Lost is Over and I Feel Duped
By Bert Ehrmann
June 4, 2010
I've been a fan of the TV series Lost since the first episode was broadcast on ABC back on September 22, 2004. Since then, I've devoted several columns to the series as well as too many blog posts to count. Lost was unlike anything I had ever seen on TV and seemed to be written and acted by some smart, funny and adept people.
When Lost first aired I lived near one of the theaters in town and couldn't believe that people would actually skip seeing an episode of Lost in order to take in a flick. I was so enamored by the show that for several seasons I'd dread the conclusion of each episode wishing that each one would last just a few minutes longer. And the only thing worse than the conclusion of an episode was the conclusion of a season. I remember counting the days between the first and second season wishing that summer would pass just a bit faster for the return of new episodes of Lost.
I loved Lost so much that I purchased books about the show that purportedly had some inside information as to what was at the core of the story and have participated in far too many discussions on the true nature of world of Lost. For a time, my own theory about Lost was that all the characters were dead and they didn't realize it and the island was acting as some sort of weird purgatory for their souls. As the series progressed I was shown to be totally wrong.
I think what kept me most interested in Lost was that the story was told via two means; one story would follow the "real time" on the island and the other would present character flashbacks (and later flashforwards) that would reveal bits and pieces of character backstory a little at a time. Which meant that as the story of Lost unfolded we learned that certain characters of the story weren't exactly who the audience thought they were (A murderer?! A multi-millionaire!?) while at the same time moving the story forward as to what was happening with the survivors on the island.
As the series progressed I found myself more and more drawn into the show. What exactly was the deal with the weird island of Lost the characters are trapped on? What's with the numbers? Why are there other people on the island? What's the deal with the polar bear? And so on and so on.
And though I never figured that the creators of Lost had a duty to reveal each and every answer to all the core mysteries of the show, I did think that by the end of the series that I'd at least have a firm grasp on the true nature of the island and the purpose behind the survivors of Lost. But over six seasons of the series that never really happened.
Instead of revealing the answers to the major questions raised by the series, the producers and writers of Lost instead chose to layer in more and more mysteries into the series. At the time, I thought things like the introduction of the Others, The Dharma Initiative and Jacob were in fact the beginnings of some answers. Instead, as the series progressed, it turned out that these were simply new mysteries on top of old, not there to reveal anything new but instead in place to keep the series going a few more seasons which is pretty much the definition of poor storytelling.
Then there were the addition of new characters to Lost. When the series first began it seemed as if all the characters were vulnerable, that all were in danger and any could get killed off at any time. But as time went on it became more and more clear that while newly introduced characters to the show might die, anyone who was in the main cast was, for the most part, safe. Of the 14 main cast-members featured in the first episode of Lost nine were still alive and active in the last season of the show.
I can't count the number of times I've become so frustrated over the direction of Lost that I'd quit watching the series only to be pulled back in. In fact, there were many times THIS SEASON that I'd considered quitting Lost only to figure that there were only a few more episodes left and besides, what else is there to watch Tuesday nights considering that I've resisted becoming a Gleek?
I think Lost can be summed up in the third to last episode of the series where a BRAND NEW CHARACTER was introduced and uttered the lines (sic) "Every question I answer will only lead to more questions from you." Which if that isn't the creators of Lost telling the fans that the mysteries of the island would go forever unanswered I don't know what is.
Overall, was Lost disappointing to me? Unfortunately, yes. Though the first few seasons were brilliant the last few seasons of Lost have been, at times, dreadful. I'd give the series Lost an overall grade of "B-," and that's being generous.