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Old 10-06-2004, 04:29 PM  
Deberg_1990 Deberg_1990 is offline
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The Official "Lost" the series discussion

I figured I would start a thread for this and see what happens....there seemed to be quite a few viewers on the board for this show the past few weeks.....I like the direction the show is taking so far......episode 3 tonight at 7 central on ABC....
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Old 06-21-2010, 08:16 PM   #6196
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That being said, what do you think about my theory on "Jacob's list?"
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Old 06-21-2010, 08:19 PM   #6197
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Pretty conclusive, but given Ben's character itself, nothing more needs to be said other than Ben is a pathological liar.
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Old 06-22-2010, 07:43 PM   #6198
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Just finished Lost. All done. You know what?

Dane is right.
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:02 PM   #6199
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Just finished Lost. All done. You know what?

Dane is right.
Nope, thanks for your contribution to the thread.
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:30 PM   #6200
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I was hoping for a few "" 's at my "Dane was right" post before I posted again. I don't agree with Dane at all; I find virtually no "textual" evidence for his interpretation and I think I can point out some inconsistencies in it anyway.

Alright, before I go on a loosely-structured ramble about the show as a whole I want to say a few words about season 6 itself.

It sucked.

I think that it is the second-worst season of the series. Like season 3 (the worst) it had five or six good-to-great episodes but taken on the whole it was not satisfying. Why? Well, early on in the season all we got out of the on-island action was a bunch of campy, ultimately useless temple action. Things were being stalled for no real reason; it certainly wasn't coming from the characters (which is something I will be bringing up a lot regarding season 6). In fact, there were plenty of characters that didn't have anything to do in this season, or when they did do something it turned out to not make any sense whatsoever (Sayid was a mess of motivation, Ben's actions pretty much made no sense and had no impact, etc).

But the flash-sideways was what really hurt season 6. For the first half of the season it was pretty much impossible to be engaged with it. The audience has no idea what it was or whether it had any connection to the on-island characters. I imagine most people rejected it as "false" and expected everyone to wake up from it and choose the "real" world or something. I knew in advance what it was - a holding cell for the afterlife in which people needed find each other before being able to move on - and with that knowledge the flash-sideways doesn't work, either. There are so many red herrings and shit that doesn't even make sense. Jack's son? Nadia's kids? Those kids don't exist in the timeline proper. Either they are someone else's kids who needed to imagine themselves as being children of other parents for their own moving-on needs or, um, something else that doesn't make sense, I guess. How about people that die in the flash-sideways, like Keamy and Mikael? How do you die twice? I suppose that one way out of this shit would be to say that the people in the church are the "real" dead people in that world and everyone else are "fake" people that they constructed along with the world. But that excludes the characters that weren't in the church like Ben, Alex, etc. Anyway, the flash-sideways was unengaging and nonsensical.

The last part of the season worked as episode-to-episode entertainment. Which, not coincidentally, is how Lost works best.
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:51 PM   #6201
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I was half tempted Reaper.....but I wanted to see your next post before I actually commented.
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:43 PM   #6202
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Thank goodness...

All I really want to know is whether or not you would recommend it to your friends to watch? (Well thats not all I really want to know, but you know what I am saying.)
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:58 PM   #6203
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Wow. So, Lost, huh? You know what? That was one of the better dramas to ever air on network television. Now, it merits zero comparison to some of the dramas that have aired on cable TV in the last 10-15 years (The Wire, The Sopranos, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Oz, Deadwood, etc). But as far as dramas on network TV? It is perhaps the most bold, thought-provoking drama in network history. I think that Friday Night Lights, Homicide: Life on the Street, and Twin Peaks are better. But Lost is up there with them. As episode-to-episode entertainment it has few network peers. It can be thrilling, suspensful, handle action at break-neck paces and even pack a heavy emotional punch. When Lost was on (like it was for the last four episodes of season 3 and the first four or so episodes of season 4) it was impossible to dislike. Was Lost "on" enough to make it a great show? Nah, but it is a darn good one, all things considered. I am quite glad to have seen it, which is something I was really unsure about going into it.

Let's get one thing out of the way first: this show is a mess of unresolved plot points and, at times, utterly pointless writing and character motivation. Remember that College Humor video about all the unresolved plot points?:






Well, I can answer maybe six of those questions. No, Lester Freamon, all the pieces don't matter, not on The Island. The rest of those questions are completely forgotten about, abandoned. Boo. This is either: 1.) very bad, sloppy writing, 2.) done intentionally for reasons I will get to later, or 3.) a mix of both.

Another thing, this is probably the most pretentious show ever. It puts on this facade of deep intellectualism, what with all of the character names relating to famous thinkers and all the crazy-ass time travel and incorporation of classical myth and dozens upon dozens of references to literary works. 99% of these references have no meaning wrt the show itself; everything is surface-value intellectualism. In many ways, Lost is like that hipster douchebag at Starbucks with a beret and an un-read Kierkegaard compilation sitting next to him while he Instant Messages with people on his i Pad. Literary references go nowhere. Names mostly serve as basic connectors (Faraday, hmm? He's probably good at math!). Some names don't even make sense (like Rousseau - Danielle was a woman who lived in fear of what she perceived as the savage, wild Others. She's named after a thinker who thought that humans didn't necessarily have to turn to war and savagery, that combat wasn't hardwired into the human species). Sometimes the show felt like certain works of literature that weren't even referenced on the show. Like, season 6 reminded me a lot of Paradise Lost. Man In Black was made to be sympathetic in a lot of ways like Satan famously was in Milton's masterpiece. But on the whole, for all of the allusions and references, the show wasn't made any deeper because of them.
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:59 PM   #6204
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Now, let's discuss the things that Lost does talk about, because this is not by any means an intellectually bankrupt show (and I apologize in advance for being very general. I can get specific in discussion later but I don't feel enthused enough to elaborately detail things):

Free will vs Fate/Determinism is one of the hallmark themes of the show. So many, many times is "free will" invoked on this show. Characters are constantly having to make choices... but oftentimes the result ends up being the same no matter what. Or the choices are so lopsided in favor of one that there isn't really a choice at all. A great example is how Man in Black is always telling people that he isn't going to make them do anything they don't want to do. Of course, those that don't "willingly choose" to do as he says are murdered. So the question is - is there really choice involved in that? The manipulations set up under the guise of providing choices is often cruel; the very idea of a choice in the matter often illusory. Moreover, it is the nature of the island as a mystical controlling body that props up a system of determinism. People can't die until the island is finished with them; people are only brought to the island for a purpose. They can't leave (for very long anyway) without having to go back and fulfill that purpose. Faraday proposes that only big events are enough to shake up time, that free will is still mathematically possible. He was wrong; detonating the nuke only sent our heroes forward in time so that they could fulfill their purpose. I sort of dig the brazenness of the show landing so in favor of determinism. Part of me balks, of course, because it is so un-American. This show is about individuals making their own choices that don't matter because they'll end up in the place they are supposed to, one way or another. It is sad and despairing stuff, really, to be trapped into a fated series of events, only being able to let go of it all in death.

Re-creation is a minor theme related to determinism. It seemed awfully important in this show that certain moments be re-created as best as possible. The Ajira flight could only get to the island if it re-created the Oceanic flight (needed as many of the same passengers as possible, needed artifacts like a guitar case and a coffin) serves as a big example. In the flash-sideways/purgatory, characters would only remember their lived lives after important moments from them were re-created (Charlie's palm while drowning, Ben getting punched by Desmond, Hurley and Libbey kissing, Kate acting as midwife to Claire, etc). All this re-creation makes for a cyclical feel, which ties in to the Fate/Determinism side of things.

Togetherness was important since the first use of the catchphrase "Save the Cheerlead," er, wrong show, I mean "Live together [or] die alone." When the individual making choices for him or her self doesn't matter, then all you have is the group to consider, how each person's fated path works within the group unit. The characters seemed only to make headway on their problems when they came together; almost all of the bad things that happened to these characters came as a result of the factioning going on, all the separate groups with different means to different ends. Everyone needed each other in the end. Hell, they couldn't even move on after death until they all came together one last time. Man, this show gets really un-American at times, doesn't it?

Power & Leadership are always desired on this show. But they are also shown, time and time again, to be folly. The leaders are constantly making bad decisions and no one really has the power. We think Ben has a lot of power as leader of the Others? Nope. He's lying his ass off all the time because he has no power; he leads with smoke and mirrors and lies because that is all that he has. It is a conventional treatment of the ills of power - hungry, self-centered men desire it but the one person who has it (Jacob) is selfless - but not an ineffective one.

Information drives much of the show - chiefly who is lying about things or who is refusing to talk about things. Lying is huge in this show. Ben does it. Sawyer does it. People lie to protect others. People lie to distance themselves from others. People lie to work angles. The nature of the "con man" lives in the fiber of the series. Ultimately, lying doesn't even get people anywhere positive. It merely delays and frustrates and makes things worse. Almost every bad occurrence in the whole series comes as a result of either a lie or of keeping information from someone. There are countless instances where bad events could have been avoided had people simply talked with each other and told them what they know. This problem reaches as far back as the thing that drove Man in Black away from Jacob and fake-mommy/Protector. If there is a single applicable life lesson from Lost it is that you should just be open and tell the truth for Chrissake. In an ironic twist, the show itself was very adept at keeping information from its viewers and by lying to them with all of the red herrings and unresolved plot points. And the show's flaws mostly stem from those. See, kids? Tell the truth.

Parents - mommy & daddy issues - are the core of most character motivations on this show. We've got parents that aren't their for their kids (the parents of Locke, Sawyer, Shannon), parents who are really bad at parenting (the parents of Jack, Kate, Daniel, Miles, Sun), parents-in-law who are antagonistic towards their sons-in-law (Desmond, Jin), etc. Michael was trying and failing at being a father. Jacob was sort of an absentee father for Ben and the other leaders of the Others. Of course, Claire raises a kid on the island and Sun & Kate take care of kids off the island. It is a strong motif but I am unsure of what the show wants to say beyond "raise your kids better, folks." I suppose that the bad/lack of parenting contributes to the cyclical nature of behavior represented on the show.
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:00 PM   #6205
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Man of Science vs Man of Faith: Ah, the most important theme of the whole series. Jack started out as a man of science and ended as a man of faith. Much of the show was centered around this conflict. Locke always trusted in the mystical nature of the Island. He was a deep believer in fate, in purpose. And even though his purpose was not as grand as he may have hoped, the dude was right. Faith is the side of things that the show props up as the correct one. The examples are numerous and you all know all of them so I won't bother to recap; it is the most obvious theme in the show. But it also leads, perhaps unintentionally, to Lost's greatest artistic achievement. I think that the show, more or less, can act as a barometer of one's own side of the debate between science and faith. My personal reactions to the show pretty conclusively tell me that I am a thoroughgoing Man of Science. For one, I majorly balk at the show's Heaven-y, faith-y conclusion. Frankly, I felt as if the show was playing the Long Con on me; Surprise! 'Twas all for God! It feels empty to me and makes me think that the show doesn't have much to say about the world we live in (mostly because I don't think that there is a Heaven or any religious body to put one's Faith into). Moreover, I would be willing to bet that the vast, vast majority of people who are pissed off about the dozens and dozens of unresolved plot points and unanswered questions are Men of Science, too. The fans that went crazy into theorizing and analyzing screen shots and trying to figure out the answers are totally engaging their Science sides. But the show goes out of its way at dozens of times in dialogue to belittle fan theories or to slap the wrists of those fans by saying that certain answers aren't important at all. The Faithful fans can accept that explanation, and they are rewarded for their faith when, at the end of the series, those questions are indeed shown to be completely unimportant to the story that was told. I am curious to see how many people here on CP that this doesn't apply to, i.e. how many faithful or religious Lost watchers are/were upset at all of the loose ends or didn't like the ending. Even if there are some of you, the show provides you then with a chance to reassess either your capacity for Faith or your allegiance to Science, to making sense of things and finding answers. This is an incredible thing for a network television series to achieve.

So, with that out of the way comes an important question: Given that the creators clearly state their intent for the show to be foremost about its characters, does Lost succeed as a character drama? My answer: No. It really doesn't, not on the whole. The show ended like it wanted to be one all the way. The big payoff in the finale is watching our character remember each other and share emotional moments with each other. It so very, very much wants to be a character drama. And it tries. And it works at times. But it ultimately fails on a few levels, the most important being that the characters just aren't that good. Yeah, I said it. Don't get me wrong, there are some very good characters on this show. And even some poorer ones are fun to watch. But do the characters work as people? Do they exhibit growth throughout the whole series? Does the story move forward as a result of the characters' actions?

Let's address those one a time, starting with the latter. So much of the show is propelled by cliffhangers and island mysteries and the promise of future answers. I'd bet that 90% of episodes don't end on a character moment. People keep watching for the plot AND the characters. Now, the ideal show would be both and it is certainly possible to be both exciting/mysterious and character-centered. My qualm is that a large part of the show revolves around the characters doing things that they don't understand, motivated by bits and pieces of information. Why? Because mystery and intrigue make for compelling dramatic TV. For a character-based drama, though, all the story happenings need to be generated from the characters themselves. Lost is full of vague explanations for why people are doing things and it is also full of complex stuff like time travel. The problem is that all the mystery and complexity of plot is mysterious and complex for the sake of being mysterious and complex. It is not coming from the characters themselves. The characters are in service of a plot and story designed to be interesting and compelling from week to week.

Despite this, some characters are strong enough to force the story around them and do manage to feel like real people to boot. Ben and Locke are fully realized characters, and the two best-written ones. We see actual growth from them at a natural pace, with plenty of character-based actions (though Ben has a lot of contrived actions too, especially in season 3 when 75% of the season was the Others being made out to be evil for the sake of mystery). Sun and Jin felt like real people, and Jin especially demonstrated a lot of personal growth. It took Jack a long while to become that Man of Faith but grow into that role he did. I hated the flash-sideways but even I smiled big-time when Sawyer and Juliet reunited in the finale - because their character moments were so nice throughout the show. Desmond's story is one that seemingly everyone gets invested into. Their reunion at the end of season 4 (set up by series highlight "The Constant") was a joyous character moment.

(It occurs to me that the best character moments come from either 1.) the best actors on the show nailing the moment, or 2.) the writers really nailing a storyline, such as how all the Desmond-centric episodes are the most unique, well-executed episodes of the series. Perhaps Lost would have been a better character drama if it more good actors and writers?)

The final nail in the coffin in the idea of the show being principally a character drama is the flash-sideways universe itself. It is supposed to serve as a big character payoff, what with all of the remembrances and recollections and characters like Ben being able to live happier lives and such. But it doesn't pay off the characters at all, not if you're really paying attention. The flash-sideways doesn't give our characters ANY room to show how they've grown from their island experiences. We don't get to see how the island time "fixed" those broken few who got off the island in the finale because the flash-sides take up so much time. The flash-sides characters are largely ignorant pseudo-selves who remember all of their island experiences only in time to "move on" from them. In effect, the show's big character payoff in the finale only serves to cheapen everything we see our beloved characters go through! They have to let go of those experiences without learning from them. The flash-sideways then not only doesn't make any sense but it makes the show less effective at what it wants to be. What a ****ed up way to end an important series.
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:01 PM   #6206
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So, no, Lost doesn't work as a character drama. It does work very well as a twisting, turning, wild-ride of a show. Many of its episodes are very strong when viewed as self-contained episodes and it often strikes a enjoyable balance between cool character moments and mind-blowing Island craziness. Each season brings up a number of themes that viewers can wrestle around with in their minds, from season one's exploration into the responsibilities we have with respect to our loved ones, to season 2's War-on-Terror-charged political overtones to season 6's discussions of the power of faith and its ability to help you let go of life's baggage. At its best, the show is paced like pulp entertainment but with a pleasingly hefty intellectual weight. And you know what? I don't have a problem at all with the sci-fi insanity. Things like the polar bears were ****ed up at first but eventually explained. Sure the Island's explanation as a cork for all the world's evil and good and whatever is pretty much the Force but I can readily accept this show, Smoke Monster and electromagnetism and fish biscuits and all. Because it is a genre piece and it is fun and it is entertaining. Its genre-ness doesn't diminish what good characterization there is, either.

Would I suggest that someone who was on the fence about the show (or even mildly antagonistic towards it like I was) go ahead and watch Lost? Yes. I think that I would. Thanks, Lost. You are deeply, deeply flawed but you aren't without merit. The world of TV is better off by your presence.

In honor of Jacob, here are some lists:

Favorite Episode - 1.) The Shape of Things to Come
2.) The Constant
3.) Flashes Before Your Eyes
Last) Stranger In A Strange Land

Best Actors -
Elite Tier (the stuff that Emmy nominations are made of):
Michael Emerson, Yunjin Kim, Terry O'Quinn

Great tier (not Emmy-good, but still damn good):
Daniel Dae Kim, Josh Holloway, Elizabeth Mitchell, Nestor Carbonell (once he got something to do), Henry Ian Cusick, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Harold Perrineau

Naveen Andrews (would have been in the Great tier but he turned in a disastrous season 6 in which Sayid's accent completely changed)

Best Seasons, in order from best to worst -
Four
Five
One
Two
Six
Three

Best Pieces of Music -
1.) The S tooges, "Search and Destroy"
2.) There is no number two. **** you, Giacchino, for trying to upstage the show at every turn. There's another reason why Lost doesn't work as a character drama - instead of letting the characters do things that make the audience feel certain ways, Giacchino has to drive the audience to feel certain ways with his heavy-handed (though oftentimes beautiful when taken just as pieces of music) score. I might be the only person who feels this way.

Least favorite characters -
1.) Claire
2.) Charlie
3.) Kate
4.) Jack
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:02 PM   #6207
Reaper16 Reaper16 is offline
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Sorry if some of that doesn't make sense. I wrote it all in one sitting just now. In the ChiefsPlanet reply box, at that.
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:48 PM   #6208
Buck Buck is offline
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Nice Reaper. U would have liked it if you said something along the lines of "In my opinion, Twin Peaks and Homicide were better..." only because I'm sure plenty of people disagree with you.
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Old 06-23-2010, 01:01 AM   #6209
Rausch Rausch is offline
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Going back I look at the Jack/Ben characters differently.

I do like their stories now.

Both show the importance of faith, not in a religion, but in general. Just the the belief itself, the positive attitude that somehow all will work out.

Ben never has faith. Ben never saw Jacob and never really believed. No matter how much power or people he had behind him he couldn't FORCE the world to give him what he wanted. In the end Ben was the story of a character left with resentment, regret, and without power.

Jack finally found faith. He died with purpose. That sense of purpose, due to his faith in his actions, made HIM feel his life had meaning and worth. He didn't feel that way before. He FOUND his meaning.

Jin and Sun always loved each other but let other things get in the way. They died together because they made that decision. They decided nothing would come between them.

Death is not losing. It's not failing. We all die. It's how we die that we have some choice in. Is it for a purpose? Does it have meaning? Did our lives make others and a small part of the world better?

All the characters were lost before they came to the island. On the island they got a mulligan. Given a 2nd chance some made the most of it and some failed.

In the flash sideways they were all given what they really wanted. Sawyer got all the resources he needed to find the killer. Jack got a happy family life and his career. Jin and Sun got their escape together.

The point of the sideways was: given everything you want is what you want for you what makes you truly happy in the end?

In the end they all realize that it's not about ME, it's about US. It's about what's best for everyone. What makes me happy right now might not be the best or most moral decision to make. In fact, the moral decision might demand that I sacrifice something.

So, I'm ok with the flash sideways. THAT was the purgatory, if you will. I'm ok with the island being everyone's second chance.

I just hate the almost endless list of loose ends that went nowhere during the journey...
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I wish I always ended up at gay bars.
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Old 06-23-2010, 07:51 AM   #6210
Reaper16 Reaper16 is offline
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In the flash sideways they were all given what they really wanted. Sawyer got all the resources he needed to find the killer. Jack got a happy family life and his career. Jin and Sun got their escape together.

The point of the sideways was: given everything you want is what you want for you what makes you truly happy in the end?
That isn't really true. Sayid didn't get what he wanted. Kate gets caught. If your point is that everyone stepped into LA X with what they wanted, then maaaaaybe that's true. But the flash became happier for some characters and not good for others. And there isn't a consistent reasons for why some characters got something approaching happiness and why others didn't.
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