May. 24th, 2010

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The sixth and final season of the tv show Lost ended last night. Genre-wise, the show could best be described as "mystery". And that sense of mystery, along with suspense and great cinematography, is what hooked me in the pilot.

The problem if your show is a mystery is that you can't win. Human nature dictates that we want the mystery to be solved. But at the same time, solving the mystery would rob the show of... its alluring sense of mystery.

Many mysteries were presented to the audience over the course of Lost's six seasons, and I think the creators (Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, collectively referred to as "Darlton" by fans) made the best decision possible - they would solve some mysteries, and leave others open. That frustrated a certain group of viewers, who wanted every single question answered. My response: that would've been the equivalent of someone explaining a joke, and it would've killed the show. How boring it would've been if the last season consisted of the show going down a checklist of answers. I'm reminded of the misguided final episode of The X-Files, wherein Mulder connected the dots of all the show's strange ideas. It felt like math class. In fact, a few of the times when Darlton made an effort to directly resolve a mystery, it felt inorganic.

Another worthless complaint was that Darlton were making it up as they went along. Those viewers don't seem to realize what the alternative would imply: they would've had to map out over 80 hours of a television show (that's without commercials) with something like 20 main characters and dozens of complex intertwined storylines, all without even knowing if their show was going to be renewed for a second season, never mind a sixth. Something else these people overlook is that the fact that Darlton did make up most of the show as they went along (while still knowing the basics of where it was headed) kept it fresh and unpredictable, and allowed for much-needed course-corrections along the way.

At the same time as I believe it's wrong to dismiss the show, I also believe it's wrong to attribute it with any kind of "best show ever" label. As I alluded to above, this type of show is, by nature, uneven. That means some disappointments to go with the thrills. So sure, I have some complaints. There were plot holes and corny moments, and some of the answers (including the explanation for this season's "flash-sideways") were duds.

But anyone attempting something this ambitious is bound to fall on their face once in a while. The important thing is that the ups greatly outweighed the downs. I don't regret a single moment I invested in this show, and I look forward to watching it again from beginning to end.

June 2010

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