Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Land of the Lost

I am going to break with my typical "bad blogging" habits... my penchant for writing long, carefully edited and punctiliously argued screeds dealing with serious topics (everyone says that is NOT the way to blog!)...

...and instead issue a short, ill-edited rant on popular culture.
(Ah! Now Brin is catching on top what the Internet is FOR!)

The topic? That infuriating television show LOST.

I'm going to list the inconsistencies and frustrations that most vex me in this series. They are probably not the same as what you'll read at, say, one of the fan sites, because I view it through the lens of a professional plot-smith.

First, I do try to view art in the spirit that it is offered -- and I know that the writers and producers of LOST are engaged in the art form known as the Grand Tease. Hence I won't complain about the fundamental premise -- that no character ever asks any crucial questions, not even when they had the leisure of 3 years to ask them. No, that is a central theme of the series and anyone who can't abide it simply should not watch.

But some things were revealed and made explicit. earlier. They should have been kept in mind as the series developed. They were huge clues. They deserved payoff. And, although some may seem minor, ignoring them should be cause for the producers to be (figuratively) shot!

1) The children and stewardesses etc of the crashed Oceanic flight. They were taken away by the Others. Dozens of them We even glimpsed them, near the Polar Bear cages, in one episode. A major plot element, they are now (in show-year 2006) the main group of survivors left. Above all they are the only true INNOCENTS left, and hence the ones who deserve any loyalty or attention or moral duty in the story.

2) Plot elements left hanging: The "disease"... the mysterious lethality of childbirth... the SOURCE of the "others" -- who apparently were recruited by "a magnificent man..." the deGroots and Hanso and their goals...

3) The air drop of Dharma supplies. Yes, when the Oceanic survivors found parachuted supplies meant for the last Dharma outpost in the Hatch... sure it only happened once , but the implications were HUGE! It meant that there was still a Dharma initiative out there! It implied another route to the island than by submarine. Did it bother ANYBODY else out there? It ought to.

4) Heck, what happened to the Dharma and the guys backing them and the group in Ann Arbor? Did they learn ANYTHING after all that expense and effort?

An side -- what IS it with the obsession in all TV series, of leaving contemporary society unchanged? STARGATE was a great show, but their excuses for NOT FREAKING TELLING THE WORLD that Earth was fast becoming an intergalactic imperial power started getting really, really lame. Would it have hurt to show what WE might have done, reacting to such news?*

5) There is only one character in the tale who is not relentlessly clueless and stupid. The one character who is always, always right. Hurley. The writers always show him suggesting openness and wisdom, and getting contemptuously, patronizingly spurned by his friends. He's the only one who wanted simply to tell the world about the island! And thus... render all sides in the silly "war" moot and let all humanity learn all about something miraculous that we could all share.

Is Hurley EVER going to be listened-to?

6) What the $%#! have all the governments of the world been doing, all this time? Not ONE person, anywhere or anytime, ever told any responsible group of adults about all the shenanigens going on, with incredible powers? Sure, it's more dramatic to leave the government out of it. That is... unless a pair of FBI agents - looking suspiciously like Mulder and Sculley - were to arrive and speak out for telling the world....

6) Death guilt. There were hints, throughout the first two seasons, that you were either chosen by the Others - or not - depending on whether you had killed somebody or done something else that caused you to feel guilty. Jack and Hurley felt INDIRECTLY guilty, and so we left on the beach. Locke at the time had no guilt and I thought that was his reason for being "chosen". He even avoided "re-killing" his own father...

...that is, till he outright committed unprovoked MURDER by hurling a knife into the back of an innocent woman. Wha???? HAve the writers forgotten all about that thread? When Ethan told the murderer female cop "you're not worthy" they made this point very clear! Only, then they show the Others committing murder like crazy! So, WTF?

7) Speaking of Locke's father... wasn't he taken out of a "magic box" by Benjamin Linus? What ever happened to that?

Okay okay... I should have just turned off the damned box, a couple of years ago. The last season is already filmed (though a few minutes of spliced in conversation is still possible). Maybe we are best served simply by boycotting the final season, to teach a lesson to Abrams and others like him, who do not care about fealty to plot.


* I'll go see DISTRICT 9 soon. I hear good things. Still, I think the same concept, done in the 1980s, was intrinsically more courageous. Rent ALIEN NATION and see how that brave film did something no other ever even tried -- either before or since. It portrayed our civilization -- and its citizens -- actually behaving as they might, if such things ever happened for real.

In other words... a majority of us actually trying to behave decently and well, with tolerance and courage and smarts and a will to face the future.

Hollywood, it seems, not only cannot ever portray such things... people there cannot even seem to wrap their minds around the idea! Hence, alas, we come full circle to poor Hurley.

He represents the rest of us. The ones with more brains and heart than movie star looks. The poor schlumps with common sense.


BTW... enjoy http://yeli.us/Flash/Fire.html

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