Monday, May 24, 2010

LOST Opportunities

I’m certain this headline will be used all over the blog-o-sphere this week because it's just so fitting.

So it’s all over and everyone is dead. Or always have been dead. Who the hell knows.

Here is the ultimate lesson of the television phenom LOST: If writers and producers of intricate or challenging new television series don’t come to the table with a solid beginning, middle and end of a story, don’t waste anyone’s time and money. Shows like HEROES and FLASH FORWARD just learned this painful lesson the hard way this year. Everyone thought LOST was the only exception to the rule and had it all figured out.

Turns out they never did. It's one thing if a network pulls the plug on a series but there is no excuse when you've had over three years and seasons to map out where and how the series ends. Think about three years the writers and producers could not figure out how to answer key questions.

This was a wasted season for LOST and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the men behind the curtain never knew where they were ultimately going. Oh, they had the images and vision for production (Jack closing his eyes) but zero idea how to resolve key plot points or many character's issues. And it was evident from the get-go in this last season. I'm not even talking about the sideways world. The writers floundered all season long and wasted so much precious screen time with the madnening and rediculous first six or so episodes of season six with our castaways trapped, sitting around in a temple set with the other 'Others' of the island. And to prove that storyline and all that screen time was a waste, it was never even recounted in the two hour recap that debuted before the finale. Nothing that happened in the temple was important to the main characters or the island's storyline.

The last episode of the series aptly titled “The End” was the best single episode of this final season and that’s saying a lot. Yes, there was great emotion, character reunions, action, humor and suspense in this final show. But answers? Not so much. And the producers, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, have been claiming in the recent media junket that they intend to leave some mysteries unanswered or up to viewer interpretation. They should have been men enough to mention about 95% of the mysteries would remain unanswered.

I’m sorry, but that kind of claim is nothing but a pure cop out. The writers had painted themselves into so many plot corners over the years that they simply gave up trying to figure out how to tie it all together. I’m not going to bother to list all the issues that remain unanswered. Other fans sites and forums have such laundry lists nicely compiled. Google ‘em up if you still care. Plus it’s too much work and if the series creators can’t summon the energy to tackle them, why should I at this point?

A quick spin of the web on the Monday morning after the cry fest shows the mainstream media thought the final episode was satisfactory and yes emotional or are content to concede the finale went out in a LOST sort of way.

Dig deeper around the ‘net, check out the real fan sites and you’ll find a very different response. Once the emotion and feel good moments of the cast together at the end of the finale fade and you start to think about what we didn’t get out of ‘The End’ or this entire final season for that matter, a flood of frustration and realization will overcome any fan that we, the week-in, week-out viewership of this series (not even those who only watched this series via DVD sets or repeats) were left in the dust. Much like the tragic character Ben Linus, the hardcore, devoted and long suffering viewer was ultimately ignored and passed over by the creators. So it's fitting the one image that plays over in my head out of six seasons of episodes of LOST that best sums it up for me is when Ben finally confronted the island's protector and ultimate manipulator, Jacob.

Loyal devotee: “What about me?”

Jacob/ Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof: “What about you, dear viewer?”

“They are all just dead…you figure it out from there.”

Ben's reaction to that kind of response is how many of the fans feel today.

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