On Dharma-tattooed sharks and the metaphorical jumping thereof

Newcomer Juliet encounters the mysterious "Others" in ABC's hit action drama series "Lost"If there’s one thing I learned from that lame “Lost Experience” game that ran over the summer, it was this: don’t let marketing guys create content.

Actually, it was this: however “Lost” does end, it’s going to be a disappointment.

My first reaction after seeing the final wrap-up of the game (youtube is down at the moment, so I can’t link to it) was that it was just unforgivably bad. But after thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that the concept itself wasn’t too terrible, it was just presented in about the worst way possible. If it hadn’t had such terrible, clumsy acting; if the series writers had been in charge of the pacing; and if it weren’t wrapped up in crass marketing disguised as a ridiculously complicated “alternate reality game,” it could actually be a decent resolution to a lot of the mysteries in the show.

After three-plus years of build-up, however they decide to wrap up the big questions of the series is going to feel small and anti-climactic. But once you realize that it’s not the resolutions that are key, it’s how the stories are told, you can really appreciate what a great job they’re doing with the series.

Just in the two weeks leading up to the season premiere, I heard or read about a dozen people in magazines, online, in person, and in the blog comments talking about how season 2 was a huge disappointment. It was meandering and pointless and dropped storylines and never had a pay-off.

Well, I loved season 2 as it was airing, and I re-watched much of it after I got the DVDs, and I think it was outstanding. The season opener was every bit as amazing and intriguing as the series pilot was. The story went off in a whole new direction while still staying true to the central premise — getting into the minds of these characters and finding out what events made them the way they were at the time of the crash.

Over the course of the season, they really, genuinely answered a ton of questions. What’s in the hatch? What happened to the tail-enders? What did Kate do to get arrested? What does the smoke monster do? What happens if you try to leave the island? Is Michael an evil douchebag, or just an annoying one? Who were the people on the boat that took Walt? What caused the plane crash? How did that prop plane crash on the island? Is the island a real place? What happens to the people who get kidnapped by the Others? Is Locke the only one who got “healed” by the island? Are major characters really going to be killed off? What happens if you don’t enter the numbers? They don’t needlessly stretch out the reveals, like “The X-Files” did, but instead give real answers that lead to a bunch more questions.

The season 3 premiere was tonight and, well, I think it was a huge disappointment. It was meandering and pointless and dropped storylines and never had a pay-off.

Well, maybe not, but it did feel to me like they’d built up a ton of momentum with the season 2 finale and failed to carry it through. The opening didn’t really do anything to surprise me (after two of the best season-openers in the history of television), and the rest of the episode didn’t say anything that we couldn’t have already inferred from the reveals of last year.

I’m sure it’ll pick up, but it’s kind of a let-down to spend months wondering about all the questions raised in the last season finale, only to get an episode where all we learn is that Jack is stubborn and had issues with his father. Where’s Penny and the arctic monitoring station? Or Michael and strange-powered Walt? Or the aftermath of the explosion? Or Sayid’s part-pregnant assault team on the boat? I already know we’re not going to get answers, and I’m fine with that. I just wish they would’ve started out not by telling us stuff we already knew.

0 thoughts on “On Dharma-tattooed sharks and the metaphorical jumping thereof”

  1. Wow. I LOVED it. I think it set the tone for this season rather nicely. Season one’s main focus was the Losties, season two added another focus, the Tailies, and this season adds a third, the Others. But at least they set that focus up right away instead of springing it on us later in the season like they did last year.

    Anyway, I loved every second of it.

  2. I think season 2 fits in better if you think of it as being about what’s inside the hatch, instead of about the Tailies. Season 1 started with Jack, 2 started with Desmond, 3 starts with Juliet.

    That may be my biggest problem with it; I’m just not that interested in the new focus. The idea of “the Others” has worked so well when they’re this mysterious force on the periphery of everything, and I’m still not yet interested in the backstory from their perspective. It’d be like stopping Empire Strikes Back in the middle for a long exposition of Boba Fett’s life story.

    Juliet’s just not that interesting a character, and I don’t see how they can make her interesting. I kept wondering whether she was supposed to be Desmond’s girlfriend or even Jack’s ex-wife. And the not-Henry Gale guy, I feel like they’ve already blown their wad with him, and there’s not much intrigue left there. I’m not wondering what his character is, I feel like I already know his deal and I’m just waiting for it to play out.

    I probably would’ve been happier if they’d just expanded their focus with this one. Instead of keeping everything centered around Jack, Sawyer, and Kate, I wish they’d cut back to what’s going on with the rest of the castaways.

  3. Yeah, I’d have to agree with you and say I didn’t like it. I will probably continue to give it a shot for for a little while longer. To be honest, I couldn’t wait for it to be over and watch the new South Park. I don’t think I could have had less interest in the direction of the new Lost episode.

    I’m usually the last hold out on a show. I was very resistant to start watching the new Battlestar Galactica. I caught one or two episodes during the first season, and didn’t finish either one (out of order). It just seemed plain bad, and cheap. Then, a good mutual friend of ours practically made me order up the mini-series on Netflix, and I gotta tell ya it’s some of the best tv I’ve ever seen. And I don’t even hold a flame for the old show.

    I say this because Lost has just left me very cold after the first season. I *loved* the first season…almost too much. I don’t even know why I brought up BSG, other than the fact that I think they are doing it ‘right’, as did Buffy. Maybe more shows do, but I find it hard to sit through most. At least I had fun with Lost season one.

  4. Well, you’re still horribly, almost embarrassingly wrong about season 2 of “Lost.” And I didn’t hate the season opener, I just think it could’ve been better and I’m uneasy about the new direction they’re taking.

    It took me a while to warm up to “Battlestar Galactica” because it’s so dark and depressing, and I can get depressed well enough on my own without TV helping. I’ve still only seen about half the episodes from each season, but feel like I’ve gotten up to speed enough that I’m excited about the premiere tonight.

  5. Season 2 recap: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALT!

    Turd soup.

    You should really netflix season one of BSG. They do have some light hearted, and funny moments here and there. I was shocked they pulled it off without seeming forced. That show has me by the balls. But I still haven’t seen Season 2. So I’m not watching any of the new stuff just yet.

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