25th May2010

Hey Star Trek! gotchoo NO MORE TUESDAY NIGHTS!?

by jerad.formby

A long time ago, in a hotel room far far away, Damon Lindelof and J.J. Abrams brainstormed a television show for ABC called Lost. The two of them were brought together to fulfill one ABC exec’s dream: Castaway the TV show.

The assignment from up on high was thrown to various executives and show-running teams and everyone had bowling with coconuts by episode four.

So it fell to Abrams and Lindelof to come up with something just a little more unique –and unique it was.

And now that it’s over, we’re certain many people are scratching their heads and contemplating just what the heck it all meant and deciding whether or not they’re happy with where it ended up. Did it answer all of your questions? Was there anything you forgot about?

We wonder what your thoughts are, because we sure as heck know what we think.

When Lost first appeared on the airwaves, we ignored it. We didn’t decide to give it a whirl until the first season was sold on DVD. The pilot played out on our way-too-small television and to be truthful, we found it a little bit lackluster. We met the Doc, the Fugitive, The Con Artist, Maggie Grace, and the Rock Star. There was a nice Iraqi gentleman. A Korean couple was there for no other reason than to work around a language barrier it seemed.

We watched the second episode and immediately regretted the purchase of a DVD set that seemed to have nothing going on outside of X-files level mystery that would likely never pay off.

The third episode did nothing to help our fears.

And then they did a little thing called Walkabout. The fourth episode centered on a Tracker character who seemed to know what he was doing. He took control of the episode with a fierceness and dedication that impressed us forever. And in the last moments of the episode, we realized that the show needed every bit of attention we could afford it.

This was also about the time that we realized the mysteries of the island were going to compile at a rate that would be difficult to remember. It just might have been best to watch the damn thing with a notebook.

Lost is a television show designed for “cracking out.” It’s the sort of thing where you clear your calendar, shut off your cell phone, and ignore all real world obligations in favor of watching stories fly at you from your television screen.

That’s exactly what we did and we basked in the glory of understanding that the second season would begin within days –so we knew that the ride would pick up again and we couldn’t wait.

Over the course of a few days, we familiarized ourselves with Lost’s crazy relationship to the Internet community. Tons of theories about the Island had cropped up everywhere. The most popular one being batted about during the first season was that the Island was purgatory.

The theory maintained that everyone on the Island was dead already. If a character was somehow killed, poetically enough, it appeared that said character had “resolved some character issue” and was permitted to leave.

This never pleased us at Hey Star Trek! we wanted the island to be in our own Earth reality. To have end up that purgatory was all there was to it would have been a huge disappointment –sort of like that Deep Space Nine episode The Search Part II where you find out all that hardcore business was basically a dream.

Thankfully, Damon Lindelof dismissed the theory.

Theories continued and nobody could wait to see what was in the hatch. When it was finally revealed, Hey Star Trek!’s relationship with Lost changed.

So did everyone else’s.

Lost fans started to complain more than Star Trek fans. We couldn’t believe the sheer amount of frustration and hatred that flew out of its community because the hatch was just some Scottish dude trapped in some weird installation that required an uhm hatch to keep the space quarantined.

We have no idea what they thought was going to be down there. There was no guessing on our part, we just couldn’t wait for the next book. See, each season of Lost presents a radical departure from the parameters of each season before it. The differences are so great that to call each season a chapter doesn’t have the justice of the word “book.”

Season Two set up the parameters for us to understand that every time a “new season of Lost” appeared, all bets were off.

Season One, the most popular, is about the need to get off of the island. This relatable concept was what won over most viewers. The second season actually admitted that there was a lot of science-fiction in everyone’s favorite one hour drama. It also introduced new characters (which everyone else had a problem with).

Season Three took the enemies of the past two years and changed our perception of them. Again there were pesky new characters. Everyone else wanted the focus to stay on those who came with the first season. We guess they never wanted evolution.

Speaking of evolution, we sit here at the end realizing there was a time when everyone took shots they found in the hatch because they were afraid of some sort of “sickness.” That totally slipped our minds.

The world of Season Four saw our castaways and their former enemies united against an invading force. It also included one of the most elating episodes of the entire series.

The fifth season contained a most ingenious idea.

Everyone who watched the show knew that the island had lots of different facilities that had been built by something called The Dharma Initiative. This institution seemed to have different places on the island for all kinds of different experiments.

They were interested in everything from human psychology to time travel.

When our heroes encountered any aspect of the Dharma Initiative, they were stuck with speculation and wonder. Their interest in the significance of such a group was at times fleeting. Other times it was ravenous!

The trouble was that the Dharma initiative had done all of its stuff in the past.

So Season Five placed some of our characters in the past –which was not outside the realm of reason. That was just the sort of awesome Lost was.

Lost wasn’t cancelled. The network was happy with its numbers and how the show was being received. Lost’s ending was set for 2010 years ago and so you should feel comfortable in the knowledge that it’s ended now how the creators wanted it to.

As word trickled down through rumor, all of us heard about how major dead characters would be returning to the show. They were going to bring back the rock star kid. We could expect to see Walt’s dad again. It was even possible that the angry LAPD officer could come back.

These announcements weren’t tricks to bring you back into watching if you’d stopped. They weren’t ploys. There was a heavy significance to bringing back the dead players and when they appeared, it was as if they’d always been there.

We were also treated to an “alternate universe” where our characters never found the island. We saw their lives unfold as if the island had never existed. We saw major changes in their lives. The doctor had a son. The con artist was a policeman.

The fugitive was still a fugitive, but we know now that was only because it made her happy to be one.

Between the alternate reality and the pounding of the island story, we were hooked on what would be answered when it ended. We celebrated the idea of seeing every single question the island posed being answered –and there were many.

The true genius of Lost was the insanity of its setting. It had a monster. There was a broken, ancient statue. A temple. There was so much happening with electromagnetism. A dang frozen donkey wheel that could “somehow” move the island.

So many questions about these things and the existence of these things were posed over the years of its run. Lots of them were answered in one form or another. Sometimes there was only one answer with a follow up question that never got answered, but there was a somewhat-answer all the same.

We wondered which of these that had fallen through the cracks would get something more final. There is a swirl of possible examples, but they get fuzzier with the more Lost that’s watched.

When we entered the last two hours, we had a vague notion of stuff that had been “left dangling” but nothing certain. We had forgotten so much. We really wanted the end game.

The end game was provided and it was beautiful.

As it unfolded, we realized that it didn’t matter why the statue had four toes. How the cabin moved wasn’t important. We didn’t need to know where the island came from and we didn’t need to know how the lighthouse shined on the pasts of major characters.

We were watching a show about ordinary people who had the fortune of meeting under incredible circumstances. Their adventure was so amazing that it bound them together through life and afterlife. What these characters experienced together transcended the mystery and crushed any loose ends.

Anything these characters wanted to know that wasn’t answered, they were fine with leaving open. They cared about each other more than any answer. They weren’t obsessed with answers, we were.

And if those characters, our vehicles for exploration, were happy to let something go, shouldn’t we be able to? We’re ready to. We’re ready to move on.

More than any other completed show, we predict reviewing this show from the beginning will be very rewarding. This is something you will be able to watch again knowing how it ends.

The sweetest part of how it ended was that we realized this whole time we weren’t watching a show of mysteries.

We were watching a show about characters.

That wasn’t the Doc, it was Jack. The country guy was James Ford. The fat guy was Hurley. We weren’t watching a fugitive. We were watching Kate. That rock star’s name was Charlie. The pregnant girl was called Clare.

And that wasn’t Maggie Grace we were watching. Her name was Shannon.

And she was in love with Sayid when she died on that island.

How did we forget that?

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  • Kelso

    Yes! Thankyou!

    I loved the finale. The mysteries on the show only mattered insofar as they affected the journeys of the characters. It’s amazing that so many people could have watched the show so intently for so many years without getting it.

    Great blog.

  • Clay

    Loved it!