July 13, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Why Lost Sucked From The Start

"The executive said he wanted some answers and he was putting his foot down. We'll show him!"

"The executive said he wanted some answers and he was putting his foot down. We'll show him!"
“The ABC executive said he wanted some answers and he was putting his foot down. We’ll show him!”

It is no secret that I despised Lost.  It’s come up on the podcast more than once and probably in an article or two here at Gabbing Geek.  I have also been accused of becoming a hater at the end like so many others.  But as a true geek it is important that I stake my claim–I was a Lost hater from season one.  After the break I’ve copied the blog post I wrote and published on April 8, 2005.  The first season of Lost wasn’t over yet and I gave my two biggest reasons for despising Lost. The second reason was from a writing perspective–at the time I was taking a lot of TV writing classes and writing spec scripts so that second item (artificial tension) bugged me a lot.  But that first reason and my prediction for how Lost would end–read this and tell me I didn’t nail it five years before the rest of you had to suffer through that finale!  

Lost sucked then, still sucks.  See what I said back in 2005 after the break.

I know there’s a lovefest going on for Lost. It’s a shame. Because Lost sucks. Admitting it is the first step. Realizing why is the second. There are two reasons why Lost sucks. First, open-ended TV mysteries suck. By definition. Yes, they start off interesting, and the good ones keep their energy going for a while with some interesting twists and turns. Like X-Files. But the only way they can keep the series going is by keeping the mystery alive. Meaning no resolution. Meaning no ending. At best you can wrap up one storyline and open a new one. It’s tiresome, and it’s intellectually dishonest. It’s just a cheap way to keep a series alive until there’s nothing left and not enough viewers to warrant renewal. At that point, you wrap it up with a confusing finale, or a dissatisfying one–or both. But that means everything that Lost fans are watching now is just worthless storytelling–because it will be abandoned at a moment’s notice or made irrelevant in the end. And that’s the upside. The second reason why Lost sucks is because it’s fallen victim to a disturbing and growing trend in TV dramas–the creation of artificial tension. Alias does this a lot too, not surprising since they’re both created by J.J. Abrams. Artificial tension is when you start an episode with some climactic event, stop at the moment of highest tension, then spend the majority of the episode recounting how everyone got to that point. That’s artificial tension–when the writer can’t create an interesting enough story to keep you involved from start to end, so they start at the most interesting moment and hope you’ll be interested to revisit the boring stuff that got you there. Lost is just all artificial tension. Each episode gives you some interesting tidbits, but then half or more is flashback of otherwise dull, uninteresting material. The true test is if you watched the show in chronological order, would you turn it off. In Lost’s case, the answer is a resounding Hell yeah! Yes, it’s the hot show. Yes, I watch it because it’s the hot show and I want to know what the hot show is doing. But the backlash is going to hurt, especially next year when viewers will tire of having this perpetual mystery. So the network will tell the producers to wrap up this storyline, and the writers will wrap up everything in an episode or two only to introduce a new, higher level mystery. Which they’ll keep until viewers get tired, which won’t last as long as the first time. Then they’ll retool again, and again, and again, each time the mystery cycle growing shorter and shorter. Just look at Alias over the years and you’ll see Lost’s future staring you right in the face. Bottom line: Lost sucks, and a lot of people are going to be very bitter when they finally realize it. Me? I’m bitter now, as one friend recently told me. But that’s okay, because I know where I am and I’ll gladly ease the pain for all future Lost fans who realize the truth. When you’re ready to join me, I’m here with open arms. Then we can start bitching about Desperate Housewives together.

From Hose Knows, my older now defunct blog, April 8, 2005.