Okay, we are three episodes into the third season of the television show, Lost. Over the first two seasons, I tagged this show as the best fully-serialized television show ever.
(And by fully-serialized, I basically mean that it is a show that you had to watch every week. On most shows, details change: characters get fired, clues get added to the conspiracy, and people fall in love. But you turn on the television, and the gang is hanging out in the bar, or the new case gets placed upon the desk, and the show starts anew)
Every episode had me eagerly waiting for the next week so more pieces of the puzzle could be added, more mysteries would be solved, and more intrigue established. I can’t say that anymore.
One of my favorite (sports) columnists is Bill Simmons, and he once talked about the first season of Friends. He said that basically, the first season of Friends didn’t try to be a sit-com, it went beyond that, showing the true inter-personal relationships of people who hang around each other too much. That once it tried to be a sit-com, it became more mediocre.
(He said it much more eloquently than that.)
But you can say the same basic gist is true for Lost. The first season was tremendously exciting, because neither the writers nor the show actually told you what type of show this was: survival television, science fiction, action-adventure, psychological thriller… it left you guessing.
The second season successfully was all of these at once. And it was really thrilling, until the last few episodes.
This season and the last, you get the feeling that the writers and creators of Lost, didn’t like the direction they were going, or felt like they were painted in the corner by the current direction. So, they tried their best to ‘fix’ these things, and in the same time, focus on one specific aspect of their story, “The Others”.
Okay, so over the last 3 episodes, the show has become a total action-adventure show. In fact, it has not only ignored these other genres and stories, it has gone away from the one thing that truly made it unique, the ensemble cast: the past three episodes has focused on small groups of the survivors, rather than the group as a whole.
And the previews for next week, seem to be more of the same.
So, is this a cry stating that I’m never going to watch the show, that it is terrible, how the mighty have fallen, and how the shark has been jumped…
It is still a good action adventure show with some mystery elements thrown in for good measure. But the phenomenon is over. The edge of your seat riding, unique, television phenomenon is done. I don’t think they can get it back.
I will enjoy it. I probably will be pulled in by cliff-hangers that one day make me wait in anticipation for the next episode, but that initial love has fallen away.
It’s just a television show.