Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Is 'Lost' Too Complicated for Its Own Good?

In a column reminiscent of something Dave Barry might write, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll penned a sarcastic piece saying that Lost isn't as complicated as some of its fans may make it out to be:

"A large plane crashes on a Pacific island. Some of the passengers survive but most don't. After a time, the surviving passengers discover that other people also live on the island. They call these other people the Others.

After a time, a freighter happens by, and a helicopter from the freighter eventually rescues six of the survivors. The six return home -- most to the United States, one to Korea -- and resume their lives, somewhat chastened by the experience. The people remaining on the island try to create a viable society, but there are inevitable difficulties, like time travel.

And that's it

Clearly, this was written with Carroll's tongue firmly planted inside his cheek because he then proceeded to detail some of the insanely convoluted details of the story. But the column is funny nonetheless and takes aim at one of the show's biggest criticisms: That it loses viewers because people perceive it to be too dense. (Or people are too dense to understand it, whatever the case may be. I don't get most of it, but I'm still an avid viewer.)

If ratings are any indication, viewers are fleeing the island odyssey faster than Hurley can hurl a microwaved Hot Pocket at Ben Linus. Ratings for its two-hour fifth season premiere last week were down 26 percent compared to its fourth season premiere, and ratings dropped "for every half-hour it was on" TV, the Los Angeles Times reported. Did the island time travel aspect -- which continues to befuddle me -- turn folks off?

What say you Lost fans, do you think the show gets an unfair reputation for being too complicated? Do you have friends who won't watch it because they say it's too confusing? Do you find yourself scratching your head after episodes?

Image credit: ABC.


Anonymous said...

Carroll’s summary is eerily close to that given by the big guy, Hurley in the show. It is a little simplistic, and a little hard to accept as reality. And that may be the problem with keeping viewers watching the show as it has morphed over time. As the show started, it was somewhat of a “relationship-based” saga about a group of people crashing on a "deserted island." It seemed almost like a scripted version of Survivor and might turn into "Lord of the Flies." As the show progressed, it had more moments of intrigue and confusion, and as such, might have become too heavy for the reality-show or relationship-show fan base. Then add in more action and suspense and a few more viewers thought it wasn’t for them. Finally, with the suspension of reality needed to accept the time travel piece it may have become a little too “science fiction” for the regular viewer. And the sci-fi bunch and suspense seekers may never have engaged in the show at the beginning (since it did not seem like "their type" of entertainment) and feel it is too late to start now.

I like the show, a little hard to accept portions of it, and I really hope the writers are able to tie it all together in the end. But if I didn’t start at the beginning, I wouldn't start watching now. That’s why there are DVD’s.

Anonymous said...

I do scratch my head after each episode. But....I still watch. I can't seem to give it up. :)

Daryl Danforth said...

Lost watching LOST?! Say it isn't so.
Isn't there already way too many shows on television that require absolutely no thinking while watching them. TV is a wasteland of fluffy sitcoms and dramas where the story is carefully spoon-fed to the audience and neatly wrapped up within an hour's time ...or less. If I want mindless entertainment, I'll turn on Cops or America's Funniest home Videos. I think it is infinitely more entertaining to be challenged by a television show where the answers to the puzzles provided are never easy and the plot is not wrapped up within one sitting.
I love to be a fan ...a FANatic of good TV. A GOOD show makes me want to seek out other fans and discuss what could happen next. LOST as well as TWIN PEAKS(the best show ever, sorry it is)and NOWHERE MAN(both 1990'S) and X-FILES (to a lesser extent when considering the background story threads), DAYBREAK(2007), THE PRISONER (1960')and pretty much any DAVID LYNCH film will engender discussion of your interpretation of what you have viewed or what you predict will happen next. That's stimulating. That's fun. Even when I don't have all the answers or I feel LOST ....well isn't that a bit like life?
Go ahead TV ..keep challenging me. I can handle it.

Anonymous said...

I like challenging tv, but I like it to make me think about concepts like the greater good of society (ala West Wing) I don't want to be challenged by thinking things like, "wait who is that guy again, and do I have a copy of season 2 still around so I can check out the backstory?"

I'm still hanging on, and I do watch the enhanced shows to help me remember some of the finer details, but jeez, a week with a little humor in it like they had in season one could be in order now!

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