Monday, November 23, 2009

Lost: A Review

Recently, I ingested the entire five seasons J.J. Abrams' hit TV show "Lost" from beginning to end in barely a month. At first, I was a "Lost" hater - I hated it, and I enjoyed hating it and I wasn't in the mood to be budged on the matter. What was the worst about this was, I had never even watched it. I hated it purely based on the concept and false assumptions. But, I had to go and tell this to a rather pushy "Lost" fan, "Go on, watch the pilot episode if," he said, "if after that you don't want to watch any more of it, I won't push it." So I said fine. At the end of the movie-length premier, I was hooked and needed more "Lost". The complaints I had heard that it "all of a sudden" became a sci-fi show were, now, unfounded as "Lost" is in its essence, a sci-fi show. What's more, it's a good sci-fi show - which are rare to find. What's better is it was in the vein of the first season of "Heroes" and set in a very relatable real-world setting, but a lot less cheesy.

All the misconceptions I had had about the series turned out to be unfounded upon a proper viewing of the show. The show did not, as I thought, take place over a year each season but was actually a month, the first season being the first 44 days on the island - this created an interesting time paradox involving the actors and the events on the island - and it was not the only time paradox, as time is a predominant theme in the show.

What I found most intriguing about "Lost" is the surprising depth of it. To paraphrase a review given to the novel "World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War", "Lost" is smarter than any sci-fi should has a right to be. Every character is based in some way around an historical figure or philosopher, the most obvious of which is the character of John Locke named after...well...John Locke. The 'main' character - a term I use loosely as a result of the inordinate number of main characters, the season six containing all previously seen twenty-six characters - Jack Sheppard seems to me to be based upon the famed Irish convict of the same name who is famous for escaping from prison something to the effect of fourteen times.

I have heard almost every possible interpretation of what "Lost" means, and what the Island is - that it's purgatory, that it's a prison, it's hell, it's not real, etc. etc. etc. ad infinatum. No one interpretation is right or wrong, and they are all well documented and correlated at LostPedia, an encyclopedia of everything that is "Lost".

For those of you who haven't seen "Lost" I won't be providing spoilers, so don't worry. The basic idea is that a plane crashes on a mysterious island, and somehow forty-seven or so people survive the crash - most of which are what we call "red shirts", named so after the character in "Star Trek" who would go down to the planet with the main characters and would...well...die, as they weren't leads, and they always wore red shirts. Of these, there are approximately 11-15 main characters at a time - it fluctuates as the seasons go on and characters die or are introduced. After some time on the island, they realize something is awry with the Island as they hear what they will frustratingly refer to as The Monster for five seasons, and soon realize they are not alone on the island. Major conspiracies, sci-fi concepts, philosophy and intriguing characters all make this show a worthwhile watch!

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