Finally after all these years I have decided to tackle, one of, if not the biggest television white whales of mine, watching Lost. Yes, I think over the past two decades, at least, I have seen every major or notable show that has passed in front of my eyes (not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing), but Lost was always the major one that somehow didn’t fall into my grasp for whatever reason. I think combined with the fact that it was so popular and so well liked when it was on and I wasn’t watching it I decided to distance myself from it and kind of build up as one of the few shows I have to set aside and sit down and watch it all one day with the entire run complete. Several shows I’d caught up mid-way through to join in on the hype, but I let Lost sail right on by. Anyways, enough is enough, I finally started it, and wouldn’t you know it’s something I should’ve probably done awhile ago.
The framework of a TV show that maybe I’m most drawn to is where you have a huge selection of characters thrown into a certain event, we follow them all as a group through whatever, but each episode is focused on telling the story of one character, how they got to that place and how their past events and what we learn about them change how we view them now in the midst of all these people. I’m sure you’ve figured out that, yes, Lost is exactly this and it does it perfectly. As I’m sure you’re aware Lost is about a group of people stranded on an island after their plane crash lands and all the ensuing backlash and complications drawn from not only surviving on a desert island, but one that holds many supernatural secrets and houses these people with dark secrets. Each episode of Lost tells the story on the island, but also flashes back to different individuals lives before they landed on the island and the events that put them on the plane that would crash. The secrets could be as big as Kate being escorted by an air marshall on the plane, Sawyer’s legal and familial troubles, Locke’s paralyzation that somehow cures itself after the crash, or as seemingly small as Hurley being a multi-millionaire or Charlie’s rock star past. Each background helps shade in their past and help us understand who they are as a character, whether it’s truly understanding them or just knowing that they have some things to hide, or aren’t really telling the truth whether we know what that is yet or not. The telling of this story in the present and through the flashbacks works perfectly throughout the season, providing perfect escalation as the mysteries of the island get laid on thicker as we learn more about the people and subsequently the island.
The show already gets into some weird supernatural things, and more-so the further it gets on, but I kinda wished they would have played a longer game with some of the weirder stuff and made it into a slow burn where it remained a lot more realistic before turning into the supernatural. Like, these characters very easily accept and just think normal the outwardly weird things the island throws at them like a dang polar bear on an Australian island, a ghost-like force that follows people around and a random French woman just living on the island for 16+ years who seemingly has magic powers, plus another guy who was just supposedly chilling on the island until these people got there. I like the idea of all this weird stuff, but I think it could’ve been eased in better and would’ve made the show a lot more unsettling, especially the reasons why they’re all there if it was grounded more in reality to start and not all of a sudden it went all out into THERE’S SUPERNATURAL FORCES AT BAY MESSING WITH EVERYBODY.
Also, a quick thing about the characters, we’re totally supposed to hate Jack, right? Like, I mean traditionally he’s built up as the “main” character and someone traditionally who we’re supposed to like, but it seems a lot like the show wants you to hate him, his blandness and his assumed position as the leader of everybody (just like a lot of the people dislike him). Conversely, the traditional bad-boy rebel, grown up Tim Riggins character of Sawyer that in theory you’re supposed to not like, but always ends up being the guy everybody loves. In that respect the show kinda feels like a reality show, like Survivor, where they seemingly have characters just to check off every minority or stereotype such as having an Asian, African American, Middle-Eastern, Korean, old guy, fat guy, pregnant lady, stuck-up girl and so on. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just that all these people so easily fill out these classic stereotypical roles. I do think, though, that it was intentional in some commentary sort of way and not just as a way to plug-in these old stand-by characters, but maybe I’m giving them too much credit.
The show does do a great job of teasing these various mysteries and things on the island that have me ravenous to know what is behind all of it, like the infamous hatch, or these “other” people that supposedly live on the island. Coming from 2016, though, I’ve semi-heard that a lot of this stuff doesn’t get paid off in the best way, or even doesn’t end up being a cut and dry answer, so that worries me, but I’m going to try to put my blinder on as much as possible to the little things I remember hearing about the show and people’s complaints about it. So, yeah, the show was quite literally exactly what I was expecting it to be, and I say that in the most positive way possible. I really find no large faults in the first season as a whole and the ones I do are just pretty nit-picky. I’m looking forward to the second season (which if I recall I think people say is the best) and enjoying the journey for better or worse.