Thursday, January 19, 2006

What to do with a problem called success

Wherein I keep talking about Lost

Kim Cosmopolitan ponders:
The comments regarding last night's episode of Lost raise a more macro level question about the show. In the unexpected world where Lost proved to be both a critical and a popular phenomenon, thus eliminating any concern about ratings or cancellation anytime in the foreseeable future, what do you do if you're JJ and the Island Band, busy planning the show's arcs for the season? They pretty much have to slow things down and dole the big events out sparingly, lest they be left with nothing to write about after this season or next.

I think Lost is the very definition of a show that needs a defined expiration date. Sooner or later, they'll have to give concrete resolutions or keep spinning even wilder diversions. Then you're left with two outcomes: a show that collapses from its own weight leaving fans disgruntled and disappointed; or a bunch of people hanging out on a tropical island until the Harlem Globetrotters show up. Cue disgruntled and disappointed.

It seems clear to me that Lost is setting up a large conflict to end this season with probably the fates of a handful of cast members in doubt. But I don't think this conflict is necessarily with the group we met last night. Greg looks at the geography of the island and it looks like the entire Western portion of the island is unknown to us (viewers). I'm speculating that there is another group of island Others and they are much more dangerous than the ones who took Walt. It's probably the group Ethan came from. Our survivors will form an alliance with last night's Others....and then other stuff will happen.

Here's the comment I left at Throwing Things with very broad outlines for the future of the show.
  • fantasy projection #1: Stop the show at the end of season 3. Have them rescued. Happy endings all around, except for the handful killed off for dramatic purposes.
  • fantasy projection #2: Spring sweeps features the big battle. Last episode of season shows a rescue ship on the horizon. Next season the survivors realize they haven't been rescued, but picked up by a new version of the D.H.A.R.M.A. initiative. Lather, rinse, repeat. Basically turns into The Pretender - an interesting idea that loses our interest because it is unable to resolve anything.
  • fantasy projection #3: stuff happens, people die, season ends being rescued. Next season, everyone tries to reenter their old lives. But they're probably being observed and keep having weird flashbacks they don't understand. Rent Jacob's Ladder for plot points.

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