The Show That Stole My Life

A few days ago I made a very very bad mistake. I watched the pilot episode of Lost. The first four seasons of Lost were added to Hulu a couple weeks ago and I originally stayed away from them because I am not normally a fan of TV shows that aren’t comedy. However it consistently hovered in about the #4 spot on the Popular Shows list and one day finding myself with nothing else that interested me in the slightest I watched the pilot episode part one. This was a very bad mistake. It was a mistake because then I had to watch part two, then the third episode, then the fourth, then the fifth, and so on. Now, not five days from when I started, I’m about 2/3 of the way through season 2, close to 30 hours of TV, and I can’t stop. I think one of the things that makes Lost great is its large cast. An episode generally focuses on a subset of the main characters, so you don’t get bored with them because they’re not featured in every episode. The other thing that they do very well is the mythology/supernatural element. It works solely because of their isolation. Many shows, for instance, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, try to mix a supernatural element with everyday society. Buffy does it better than most but even then I still often find myself jarred from a plot line by the thought that people would probably notice what’s going on. With the cast of Lost stranded on an undiscovered island there are no people around to notice. The other reason the supernatural element works is because it’s surrounded with mystery. If any explanations were to be provided it might become a little bit harder to believe but because neither you nor any of the islanders knows what’s going on there’s the possibility of a logical explanation to all of it. It’s something they’ll have to be careful with when wrapping up the show at the end of season six. The thing that keeps me coming back is the way they very slowly reveal little bits of the mystery. It does an excellent job of making me want, or rather need, to know what’s going on, and dangling it out in front of me like a carrot in front of a donkey. There are however a couple things that annoy me about Lost. In every episode they choose a character to do flashbacks to their previous life which of course some how relate to what’s happening on the island and are placed as if they’re memories triggered by an event. I’ve gotten pretty good at predicting them, the most common lead in is a character being asked something after which they stand there with a stupid expression on their face for a few seconds before it cuts away to the memory. The character background stories are normally pretty predictable, and I’m never anywhere near as interested in what happened to them before as what’s happening to them now so when they place one of these flashbacks in the middle of a pivotal moment I get a little annoyed. Sometimes it feels like Lost could function perfectly well as a 22 minute show of just them on the island instead of a 44 minute show with flashbacks and constant “previously on Lost” reminders which can sneak up on you in the middle of an episode and feel placed there just to take up time. The other thing that gets to me a little is that there’s supposed to be 40 other people on the island with them but you almost never see any of them, not even in the background. It’s obvious that in a situation like this people would get together every now and then as one group to make decisions, but I’ve never seen more than 20 people in a shot. The main main character Jack tends to make all the big decisions and then it seems like the verdicts are just supposed to be spread around by word of mouth. The creators of Lost seem to realize this too and occasionally poke fun at it by having all the main characters never be able to remember any of the extras’ names, specifically one guy named Steve who everyone calls Scott who was an extra that died way at the beginning. The only other thing that annoys me is that the picture Hulu put on the Lost main page features all of the main characters standing together. It does not however feature ALL of the main characters, only the ones still alive, presumably at the end of season five, a point I have not yet reached. So I recommend not looking too closely at that if you go to Hulu to watch and don’t want to know of such things. At this point it would appear that I’ve written more bad than good about Lost but I don’t feel that the bad in any way outweighs the good, I just have more fun and find it easier to complain about things than to praise them. On the whole Lost is pretty awesome, if it wasn’t I wouldn’t be unable to stop watching.

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