The LOST Finale: One Year Later

I’m grateful to Doc Artz for pointing out that May 23rd of this year is the one year anniversary of the series finale of LOST.

Having had almost a year to reflect on it, or put it out of your mind, or rewatch the whole series with the ending in mind (perhaps even blogging about it every 108 minutes), what do you think about the series in general, and the finale in particular, a year later?

Given how important LOST was for this blog and many of its readers, do you think we ought to do something special to mark the occasion – presumably by that stage over at the new location at Patheos? If so, what?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04981876713019298465 Theophrastus

    The claims made by Lindelhof and Cuse that they a story arc in mind and a plan for the evolution of the story was clearly a bit of a fib. They were winging it, and had no idea how to wrap it up. So in the end, they fell on that old defense: it is a character based show. Well — tell me Lindlehof and Cuse — why did you sell it as a plot-driven show then?As for me, I just want my 121 hours back.———–Here was my favorite comment on the fiasco:The “This is a character-based show!” defense is a tried-and-true TV gambit, not unlike innocent of murder because of low blood sugar, or because the glove did not fit!I think it was the epic character study MANIMAL that first offered this defense in the 1980s as a means of eking out another season, but it was Steven Bochco who most famously used the Character-First! plea in his hostile defense of COP ROCK in 1990.So, make no mistake. Lost has earned its place in the pantheon of these All-About-Characters!! series. Whether it was deciding whether or not to transform into a leopard or a gerbil, breaking out into a show-tune during a violent drug-bust, or asking your audience to PLEASE PLEASE just pretend that the numbers, Walt and Michael, the Others, the Donkey Wheel, Seasons 1-4, and any sense of consistency or coherence NEVER existed, these three fine character-based shows will all hold the same place in the hearts and minds of demanding viewers for many, many years to come.———–What I learned from this was never to watch an arc-based television show. Either the show stops mid-arc, with no resolution (FlashForward, The Event) or the writers just give up and end on an absurd note (Alias, Lost). Better to watch/read a shorter-story (a mini-series, or a novel, or a movie, etc.) where the author has actually written a beginning, middle, and end.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04981876713019298465 Theophrastus

    I'm sorry, I'm just getting worked up now.The Mother’s description of the “light within each man” (suggesting that this was really an inner journey) and the way that the island defied logic in many ways, it seems safer to say it was a metaphor or dream (despite the Lindelhof and Cuse's denials).Further, the creators seemed to take a page from Joseph Campbell regarding the “heroes journey.” In fact, it was pretty much a straight transcription.On the metaphorical level, I think the creators tried to make it universal, not Christian (thus the menorah and Hindu gods and various worship symbols in the small chapel.office). References to Dogen, for example, or the ankh, did not limit the discussion to Christianity. If anything, the theology on the show was closest to Manichaeism.In retrospect, the show was bloated and had many completely irrelevant and pointless plot developments (for example, what was the point of the entire temple subplot?). In the end, all of the characters lost their personality (Michael Emerson’s Benjamin Linus held out the longest) so at the end, the characters of Jack and Sawyer were pretty much in the same space. I do not for a moment believe that the creators weren’t basically making it up as it went along. Again, this was bloated, and could have been more effectively made as a 10-20 hour miniseries. I would have also eliminated the many catch-phrases and made the character development deeper.In term of the creators protestations that they were not depicting a type of “purgatory”, I simply don’t believe them. The creators misstated facts as recently as last week; they claimed that Walt would play a role in the end, and that did not happen. Why should we believe them about purgatory?(Similarly, the subplot of Ji Yeon and Aaron was never developed — even though it was the major driving point of many characters. The entire mystery of birth on the island was never resolved. Michael’s “wandering Jew” status seemed to be more about Walt reaching puberty and no longer being cute, and thus it being expedient to kill him off than any actual scripted plot development.” And, what of the numerous references to “hell” and “heaven”?)While this was more complex than a typical TV show, it was hardly the most complex TV show that has been presented in recent times; The Wire had better character development (and evolution) and a more complex script, for example. It seems to me that J. J. Abrams just has trouble ending his series; this ending of this show deteriorated in the same ways that Alias deteriorated (and that I expect Fringe will deteriorate).——————-Oh yeah, another thing:It is pretty hard for me to respect Lost as art when Lindelof and Cuse go around clowning like a bunch of silly junior high school students in their podcasts and far too many media appearances. (Really, making gay jokes on Jimmy Kimmel?) I think they could learn something from Thomas Pynchon (whose Crying of Lot 49 was obviously an inspiration.)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Thanks for your comments. I think that there is a perfectly reasonable way to account for the attention given to Aaron, Walt and Ji Yeon. They would be the next round of candidates, assuming their aptitude and willingness. Do we need any other explanation why Jacob, through the Others, would have taken an interest in them?


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