“We have to go back” to Lost
The 2000s have been considered one of the golden ages of television, and rightly so. A new wave of creator-driven, emotionally-investing, compelling and, above all, high-quality dramas.
Think about it, between 2000-2010 we had: The Wire, The Sopranos, Friday Night Lights, Mad Men and Breaking Bad. They all started in this decade, and they were all great.
But there was one show that trumped them all in terms of initial hype: Lost.
“Don’t mistake coincidence for fate…”
Remember the swirl of hype surrounding that first episode of Lost?
The pilot that cost around more than $10 million, an enormous plane crash and intrigue of an island of glamourous castaways?
It had everything that you could have wanted for a massive mystery drama. Well…
“There are two sides, two players – one is light, the other is dark”
It had a *crazy* amount of stuff going on actually.
The first season was completely captivating – plane crashes, polar bears, the basic survival instinct (and a giant cloud monster).
After that, it got increasingly weird.
The plot just felt more and more like they were making it up as it went along.
A polar bear on a tropical island? Yeah, we can buy that.
Time travelling to the 1970s where a bunch of scientists are doing a better job of defying the effects of age than anyone not using Oil of Olay? Pass.
And the thing is, it didn’t have to be this messed up.
“Don’t tell me what I can’t do”
The format of the episodes (i.e. the flashback/flash-forward/flash-sideways) was a bold change from most other shows.
Seeing the different characters fleshed out with comprehensive, intertwining back-stories made it genuinely exciting to see where the show was going.
Unfortunately in the latter seasons, that meant figuring out where an entire freaking island was going too.
“Guys… what ARE we?”
The addition of new characters in the later series only served to muddy the waters further.
While they were explaining one massive plotline to close the circle, they started with an even bigger, less comprehensible one.
John Locke called pushing the button in the hatch “a leap of faith” – for viewers, they asked to take a leap of faith every week while the show pushed their buttons instead.
“Three days ago we all died – we should all be able to start over”
It’s almost like JJ Abrams and Carlton Cuse outsmarted themselves.
Such enormous scope, so many little red herrings, an arsenal of Chekhov’s guns, things dropped in to tease like the numbers.
And for what? There were so many loose ends, so many things that were completely unnecessary.
“Kinda sucks, huh?”
Shows like Breaking Bad were so good because there was nothing superfluous thrown in.
Lost missed out on that to its detriment as it entered the surreal too many times.
The best dramas are the ones where the characters are the keys and the plot helps them express themselves.
Lost got it the wrong way around by steamrolling over some incredible performances, particularly from Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson.
“See you in another life, brother”
Lost started as a show about a plane crash.
It’s a crying shame it turned into one itself.
As the craziness went up, the quality of the show nosedived.
The cop-out ending wasted years of time and effort from actors and viewers alike.
In the golden age of television, Lost managed to turn itself from the most valuable thing going into a nugget.