Lost, found

April 9th, 2008

Matthew Baldwin has discovered the perverse appeal of Lost:

The Queen and I are halfway through season three of Lost and goddamn I love this show.

It's hard for me to admit because Lost is popular, and it's crucial to my self-image that I only enjoy television shows that hobble along for a season or three, unappreciated by the unwashed masses, before getting unceremoniously axed. Freaks & Geeks, Arrested Development, Firefly, and so forth. (We are going to conveniently ignore that I also liked The Sopranos, and that I laugh until my stomach hurts every time I stumble across AFHV …) And yet here I am, a Lost junkie, just like half of America.

Intellectually I recognize that the third season has all of the same problems of the first two: it shows us the trees, so to speak, and willfully ignores the forest. In other words, the creators of Lost have inverted the traditional mystery formula by making the clues themselves the focus of the show, instead of using them as an means to a end (the end being the solution of the central mystery). […]

I dropped Lost at the end of season 2, partly because it was looking as if the writers were succumbing to the X-Files problem of having spun a web of clues without knowing how to string them together, but mostly because the UK broadcast rights to the show were bought by Sky TV. I saw a few stories about season 3's plot developments, but I wasn't tempted. It helped that last year brought a couple of new imported shows to enthuse over1.

A couple of weeks ago I spotted the season 3 DVD box set going for £35 and on a whim I decided that it was worth a look at that price. Eight episodes in two days later and I was hooked all over again. Upon reflection I could have done without spending quite so much time with the Others in those first half dozen episodes, but it didn't feel like a problem as I was watching them.2

I haven't had the chance to repeat that marathon DVD-viewing session and make my way towards the end of season 3, but I think it's safe to say that I will, and soon. It's also safe to say that I'm going to end up following the remainder of the show's run on DVD unless the writers do something egregiously stupid.3

  1. Namely Friday Night Lights and Heroes.
  2. I think it probably helped to see them is rapid succession. I can imagine that if I'd had to wait a week between episodes only to find that Sawyer and Kate were still breaking rocks and Jack was still sitting in that cell being uncooperative, all while who knew what was going on with the rest of the survivors back on the beach, I'd have been a bit peeved with the writers.
  3. Come 2010, once the writers have shown us where they were going with all these mysterious phenomena, I suspect that there will be a lot of people watching the show's entire run from start to finish to see all the clues we missed. Either that, or the production company's offices will be burned to the ground and the writers lynched by an angry mob of Lost fanatics who can't believe they led us a merry dance and blew it with a lame final reveal.

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