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Saturday, March 06, 2010
 
  Posted by Matt Kish on 3/06/2010 09:33:00 AM :

       For you "Lost" fanatics: And then there's this...

According to this Washington Post piece many of the questions created during the show's run will never be answered...

"...because, the writers say, they have run out of time."

Also...

"They have no intention of discussing the show after the finale airs on May 23..."

Wait, wait, wait. I actually have read a handful of the seven hundred billion articles that have been written wbout the show "Lost" and I distinctly remember things like (and I'm paraphrasing here, but the details are the same) "the show was always designed to have a finite run with a distinct beginning, middle and end" and "we know all the details and have had the whole thing basically planned out since the beginning." So how does that jibe with "Holy crap we're running out of time and won't be able to really conclude more than a few important storylines?" Seriously, at this moment, I actually do have a little sympathy for all of you "Lost" fans who have devoted so much time, effort, and support for one of your favorite shows. You really are getting screwed here.

See, all this goes along perfectly with what has been my major gripe about the show since I stopped watching it forever some time in season 2. Anyone with a brain and a decent level of creativity, and really that's an awful lot of people, could have done what Cuse and Lindelof have done. Anyone.

It's beyond easy to come up with an interesting premise. Hell, any 2 or 3 college kids sitting around an apartment drinking beer can come up with 3 or 4 great ideas for a TV show or a movie on any given Saturday night. The ideas, the questions, the unknowns, the premises...these are the EASY parts. It's how these things are developed and ultimately resolved that show true and gifted creativity. True skill as a writer or creator. And Cuse and Lindelof apparently have very little of that real creativity because they don't seem to know how to resolve much of, well, anything.

I don't think I'm smarter than you reading this, but I do think that I started feeling like the show was never really going to answer anything way back in season 2 so I stopped wasting my time. I know a lot of viewers have become very attached to the characters and their lives and backstories as well, and I understand that, but honestly there are just too many great films, novels, and other things that don't require a 6 year investment of time for a payoff. I would rather spend 2 or 3 hours with a great film that has great characters, dialogue, and a storyline than 6 years with a show that's going to eventually show me Sayid's happy reunion with someone but never let me know how anything else ever happened to him.

"Lost"...what a scam.

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9 Comments:

These long-form serialized sf shows are usually an exercise in stringing the viewer along for as long as the show is permitted to run. I say this as a one-time X-Files fan. I was overloaded on these "epic saga" shows long ago, can't watch any more.

By Blogger Craig, at 3/6/10 12:01 PM  

Matt says "Anyone with a brain and a decent level of creativity, and really that's an awful lot of people, could have done what Cuse and Lindelof have done. Anyone."

I completely and unequivocally disagree with this statement. I don't have the time to argue my point right now, but I'll try and write a post about this in detail later.

I think where Matt (and a lot of other critics of the show) completely misses the point is that Lost isn't a great show because of the hype or the smoke monster or its complex storyline and mysteries and sf motifs.

The brilliance of the show is in the strong writing, amazing characterization, fantastic casting, pitch-perfect acting, relentless pacing, spot-on use of a variety of storytelling methods (flashbacks, flash forwards, flash sideways, reverse time, layered narratives, etc. etc. etc.), diverse/multicultural cast of characters...all of that plus the complex storyline and mysteries and sf motifs.

There has never been a show this original, engrossing, innovative, and consistently strong on TV. Ever. And I doubt there ever will be.

By Blogger Dara, at 3/6/10 1:41 PM  

I'm not expecting everything to be answered and don't think I'm getting screwed any more than I think I've wasted my time reading Spider-Man because I don't know what happens to Peter Parker at the end of his story. I've seen characters change and grow along the way in Lost and I'm sure the major questions will be resolved. Would I like to know how the Island was formed? Sure, but I'd also like to know more about the driver of the derelict ship at the beginning of Alien. Sometimes a little mystery is a good thing. I don't need to be force-fed answers to everything.

By Blogger Sean McGurr, at 3/6/10 1:56 PM  

Oh man, where to even begin.

First, we're just going to disagree on some things. Dara, you are obviously a big fan of the show and my point of view is unlikely to change your mind about that. Your point of view is unlikely to change my mind about the show. It's just different tastes, and that's completely normal.

I think you're way wrong about one thing though. "Lost" may (not to me, but I'll accept that this is a strength to its fans) have "amazing characterization, fantastic casting, pitch-perfect acting, relentless pacing, spot-on use of a variety of storytelling methods, diverse/multicultural cast of characters" but so do lots and lots and lots and lots of movies, novels, and TV shows easily available on DVD. And none of those other things requires a 6 year investment for a limited payoff. One of my main points is that "Lost" fails because it was launched on the premise of the "mystery island." I watched "Lost" originally because a number of my friends told me about this awesome show with all the casatways on a myterious island and they were all linked somehow and they were trying to find out where they were and so on. The hook is the mystery. Even if the later payoff is great characters and great stories, that hook never pays off. It's a classic bait and switch.

Ultimately, for me especially, "Lost" just has far too much competition in the book store and on Netflix for me to give it that much of my time just for stories about great characters. There are a lot of amazing stories out there, and a lot of them really do pay off better than "Lost" does.

I look forward to your post though. I'd like to request that, as a professional writer yourself, you maybe address that idea of a premise, how to develop it, and how to resolve it. If not, no biggie but that is (obviously) my biggest disappointment with "Lost."

By Blogger Matt Kish, at 3/6/10 3:40 PM  

Oh, I did want to add this. If "Lost" really was never about smoke monsters and mystery islands and magic numbers and three toed statues, then why didn't they just set it in a Los Angeles apartment building? They could have had all the characters lives intersect there, and explored just as many fascinating backstories through flashbacks and so on without ever leaving the US and introducing monsters. So why the island in the first place? Why that hook?

By Blogger Matt Kish, at 3/6/10 3:41 PM  

Sean I understand your point but I don't think the derelict ship in Alien or Peter Parker's story are apt comparisons especially because Alien wasn't billed as a "mystery ship in space...what are the answers?" kind of film. It was advertised as a murderous sci-fi thriller with a monster. Audiences went into it expecting blood, gore, horror and for someone to triumph in the end. I don't know how y'all came to "Lost" so maybe I'm alone in this, but the way the show was sold to me via friends' recommendations was as a mysterious island full of clues and puzzles to figure out. Again, bait and switch.

By Blogger Matt Kish, at 3/6/10 3:43 PM  

Let's go back to Matt's point that they originally claimed to have a plan for the series, and now say issues can't be addressed because they are running out of time. ???

To say they had stuff to reveal that they can't because of a reason imposed from outside the context of the series? I agree with Matt, people are getting screwed. Or the creators were lying from the beginning. Or both.

By Blogger Craig, at 3/6/10 4:06 PM  

Bah!

By Blogger Dara, at 3/7/10 9:57 AM  

See why I don't post much about Doctor Who? You guys would tear me apart...

By Blogger Craig, at 3/7/10 11:03 AM  

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