I loved Lost. When I first started watching, I couldn’t get enough. My husband and I blasted through the first season and then had to wait in anticipation for every single episode as it came on television. I don’t think I’d ever seen such a show before, having never watched Twin Peaks or other similar premises. I was hooked. I even dreamed of Lost.
Part of the thrill was watching the stories unfold, piecing together the story that just got more and more bizarre as time went on. Polar bears! Nuclear bombs! A time-traveling Scot! I mean, what wasn’t there to love?
So why am I not watching Lost right now? Why am I not glued to the screen awaiting every final clue, every last detail? Well, it comes down to the fact that I believe Lost pulled a George Lucas. But a reverse one. Which probably makes no sense to you at this moment, but let me explain.
When I watched the original Star Wars films, I was filled with hope (far beyond A New Hope) and wonder. My brain worked overtime to fill in the gaps: who Leia and Luke’s mother was, what the Clone Wars were like, what it must have been in the heyday of the Jedi. The mystery of it was overwhelmingly tantalizing. I devoured every piece of information I could get to try and make sense of the events leading up to Luke and Leia’s birth —I just knew it had to be spectacular.
And then came the prequels, and part of me died. Maybe I can’t really blame George Lucas for not living up to my imagination, but I could have dealt if the story fell a little short. The truth was it fell so short it turned me off to the entire prequel series. I just couldn’t cope. It ruined everything that I had imagined and turned it into a soap opera with Jar-Jar Binks.
No, I don’t think Lost went as far as Lucas did. But on the other hand, the disappointment I started to feel at the beginning of this season (and intermittently throughout the show’s run) is that the reveals just don’t justify the mysteries. And the worst culprit isn’t the devil in the details—my biggest disappointment with Lost has nothing to do with the actual nuts and bolts, the more science-fiction and fantasy related aspects.
Nope, it’s about character.
I will admit to my bias. I watch shows because I become attached to the characters. A good death or two is fine, don’t get me wrong. I’m not still bitter about Charlie. I swear I’m not. *cough* But I feel that Lost continually has re-invented characters all throughout the series (i.e. John Locke) or just rehashed the same old, same old over and over again (i.e. Kate and Jack). Either the characters develop so much that they are no longer recognizable (and therefore really hard to care about) or they refuse to change and get boring. Or, I suppose, their story gets so weird and wacky or soap-opera sappy that it’s just uncomfortable.
In the end, I find that the characters’ developments are just nowhere near what I’d hoped. What I’d hoped for never happened. When the mysteries lifted, the characters just couldn’t hold it up. It has nothing to do with acting and everything to do with the writing. I realize not everyone watches shows for the same reason I do, but I think that–since my approach is directly derived from fandom in general–there might be some readers out there who agree with me.
Now, I’m not saying Lost isn’t a good show. On the contrary, it’s done a whole lot for television—considerably raised the bar—and introduced audiences to speculative elements in a very mainstream way. I can’t complain about that. It’s better TV than a whole lot of crap that’s out there. Heck, I’d say it’s far better than many films, even. But as far as suspension of disbelief, I think the show left that in the dust a few seasons back. When the characters fall away at the expense of the plot, I think everyone loses. As a result, I’m not worried about spoilers and I won’t be up late watching the finale. In this case I really think I’d prefer to leave it all to the imagination.
What do you think? Am I off my rocker? Feel free to sound off in the comments.