Monday, November 13, 2006

Why “Lost” is Doomed

via boingboing:

Why Lost Doesn't Work wrote:
Why Lost doesn't work
In New York magazine, Adam Sternbergh's piece about the decline of Lost captures my sentiments exactly. The show is getting worse and worse because the creators are forbidden from ever solving the central mystery in order to keep it running for as many seasons as possible. So when some smaller mystery does get explained, it never helps explain what's really going on.
There is, however, a simple solution: Change the format, or at least reimagine it. When it so-called arc shows, we need something between a mini-series and an open-ended run. We need the TV equivalent of a novella: the limited-run show. Series driven by a central mystery (Twin Peaks, The X-Files) peter out precisely because they have indefinite life spans. The writers are forced to serve up red herrings until the shows choke on their own plot twists. (Whereas 24 works because it’s more cliff-hanger than puzzle—though Jack Bauer is surely the unluckiest man alive.)
I had this sneaking suspicion about this show for a long time and it's why I haven't gotten into it.

Is it still worth watching for individual episodes even if they overextend and mess up the central story?

By al - 7:55 a.m. |

I've heard in the past that they had the storyline written for up to 4 or 5 seasons before it was even picked up as a TV show.

The whole storyline and random craziness is exciting for me but I much prefer watching it on boxset than seeing all the individual episodes on TV. by far.
I'd say no, but I'd also say the problem isn't so much the plot twists or secrets, because secrets are fine. The problem is that the fact that each of the characters knows something that if all that Information was combined they could figure a lot of stuff out (not everything, but progress would be made) and therefore the characters can't reveal things either. Which means they don't act like people do; they hide everything even when their survival is at stake. And because they don't talk to one another, I'm never sure what any of them (including the bad-guys-who-might-also-be-but-probably-aren't-good-guys) want, and that for me is the hardest thing to watch. For all of the show's vaunted character studying, we're confronted with an awful lot of characters who a) don't talk to one another, b) don't seem to want to get off the island that badly or, for that matter, want much of anything at all, and c) who are entirely closed, guarded people. I mean, people are closed and guarded, but not normally when, say, you know you've been on an island for a month and weird things have been happening to everybody and yet when that one weird thing happens that you recognize you keep quiet? 'Cause why? The fake polar bears that you control with your mind might embarass you for talking "crazy"?

Anyway, short answer is "no," 'cause unless you've been watching, all of those Meaningful stares the characters have that refer to things in earlier episodes will just look sinister...
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