Thursday, May 26, 2005

Lost - Trapped by its own premise?

MSNBC had an article today about how the mystery of Lost detracts from the characters. While I don't necessarily agree that this is the case, I do agree that Lost could, like it's characters, become trapped on the island. Lost is a show that could benefit from the limited-run series concept. The Prisoner was a short-run British series that was meant to be so. It had a beginning (the first time Number 6 wakes up in the village), a number of episodes where he tries to escape and/or find out who is holding him there, and a conclusion where he ultimately finds out who the mysterious Number 1 is (some other questions, many regarding the sanity of the writers, are raised, but it concludes the arc of the series). If Lost started out knowing what the island was with a plan of eventually revealing the island's secrets, it might be more satisfactory. As it is, the viewer knows they will never find out what is going on because to reveal all would mean to end the show. Even if you rescued the survivors from the island and continued to follow them as they returned to their lives, not only would you change the nature of the show, you would eliminate a whole slew of possibilities about the nature of the island including the idea that the survivors are really dead and the island is some kind of afterlife. If you change the show that much, you might as well end it and call the next season a spin-off show.

If the survivors on Lost gave up on rescue and started to build a society - a more complex society with rules other than "follow Jack" - with the mysteries of the island only occasionally intruding, the series could last much longer than it will at this pace. But then you remove the sense of urgency that the heart beat at the end of each episode punctuates. Thump-thump. Oh, Lost, whatever shall we do with you?


Blogger Christiana said...

Well, you saw already in my post that I'm worried about the same thing. Another Alias might well be in the makings here, great for two seasons, but then it starts to eat it's own tail and just go round in circles.

Still, I really liked that article you linked, and it's suggestion that Lost could be steered in a Deadwood direction, where the interaction of the characters are more important than the "plot." And they were definitely onto something with the Survivor angle. That show's drama is definitely based on the human interactions, not the island setting.

5/27/2005 11:27 AM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

I think it could work as I suggested with them settling down and forming a society there on the island. Danielle has already demonstrated that surviving on the island long term is possible and also, possibly, that rescue is a distant possibility. Slow down the revelations about the island. Make the revelations more about the characters to each other. You would have the change the nature of the show slightly, with a little less tension and suspense about the island itself and the hope of rescue. But if you do it right, you could extend the potential life of the show considerably without alienating fans of the mystery aspect.

5/29/2005 6:36 PM  

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