The first of many blogs about Lost. In this one I consider its place among the all-time great series.
So, there’s a show on ABC… I’m sure you’ve never heard of it… but it will be airing its final five episodes during the next month, and I figured that at least someone on the web should be writing about it.
In all seriousness, the prospect of writing about Lost is a daunting one, as so many people out there on other websites clearly devote more of their time and energy to this show than I ever possibly would be willing to. I love reading the Lost threads, though, because they are filled with that mixture of devotion, passion, and at times full-on craziness that exemplifies what I love about sci-fi and its fans. However you personally feel about Lost as a series – and, for what it’s worth, I think it is one of the most fascinating, enjoyable, compelling texts ever to grace my TV screen – you must admire its audacity. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have woven this impossibly dense mythos that they are now unwinding before our eyes… and it doesn’t suck.
That is where Lost has upped the ante on the majority of past sci-fi successes. Perhaps its closest comparison is with The X-Files, in terms of the creation of a series-long mythology that really, for the most part, drives the narrative. First, it should be noted that Lost stands above X-Files in that every episode is devoted to pushing this narrative, every episode brings us more clues, questions, and opportunities for confusion.
Unlike The X-Files, which gave usually five-eight episodes per season to the ongoing narrative and virtually ignored it in the others, Lost is full-on narrative, all the time. Of course, that “it doesn’t suck” part is also where these final seasons of Lost have risen above the final seasons of The X-Files. Even in the last full seasons with David Duchovny, the mythology episodes were wheezing pretty badly.
Lost has avoided all of that. And while we might complain that at times it missteps – that pair of models that suddenly turned up on the island a few years back, that “looks like somebody got her voice back” line in the most recent episode that made me audibly groan (and ruined one of the things in these final episodes that I was most looking forward to) – the fact that it still clearly holds most of its loyal viewers in its thrall is really impressive. When it is all said and done, no one will write off the entire final season as a disappointment, as many have done with other all-time greats like The Sopranos, Buffy, and even The Wire.
There is approximately a month left until the Lost finale, and during the next month I plan to blog frequently about the series. Soon I will post on the most recent episode, “The Last Recruit", which, while I am reading a lot of “eh” reviews on other sites, I absolutely loved; I also hope to try to look at Lost in this larger context, trying to determine its overall place in the pantheon of great TV shows… or at least trying to decide if, once it is all over, I will buy that sure-to-be-awesome Dharma Box containing all six seasons on Blu-ray.
And, if you got here because you have tagged Europe’s "The Final Countdown", here you go…