Friday, June 25, 2010

So Lost

I am so late in reviewing Lost, but heck, I reviewed Easy Rider a couple of weeks ago. Anyway, I watched Lost from beginning to end over about 4 months. Reactions:

The word for "laundry" and "landscape" come from the same root. "Landscape" is what you get when you take wilderness (land which has not been "cleaned") and you "clean" it. The resulting "landscape" is synonymous with "civilization".

By contrast, wilderness is wild and unclean. It is dangerous and mysterious, wonderful and terrible things can happen out there at any moment. You might be eaten by a wolf. You might find a Gingerbread cottage and be eaten by a witch. You might fall in love with the first living thing you see upon awakening. Characters who live at the interface between civilization and the wilderness, like woodsmen, are dark, mysterious individuals.

The island, in Lost was the very personification of this old notion of "wilderness". It was filled with magic, mystery, and danger. When the show focused on the effect Wilderness had on normal people, it was interesting. When the show focused on the mechanics of the Wilderness itself, it was terrible. I want to know how the island works as much as I want to know about the mitichlorians in Puck's "love-in-idleness" juice. But that was what we got.

The entire story arc dealing with Jacob and his brother, the source below the island, etc. left me cold. The characters ultimately were not interesting because backstory alone does not create interesting characters. I tired of Sawyer's scowls, Jack's disbelief, Kate's heels, and Hugo's amiable shrugs. Locke was the most interesting to me, until he became the smoke guy. I also liked Ben Linus for most of the series, and Mr Eko. The flash-sideways effect sort of worked because it promised to highlight the impact the island had on the characters. But that payoff never really came.

The first season remains fantastic. The rest of it is addictive and not-annoying if you can watch them back to back on DVD. Most of the disappointment comes from how well it began.



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