I wasted four-and-a-half hours last night on the interminable swan song of the TV cult program “Lost,” and I’m trying to convince myself that I haven’t wasted an hour a week over the six years of its sporadic seasons.
The first two hours were billed as a retrospective, where we could all brush up on our understanding of the convoluted and confounding plot twists and time travel that had transpired. Instead, we were treated to the acting cast commenting on their experiences which, unfortunately, took on a pseudo-gravitas, as if they had just finished Gone With the Wind and knew it. Lost isn’t M.A.S.H., or even Law and Order. Flash Forward, which has been cancelled, has more of an intelligible plot, and Damages and Mad Men much more compelling characters (and a certain helpful feature called “good writing”). The superb Sopranos, whose ending caused great debate in its ambiguity, was downright fulfilling, specific, and unarguable after Lost got lost.
On top of that, the two producers/writers held sway during the prefatory, saccharine first two hours, giddy with happiness, sharing their self-indulgent, self-congratulatory party with us, apparently without any remorse or regrets that the series concluded on a predictable, boring, and incomplete note.
The first season of Lost was inventive and well acted, with decent writing and a plausible plot. But as the seasons wore on, the plots became conflicting and unbelievable—the best science fiction and fantasy are based on plausibility. The finale last night demonstrated that there was NO story arc, despite the claim the final episode was being considered two years ago. Short of the “it was only a dream” sequence on the grand soap opera Dallas, this was the most pathetically patched together attempt at “explanation” imaginable.
Everyone was dead. Really? I never would have thought of that.
How many deus ex machinas can one cram into one series? Apparently, an island full.
I kept hoping for the best, that the audience’s cult fascination would stimulate the early inventiveness to return. But no one here seemed to become refreshed, despite the exotic location. With the exceptions of Terry O’Quinn (Locke), Naveen Andrews (Sayid), and Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond), the acting was pedestrian, though there wasn’t much that could be done with the mediocre writing and the consistently unrealistic predicaments. (How many times can someone be shot or stabbed, even in a semi-real, half-dead, time-shifting, largely imaginary place?!)
At least women viewers could rejoice in the frighteningly good looking Sawyer (Josh Holloway) and the men in the exquisite Kate (Evangeline Lilly, who may be the most beautiful woman on television).
At the end, Vincent, the dog, lay down next to Jack on the island as Jack lay dying. There was something strange about Vincent’s face. When I rewound the tape and looked more closely, I realized—he was bored to death.
© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.