Lost: Season one

Whatever you do, don’t’ watch Lost!

After my girlfriend’s mother badgered us relentlessly to watch the show we finally relented and gave in; now we’re addicted. In the last week we’ve watched the entire first season (24 episodes) and are already three episodes into the second. I’m not happy about this.

Here are a few observations I’ve made about the show so far. I feel it’s too soon to determine any of Lost’s subtext so I feel looking at certain aspects of the show is a positive place to start.

1. Punching: Everybody’s punching everybody on Lost. Not an episode goes by where one man punches another (or, in Kate’s case, a woman punches a man). It’s made me want to punch people when they piss me off. Fuck, if it works on an ABC show why doesn’t it work in real life? Ok, maybe it’s not such a good idea and I doubt I’ll go around punching people but it doesn’t bother the people on the island. Jin punches Michael; Jake punches Sawyer; Sawyer is punched by Kate; Michael is slapped by Sun and so forth. It’s a punch happy little island.

2. The shaking camera: I began noticing the camera keeps moving constantly during the show. Sometimes it’s annoying; sometimes it works. There are moments when the shaking camera elevates a scene’s intensity and there are other times when it’s an obnoxious device. I know this is a more recent development in visual media (precipitated by reality television) but it’s not always necessary – what happened to a beautiful shot where the camera captures the landscapes agency? While this little contrivance is sometimes obnoxious it doesn’t take away from the show as a whole. Rather it’s just an observation I made.

3. Said: Said (Naveen Andrews) is definitely my favorite character so far. Although he tortures Sawyer and has committed a few atrocious acts in his past he’s the only character who takes responsibility for his actions. While most of the island’s inhabitants blame each other for various happenings (or, in Locke’s case, blame the island) Said takes responsibility for what he does and only assigns blame when appropriate. I also believe including a former Iraqi soldier in a positive light is quite progressive of Abrams. Usually, especially in post-9/11 America, Arabs are portrayed as terrorists or others; Said is neither. I am quite curious about Said’s development throughout the seasons and hope he remains the same.

4. Charlie: Sometimes Charlie is a little bitch; sometimes Charlie is quite heroic and altruistic. His struggles with heroin make him a more relatable character and bring issues of drug addiction into the mainstream. Commonly the drug addict is treated as a criminal or a hero in popular media and Charlie is really neither. He does partake in heroic actions but those actions have no relation to his addiction. A mainstream television series treating serious drug addiction as a personal demon one must overcome is great. Like Bill Hicks said, “drug addicts aren’t criminals; they might be sick but they’re not criminals.” It’s great a television series is addressing such issues successfully, not demonizing the character for his issues.

5. The Monster: Towards the end of season one it becomes apparent the monster is actually a security system (Rousseau reveals this). However, I feel this part of the show is a bit corny – reminiscent of Jurassic Park. The way the invisible monster levels trees, growls like a dinosaurs, and booms with each step is just like Spielberg’s representation of these prehistoric creatures. The idea of a monster isn’t necessarily a bad idea but the presentation is just derivative of one of Hollywood’s most notorious franchises. In essence, it’s unoriginal and a little banal.

There are many other aspects of Lost’s first season I can discuss but I’ll save that for another post. However, I will say this: I don’t believe Lost is the greatest show ever (a comment I’ve heard from multiple people). I think it’s good but the limitations placed on a network television series hinders its chances at elevating beyond the mundane. Even with the regulations placed upon a mainstream show on one of the three big networks, Lost is still quite enjoyable and clever; I just don’t believe it surpasses shows like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Rome, or even older series’ like Star Trek: The Next Generation or All in the Family. So far Lost hasn’t revolutionized television and is just adding to a canon already helmed by the shows previously mentioned.

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