It’s no secret… I’m addicted to Lost. Not since my pre-teen Family Ties days have I been so enthralled with a television show. Although there have been plenty of shows that I’ve watched since, none have quite captured my interest like this one. It’s honestly the *only* show I religiously watch every week. So what is it about this show that makes it so great? Is it the characters? The plot? The mystery?
Since there is no Lost this week, I’ve decided to break down the top 5 reasons I heart Lost:
5) Naveen Andrews, Josh Holloway, Henry Ian Cusick– A top 4 list isn’t quite as catchy as a Top 5 list, so I had to throw some eye-candy in here. The actors who portray Sayid, Sawyer, and Desmond are-in a word- HOTT! I’m not a big Jack fan, but he cleans up nice. And the girls are okay, too. Kate is a bit too horse-like for my taste, but I totally dig Juliet. Can’t go wrong with pretty people on a pretty island.
4) It makes me feel smart. And then stupid. And then smart again. Like any good mystery, Lost is filled with clues, red herrings, villains, heroes and “WTF just happened?” moments. It makes me feel smart when I figure something out (like Juliet’s real purpose last season) and then stupid again when I realize I just “fell” for one of the producers’ tricks… they wanted me to put two and two together.
There are so many layers to the show… there are pop culture references, literary references, an entire mythology that is derived from what the producers refer to as the “canon.” Some things (the show itself, official podcasts, webisodes, etc.) are considered to be part of the canon and, therefore, presented as truth. Other things (actors’ interviews, an alternate reality game, unofficial web sites) are non-canonical and can’t be completely trusted, but provide a great source of information for the theory-makers.
3) There’s a little something for everyone– Action, romance, mystery, science fiction, psychology, hippies, sex, drugs, rock and roll (well… there was Rock & Roll), mysticism, religion, animals, family drama… and HUMOR. Don’t forget the humor. Hurley and Sawyer, in particular, are great at delivering the witty one-liner. Even if you don’t think you like science fiction (I don’t) or aren’t “into” all the mystery-making, you’ll find something to glom onto.
In talking to people about this season it became clear to me that different people identify with different aspects of the show. Some people are concerned about what is happening RIGHT NOW on the show– are they gonna find the chopper? What’s up with that thing on Keemy’s arm? (I’m trying to be as vague as possible), whereas I’m less interested in the action of the island and more interested in how the “current” events weave into the larger context of the show. It’s like a big puzzle and even though I don’t know how all the pieces will fit together, I have confidence that the writers are taking us somewhere… somewhere amazing!
2) The writers/producers are amazing. I have no clue what it takes to write a television series, especially one as complex and multi-layered as this one. But these writers are God-like in my book. They started the series with the “island present”/flashback format. Through this we were able to meet and identify with the characters, while also moving the story forward and giving us background on both the characters and the plot. They’ve also managed to introduce new characters (sometimes not-so-successfully) in a way that propelled the story forward, yet maintained the core of the show. I have to remind myself that some of my favorite characters– Ben, Desmond, Juliet– weren’t even on the show the first season.
And then the changed it all up at the end of the last season. I’m not going to ruin for anyone, but it was mind-blowing. And by all accounts, there’s another mind-shift happening at the end of this season. Brilliant!
They’ve also managed to make a fairly fast-paced, mythology-driven show that actually has compelling *characters.* Too often in “genre” shows, the writers rely on the tried-and-true devices of the genre and don’t focus as much on character development. I think Lost has proven itself to be *much* more than a genre show by giving the characters such depth. Sure, it’s taken 4 years for some characters (Sawyer is just coming into his own) while others seem fairly stock (Jack), but I don’t think we ever saw this kind of character development on, say, Star Trek.
While we’re on the subject, I refuse to classify this as science fiction. Yeah, there are some otherworldly things going on here. But it’s soooooo much more than that. Plus, I hate sci fi!
1) The Lost Community– Now, if nothing else I ever do doesn’t brand me a dork, this will: I think my favorite part of watching Lost is the day-after. Yes, it’s a water-cooler show. And yes, I’m glad it’s on Thursday now so that I don’t feel *quite* so guilty discussing it with my friends/co-workers on Friday.
But, again, it’s so much more than that. There’s a whole community built around this show. I consider myself a pretty big fan. I usually read the blogs the next day to catch up on the latest theory/obscure reference I’ve missed. Hell, I’ve even started taking LIVE notes and sharing them with fellow “Losties” via email. But I’m NO WHERE near as devoted as some of the people online.
The likes of Doc Jensen, Doc Arzt and that guy from Powells (J. Wood, apparently) spend a great deal of time and energy researching the show, making sense of every bit of dialogue, imagery, and context. And those guys get paid for it. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of regular people who do it just for fun.
Take the first episode where we met the “freighter people” for example. I watched the show and thought: “hmmm…that redheaded actress is kinda pretty, wonder what’s up with her.” The Lost faithful immediately realized that her name was c.s. lewis, the author of the Chronicles of Narnia. And then made a million connections to why that was significant and what it means to the larger context of the show. And that, my friends is why I love the show. As Lenny Kravitz once said: “It ain’t over till it’s over.” And with Lost, it ain’t never over!
So, if you’re already a Lost fan, let’s talk in a couple of weeks about what is bound to be a mind-blowing finale. And if you’re not… rent the DVDs and get caught up. You won’t be disappointed!