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lost.

so when i heard that paul dini was one of the writers for Lost, i decided to take some interest in it by downloading the frst season and watching it. i didn't realize that it was such a critically acclaimed show or that it was longer than one season until after about 13 episodes when i went to wiki one of the characters on the show.

here's my roundabout opinion about it.

the first point i want to make i'll start this way.

generally i like tv series more than i like movies because i feel that the writers have more time to explore character depth and pace a plot more successfully than most movies. that sort of thing is always just a matter of personal preference. i'm not really entertained by action scenes encased around a shaky plot or dramas that take most people lifetimes to deal with that gets captured in a single hour and a half.

that being said, i think that Lost almost goes too far on the other side for me. there's a lot of strong potential in the character development, the plot, but i feel that the structure they decided to go with ends up with a lot of flat space. For the first seven or eight episodes, i started getting pretty annoyed at the format of the show, the whole, "let's take an episode to focus on a single character's flashback story interspersed with the island storyline." after a while i got used to it, but i didn't like that i got used to it, and by the end, i started to get annoyed by it again.

to me, what makes a good story is a balance between plot and character development. by character development, i mean, "what do we know about the character and when is it revealed? how does that character evolve throughout the course of the show/movie and to what depth?" each question develops a character differently - the first by history, the second by events. sometimes they overlap.

the problem with Lost in this regard is that all of the time spent on character history ends up stunting the true idea of character growth. they spend so much time explaining "this is how the character used to be" to help explain why "this is the way the character now is when the plane crashed" even after we've already hit a point of "this is how the character has changed since then," and it feels incredibly counterproductive.

a real easy example is Sawyer.

When Kate reads the letter that Sawyer keeps with him and then comes back to confront him about it. ignore the fact that it was an amazingly predictable character development because regardless of that, it was still effective at that moment.

but then about nine or ten episodes later after we already know it and have seen its effects on his character and how his character has already evolved from that, we see that original event in a flashback. And i just didn't understand. If this was the first time that we knew anything about it, fine. Thanks for the perspective, thus making him more than just a one-dimensional character (though not by much). But i feel that we had already gotten as much as we could out of that part of Sawyer's life by his conversation with Kate. why did we need to see it, and in a scene that felt rushed and contrived? I don't feel like i gained anything out of that scene, and i wish they had used the time to develop *current* plot instead of wasting more time on back story that the audience already knew.

especially since it hink that it was much more effective learning about it the first time because you get to see how Sawyer reacts to his own history. In the flashback sequence, you don't get any of that.

--

okay. moving away from the idea of how much the show's approach to character history detracts from character development and plot, we can focus on the flaws of the plot itself and how it develops.

i guess the biggest thing i'm scared about is that a) there won't be something that connects all of the survivors together making it into a "grand scheme" as opposed to coincidence, and that b) there will be something that connects all of the survivors together making it into a "grand scheme" as opposed to a coincidence.

either way i think they're losing. if it's all just some big coincidence that they happened to be on the same plane, it's not believable because their individual lives are way too extraordinary. it's mighty convenient that everyone has such an atypical-real-life-but-typical-tv-life sort of history. if it's *not* one big coincidence, i can already picture how the scene would go when someone discovers the Horrible! Secret!... not just the reaction on character's faces, but the way it will be filmed, the sort of music. And they'll try to achieve this dramaticism, this plot twist, this "oh my god!" and it will just come out being cheesy.

--

bah. i could go on and on about other aspects of the show i find annoying - the transparent interactions, the general two-dimensionality of the characters (particularly kate), how the whole "single story plot arc throughout a whole season" trend that reached a new level becuase of shows like "24" really bothers me.

the thing is, many of those things could be forgiveable in my eyes if the show wasn't trying so hard to be... i dunno. what it is. there are plenty of cartoons, sci-fi shows, etc. that suffer from these sorts of problems, but it's not nearly as problematic because the intent is so different. It's like... in a martial arts flick, people running up and down walls or jumping over huge 30 feet walls doesn't seem ridiculous because that's what we expect as a set up for that sort of universe. But imagine what it would be like if Jerry Orbach did that in a Law and Order chase scene or even if in a sci-fi show like Farscape or Stargate. people would say, "what the fuck?" because the context isn't correct, and in Lost, i find myself saying "what the fuck!" a lot of times because i don't feel like *any* context as it regards certain plot and character directions.

and what's most annoying is that the plot and story itself is pretty compelling, so i'll probably keep watching. I just wish that each season was about half as long, or they hit landmarks that don't seem like backward progress like the season 1 cliffhanger.

and i would hate hate hate to watch this on a week to week basis. it's a good thing i'm behind so much.

there's my two cents. it was going to be a lot longer and more intelligent, but i've lost focus on it, so that will have to do.

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Comments

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(Deleted comment)
lifeofmendel
Feb. 20th, 2007 02:39 am (UTC)
yeah, nail on the head.

and it's making me not want to watch season 3, if i even make it through season 2.

who is that guy? do you know him?
(Deleted comment)
snickers1127
Feb. 20th, 2007 11:30 pm (UTC)
Are you watching Heroes? The writers for that show have done a good job sticking to the points you describe, with the possible exception of the first couple episodes.
lifeofmendel
Feb. 20th, 2007 11:46 pm (UTC)
i've only heard about it.

i dunno. we'll see if i give it a try or not.
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