancer. Of course when we found out about Sawyer's (Josh Holloway) past and how he became a sleazy conman was another memorable moment. Then there was Boone's (Ian Somerhalder) death and the emotional launch of the boat in the season one finale. To top it all off was Evangeline Lilly's tight body which made me feel funny in other places.

I have many favourite episodes from other seasons, but I'm not going to bore you with my Top 10 Lost Episodes or some such bullshit... or am I? Maybe later. The point is no matter how crazy the plot got and no matter how much weird shit seemed to happen on this unknown island the show never ever fell apart because the show's main focus was always on the characters and their interaction and development. That kind of emotional investment really kept the audience tuning in each week even though I heard so many complaints from whiners who "didn't understand the plot." Morons. The other cool thing for me was that the show eased my wife into (wait for it) science fiction, a genre she would never for the life of her have watched before. But because of the focus on the characters she was able to digest (metaphorically) the science fiction elements far more easily.

One of the things about Lost that I really dug was the fact that all the questions in the show were not answered by the makers of the show. In an era where so much of our popular media is dumbed down to the lowest common denominator Lost never sacrificed its creative integrity and never made any apologies for its complexity which it maintained until the bitter end. Now Damon Lindelof and Jeffrey Lieber had previously told the world not to expect the series finale to wrap up all the loose ends in the plot but that it would be an emotional wrap up to the series and they were correct. The final episode left (if it were even possible) even more questions than answers, but that ending scene where all the main characters are reunited in the "afterlife" and their previous awakenings and remembering their lives on the island was an emotional satisfying and the final shot of Jack's eye closing mirroring the opening shot of the series with Jack's eye opening bookended the whole thing nicely.

I don't think it was the worst series finale of all time, but it definitely wasn't the best either. After watching it a second time and liking it even more there was still something missing for me. In all fairness there was a lot to wrap up and after what I'm sure will prove to be one of the best (prime time) TV shows of our generation I'm sure it was difficult to satisfactorily end something of this magnitude. It's what I like to call the Seinfeld Syndrome: an excellent show with solid writing throughout that eventually succumbs to its own greatness as it can't find an effective way to put the proverbial genie back in the bottle. Perhaps there is no answer to this question and perhaps for some shows the task is inherently impossible especially when the task is to out-awesome awesomeness. Now the Lost series finale was nowhere near as disappointing as the Seinfeld finale, but it was lacking in some way that I can't quite put my finger on. A more recent example of an excellent series finales for me was Six Feet Under. Now this was one of my least favourite HBO series and I wasn't a huge fan, but the series was well-written and the finale was the perfect way to end the show. To me the Lost finale stands somewhere in between Seinfeld and Six Feet Under in terms of coherence with the rest of the series as well as emotional satisfaction.

Though it is now over Lost will always hold a special place in my (a-hem) heart and my DVD/BluRay shelf and if you haven't seen it already I highly suggest you treat yourself to the entire series (in order). On one final note I was totally stoked to have called Jack's death sacrificing himself to save the island. Take that Andy, you bastard! Oh yeah, SPOILER ALERT. Farewell Lost, and a special thank you to J.J. Abrams without whom this wonderful series and my lengthy and rambling blog post would not have happened. (Also, did I mention Evangeline Lilly's great ass?)


  1. I can't believe how hard you go into a show, when you do. You two blew through all six seasons of Lost in absolutely no time (and I thought I was hardcore watching four seasons of Smallville in such a short period).

    Excellent write-up Nathan...the first season of Lost is by far the best television out there. The rest of the series is good but it's all the moments in the first season that will live on forever.

  2. Hey, I don't have brain damage, I am just a little slow eh. The end of lost was so intense as well, it totally made up for the questions they couldn't answer, like why Walt was so important. Stealing kids.. tsk tsk others, tsk tsk...