For those that know me well, you’re probably thinking right now that this post has been a long time coming. Too long in coming. But it’s here now, and all I ask, honored guest, is that you read it with an open mind. Because it may change your life forever.
All right, so I have a flare for the dramatic.
The topic of this post is Lost, the breakthrough ABC series now in its third season. But first, the obvious question: why write at length about a TV show? What’s the big deal? Why must I seem like a giggling schoolgirl when I talk about it? Well, I will give you your answers, but first, the premise of the show:
An international flight, containing nearly 300 passengers, suffers communications trouble and is lost en route from Sydney, Australia to Los Angeles, California. The plane unintentionally flies far off course…and then suffers a major catastrophe in mid-air. The tail of the plane completely tears free from the fuselage, and the fuselage crashes into the ocean next to a large deserted island (much as in Cast Away).
48 people survive the plane crash. Practically none of them know each other. A story of survival ensues, as the passengers come together and try to figure out how to return to civilization. In doing so, however, it is not long before they realize they are not alone on the island…and that their story of survival just got a lot more complicated.
An interesting premise, certainly. But the beauty of it is that ABC has taken this premise and turned Lost into what I believe is the greatest show on television. Ever. And to answer my original question above, here are the reasons why:
- This story could have easily been told in a linear fashion, much like 24 or most other network dramas. It differs, however, in that each episode features a specific main character–both in the present and the past. Between island scenes, we get a very focused glimpse into the character’s background through the use of flashbacks. Everyone is deeply affected by their past, and these characters are no different…and the writers do an amazing job of tying those past events into what is currently happening on the island. As the episodes go along, we gradually find out more about each character, and we know begin to know them better and better.
- Even with the dramatic elements of the show, many people are drawn by its mystery. The entire show acts as one enormous puzzle: what is really going on with this island? For every question answered, another is asked, and finding the answers to these smaller mysteries is always entertaining.
- Without question, there has never been a show that takes such special care with its details. Those that aren’t interested can simply pass right by them, but for those that are, the producers weave many different hidden clues throughout the scenes if one looks hard enough. Some of the flashbacks, for instance, end up being woven together in ways that you would never expect. Other times, on the island, seemingly irrelevant things that were planted in Season 1 suddenly take on great meaning in Season 2. The show is incredibly well thought-out.
- The cast, of course, is also extremely good. From top to bottom, everyone really makes it work, and there are very few weak links. It also adds a lot of different flavors through diversity.
- Finally, the ensemble cast, being as large as it is (14 regulars after the crash), creates a sense of family that has not existed in a show to date. When something threatens the castaways, it’s hard not to feel that you know all of them as one large family, and there is a prevailing sense of teamwork that just doesn’t exist anywhere else.
I know you’re thinking this is the world’s biggest sales pitch, and perhaps it is. :) But I have enjoyed this show more than anything else I’ve ever watched, and I hear too many people saying, “Oh, I meant to watch that, but never did.” Jump in before it’s too late! Season 2 is already out as well, and we’re only two episodes into the third season.
Lost is truly a masterpiece. As my family and friends, I feel it is my responsibility to pass this onto you…do not neglect it. At least, not for something like Deal or No Deal. ;)