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.