December 22, 2010

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Get Over LOST [review and musing time]

It may have taken about seven months since the airing of the Season Finale, but I have finally come to terms with the unresolved mysteries left in its wake. All over the internet you easily find blogs, forums and sites listing the many questions that went unanswered, despite the fact that the Lost team made the choice to end the series early and wrap everything up well, instead of dragging it out. After reading one such list, and considering my own response to the finale upon its airing, I felt that maybe the answers were better left unsaid, and here's why...

This is a show that actually got a chance to complete its original vision. This interests me because many of my favourite books and tv shows have gone unfinished for one reason or another. Firefly was cancelled before it had a chance to take off; The Wheel of Time will never be completed as it was meant to be after the death of the original author; Heroes was cancelled after it started to look up (and the movie that would have wrapped up the story was cancelled).

I'm happy with Lost because they ended it exactly how they intended to in the beginning. The problem that many viewers have with the quality of the answers provided was that the questions were just so good, in a way you didn't want them to be answered. Leading up to the end I just had an overwhelming sense that no matter what they ended up explaining, it would not meet my expectations. There were just so many interesting problems opened up by the show: Why did Walt show up on the island when he wasn't supposed to be there? What was Dharma Initiative doing with the polar bears? How did Hurley know Libi before the island? (here's a more full list). Revealing a credible answer to these questions would be like explaining the mundane reality behind a really good magic trick. Once you know how it's done, there is nothing interesting about it.

What drew us all to the show was the piling on of mysteries upon mysteries, where it quickly became clear that the island was a place where anything can happen. In order for the show to have any realism, and to satisfy the horde of viewers, the team had to come up with realistic answers, but these were a let-down after six seasons of being left in the dark.

I prefer to have these questions go unanswered. Maybe that's why I like the Fantasy genre. I wish they had never tried to explain the origins of the man in black and Jacob, because the explanation was no where near as satisfying as the wondering we all experienced when we first saw Jacob and his powers, and when we first found out that the smog monster was a once a man. I don't think we watched six seasons of Lost to hear the answers, I think we kept watching knowing it would go on and on opening up new possibilities and leaving it open-ended for the viewers to come to their own conclusions. Or maybe they just wanted us to blog about it for the rest of time.

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