Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lost in the Woods

The final season of Lost starts tonight, in case you've been living in a cave on Mars with your eyes closed and your fingers jammed in your ears. This is a show that ABC believes, and possibly correctly, can compete with the Olympics for ratings. This is a show that caused President Obama to move his state of the union speech because he didn't want to pre-empt it. It's a popular show, is what I'm saying.

I'm almost perfectly on the fence as to whether the creators are going to stick the landing. Lost has gone over the course of its run from "a show that is clearly carefully planned and on rails" to "a show where the writers are clearly just making shit up as they go along, and barely keeping track of their own continuity". And the thing is, it's gone back and forth between these two states multiple times. If you'd asked me after the incredibly tight, Brian K. Vaughn-shaped 4th season, I would have said the show was in good hands and likely to satisfy with its ending. Halfway through the wheel-spinning 5th season, I was seriously starting to doubt this. Especially after the crucial "Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" episode ended up being a gigantic waste of time with no character logic whatsoever. But then, last year's season finale was genuinely intriguing, actually answered some questions, and opened the door for some very interesting developments in the coming season--and I have no idea where they're going from here.

Right now Lost is like Schrodinger's Cat, trapped in a perfect state between a tightly told, perfectly executed mystery with a satisfying conclusion...and an incoherent failure. As long as we don't open the box, it could go either way.

Tonight we crack the lid...

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