Thursday, August 13, 2015

ABC Studio's Lost Season One

I'll be honest. I'm struggling with whether or not ABC Studio's Lost is even a SF/F title. Plane crashes are certainly something that happen in real life. Deserted islands exist. There have been airliners that went down that were never found, but, but... This one seems a little wonky and I'm wondering if that wonkiness isn't because of a SF/F element that hasn't been fully introduced yet. Let's be honest: There is an awful lot that these guys had in common before they got on that plane together and the amount of disasters on this island is just plain screwy. This isn't a re-watch so I don't know what comes next for sure but I've heard enough people complain about the fourth and fifth seasons of the show and how weird it got to believe (without really knowing) that the SF/F Elements pop out then.

Bottom line though, this is a show that makes the watcher think. There is so much going on here that I can't let my attention slip for more than a few seconds. Nothing seems to fit but it all makes sense. I've heard that this was originally pitched as a series with no continuing storyline but if that's true then the producers lied. That much being said, I'm glad they did.

I'm actually kind of happy that I waited until I could binge watch Lost to start watching it. This series is as addicting as a good novel. I'm not sure what to call the TV version of a page turner but this is it. I've lost a few hours of sleep when I serially thought, "Just one more episode." We've all been at that point right? One minute I'm sitting down to watch AN episode of Lost. The next thing I know it's two AM and I'm trying to blink away sleep to get the last couple of minutes of the episode I'm watching.

On the other hand, I'm also kind of disappointed that I didn't see this when it first came out. I feel left out now. It's weird because it's not like I didn't know what was going on. A couple of guys on my local sports talk station used to talk about Lost when the sports day was slow. I knew the basic premise and that a lot of my friends were addicted to the show. I just missed the first few episodes and had been warned. "Don't get started now. You won't get it." I guess they were right but I'm still trying to figure out why I didn't just buy the box set the following spring so I'd be ready for the second season.  Live and learnI guess. Next time a phenomenon like this show comes around I'm in.

The people who wrote this show are geniuses. They wove this thing together brilliantly. There are just enough coincidences that you can tell that there not actually coincidental. The thing is, there aren't so many as to reveal exactly what is going on. Every time a question is answered it brings up three more questions. Nothing gets resolved but that's okay because I'm always certain that the next episode is going to give me the answers I want. It may but if it does I'm just going to end up wondering again.

The special effects for the series are terrific considering the fact that it is a television show. Things explode. There is a mysterious something stalking people. No one knows what it is but its effects on the local environment are obvious. Someone gets dragged by black smoke. I'm not sure how that should be possible but it looks real. When a rockslide happens it really looks rock-slidey. I'll be honest in saying that I'm not sure how realistic the rescue attempt was, but that's on me not them.

I've often been frustrated with castaway type stories and the way they always seem to include everything necessary for the people to survive including the correct professions. Yes, there is a rock singer who adds nothing survival-wise to the group. They've also got a doctor, a construction worker, a communications expert and two professional outlaws skilled in scrounging to survive. There is also a skilled gardener and a man armed with knives and the guts to hunt boar with them. The US Marshal is killed by the crash but he leaves a legacy behind that proves invaluable to our castaways. I'm not sure how I feel about all of this as regards the plot of this series.

My first instinct is that this is a too-perfect set-up. The fact remains that if I'm right - and I'm guessing here - and there is something magical, mystical and/or somehow contrived by something on the island that it makes sense. If something is powerful enough to intentionally attract all of these people
who get marooned here then it stands to reason that it could also contrive a desirable mix of passengers. There is something going on here that hasn't been revealed yet and I need to know what it is.

My one real complaint about the series so far is that any characters outside of the main group are pretty much treated as cardboard cut-outs and disposable. I get that the series has to concentrate on a small group of characters to make people care about them. The fact remains that there are others on the island who need to be taken seriously. But really I kind of get it too. There is also a chance that some of these other people will make it into the big time moving forward, so we'll see.

Bottom Line: 4.75 out of 5 Deserted Islands

ABC Studios, 2004

Lost is available for purchase here:

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