Lost Season Finale
I know that this tends to be a love it or miss it show. The truth is, unless you have followed from the beginning, this is not a show to come to late. Maybe this is why, watching the death and destruction finale of Lost season 4 last night I was struck by how far this show has come. Remember beautiful, vapid Boon? The guy who was in love with his equally beautiful, vapid sister? He was the first to go. Well, the first REAL character to go, as opposed to one of the fluctuating cast of randoms that were the extras. In fact, ditching Boon was an early streamlining that continued until the show is what it is today. The writers ditched all the nonsense (black smoke, monsters blah blah) and stupid characters (Boon, his sister, the other half of the passengers) and developed the show into a lean mean tension machine. It’s so completely engrossing, with such a tightly woven plot, and probably the most complex narrative structure ever seen on TV. This is probably why many people can’t get into the show late on. The crazy story structure is the narrative equivalent of the hokey pokey, it jumps in, it jumps out, it shakes it all about.
Yet as I watched, I couldn’t help but marvel at the brilliance of where the show has ended up. It’s a masterpiece of story telling, it challenges even the most basic conventions of TV drama- often you know the end before the beginning and yet it sustains the tension seamlessly, not to mention the fact that despite how much money the show makes the creators have contractually ensured that it ends after two more seasons. Why is this important? Because it means that they can really tell a story, with a beginning, middle and end, just like REAL stories. By doing this we will get to see a full plot, one which isn’t hurried to a suddenly cancelled close a la Joss Whedon’s Angel, the fastest Armageddon in television. This fundamentally challenges the age old TV drag-a-thon that requires that a show must be crushed until every ounce of financially rewardable juice has been squeezed from it and all that remains is an empty, pitiful husk of a dried up, once awesome, show that suddenly ends with no warning. Think Friends. Think Scrubs. Like that.
So as this season ended in a shower of explosions and broken expectations and predictably undpredictable plot turns, mainly what I thought was ‘I can’t believe I have to wait until next year to find out what happens next’. So for those of you that are in the ‘missed it’ category, in a way I’m slightly envious. Because you still get to watch all this for the first time. My advice? Get started, before next season comes around. Boy are you in for a treat.