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Ben X

LOST

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I'm sure we've talked about the show a bit in the TV/movie thread, but what the hell: let's start a thread on it, about 2 years too late.

I'm a massive Lost fan and I enjoyed all six seasons. I'll try not to get too fervent about it, but I really wanted to discuss the big problems some people here (and many people everywhere) had with the show. So, continuing from the mini-discussion that's just erupted in the ME3 thread.

I'll quickly recap. PREVIOUSLY ON THUMBS:

I am the type of guy who was so disappointed by Battlestar Galactica that I wish I never watched the show at all. I was so disappointed by Lost that I wish I never watched television at all.

I'm in the same bucket, mike, except I haven't seen or know about the last season of Lost and I aims to keep it that way.
You watched up to season 5 and got so sick of it by that point you didn't want to watch one more season to see how it wrapped up? Don't you at least want to find out all the answers?

I think that is a good decision. In the final season the producers do worse than not answer any questions (which would have been fair); they reveal that the answer to every mystery is "because I said so."

They robbed their island of its mystery and replaced it with a dismissive response from a condescending parent.

Lost should have ended at season two.

(Oh god, :broken: :broken: :broken:)

Murdoc also PMed me (I assume you won't mind me putting this here, Murdoc):

I was really digging lost by Season 3 and I think overall it's a good show, but by the end of season 4 with the whole jacob and other guy thing I kind of see where it was going.

I'm probably wrong, and I have no idea of any specifics with the characters and ending, but it just felt like it was a god vs the devil thing and that's not what excited me about the show.

So I was waiting for the season to run out as I like to watch them back to back and just heard terrible things.

Murdoc: I just don't quite understand how anyone could get as far as the end of S5 and then just give up! It did kind of do a GvD thing, but that wasn't the only thing happening by any means. I guess if you weren't involved in it enough to keep going, it's probably not a good idea to insist you watch the final season. But you should definitely do a six-day marathon and watch all six seasons in one go. (The Prince Charles did this a while back and I'm gutted that I missed it.)

Mike: I'd really like some (spoiler-tagged?) elaboration on your views. I disagree with pretty much everything you've said, but I'm not quite sure of your reasoning.

Twig: the first two seasons probably are the strongest, but it's generally the way that the start of something is the most satisfying because it has the most forward momentum. The fact that the show managed to keep evolving and still be putting out really good stuff in its sixth season that felt part of a whole is, I think, really impressive. Can't say that for many dramas.

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I wish I hadn't seen the last season. There are many elements in Lost that undermine what good there is, and the story arc of the last season is one of the worst offenders.

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Twig: the first two seasons probably are the strongest, but it's generally the way that the start of something is the most satisfying because it has the most forward momentum. The fact that the show managed to keep evolving and still be putting out really good stuff in its sixth season that felt part of a whole is, I think, really impressive. Can't say that for many dramas.

It's not that. It's more like, I think the first two seasons feel completely different from the rest of the show. These dudes randomly crash-land on this freaky island with all kinds of freaky shit and freaky freaks and there's whispers and a fucking monster that no one's ever seen but everyone hears and ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh (actually I think they did eventually see it before season two ended - it has been a while since I watched it, obviously - but never you mind).

Then they start humanizing all that mystery. Suddenly the monster isn't just a monster... it's a fucking spirit-thing that decides oh yeah you get to live because you're important or whatever. Ben's a great character, and I do like him a lot, and I don't even hate post-season-two Lost... I just like it significantly less for a multitude of reasons. Why is there suddenly a goddamn mini-civilization on this island? Why couldn't it just stay like "weird shit be weird, people tried to study the weird, caused weirder weird, oh man we're all doomed". I liked the atmosphere of early lost a whole hell of a lot more than I liked it later on.

Thinking back on it, actually, maybe it should've ended at season one. Also, I was genuinely upset when they explained the polar bear's existence.

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Sounds kinda like Prison Break to me. Season 1 was the strongest, with Season 2 mostly being cool too; then 3 and 4 are just completely different, both tonally and narratively.

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Orvidos: that's a ridiculous thing to say. It was a unique, thoroughly entertaining, smart, exciting show with great acting, writing, score, direction, production design, cinematography.

brkl: which elements? What was wrong with the final season arc?

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Also, I think people disappointed by the Battlestar Galactica ending need to watch the whole series again from start to finish, or something, because I thought it was pretty well suited to the series as a whole. I had literally no issues with the ending whatsoever, and I was kind of shocked to find that a lot of people hated it. But that's neither here, nor there.

he he he

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It's not that. It's more like, I think the first two seasons feel completely different from the rest of the show. These dudes randomly crash-land on this freaky island with all kinds of freaky shit and freaky freaks and there's whispers and a fucking monster that no one's ever seen but everyone hears and ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh (actually I think they did eventually see it before season two ended - it has been a while since I watched it, obviously - but never you mind).

Then they start humanizing all that mystery. Suddenly the monster isn't just a monster... it's a fucking spirit-thing that decides oh yeah you get to live because you're important or whatever. Ben's a great character, and I do like him a lot, and I don't even hate post-season-two Lost... I just like it significantly less for a multitude of reasons. Why is there suddenly a goddamn mini-civilization on this island? Why couldn't it just stay like "weird shit be weird, people tried to study the weird, caused weirder weird, oh man we're all doomed". I liked the atmosphere of early lost a whole hell of a lot more than I liked it later on.

Thinking back on it, actually, maybe it should've ended at season one. Also, I was genuinely upset when they explained the polar bear's existence.

They started seeing the monster at the end of season 1. And your explanation of it is totally not what it was revealed to be. Did you watch the final season?

I know what you mean about it changing tack completely, but I think that was necessary to keep it fresh. If they'd just stayed in the same mode, adding more and more mysteries for this one group of people on an island to react to, it would have got stale very quickly. It can't be to everyone's tastes, though, and I do think of the first two seasons as "classic Lost" myself. I do love watching them back now with knowledge of all six seasons-worth of mythology.

I'm half with you on the polar bears, but if they didn't make sharp left-turns from fantasy to science or vice versa like that, the audience would get bored or see all the twists coming. In fact, the term "polar bear" was used to refer to anything in Lost that seemed magical but was given a (relatively) rational explanation.

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They started seeing the monster at the end of season 1. And your explanation of it is totally not what it was revealed to be. Did you watch the final season?

Yes, I know that's not what it actually was, but that's what it was portrayed as - mostly thanks to Locke's insistence that he was important to the island - until the Big Reveal later on in the series. I enjoyed the smoke monster a lot when it was just this Thing doing things. I'm also not convinced they knew at that point in time what it was going to be by the time the series ended. They could've literally taken it in any direction, and the one in which they did take it proved to be... unsatisfactory.

To the rest of your post: this is mostly just difference of opinion, I guess. I have no need or desire for science to explain weird things when there's clearly non-sciency things going on that CAN'T be logically explained by science. It's all about context. If they wanted to explain the polar bear, for example, I would've been happier with the explanation that maybe polar bears got on the island thanks to the island's ability (or tendency?) to move around the world at random, or something, I don't know. That's shitty, but it's way less shitty to me than "scientists brought them here".

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Yes, I know that's not what it actually was, but that's what it was portrayed as - mostly thanks to Locke's insistence that he was important to the island - until the Big Reveal later on in the series. I enjoyed the smoke monster a lot when it was just this Thing doing things. I'm also not convinced they knew at that point in time what it was going to be by the time the series ended. They could've literally taken it in any direction, and the one in which they did take it proved to be... unsatisfactory.

Ahhh, I see, I misunderstood you. Well, people's attitudes vary, obv, but I was quite happy watching season three and thinking "hmm, the monster seems to be judging people and killing them accordingly, but I'll wait and see what other evidence comes to light" and not getting annoyed because that's what it currently was.

I totally respect your opinion if you didn't like their storytelling, but personally I thought there was plenty of magic stuff for there to be room for science as well, and the way the two jostled up against each other gave the show its own flavour, otherwise it would have been Supernatural On An Island.

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I don't respect your misspelling "hee hee hee", though.

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I find myself agreeing partly with both Twig and BenX.

I think the series was pretty solid throughout, except maybe half of the 2nd or 3rd season.

But, that whole story could have been much shorter. Maybe the characters wouldn't have been quite as effective, but I think there was also a lot of repetition and filler in Lost.

I only watch these big series as marathons usually (and I don't watch that many of them). I think I watched S1 and part of S2 as the torrents became available, and then did a marathon of S2-S6.

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That's something else that can affect your enjoyment, I guess. Whether you watch it one episode a week with season breaks or not. I did that even when I was buying it on DVD and didn't have to (seasons 3-5) because I felt like that was the structure they were writing for and it kept the value of the mysteries and cliffhangers up. It negates the filler and repetition a bit as well, which I agree was there at times (mostly season 3 when they had a few redundant flashbacks and also had to dance around the writer strikes or scheduling or something).

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Lost played fair with its audience. Dead characters stayed dead! Closed-loop time travel stayed closed! And—up until the final season—the fun of asking "what are all the mysteries...?" was intentionally more fun than any answers.

But apparently I wasn't supposed to have fun with their questions. I wasn't supposed to pay attention to their island at all.

I was just supposed to feel sorry for Jack because he loved his daddy.

The show itself told me: "You're watching it wrong." Merely asking "How does the island work?" means you are an evil person—it is the Man in Black's first (and only?) sin. It's also the sin of any audience member who wonders, "why" or "how".

I thought Lost was television at its best. And I hated it. I haven't watched a new television show since.

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I don't respect your misspelling "hee hee hee", though.

I don't respect your face. (It was more of a "heh" than a "hee", but definitely somewhere in between. Maybe a "hee-eh".)

Ahhh, I see, I misunderstood you. Well, people's attitudes vary, obv, but I was quite happy watching season three and thinking "hmm, the monster seems to be judging people and killing them accordingly, but I'll wait and see what other evidence comes to light" and not getting annoyed because that's what it currently was.

I totally respect your opinion if you didn't like their storytelling, but personally I thought there was plenty of magic stuff for there to be room for science as well, and the way the two jostled up against each other gave the show its own flavour, otherwise it would have been Supernatural On An Island.

I guess what it comes down to is that I liked the idea of the island as a setting, rather than a character. Once you start explaining why things are as they are on the island, it loses its mystery, and makes it more... important to the story than it should be?

Kind of like how I enjoy The Walking Dead because of the characters and how they react to things, rather than because of the zombies themselves. The zombies are only important because they exist, not because of why they exist.

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I still love and defend LOST. It had practical problems, the same that every TV show has to deal with. No plot is set in stone, due to writer's strikes, scheduling, actor's dropping out, etc. Eko was, apparently, supposed to play a bigger role but he didn't want to stay in Hawaii.

And I don't have as much of a problem with the last season as others do, apparently. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I could've done without the Man in Black & Jacob flashback and the Temple shaman guy. They felt like too much new stuff, when there was already enough to be wrapped up. But other than that, it was a satisfying, at times a tad clunky, race to the finish.

Anyways, I'd say definitely watch the last season. It's entertaining all the way through. Of course, assuming you enjoyed S5 just a little bit.

Ben, where do you stand on the sideways universe thing? I'm still a bit disappointed it didn't fit better in and felt more like a real thing. I got my hopes up in the Desmond episode, but I guess he just

visited the afterlife?

I recently got a friend hooked on LOST, and he said "Loved the first two seasons, fell asleep in the finale" which I couldn't understand.. Except I agreed with him that the sideways thing grew more and more pointless. :shifty:

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I've got to be quite quick with this post (and I might be sloppy with spoilers, so beware anyone who might possibly watch it in the future), but I loved the flash-sideways. At first I was reading them as new sides to the characterisation - how different would they have been without the island? Then the Desmond episode happened and I got incredibly excited that

they were tying the two together

just when I'd resigned myself to the fact that they wouldn't. I'll admit that I was a little disappointed at the final reveal as well, at first. But after I thought about it, and looked back on all the flashes in a new light (

what are the things each character needed to come to terms with?

), I felt it gave the show the ending it needed. If all we got as an ending was finding out which characters got off the island and presumably led pretty dull lives for another 40 years, it would have been a bit of an anti-climax. This takes it to a higher level and speaks to the characters rather than another sci-fi high-concept. And it was pretty much worth it just to get that Ben episode.

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Edit: I'm going to stay out of this. I'm with Orv, but I don't really want to reason around that.

It's nice that some of you enjoyed Lost. I didn't.

Also, I think people disappointed by the Battlestar Galactica ending need to watch the whole series again from start to finish

Hah :)

I once asked a friend how he was getting on with a recent Final Fantasy, and he said: "I'm about 13 hours in and it's starting to get good".

Edited by Nachimir

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Edit: I'm going to stay out of this. I'm with Orv, but I don't really want to reason around that.

Gee, thanks. :deranged:

I guess I should put more effort into it.

Season 1 of LOST actually captured my interest fairly well. At first I thought it was going to be fairly shitty horror-drama, or whatever genre "Crash on island with weird shit going on" happens to fall under. It didn't become that, and I was pretty intrigued for the majority of season 1. The writing was decent, the music was extremely well scored and placed and I liked almost all of the actors.

I'm not sure if I've explained this before, but I watch movies/TV for the actors. Not a whole lot else matters to me when I watch something, unless the actors are good enough to bring notice of it to the forefront. A good recent example of this would be MI: Ghost Protocol. Simultaneously a great and terrible movie. The action and the acting was constantly tense and well done, all the action scenes were paced impeccably and Tom Cruise actually seemed to be acting. All of the jokes actually managed to be funny and their placement served to pace the tension. In reality, it was a terrible movie in terms of story, some of the choices the characters made and I felt like it could have been about 10 minutes shorter. Loved it though.

So when Season 2 of LOST rolls around and things start going "crazy", I tense up a bit in my acceptance of the show and start to be more wary. I remain this way throughout the next two seasons before I finally give up about the time the flash-forwards start. I realize by that point that the writers are flying by not only the seat of their pants, but some rabid rationalization that has grown around the show that it's the best godsdamned thing television has ever seen. I'm still enjoying the characters by this point, especially Sawyer and Locke. Hell, I even like Jack, and fuck Jack. Oh and naturally Daniel Dae Kim will never not be great.

And then there's the flash-"sideways", the smoke monster, some angel v demons shit I never really got a hold of and was just told about, and all the other shit that just magically fucking happens.

LOST is a lot like DS9 to me. Incredible premise (Star Trek that isn't serialized one-off bad-guy-a-week episodes) that eventually gets polluted because of internal and external strife between writers and fans (the Defiant shows up because everyone is bored of this fucking station so the crew starts going on adventures being the big one).

If you think, and apparently more or less everyone does, that the writers had all the shit that happened, the ending, all of it, planned well in advance, you're crazier than the Mass Effect people are.

Or maybe I'm wrong about all of it. I don't know, but I never saw LOST as the great game-changer everyone else seemed to.

E: Oh, also "lottery curse".

Edited by Orvidos

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LOST was brilliant. I have my issues with it, but I cannot deny it utterly enthralled me for six seasons. Also, I enjoyed the ending. And I also enjoyed Battlestar Gallactica's ending.

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Gee, thanks. :deranged:

Sorry, I meant the show, not you :)

It had me up until the end of series two, episode one, where I thought "Fuck this, the writers are obviously improvising". Lost reminds me of long rainy afternoons when I was seven, spent with other kids making shit up. Very much this:

If you think, and apparently more or less everyone does, that the writers had all the shit that happened, the ending, all of it, planned well in advance, you're crazier than the Mass Effect people are.

I read the end on wikipedia a while back just so I could converse with housemates that talked about it. Spoiler:

http://pics.blameitonthevoices.com/052010/lost-gif-dog.gif

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While it's true that they were "tap dancing" in the third season (Jack's tattoo episode leaps to mind), the writers responded by asking for a reduction in the number of episodes per season, and a definitive end date (which is unheard of for a hit show in the US).

This was done so they could start figuring out what they were going to do, and when they were going to do it. They've never hidden the fact that they had NO idea in the first season. They've been very open and honest about it.

The idea that they had it planned from the very beginning, or that they didn't have any plan at all, are equally ignorant.

Here's the co-show runner Damon Lindelof talking (skip to 2.40):

zRLjy2nL_4w

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Alright, I stand corrected on that front.

I still defy you to tell me that it made any fucking sense.

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I still defy you to tell me that it made any fucking sense.

I'll leave that to Ben. Many a time he's explained things to me that I thought weren't explained.

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Lost was not without its problems or bad episodes, but the communal aspect that came from it among my friends and the communities I visited online will ensure that my experience with another show will never be as enjoyable.I was mostly fine with how things tied up, even if some of it was kind of goofy. I honestly thought pretty much everything "made sense" by the end, as well. Again, it's explanation may have been a little goofy, but pretty much every significant aspect of the series was wrapped up by the time the ending credits rolled.

Even if I did have problems with the ending, I'm one of those people that really don't get worked up over endings I'm not happy with if I enjoyed getting there. If a TV series can keep me entertained for 120 hours and provide endless discussion between friends, then it was a successful TV series even if the last few hours aren't perfect.

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