Well...it's finally over.
For this LOST fan, I'm very disappointed to see such a great television show disappear (and this from a non-TV watcher). At the same time, I'm glad the producers decided to bring the story to an end before the show was cancelled or any of the major actors quit the series.
Not everyone liked the show. Some people were "lost" the whole time they watched it, while many others drew conclusions without ever watching an episode. Just living in my own house showed me there were people that didn't understand the LOST phenomenon or the weekly addiction many shared, but I cannot think of another show in television history that connected great acting, great characters, beautiful scenery and consistently fantastic writing.
In the past few days, there's been a lot of discussion about whether this show ended well and even more theories about what the show really meant. I read a twitter update during the series finale that said something like, "I never understood Trekkies until LOST." As a self-professed "Lostie," I've been asked several times what I thought about the show, so in true style I thought I would offer a top-ten.
Here's my own list of Top Ten Reasons I Enjoyed Six Seasons of LOST:
ALERT: LOST spoilers and secrets are revealed!
10. It is a Survival Story - This series began with a bunch of people surviving a plane crash on a deserted island. What other comparison did I have but Gilligan's Island? It took NO TIME for me to begin enjoying this show...only this time around there were not as many coconut creme pies.
9. Character Development - By the second episode, I realized this was not just another show. Methodically, the writers took the viewer through every characther's "back story" and what led them to the island. You quickly began cheering and booing the characters based on who they were "off island" and who they had become "on island." Over six years it became an emotional roller-coaster as characters travelled full circle from good to bad and back again and again.
8. Great Acting/Writing - LOST had a huge ensemble cast, extending to include international actors, screen actors, and stage actors. The writers mixed comedy, adventure, intrigue and drama brilliantly. Instead of a weekly show, LOST was really more of a six-year miniseries. Personal favorites: Terry O'Quinn, Michael Emerson, Josh Holloway, Jorge Garcia, Elizabeth Mitchell, Daniel Dae Kim and the list goes on and on and on...and the writing was the best...hands down.
7. Hello? It was filmed in the Hawaiian Islands - Do I need any commentary here? From the beach to the jungle this series owned the cinematography.
6. Theme: Free Will/Destiny - Without giving away too many spoilers. One major theme from beginning to end was the constant tension between free will and destiny. Were the characters given choices in life or was it destiny to be on the island or even more were they "called" to be on the island. From the beginning, this theme was developed and massaged, so can you see why I liked it? The average viewer may have missed this in the first few seasons, but by the end it was as clear as black and white :) .
5. It is a Story of Redemption- I like stories that show characters needing, seeking and gaining redemption? LOST did not disappoint. Every major character in LOST lived some form of a tragedy that required redemption and each of them was given the opportunity to rectify the wrongs they had committed. Personal acts of contrition, confession, repentance were seen throughout the series, as well as forgiveness and healing, leading to true redemption for characters. Some characters turned the corner early in the series, while others took the full six seasons to develop and occur. I was blown away as the writers developed the most unworthy characters and showed that even they could be redeemed when an external source intervened in their lives.
4. Easter Eggs - One of my favorite parts were the fun "easter eggs" hidden throughout the series by the writers and producers for the viewer to find. Characters were named after famous theologians, philosophers, and scientists. Shows were developed around pieces of literature, musical scores, historical figures, scientific inventions, heroes of the faith, and characters of myth and legend. Sprinkled throughout the series were recurring literary, religious, and philosophical themes from Wonderland to Narnia to Eden to Hell to Purgatory to Nirvana. It was impossible for me to watch LOST without diving into research behind every cultural reference "hidden" in that week's episode. Again, the writers/producers did not just write a show and develop characters...they allowed their own reading, religion and philosophy to work through the series.
3. Good vs. Evil - As the series came to an end, I rewatched the pilot episode. It was evident from the first 30 minutes that the writers were laying the groundwork for a story of good pitted against evil (or as it is introduced, dark vs. light) from the very beginning. The writers develop this theme each year through movie references (Star Wars), game playing (backgammon), biblical themes (Jacob/Esau), and even simple colors (black/white).
2. Time Travel - I love the idea of time travel. Since I was a kid, I have been fascinated with storylines that deal with this theme. Sure, it has been fun to think about going backward and forward in time ("Strange things are afoot at the Circle K!"). LOST takes it a step further. Can you travel backwards and change the outcome of your life? Can you create an alternate plan? I already mentioned that they did a brilliant job with character "back stories" (in a sense, they used this technique to show what happened pre-island/in the past). They also appeared to show the audience what happened post-island or what they called a "side-story," which looked like a parallel time-line (not too much to comment here, because this is a major portion of the final season). Not to dissuade anyone who might think this show is just plain hokey, they incorporated time-travel brilliantly (taking into account the science, the myths, and all of the potential effects). Personal favorite: what if you could travel through time and see yourself in the past?
1. It's Not What You Think - Finally, this is why I loved LOST. It is about a plane crash, but it's not about a plane crash. It is a random group of people on an island, but it's not a random group of people. Sure, there are polar bears, there is a smoke monster, and there is a lot of mystery, but everything has a reason. If you can't handle the impossible, than LOST is not for you. It is more than really handsome/beautiful actors in a tropical location. Each episode of LOST is another piece in a giant game. You need all the pieces to put the story together. Unlike any other show, LOST never disappoints (well except for Nicki and Paulo and an episode of Jack in Thailand). For those that tuned in late expecting to see a show about people getting "off an island" they were probably confused and disappointed. Like Narnia is more than a story about school kids walking through a wardrobe, LOST is way more than what it looks like on the surface. It never failed to confuse or surprise the viewer, with each season pulling a different layer back on the bigger story!
"But Fletch, LOST was uber-popular and at the center of our already television saturated culture. How could you be so positive? As a Christian, didn't it conflict with your beliefs? I heard it was an "all paths lead to God" show...Why did you let your kids watch it? You are such a sell-out, You are a joiner!..."
Well, there are plenty more questions and conversations to be had about the television show LOST. Maybe I'll talk about them and maybe I won't. For those interested, I already addressed some of these questions in this post I wrote about popular culture. I understand that I respond to culture differently than most. Sorry to disappoint.
Quietly making noise,