Wednesday, December 16, 2009

When TV critics attack

A few weeks ago, I met in New York with Mo Ryan and James Poniewozik to enjoy some fine pizza at John's in Times Square. While we didn't manage to create a TV show the way that Joss Whedon did over pizza that time with Eliza Dushku, we did talk a lot about "Dollhouse" and a host of other TV nerditry, and Mo recorded and transcribed the whole thing. The first of three parts, focusing mainly on "Lost," is up today, and Mo will post the other two tomorrow and Friday. (I'll link to them then.) And just enjoy the fact that I can be every bit as rambling and tangential and non-grammatical as my interview subjects.


Unknown said...

Speaking of Lost, can someone please give me a 1 paragraph version of why I should give the show another chance? I stuck with it for a season and a half, and just couldn't take it anymore. (I'm not anti-Science Fiction.) I guess at some point I started thinking to myself, "OK, we're almost 2 seasons in, the killer bear has disappeared, you've added extra characters ON A DESERTED ISLAND after the fact, and not one question has been answered -- it's time to move it along."

Jefferson Burns said...

Very nice interview. Thank you for this. I can't wait for tomorrow for you to explain the Armenian Money Train plot from the Shield. Still to this day, I can't entirely figure it out and it hurts my brain.

Adam said...

They've answered plenty of questions -- who are the Others?, for one. And we know that "what's up with the Island?" has something to do with time travel.

What we don't yet know, beyond the properties of the island and why they're all there, is the basic question posed by Ben Linus several seasons ago: who are the "good guys" here?

Unknown said...

For Matthew,

You gave up too soon, and it seems you may have been too focused on questions/answers and not enough on characters/motivation...the extra characters were always there (either on the tail end of the plane, or always on the island itself) and it came together.

Patience, free-thinking, enjoyment of the ride...that's what you need when you're watching Lost. If you left in the middle of season 2, I don't know that you can jump in on Season 6 and know what's going on.

Mamba's Messenger said...

I love Mo's point about those people that continuously chide Damon and Carlton for "making it up as they go along." As if there was any other way to create something that hasn't existed before.

J said...

The "stealth show" concept is important, but I'd add that at its best Lost is also an honest show. (The producers get lost themselves sometimes, and I think they're sort of honest about that, e.g., knocking off Nikki and Paolo.)

The paradoxical key has been that Lost is a mystery show, and one of its mysteries has been "What Sort of Show is Lost?" Like all good mysteries the details surprise and enrich and the big answers have always sort of been there. The show has been, from its very inception, a time-travel show. It's part of its formal DNA. Over the course of five seasons, the show has worked outward from a singular big bang event - the plane crash - gradually moving backward and forward in time (and gradually allowing time-travel to become a thematic element in addition to a formal one) and in larger circles of consequence, until it has enveloped not just one group of survivors, and not just the entire history of this island, but a whole universe of good and evil and fate and free will.

I'm hoping that the series finale starts with another reset of the plane crash (a la "The Other 48 Days" and the Season 3 opener). And I'm totally with you, Alan, re: Desmond and Penny. They are the humanity at the center of the time-travelly discombulation, they're the heroes for holding this shit together just through the sheer power of commitment.

It's amazing that something as huge and novelistic as this has been allowed to develop over six seasons on a major network, and that's probably because of some level of stealth storytelling... but mostly I think it's because of some very adept storytelling.

The CineManiac said...


I have to echo Geoff. If you quite partway through Season 2, then I'd say you would need to pick up the DVDs and start from where you left off.
The show has had some rough patches, mainly in Season 3, Season 4 and 5 are so strong and brilliant that it's well worth the time to catch up on the show from the beginning.

Also it really is a character driven show. If you're worried about getting answers only, you probably won't like it, because everytime there's an answer there's about 10 more questions that arise.

I guess I can boil down my answer in one sentence: It's worth giving Lost a 2nd chance because it is one of, if not THE, most character driven show on television.

TL said...

As if there was any other way to create something that hasn't existed before.

Exactly. Of course, if you're writing a novel, you can go back and revise the beginning if you go off on an unexpected direction. TV writers don't have that luxury, as it's both financially and probably physically impossible to script out a 7-season show before you start shooting.

So if you've got a problem with that, you're problem is with the medium of scripted television altogether, and you should probably find another way to spend your time.

TL said...

Also, Matthew, speaking as someone who watched the first 2 seasons of Lost on DVD, the things that you're complaining about are a lot less annoying when you're not waiting around for a week or more for the next episode to come (only to not have it answer the questions where the last episode left off).

Anonymous said...

Matthew, I'm not sure when you quit, but if you want to get the wrap-up on Season 2 and see if it's satisfying, watch "One of Them", "Lockdown", "Two for the Road", "?", "Three Minutes", and "Live Together Die Alone". Those are the key episodes for wrapping up Season 2 and ramping up to Season 3. The rest fill in some blanks from Season 1 and provide some additional character stuff.

I've said this before, but I think that if Seasons 1, 2, and 3 had been 16 episodes each while covering the same ground, the show would've felt so much tighter, and no one would've questioned whether there was a plan. I look at the end of Season 1---after Boone dies in "Do No Harm", you have two semi-filler episodes "The Greater Good" and "Born to Run", when it really should've gone straight into "Exodus". In my opinion. But as Damon likes to say, and as Locke said in Season 5, they needed that pain to get to where they are now.

Anonymous said...

thanks, alan!

you guys should do a podcast

Skitch said...

I've been pushing my girlfriend to catch up on all five seasons of Lost because I gave her the ultimatum that if she doesn't, she'd have to find something to occupy her time at 9pm each Tuesday starting in February.

Thankfully, she complied (as I knew she would simply because it's arguably the best show on TV right now along side Mad Men...and I would have added Dexter until this season).

It's been fun re-watching episodes sporadically with her for two reasons. First, I get to go back and see things I missed the first time around (like Locke touching the ash around the cabin in season 3's "The Man Behind The Curtain") which plays into what happened at the end of season 5. Second because it's nice to see another's reaction to the show's plot and characters. (She even mentioned that she would "cry if Charlie died" as she wound up season 3).

For me, the show has always been about the emotional involvement with the characters rather than the plot or mythology. We WANT to root for them and see where they're headed. If not for them, why watch?

Maybe that's why no one mourns the loss of According To Jim.

gina said...

I really enjoyed this Alan, thank you!

JT said...

I truly pity those like Matthew who gave up so early. LOST is one of the greatest TV series in the history of the thing and it only seems to get better. One paragraph? tht's is hysterical. Can I sum THE WIRE or NORTHERN EXPOSURE in one paragraph? Just watch the damn thing and KNOW that you are getting to enjoy one of top 5 shows that will EVER be produced.

JT said...

And we KNOW they are all there because Jacob brought them all there, as shown in S5's season finale. when he dies and gasps "they're coming," he is speaking of the Oceanic survivors coming back from the 70s to fight the war that is coming (against the evil that took over the persona of Locke, as revealed in the season finale also). You're welcome.

Dan said...

Don't get me started. There's nothing worse than someone criticizing Lost, who then admits they bailed halfway through season 2. One, I still can't fathom why people disliked season 2 *so* much (it deepend the whole show and made me a rabid fan). Two, they always use ammunition that's painfully outdated and silly (it's too slow, they don't answer anything, etc.)

I have no idea what these guys were every expecting from a network, serialized mystery show. Stuff gets answered ALL the time, it's just that the answers provoke more questions. As all good mysteries should. Lost is the TV show of the decade for me; nothing's given me greater entertainment as a work of fiction -- in books, film or TV.

Anonymous said...

Clearly, the majority of writing is made up as you go. It's only logical. But ot use that as a defence to a poor episode or a bad conclusion is sad.

Why bother introducing elements to a show if you're not going to take the time to spread them out?

LOST has done an amazing job of keeping tabs but in a way they've had to due to the die hard fan base. BSG on the other hand did a poor job of keeping tabs and the finale reflected that.

There's no reason why a finale can't "crunch the numbers" and conclude a character's arch. You should feel some sense of closure even if they all die or if you get to choose if they die or live (Sorporano's).

Anonymous said...


Ignore the commenters saying that it's ridiculous that you gave up. Watching Lost can be slow going and even dull at times, so it's not absurd to throw in the towel. That said, if you can make it through the third season and into the fourth, you'll be very, very glad you did. But if, on your second try (and I'd suggest you give it one), you get stuck before S3 starts to pick up steam, then take another break.

Somewhere during its third season, Lost became more than an intriguing, frustrating mystery with a decent cast of characters. If you make it there, I think you'll recognize that and really desire to make it through to the end.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting stuff! I love the mystery and mythology of LOST but I love the characters more. What I want to see is the Real Locke NOT be dead, and to fulfill a great destiny, and for Sawyer to find peace in his life, but NOT NOT NOT with kate.


Anonymous said...

Shows tend to make the mistake of trying to conclude everything in the finale. Again, pointing to lost, they've ended plenty of character archs that it's not another question at the finale.

LOST has several character archs to conclude (jack, sawyer, kate, etc.) and some mythoglogy to answer - what is the island, what is the monster, and what is the two entities.

Again, BSG failed to do both and it wasn't just in the finale but the entire last season of 4 wasn't up to par.

Unknown said...

Thank you to those who gave there thoughts about my abandoning the show too early -- although I'm not sure why others seem to insult me for not giving a show a fair chance after 20 hours of episodes.

I don't think a single paragraph or so is unreasonable. Sure, I couldn't describe the full depth of The Wire in a paragraph and it would probably end with "just trust me, it's the best show ever," but it would be possible to give a show summary of what it's about and why it's done so well.

As to the "you just want answers" crowd -- I'm totally willing to watch a show that leaves something to the imagination, and I'll put up with the concept that sometimes an answer leads to more questions. But there were never any answers! Maybe they come later, but come on, isn't that a little too late?

Someone above mentioned it might be better to watch on DVD because there's less waiting between episodes. I had considered that, and is really the only basis that has me thinking about giving it another go.

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Three of my four favorite TV critics, together, talking TV. It would only have been better if Tim Goodman had been there. Thanks!

Alan Sepinwall said...

Okay, folks, let's all settle down. Matthew asked an innocent question, and while we can all debate the merits of Lost, we shouldn't be attacking people who stopped watching, and/or didn't like it. Remember Rule #1 for commenting around here.

Talk about the shows, not each other.

Anonymous said...

I am in the same boat as Matthew. I also watched at least twenty episodes and then gave up, but after reading all of your comments, I will definitely give it another try! Character driven shows are right up my alley. Thanks to everyone for your comments!

Anonymous said...

I love Mo's point about those people that continuously chide Damon and Carlton for "making it up as they go along." As if there was any other way to create something that hasn't existed before.Of course there's no other way to create something. But there are ways to present your creation. And what happens to a lot of shows with a mystery element (and definitely happened with Lost) is that they presented their creation far too early. Instead of giving their watchers a delicious sausage sandwich, for a few seasons they gave us a view of sausage-being-made.

A pure soap-opera has a luxury that a soap mixed with mystery doesn't have. And that's that the mystery promises answers and promises resolution. A soap opera only promises character development - if the "grand answers" don't resolve, who cares. That's not why I was watching. But LOST was both advertised as and set itself up to be a show that had an answer or two along with the character development. not getting that is incredibly frustrating. It's like reading a "whodunit" and having the book end without revealing the murderer. No matter how beautiful the prose is, without the detective confirming that the butler did it, it's very unsatisfying.

Tyroc said...

Is the interview spoiler free? (In terms of the final season.)

I assume so, but just want to make sure before I read ahead.

belinda said...

Oh, yay! This should be really fun to read. Thanks for recording and transcribing the whole thing, Mo! What a treat!

And yes, Lost is definitely worth another try if you want to. Just don't get too bog down with S2 and the first couple of S3 eps, because those will be a bit more 'challenging' to get through. After that, it's smooth and tremendously fun sailing for the most part.

Anonymous said...

@ Tyroc, yes, the interview is spoiler-free.

Toward the end, there are some 'informational tidbits' which are very, very clearly marked so you can avoid them if you so wish.

Anonymous said...

@ Matthew and @ Anonymous: I can completely understand having given up on Lost somewhere along the way. You're both hitting on one of the most interesting, or most vexing (depending on your viewpoint and what you wanted) things about Lost.

Yes, it is a character driven show. Yes, it has a dense and interesting mythology, and yes, it has some sci-fi. Some people really love one aspect and tolerate the others and some like all of them to varying degrees. Lost has something of a splintered fandom in ways most shows will never experience. Ho wyou wanted to interact with the show may explain why you decided it wasn't worth it while your friend or co worker couldn't stop talking about it. It's unique in that way.

I can tell you why I got into it, and your mileage may vary:

I liked the way they told the story. (Character-driven, serialized.)

I liked that they respected that many Lost viewers are pretty darned intelligent. This is not dumbed-down TV. Don't get me wrong-sometimes I crave an episode of Law & Order SVU as much as anyone-it's not too hard to follow, it's entertaining, and I only will ever need to invest that hour. Sometimes that's all I want or am up for. But I am so excited that I can watch Lost, a show that makes me think and has me entertained for the weeks in between new shows!

@Matthew, you gave up just before the answers started being doled out. They were still doled out slowly in Season 2. And yes, they often led to new questions. Answers started coming much more frequently in Season 3 and beyond.

I hope that both of you will give the show another chance because I personally love the show so much. But I realize that my taste is not everyone's. If it's not for you, well, it's not for you--no harm, no foul. You probably love some form of entertainment or specific piece of entertainment that I just never got into as well.

Beav said...

Hope this works this time...for whatever reason I'm having trouble commenting today...anyway, in terms of the "Making it up as they go along" thing:

The difference with LOST is that a lot of the time the creators would throw out some things that appeared to be clues or added to the mythology - e.g. the numbers, polar bear, Claire's line about how there are no hairbrushes and combs in the luggage, etc. - But then they either didn't pay off on what that 'meant' and how that tied into the show, or had a lazy explanation much later in the series.

In the beginning of LOST, a big part of it's appeal was it being sold as "Everything is connected" and "Everything happens for a reason". I remember commercials and print ads with those slogans. The show sold itself as this giant web of clues that were all a part of this huge mystery, and everything that happened tied into some other piece of someone else's story and the greater narrative.

When you sell a show like that, the viewers expect that everything is done with intent, and it is disappointing to find out that there was no rhyme or reason for what they did. Rather than having a great master plan, essentially someone just said "Hey, know what would be crazy? A polar bear on this island....we'll figure out why it could be there later."

A few years back, I think it was Bill Simmons who compared it to John Doe's scheme in Se7en - as in it would be one completed masterpiece that tied itself together and would blow everyone away when you looked at its entirety. I think a lot of people felt that way about the show...that they had a plan and were planting things into each episode that had a purpose, but wouldn't pay off until much later. To know that the creators worked in the opposite way much of the time - throw a bunch of crazy stuff in, and then 5 episodes later, grab one of those details and tie it into a throwaway scene. Just, like I said, a little disappointing.

Anonymous said...

Re: Mo Ryan's transcript of your chat and the ending of Lost:

I almost don't care how it ends. I've loved the ride so much that for me, THAT is what I'll always take from Lost. The confusion, the theories, the emotional impact, the love of several of the characters, the joy of figuring out a mystery or two along the way, the giddy anticipation of the next episode, the interaction with the fandom, the shock at times, the occasional awe at the editing and how the flashbacks and flashforwards informed the understanding of the characters, the constant surprises--the ride. I have loved the RIDE. Lost has always been an experience rather than an hour of television.

There's nothing they could do to make me hate the show at this point. I don't have a pet mystery or a ship. There are questions I'd love to have answered, sure. But I'm one of those people who has enjoyed the confusion and the teasing. I actually liked the show better when there were fewer answers. When it ends, it's the journey that I'll miss the most. The answers almost don't matter. The journey has been incredible.

Paul Outlaw said...

@ Matthew:
Someone above mentioned it might be better to watch on DVD because there's less waiting between episodes. I had considered that, and is really the only basis that has me thinking about giving it another go.

That is how I watched the first season of Sons of Anarchy, the first season and a half of Mad Men, Breaking Bad and True Blood and the first four seasons of Weeds. I never could understand any of the complaints about the early episodes of Sons and Blood, but Weeds and season two of True Blood unraveled literally before my eyes in that marathon. It was probably less painful to watch because it was over relatively quickly...

Mo Ryan said...

Anonymous 6:12, I really agree with everything you said.

Anonymous said...


Thank you! Wow!

I normally post about Lost as KeepingAwake, but I can't find my google log-in info.

So thanks from KeepingAwake! And thank you for your great posts about Lost these many years!

Matthew said...

The issue of making-it-up-as-they-go-along is quite interesting.

I'm not sure people necessarily expect them to have everything, every character interaction, planned out in advance. (At least I hope noone's expecting that.) Of course things change as you write the show. But I do expect them to know the general core mythology of the show - what the island is, who the Others were, what the smoke monster is, etc - as well as the general shape of the show - there would be time-travelling, for example. And I think they did know that before setting out. Now, I don't expect them to have all the specific details planned out, and those can and do change, and those can give rise to inconsistencies that people point to as evidence it wasn't planned.

[SPOILERS] For instance, there was a scene in The Other 48 Days where the tailaways discover one of the Others has a US Army knife. There's a reference to it being only 20 or 30 years old. Now, at that point, they had already introduced the button and the incident, so my guess is the writers knew the army played a role in the incident (probably more actively than eventually happened), and so aged the knife accordingly. But at some point afterwards the writers probably decided what they had planned didn't work, so had the army come to the island earlier than intended and leave Jughead to play its role. This created an inconsistency with that earlier episode about the age of the knife, but still was consistent with the key point - army on the island.

The other thing they definitely didn't plan out was how the specific characters interacted with the plot. The characters are just chess pieces (as the Spanish advert reminds us), and it doesn't matter whether you use the knight, rook, or bishop to force the king into checkmate, only that he does get into checkmate. So they knew the big picture, but they probably didn't know at the start who the specific members of the Oceanic 6 were, or even whether there were six, or four, or eight people that left the island. They just made those decisions when they came to plan out season 4. Another example - in season 1, Charlie can't swim. Obviously they hadn't planned for Charlie to do all that swimming in the season 3 finale, but they probably knew at that stage that someone would have to swim down to the Looking Glass (remember Sayid found the wire on the beach around that same time or shortly after). When it came time, Charlie was dramatically the best person for the job, even if it was inconsistent with one line that Charlie said 50 episodes earlier.

I don't know whether any of you have read JMS's original outline for the original five-year arc of Babylon 5 that he wrote before starting production, but it's interesting just how different it actually got from what was eventually filmed the further out it got. A lot of it is still recognisable, but a lot of it is not. And that's a case where there everyone accepts that he had it planned out. The story just naturally changes as you come to write it.

But I like the comparison of Lost to The Prisoner and Twin Peaks of how the ending doesn't really matter. Both of those shows had real issues with their endings (and in Twin Peaks case, the entire last half of the show's run was very flawed, although I personally feel the show started to find some direction once Windom Earle actually came onto the scene), but those endings hasn't diminished their place in television history. Lost has been reached peaks that equal the peaks of either of those shows (and those are very high peaks), and has managed to sustain itself for much much longer than either of those two shows. Who cares if the final 18 hours is somewhat disappointing when we have 103 of overall great television. It's a much better proportion of greatness than Twin Peaks had.

Kenrick said...

I feel compelled to post. I stuck around through season 3 before I gave up on the show. Well, I still watched an episode every now and then with the help of my roommates filling me in on anything I missed. Occasionally I would just watch the last ten minutes of an episode, 'cause that's when anything interesting would happen.

As much as people love this show, I will always feel, in some way, betrayed by it. I was initially hooked by both the mystery and the character arcs. Somewhere along the way it became apparent that the writers were making up the mystery as they went along. If I only cared about the character arcs, then I think it's fine to make it up as they go along, because lives progress forward (although I probably wouldn't stick around too long anyway just on character arcs). But when you set up a mystery, someone has to have some idea where everything connects, yes even seven years in advance. Obviously they can't plan out every minute detail, but I would hope they had created like an outline all the way to the end of the series, with writers filling in the gaps along the way.

From my casual viewing it seems like they've made attempts to connect things here and there, but they seem like weak connections -- connections they make because they're expected to. (See Beav's post.)

I don't know if I'm effectively voicing my frustration with the show, but it exists. In any case, I will probably follow this final season. Just 'cause I do want to know how it ends, even if it doesn't connect well at all to season 1. But that's why it will never be a great show to me.

Linda said...

I just want to put a word in in favor of going back to Lost if you've found it hard to follow.

I ADORE this show, and I watched it late, on DVD, in giant gulps, and I would not have wanted it any other way. There is no magic in one hour at a time as the right way to tell a story; that's just an artifact of TV scheduling.

Precisely as was the case with The Wire, I find Lost much more enjoyable in bunches of episodes or entire seasons at a time; I could never stay with it when it was dribbled out bit by bit. There do tend to be slow sections, and when they go by in an afternoon instead of six weeks, the effect is completely different, psychologically. I also find it easier not to get confused by the intricacies when I'm not waiting a month (or six months) between episodes. I've basically watched all of Lost in the last four months or so (after seeing only some of it before that), and when I took one month-long break or so, I had to go back a few episodes.

For some, it's more fun to see it a little at a time; that's the rhythm that seems right to them. For me, longer stretches have been the way to go. If you gave up on it as an hour-by-hour serial but enjoyed some things about it, I encourage you to try again as a series of supermovies.

vampy said...

Hmm, it's funny, season two was hands down my favorite season. Now, the thing about Lost is it's a "boy's adventure show." (I swear, when it started I thought it was a hip remake of Land of the Lost.)

You have to like that kind of show in the first place. I loved the gadgets, I truly deeply loved "Henry Gale," especially before we found out too much about him, and I loved the main characters.

Now, Lost is still my favorite series on TV. The reason why people get mad at people who don't like Lost is because in that case we worry about it being cancelled and replaced with a show Jerry Seinfeld mentioned recently called, "The World's Fattest Loser."

Of course, this is no longer an issue with Lost, as it will run out the clock. It won't be another Firefly, Nowhere Man, etc.

However, onto Matthew's question. You'll probably never get as much out of Season Two as I did, unless you've been lucky enough to avoid certain big plot twists that happened. Which seems really difficult for me for anyone who watches ABC or anything else that mentions Lost.

My suggestion is lock yourself in a closet with a computer and wifi if you haven't and get Season 2 off of iTunes.

Anonymous said...

A couple folks hit the nail on the head. When mystery is a key element in the show (both BSG and LOST had this) if the question to answer ratio is not properly balanced, the finale needs to have a big pay off. Don't introduce elements if they're not going to be answered. BSG failed to answers the questions thoughout the series and then failed to wrap it up in the finale. Hence people were severely disappointed.

I feel LOST has done a great job on the question/answer ratio. They've introduced plenty of questions and then answering the minor ones as the show went on. Mean while the characters were the focus between the answers. If they fail to answer the big questions in the final season or by/in the finale people will be disappointed.

I'm all for a "choose your answer" ending ala Sorporanos. Those usually wrap everything up but a character.

I would also comment that you SHOULD NOT confuse advertising of a show and the actual content of a show. Firefly was advertised as sexy (and it was but in that suggestive way). Advertising sucks way too much and even when decent doesn't mean their on page with the writers.

Unknown said...

I also quit Lost about halfway through Season 2. I was in college it was hard to watch every week and it was just frustrating me. I am a big believer in quitting a show once it no longer brings you joy. Then last year my brother got into the show after never having watched and said that it was great. So I gave it another chance, watching (or rewatching) it all. And it was probably one of the more satisfying TV experiences I had. Especially since then the bad episodes feel less bad because you know you can watch the next one right away.

I won't care if it doesn't work out perfectly at the end. Even if it was terrible (which I doubt it could be since they are really good at endings) it can't take away the joy I took out of the rest of the episodes. I mean I do want answers, but I don't need every little thing to be explained. I am one of the people who loved the BSG finale though, so I may just be hard to disappoint.

J said...

Just wanted to concur that watching whole seasons on DVD/streaming is much less frustrating than waiting week-to-week, and add that all five seasons are currently available for streaming through Netflix and the first four seasons are on

Like Skitch up there, I've been rewatching the whole show this fall to induct someone (who is now giddily hooked).

Anonymous said...

Matthew's case makes me think I was lucky to kinda catchup on Lost at the end of season 3 and patch back via lostpedia and summaries. The writers were treading water for a long while there, can anyone even debate that?

The Bgt said...

I first gave up through half of season 1. I knew nothing about the hype just happened to watch it.
Didnt work.

I tried again with season 2 after reading all the praising I thought I missed something, after all I like sci-fi and Abrahams..
My second try didn't last more than 2 episodes.

Then I gave it another shot I think with season 4.
20 mins was enough.
Nope. Nada. Nothing.

What is for many the best tv series since the Dinosaurs era, is for me the most impossible series to watch.
It frustrates me.
I can't stand it.
Or its vanity.
Or its followers who demand to accept it as a divine gift to the mankind.
Plus I think it has some of the worst acting Ive ever seen on television. Ever.

Yep, there are people out there who don't like Lost.
We are living among you.
Beware ;)

Narrim said...

*season 3 spoilers*

Regarding Matthew L's observation on Charlie for a moment, what if that moment was all the more heroic because Charlie couldn't swim and the writer's still knew that? One of Charlie's "deaths" involved drowning while rescuing Claire, and another, the episode with the seagulls, maybe have involved drowning after falling off the rocky outcroppings (or just as easily slipping and busting open his head). One of Charlie's greatest hits is jumping into a pool and his dad catching him; he never necessarily swims on his own.

Indeed, his journey to the looking glass involved using a weight to fall fast into the water and then look for an to get through. Humans naturally float, at least with a lungful of air and undecayed fatty tissue. Did Charlie struggle to stay afloat at the Looking Glass? No, not really, but there was ladder nearby. Even rudimentary skills would've helped. Infinitely easier to anchor down, find a hole, and grab onto walls or a ladder or something manmade than swim half a mile out to sea, rescue a drowning man, and bring him back to shore. You can't do that if you only know doggypaddling (unless you're Vincent).

Charlie went in knowing this and ready to accept his fate for the greater good. Heh. I'm kinda curious what would've happened had Mikhail not blown open the port window or Penny's video chat.

Desmond incredulous at having to help Charlie swim back up int he scuba gear would've been insane.

JMC said...

Back to the transcript itself - I figured someone would've brought up The Fugitive as an example of a show that had a formula that for one instance grabbed the nation's attention and then was dried out and exhausted evermore. I don't think anyone will ever try to pitch a show about a man on the hunt for the killer of his wife and expect to get 72% of all USA homes w/ TVs to watch the finale!

Alan Sepinwall said...

Part two of our conversation is now posted, and you can also discuss it in this post here.

Benjamin Standig said...

Mamba's Messenger said...

I love Mo's point about those people that continuously chide Damon and Carlton for "making it up as they go along." As if there was any other way to create something that hasn't existed before. concern over the years has been whether the writers had a plan all along. Yes, perhaps they have to bob and weave from time to time (ex. Mr. Eko leaving), but the question of whether they knew how this mystery type show end is more than fair.

I simply decided to jump into the deep end and assume they did. Otherwise, there would be no fun.

Davy said...

So we're all supposed to chime in on when we gave up on Lost, and if we came back? In one paragraph? Never!

Matthew, I left around the same time you did, but am now an avid fan thanks to a coworker who enjoyed the early, seemingly pointless flashbacks more than I did.

If I were suggesting (and I am!) I'd skip the rest of season 2. I'd also skip the first six episodes of season 3 (scheduling meant that they had time to react to viewers complaints after these six had aired) and pick up from there. The last half of season 3 rocked, particularly the last six episodes, which lead straight into the excellent seasons 4 and 5.

If you do decide on the "skip a season or two" route, it helps to have a good friend around who knows the details so you can ask questions about what happened in the time you missed. I know it helped me get back in the game.

Good luck.