Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for LOST

More like LESSONS from LOST. Okay, so I'm like way behind the times here. When the TV show Lost premiered I'd just had a baby and knew I wouldn't have time or energy to invest in this show. You know what I mean? Having to set aside that time to watch, forced to ignore other things so my burning questions from last week's cliffhanger could be satisfied each week at that exact hour. Not to mention the long grueling summers of repeats while waiting for a new season.

Can you tell I'm not really a fan of TV? I hate how shows get dragged out, and Lost was no different. BUT ... Hubby and I just finished Season 1 on DVD and it was so wonderful not having to wait for commercials. We've got the entire set just waiting to be watched.

And,  we. are. hooked. Here's why:

First off, the setting. I don't care what anyone says ... To me, if a story has great characters, but just an okay setting, it's weak. But if it has both, great characters and a fantastic setting, I'm ga-ga for it. I've got a whole post on setting when we get to S.
But take Lost .... Set in gorgeous Hawaii (my fave place in the world). In the story of Lost, they could be anywhere in the South Pacific. (I knew it was filmed on Hawaii by the very first episode. What can I say, I'm Hawaiian at heart.) You could put the same ensemble of characters in New York, or London, or the south of France, and it'd still be interesting since they all have their own story. But put them in a beautiful tropical setting with zero technology or modern conveniences and see how they make do.


Then again, if you throw a bunch of boring characters in the same setting, all you have is the bread without the peanut butter and jelly.

Here are a few of my fave Lost characters, and why they work:

Dr. Jack: Total heartthrob. The committed to excellence do-gooder with soulful eyes and a secret wild side. And he's a brilliant doctor, no less. This is the guy everyone likes and needs. The foundation. The mediator. The leader.

Kate: Femme fatale with a good heart and bad luck. There's a sordid past here, and the fact we only get bits and pieces of it is genius. It makes us want to know more, and we can't hate her. We know she's a good person and admire her toughness. We want her to get a fresh start (especially with Dr. Jack) but oh the possibilities of a love triangle with sleazy Sawyer.

Sawyer: The character we love to hate. The sympathetic bad guy--so creepy he's sexy. He had a rough childhood which lets us understand his demons and why he's so selfish.  
Kate understands him too, which makes her the perfect soulmate for Sawyer. But we like Kate and we want more for her. We want her to have a good guy who'll treat her right, like Dr. Jack. But oh, the sexual tension between Sawyer and Kate is practically boiling. And part of us wants them to be together too.

John Locke: My favorite. The troubled, disabled orphan who was just some average middle class manager of a box company, with a boss who was younger than him. Now, a skillful and wise man the entire group relies on, even though they don't realize it. Everyone looks to Jack as the leader, but really and truly, it's this guy who keeps them in check, on the side, behind the scenes. John doesn't want to be the leader--he wants it to be Jack too. But he plants his seeds  in the background so Jack can keep things in control. It's like John's finally found his calling, his chance to be the man he's always wanted. And for that, we feel a bond with him. We like John because he cares about the others and he's triumphed over his painful past. He's not bitter, he shares his wisdom freely.

That is depth, and that's what makes people bond with a character.

Of course, the other characters are all awesome too. I love how we're getting to know them all, just as they're getting to know each other.

The writers of Lost made us not only care about the characters, but made us unable to stop watching. How?

1. By throwing us right into the inciting incident: the plane crash
2. Not telling us everything up front so we want to know more
3. Showing us snippets of the character's lives, not telling, and choosing which parts of their lives to show when, so that we HAVE to know more.
4. Keeping a momentum. There's always something happening, either on the island or in their past lives. Lots of action and a swift pace.
5. A setting full of mysteries. There is so much we don't know about this island that we're hooked as much by that as by the character's lives.

I can't help breaking it down while I'm watching it. Figuring out how the writers and producers pulled this off. Really, it's like a glorified Gilligan's Island, but it goes way deeper. Sure, a lot of the character's stories are predictable, but we like them enough to want to find out if we're right about our predictions. The idea of them all getting a fresh start together and a chance to step out of civilization and slow down, while trying to survive without modern conveniences is genius. Especially, in this modern day when we rely on technology so much. Here is this group of peeps who can't call anyone on their mobile phones, or google herbal remedies from their laptops, or stow away to play video games all day. How will they make it work? And will they ever get off the island?? Hubby and I think we'd like to stay. We'd be happy there.

And no spoilers!!! I know you've probably all seen the entire running of the show, but remember, I've just finished Season 1, and have a long way to go. We're loving it, though.

What about you? Did you get sucked into Lost? If so, what was your take away from it all? What made you come back to watch it each week? If you didn't like the show, why not?


mooderino said...

The first couple of seasons were great. I'm saying nothing else.

Jen said...

I got sucked into the first two seasons, then forgot when it was coming back on again, and completely failed to catch up with it again! Still waiting to borrow the DVDs off someone, but it's such a mammoth task now. Have I really got all those hours to invest? I think, too, that I actually got a bit sick of the cliffhangers.

Here is the thing that really bugged me about Lost: How come they never got together and said, "Hey, have you noticed all the weird things going on around here? What the heck is going on?"

Amie Kaufman said...

I haven't seen Lost--I think it would be fascinating to watch it now and break it down as you're doing.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I haven't seen lost but it seems to be great how you wrote about it.....if it has the right plot and chatacters.


LM Preston said...

You're at 'L' already? Yay!

L. said...

I watched Lost all the way through. It got a bit muddled in the middle, but then they set an ending date for the series and I think that was a very smart move on their part. Because a story needs a beginning, a middle, and an END. TV shows often don't get that. X-Files was a cautionary tale in that respect...

But I watched it, enjoyed it, and yes I understood the ending.

Old Kitty said...

I got sucked into lost in the first series, then couldn't keep up and lost interest mid way and then got back for the ending - that I hope I understood!! LOL!

Take care

GigglesandGuns said...

Lost never grabbed me.
Great the way you tied this all together.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I didn't watch it, but plan to through NetFlix. Didn't want to start until I knew for sure it ended!

Sophia Richardson said...

I loved the way Lost gradually revealed each character's past so one minute you think this is a good guy because on the island he *is* a good guy but then BAM you see him being a total douche in the past. Or vice versa. And the little threads where one character just missed another person off the island. There's definitely plenty of plot to go around, too so it's not all character-driven. The island is practically its own character.
- Sophia.

A. Lockwood said...

I came to Lost pretty late (just before the final season). I got caught up through hulu, and that's where I watched all of the final season as well. The show certainly had its share of faults, particularly in later seasons, but it was also brilliant in a lot of ways. The evolution of the characters is fascinating to watch. That may have been one of the best things about Lost--it managed to go really deep into the characters while also being a total thrill ride.

Anne N Kenny said...

I was a Lost addict from day one. The week in between each show was agonizing!

Fringe is a new favorite but it doesn't have the same pull.

Elena Solodow said...

I was completely hooked when I first got season One on DVD. I started watching the aired episodes on TV for season 3 but quickly dropped off. I think their character development took a little long at times, and the pay-off was limited from week-to-week. Just a couple months ago they posted all the seasons on Netflix Watch Instantly so I gave it another run-through. Overall, I think they did a fantastic job. The show explored so many great themes.

Hart Johnson said...

I think the show is FABULOUS for the character stuff! I love how the different pairings (even friendship pairings) bring out really different things in each character--somebody like a Sawyer can be so completely horrible, but Kate will bring out a vulnerability and desire to be better. I started watching when season 3 was on, but rented the first two seasons before I got going... MOST TV shows though, I don't start watching until I can see all of them... The library is my friend.

fOIS In The City said...

You don't have to worry about me spoiling any of the future episodes for you.

This is one TV saga I let play on without me :)

The Golden Eagle said...

I've never seen Lost, but I love the examples you gave! Setting and character are so important. :)

Jennifer Jackson said...

I've never watched it but I don't intend to. Interesting post, though!

Clarissa Draper said...

I haven't seen it but now I want to. Great characters and setting.

Do you like Survivor and Hawaii 5-0? Two great shows with awesome settings.

Carolyn Cummings said...

I watched it the same way you did, up until the last season when we caught up with it. Even now when I think about the characters they dredge up emotions for me- things I wish had been different for them, the same way I would with real people I care about. Have fun going through the series!

Kittie Howard said...

I tried, really tried, to get into Lost. Just couldn't. Like Jen commented above, I kept thinking that people this smart should, er, get a conversation going about the weird stuff happening.

Lisa said...

Never watched the series. Maybe I should check into it.


kmckendry said...

We totally did away with Cable TV! Been without for 3 years now. We do use netflix though and we love to watch episodes of 30 Rock and the Office. It's so much better without the ads!

Carla White said...

I'm like you and tend not to get sucked into shows when they're on. But I did borrow this series from a friend and plan to watch it soon. I love not having to deal with commercials and being able to watch and my leisure.

bfav said...

Loved Lost. I'm glad it came to an end, the story needed an ending. I loved the balance of characters and action. Mr Echo was one of my faves.

Cally Jackson said...

I haven't watched Lost but would like to at some stage. I like your breakdown as to why it works though. Very convincing! :-)

Anonymous said...

I watched it for a bit, and then kind of lost track. But it is easy to get lost in Lost!

L is for Lies: Flash Fiction

William Kendall said...

I watched the series all the way through, and got hooked. Loved it.

Locke was certainly the character that resonated strongest with me. And then there's Desmond, who turns up later on. You'll see.....