Friday, March 06, 2009

What a waste of Lost

Has the best TV series of its generation hit a dead end?

This blog claimed its unconditional devotion to Lost as far back as its inception in 2004. For the first time since my school years, something shown on telly could not be missed for the world. I'd watch each and every episode religiously, careful not to blink in case I'd miss a single detail, and when the DVDs started coming out, I'd buy each one of them, feeling exactly like a kid unwrapping his eagerly awaited Christmas present.

Lost was different from other programmes. It was a layered concoction of adventure, mystery, drama, action and paranormal. Unusual for an American TV series, each character was remarkably intricate, vulnerable and fucked up - and the twists so gripping yet so subtle. None of it was particularly bollocksy. Lost was great without having to rely on goblins, zombies or sci-fi monsters (perhaps with the exception of that smokey thing - which in fact was discreetly laid to rest after Series One) and it's amazing that its run of form lasted as long as it did.

Until, alas, the downward slope was hit at the end of Series Four. There's only as far as you can drag, stretch and jerk a plot without losing it, and after about 124 twists and counter-twists things were bound to reach the Land of the Unfeasible. Yet it's a pity that, with all the directions that could have been taken, such as a more psychological development, or more focus on the characters' trauma, or even some conspiratorial approach about the island as a CIA retreat for dodgy experiments, that stuff about "moving the island" really looked like the lamest idea on offer. And the fact that it hasn’t got a leg to stand on is only half of the problem.

The results are depressingly obvious on Series Five. The plot has hit a brick wall and bounced off looking battered and predictable. For the first time ever, Lost has become unwatchable. The characters appear to have had the stuffing knocked out of them. They've turned into uninspiring one-dimensional organisms, running from pillar to post without anything specific to do apart from some vague need to return to the island otherwise…there's not even an otherwise. Worse, supernatural crap is now being thrown in every two minutes. The day will turn into night, people will be catapulted in the middle of the ocean for no reason or join a 'time travel gymnasium' and when it's obvious that it's absolute bollocks, the writers just stick a big flashing light that blinds everybody and Bob's your uncle. It doesn’t make sense? Exactly.

From the best TV series of its generation, mirroring the anxieties and paranoia of the post-9/11 world, Lost has turned into a poor man's crossbreed between the X-Files and Walker Texas Ranger with a sprinkle of Starsky & Hutch added for good measure.

I mean, look at Sayid, for instance. Every single shot featuring him is like a 21st century version of Jackie Chan. Whether he's in a hotel room or a hospital ward, you know that some unspecific extra is going to walk in and try a James Bond-esque trick on him with, I don’t know, self-combusting guns or a rolling umbrella that turns into a boomerang dipped in poison, or a bullet that says 'hello' or god-knows-what. Either way, Sayid gauges a couple of karate kicks, kills the fucker and that’s it - not a scratch - Sayid survives. Until the same again five minutes later.

Hurley freaks out at each turn, gets taken to another asylum or jail where security measures magically vanish the moment Ben and Jack decide to stroll in. They do as they please, never answer each other's questions and then get involved in a car chase, routinely leaving a couple of dead bodies behind as they rush to see Kate who is also in a bit of a dash because she's trying to avoid a DNA sample, or else the sheriff will take Aaron away from her etc etc etc.

Lost is turning into something like a post-Scary Monsters David Bowie or the Rolling Stones after Start Me Up. Dull, tiresome and irrelevant or, to put it more bluntly, a parody of its former self. Stop it now, before Channel Five will be the only channel agreeing to air Series Twelve.


Mark said...

it's absolute crap, a meaningless exercise in timewasting, like a "Waiting For Godot" with all the good stuff taken out

Anonymous said...

It is tumbling downhill. I must say I'm pleased to see someone else out there shares my opinion. All of my mates seem to think Lost is still "ace". Easily pleased...?

roym said...

not sure how i stumbled across this post, but anyway here i am.

i have just revisited season 4 myself on dvd and i have to say icant wait to get out and get season 5 now.

as you should have well known at the time of posting season 6 is the end of the road, check out the writers' vid at comic-con where they say theyve put the final pages of the script already done in a box to be opened again live on air following the finale next year. theyve got some nerve to try that one on so i think we need to give em the benefit of doubt.

what are you on about sayid? hes got in plenty of fights and needed someones help. remember keamy almost strangling him to death?

nothing on tv even touches this show for depth of literary references, and the thought that is put into every single scene.