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Get Lost

Lost is a new series on TV that I think you should be watching. I’ve seen 3 of the 4 episodes so far and its very interesting and compelling.

Lost is the story of the 47 survivors of a plane crash on a Pacific island. So far we’ve learned a little about many of the characters, why they were in Australia, why they where on the flight and some bits and pieces about their pasts. On the surface, it appears to be a ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ survival story, only without the familial cheerines. But. The island is not what it seems. Strange things keep happening. Some sort of creature lives in the jungle and randomly attacks people, but it doesn’t eat them. The survivors killed a polar bear in the 2nd episode. The main character keeps seeing someone around the camp that no one else sees. There is a distress signal playing from an unknown location on island. Its been broadcasting for 16 years.

These elements give Lost a significant supernatural, if not downright SF, feel. We don’t know why the plane crashed. We don’t know where they are. We don’t know anything about the island, only that strange things are occuring.

Another interesting thing, and one that begins to straing the old ‘suspension of disbelief’, is that each episode a character’s past is explored in quick flashbacks. Now, while its nice to get to know the survivors, and it puts a human face on them, the odd thing is each one appears to have a secret or to not be what they appear to be. Now, it may be that this quirk is explained in the coming episodes. So far its been done well, and I hope it continues.

In general, its been a well acted, well written story. You actually care about some of the people involved and even the ‘bad guys’ are engaging. This puts me in mind of Babylon 5 and, I think, the writers are setting us up for big switches etc. in the later episodes, much like the changes in Londo and G’Kar.

There is one thing that bothers me. How long can they, the writers, go before revealing the secret of the island? I could see perhaps 2 seasons, but viewers are going to want answers. Witness what happened to Twin Peaks. You can’t keep hinting and dancing around things without resolution or you will lose viewers. I’m thining 2 seasons is pushing it. So, the question is: Does Losr jump the shark with the big reveal or wil it end? Will ABC let a show thats been getting top 10 – 20 ratings end its run comparatively early? I don’t know, but I don’t see how they can keep this up without answering questions.

Which leads me to something I’ve been thinking about. After the above thoughts bounced around, I reached the conclusion that Lost would be the perfect TV series to try out an Americanized version of the anime format. I don’t mean by being animated or even being 30 minutes long. I mean by having a story played out and over with in 20 – 25 episodes. With the hour format, each episode can go into more depth and the more time can be spent with the story. Since it has a definate ending, fans can be assured that the story will be told and it won’t be cancelled. An additional benefit: season long stories would force the writers to become more creative and inventive since they would have to create a new series, from scratch, every season. I think it would be a good thing.

So, set your VCRs (if you still live in the 20th century) or your Tivo-like devices to record Lost. This Saturday, ABC will be showing episodes 4 and 5. Oh yeah, they’re in HDTV too…

About JP Frantz (2322 Articles)
Has nothing interesting to say so in the interest of time, will get on with not saying it.

8 Comments on Get Lost

  1. Lost does sound interesting, although that time slot, and my Tivo, is under the wife’s control whilst it is recording Dawson’s Creek with super powers. You may know it as “Smallville”. Although, to Smallville’s cedit, while the DC parts are lame for anyone over say, 16, they do a good job with the Superman mythos. However, I get the same “how long can they keep this up?” feeling as you JP. I mean, how many people have to X-filed by kryptonite before the rest of the world takes notice? (This, btw, was the same gripe I had about the crime drama series “In the Heat of the Night” – how much crime can happen in a small town?)

    But I digress. I like the one-shot idea. 24 carried the season-long story line effectively for the first two seasons (season 3 sucked on ice), but they were hampered by the real-tim limitation. I mean, how much drama can one man endure in one friggin’ day? Having a definite ending means characters are expendable (one of the things I like about 24, btw). There are no contract renewals to worry about.

  2. Between Smallville and Lost, I think TiVo-ing Smallville would be a better choice — seeing how Smallville has several cute babes while Lost has the one (and she’s prego, or has the kid popped yet? she’s the only reason my TiVo is even picking up Lost — she hit one of my TiVo rules: “Shows with prego blonde chicks talking in a phoney American accent.” Incidentally, the actress I’m talking about does have a “fake” accent because she’s originally from Australia, and she “normally” talk like others from “down under…”) Right now, episodes of Lost are sitting in my “Now Playing” list with green dots — I just can’t seem to get into that show. It sounds to me like they still haven’t revealed what the big secret is — if they think they can lead me on for the entire season, I’m just going to have to tell all those recorded episodes to get “Lost!”

    Speaking of cute blondes (I know we weren’t really…), I did start TiVoing the show, “Veronica Mars,” which is like Dawson’s Creek without superpowers except for the power to be less whiney than Dawson — nonetheless, it looked like a good show, the one episode that I watched.

    By the way, I know Tim, and sometimes, he’s can be a real limitation on certain topics — though I’m not sure how he feels about 24, Lost, or Smallville.

    Sorry about that lengthy parenthetical tangent, but I don’t think the comment box allows me to use superscript to make a footnotes…

  3. I think Lost is somewhat intriguing by the fact that there are several unknowns to the story, but to be honest I have not really seen any episodes. My TV time is a strange beast and I tend only to TIVO some things as I am using a Windows Media PC for that work. As to which show is better, that would have to come down to story. I don’t watch Smallville simply because I cannot stand the formula that is ultimately behind it. There is too much of that teeny-bopper soap opera junk. I don’t mind love interests and stories that have some amount of adult type topics – but for the most part that type of show turns me off. Come to think of it – I only watch a couple shows these days when I do watch TV: CSI, Farscape, Stargate. Beyond that most times I have other things going on…

  4. I have seen almost all the shows and I think its really good. It’s got good writers and the characters are interesting. It is being filmed in Hawaii on one of smaller islands. Personnelly I would love to be in the show so that I can live over there.

  5. I really like Lost – Dawson’s Creek? Smallville? Aren’t they the same show? I mean really why not just watch the Muppet Babies or something? Seems like the same type show . . .

    Anyway – Lost has several offbeat elements to it and as it moves towards answering some of them it keeps introducing new ones. I really like it, and the only reason I happened upon it was because my daughter had tuned to the channel early to watch the “Bachelor” – which is why I love Lost! It is not another one of those contrived “reality” shows. It’s high priority on my Tivo – I missed the first nine minutes of the last episode because I had to watch Astros lose game 6 of NLCS . . . . *sigh*

  6. Ralmon the Gen // October 23, 2004 at 9:06 pm //

    Lost *is* excellent. I’ve been pushing it since the first episode. Basically: Survivor – the serial drama. One of the few prime time shows that keeps me somewhat interested in the life of the characters. I found the flashbacks well placed, and supplying just enough info on the character background to pique my expectation for continued viewing.

    On Austin stations, there is the same Smallville parallel-airing dilemma, but my solution was bittorrent. This was especially useful when Lost was preempted by one of the debates. The poster must have been on the East Coast where it came on an hour before the debate.

    Today, I saw the recent episode (White Rabbit) re-aired on Austin ABC this evening. Hmm, perhaps they’ve been doing that all along, and maybe in the Houston area as well. Might solve some peoples Tivo issues.

  7. Well, the poster is not on the East Coast. He’s in Tomball. And I didn’t know it was pre-empted for the debates. I’ve only recorded the last 2 episodes and I saw the first two when ABC re-aired them on Sunday night a couple of weeks ago. I’ll have to keep an eye out for schedule changes now, since Time Warner’s DVR box sux0rs compared to Tivo.

  8. Ralmon the Gen // October 24, 2004 at 9:07 am //

    Sorry JP, I was horribly ambiguous. I meant the poster of the bittorrent file. Around here, episode 4 was preempted, but somehow managed to be recorded for posting on the bt boards. Thus my assumption it was recorded on the east coast.

    I just received a new Hauppauge Win-TV PVR 350, so I may be able to get beyond the Smallville/Lost issue. The device is compatible with MythTV under Linux as well, so I should be all set for either Windows or Linux. Even more interesting, I’ll be able to get UPN again, for Enterprise. The place I’m at has DirecTV included, but seems to not regard UPN as a local channel.

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