Well I watched the premiere Episode of “Lost” the other night and I am so glad: not only did they explain what's been going on but they’ve given us a taste of what's to come.
In the next few episodes this is what will happen:
The whole island will turn out to be in a great big glass snow globe that is owned by some giants on a planet in the “Battlestar Galactica” galaxy, and every once in a while the giants shake it, which is what the white-outs are about, and why the island periodically disappears. The giants will be revealed to be the characters on the island, played by the actors playing the people on the island (for which they will demand and get raises).
The snow globe itself will be found in the backpack that comes floating off the steamship that blew up killing everyone on board except for like, forty or fifty of them who will show up later, to help rebuild the village which has disappeared because it was never built, or perhaps because the snow globe hadn't been unwrapped from under a Christmas tree somewhere in San Francisco because the parents bought it on a trip to Hawaii and then wrapped it in, like, September and then forgot about it in the bottom of the boot box (where they usually hide their Christmas gifts).
The little child who finds the snow globe will shake it, and be transported to the island where he finds he’s Claire’s child and that he’s not going to get to have a love interest on the show because he’s too young and also happens to be the surrogate child (in fact the “lost” twin) of Jin and Sun who had a baby they didn’t know about when they had sex in the Green Room before they were appearing on “The View”. The fact that she (the child) is white is explained by the fact that she has some DNA from one of the polar bears who used to be Locke when Locke was a white polar bear, very early in his career.
Huh? And we’re supposed to follow this?
The whole thing reminds me of how I used to love "The X Files" and then grew to actively hate it because there was absolutely no care taken to anchor the world of the show with rules of the road, so to speak. Like, here's a rule: people may only walk on the ground, head up, feet down. Now let's say you're watching a show and everyone starts walking sideways, up walls. That's a broken rule, because there have to be things that you can accept, things that are a given (like: "this is a world that has gravity"), so you can build your expectations off the truth. (This particular breach didn't happen, or at least not while I was watching it, but other equally grievous breaches did occur and I stopped watching “The X-Files” because there was absolutely nothing at stake at a certain point. No death was permanent; therefore there was no point in feeling anything at all when someone faced it).
I assume the writers would use as their excuse the fact that it (“X Files”) was a show about the supernatural. And that's all well and good, but even when you’re dealing in a supernatural world, you've got to play by the rules that you must also establish at the beginning. And near the last few seasons of the X-Files, the protagonists, Scully and Mulder would sometimes get infected with an incurable black dripping eye disease, that was 100% fatal. The show used to have the B actors or the guest stars get infected with this thing and they would die or simply disappear (i.e., get better parts on “Law and Order”) and that was wonderful – I couldn't get enough of that dripping black eye disease!
But then, the writers started giving it to Scully and Mulder even though it was THE DEADLIEST THING IN THE UNIVERSE. And I think once or twice they actually died, or were shown in one of the last scenes in a given episode dying (or “dripping", which implied they were going to die), and then the next episode, they'd be back, having a hot dog at the Diary Queen, with nothing to show for having died a horrible death the previous week except for maybe a pair of progressive lenses.
Well, this is where “Lost” is headed. It will always be popular solely because of the characters and the small issues they face and the relationships between them. But the writers seem to have no respect for the rules of their world; in fact those rules are completely flexible and pliable and it seems in terms of constructing the "Lost" world, that any element that a writer found cool or scary at any point in his life is welcomed with open arms. I imagine this dialogue in the writers' room:
Writer 1: Ok, I think I've got something here. What if we had, like, black smoke that just poured out of the jungle like a genie from a lamp only no genie?
Writer 2: Genius! That sounds great! What would it do?
Writer 1: Um, nothing! it would just pour out and we’d have scary music and then it would, oh my God, it would go backwards!
Writer 2: Oh my God, I'm in love with you! Backwards!
Writer 1: (modest) Don't forget, I went to Harvard.
Writer 4: (annoyed) How can we forget?? You bring it up, like every two minutes…
Writer 2: But what about white mist? Things with mist are scary and the word "mist" reminds me of that movie called "The Mist" and that movie was scary too.
Writer 1: Well, we can have mist too, can't we? (directing this question toward the show runner)
Show Runner: I have got to tell you guys, it may be a lack of sleep but I think we're breaking new ground here. I've seen shows have black smoke, and I've seen shows have white mist, but to have BOTH in the same show? I see an Emmy.
(the two writers high five)
Writer 1: And they say network TV sucks!
Writer 3: Hey, I used to have a big teddy bear, only it was a polar bear that my parents gave me cause I liked teddy bears, but they didn't realize that I was so scared of it because it was too big to even pick up and had teeth, so I basically put it in the closet and never played with it once. So I think in addition to human characters who will have backstories and personalities and all that dumb stuff, let's have big white polar bears on this tropical island and if we don't like them later, we can just never have them on again [even though they're like 15 feet high and must leave piles of polar bear shit absolutely everywhere and if this was an honest show, the islanders would constantly be stepping in it and swearing about it.]
I’d say my first experience with a show that left me in the dust (or the sand) because of over-exuberant plotting (or, as we laypeople call it: “throwing everything we can think of into the pot because that’s what we were smoking last night when we should have been discussing plotlines”), was the Gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows”.
Dark Shadows was a weird and cool aberration on afternoon TV: a gothic soap opera, a genre that is long over-due to be resurrected. The basic premise was a community of characters that lived almost exclusively in this mansion (probably somewhere in Long Island now that I’m older and know where mansions are) which turned out to be haunted, or at the very least, filled with actors who couldn’t get work on anything legitimate and so were wandering onto the set for the free craft service table food.
It started out in the present (the present of 1966), with a young governess who comes to the mansion to work (passing time before going to grad school at NYU I assume). All kind of mysteries and ghosts started popping up which were really cool and fascinating (at least to my young mind). Pretty soon there’re all sort of floating bodies, kidnappings, people emerging from portraits on the walls (my favorite effect!). In later episodes they added time travel to the mix, and characters were traveling back in forth in time and becoming different versions of themselves in the 18th century (as opposed to themselves at an earlier time in their lives), bumping into different versions of other people in their social circle who didn't know those "other versions" existed, having not gotten together the existential airfare to make the trip.
Does this make sense?
Well, it apparently didn't either to the writers of Dark Shadows who admitted years later that they had completely lost the thread of the stories they'd constructed and didn't know who was stuck in what era or really what was going on anywhere (since on top of everything, they permitted people to travel forward in time as well, like those side-by-side escalators in an action movie where if you're a cop, you can jump from the "UP" onto the "DOWN" escalator if the bad guy is getting away, or if you just left your wallet in the airport bar).
To make things worse (or "better"), they added a vampire thread, and the lead vampire Barnabus was constantly biting people on the neck having them join him in the land of the dead, sometimes in the 20th century and sometimes in the 18th. After a while, you couldn't remember who was a vampire and who wasn't, since everybody was biting everybody (the STDs of gothic literature) and of course since people were kind of ashamed of being a vampire, it was all a big secret who was and who wasn't and then, sometimes, just to totally screw with your head it would turn out to be "just a dream".
So I Wikipedia’d “Dark Shadows” just to see if I could recall some of these details, and guess what? The entire first episode began, as “a dream”! So the whole show was, like, a hallucination. Brilliant! Relieves everybody of the responsibility to have any connection to reality.
So if you’re trying to follow “Lost” (what a great title now that I think of it), you’d better be prepared for the big reveal at the series finale, which I have a sneaking suspicion is going to be very much like “Dark Shadows”, if you know what I’m sayin’.
See also Paul Levinson's:
and David Kordosh's:
copyright: dcvdickens 2009