Tuesday, May 4, 2010

And Now, Your Obligatory LOST Post

Tonight, LOST returns for its final stretch of three episodes, plus a two-hour season finale. As this is a blog where you're expecting all things couch-related, I would be remiss if I didn't at least post something about what has been perhaps the most culturally-pervasive TV show of the past five years -- it's even spawned its own subculture, complete with video games and a show-specific Wikipedia site. So because Daniel doesn't watch LOST and I do, it's up to me to talk about it. As I did when I talked about Band of Brothers, I'll try to avoid spoilers, but a few might slip through the cracks.

I'm not going to do any show recap here. If you've been watching, you know what's going on. If you haven't been watching, it would be impossible for me to explain how we got to the point that we're at now without exceeding some sort of Blogspot bandwidth limit.

So why has LOST become so culturally-significant? Basically, because it's a truly great show.

Okay, so then why is LOST such a great show? Well, because it's exciting. Because the music builds suspense without you even realizing it, even going so far at times as to simulate a heartbeat, getting faster as the suspense builds. Because of this.

Because any of the characters could be killed off at any time. In a show with an ensemble like this, no one is truly the main character. The writers have killed off characters from the main group before, and the show has gone on. Also, with the prevalence of flashbacks, and flash forwards, and sideways timelines, a character who dies isn't completely gone from the show.

Because the writers made it a mystery/sci-fi show that doesn't make you a nerd for watching it. Yes, in fairness, it didn't really become clear that this was a sci-fi show until around season 3, and by that time, you'd already been roped in. I know, I know -- there's time traveling. If you can't deal with a scripted TV show doing something like this, then you should just go back to watching your completely realistic shows, like 24.

Because each episode always seems to end with one of those "what the hell..." cliffhangers that makes you need to watch the next episode. And during the early seasons, and again this season, there were a whole lot of moments that left you staring at the screen in shock and amazement -- the opening to season two, for example (you know, where we first meet Desmond), which remains my all-time favorite "holy crap" moment of the show.

During season four, the show slowed down, and we were being introduced to new mysteries by the handful, while the old ones weren't being resolved. Sure, the show lost a few viewers, but for the most part, LOST had been good enough to that point to retain the majority of its viewers. Sensing viewer angst, the writers announced that they were planning on wrapping it all up in the next two seasons. Since then, the show's pace has picked back up, mysteries were explained, and it all seems to be heading to some sort of huge conclusion.

Most of you already are aware of this, but just know that if you haven't seen the show yet, trying just to watch the final handful of episodes is an incredibly poor idea. This is one of those shows where if you don't start from the very beginning, you'll have no idea what's going on. Though if you haven't started watching yet, you're pretty much screwed if you want to be surprised by the ending. That is, unless you have the time to watch six seasons worth of episodes in the next three weeks.

I never watched The Sopranos, but because it was viewed as such a culturally-pervasive show, everyone was talking about it the next day -- on the news, on SportsCenter -- there was no avoiding it. I know exactly how it ended....or more appropriately, I'm painfully aware that everyone has no idea how it actually ended. LOST is going to be the same way. The day after the finale, people are going to be talking about it. You'll hear what happened. For those of you watching for the first time after the show's run ends, I'm sure you'll still enjoy watching the show, but it just won't be the same without the suspense of not knowing how it's going to end.

So...how is it going to end? Honestly, I think there are one or two obvious ways that the writers could go with this. (I don't want to ruin it for anyone who doesn't want to hear them, so if you're curious, let me know.) However, since we've sat through six seasons of "holy crap" moments, I, along with most other viewers, am expecting something that will leave me staring at the TV in shock over what just happened -- and in a good way too. If it all turns out to be a dream sequence or some sort of hallucination, there will be riots that will make Detroit 1967 look tame by comparison. Hopefully, I'll be back here in three weeks, writing about the amazing ending that no one saw coming. But in the meantime, I'll be trying to figure out if it's possible to reverse jinx the ending to a scripted TV show.

Finally, since Daniel got to give a birthday shout-out for today, I think I'm entitled to one too. Happy 50th, Mom.

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