I was supposed to write a column about several reality shows airing this summer, and I had good intentions of doing just that. But the only reality I know right now is that I’m addicted to Lost. I must find out what happens to the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, which departed Sydney, Australia, for Los Angeles, California, on September 24, 2004, and crashed on an uncharted island.
It began as a curiosity. See, I was over at ABC.com, doing research for my Three Strikes column on Brothers & Sisters. All I wanted was a jpeg, you know? Honest, this was the only reason I was even near the site. Then I saw an option: “Full Episodes.” I mean, what could it hurt to check and see what they were streaming, right? Maybe”¦ maybe they had unaired episodes of Cavemen, I liked that show. I did; really, I’m not making this up! Clicking that link was like finding a private room at some teenage suburban party where all of the “good” kids are drinking smuggled beers in the living room and the “cool” kids are doing something else away from the crowd.
I’d decided long ago that I wasn’t going to get caught up in the Lost hysteria. After I missed most of the first season, I thought there was no way to catch up. Sure, the DVD’s are available to rent, but I wasn’t going to waste one of the entries of my Netflix queue with Lost, not when I had 300 movies to get through. And after two seasons, I stopped caring. I thought, “Come on, can it really be as good as Deadwood, Veronica Mars or Friday Night Lights. Was Lost even close to the caliber of The Sopranos?” I scoffed at the notion. But Abc.com”¦ damn you ABC! It taunted me”¦ “Lost Season 1 in streaming HD.” HD? C’mon, it can’t be that good. I reasoned with myself, “Look, just this one episode. I’ll watch the pilot and be able to claim I’ve seen Lost. Then, back to my life.”
My life. Ha! I have no life! Two hours after watching the pilot, I was hooked.
I saw Matthew Fox display once again why he’s one of this generation’s finest actors; I saw Terry O’Quinn sink his teeth into a complex, difficult role that is light years from the first time I saw him in The Stepfather; I was introduced to actors Josh Holloway, Jorge Garcia, Yunjin Kim, Evangeline Lily and the great Michael Emerson; I was swept away by the gorgeous score composed by Michael Giacchino; and I was blown away by the vision of executive producer J. J. Abrams and the two geniuses who run the show, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof. Across the board, I discovered what critics have been talking about for four and a half years: Lost is simply one of the best shows on television, ever.
If you are unaware of the plot of Lost, here is a brief rundown: An airplane crashes on an uncharted island. The survivors band together and wait to be rescued. Meanwhile, many dark secrets lurk in the lush foliage of this island, including: an elusive monster that sweeps the jungle; the remnants of a mysterious experiment called the Dharma Initiative; and a second group of island inhabitants who are hostile to our heroes and come to be known as the “Others.” Each episode focuses on one character, using flashbacks to give us important details of their lives leading up the crash (this technique was modified for the just-ended fourth season). Thus, the characters are more fully realized than standard dramas trying to make up shit on the fly. We get to see how the characters grow, or not, and come to care deeply about most of them. Yet, no one ever appears safe. One week you may be rooting for someone; the next, he/she may get killed. That’s all I’m going to tell you. If you want to learn more, head over the ABC.com or rent the DVDs. The rest of the story is too complex and, at times, mind-blowing to go into in this small TV column.
As for me, I am plowing through all four seasons at a disgusting, maddening pace. When I should have been resting a sore back (injured due to sitting in my damn office chair for too many hours”¦ watching frickin’ Lost), I was staying up late watching an entire disc of season 3 episodes. And when I should be writing or getting the next draft of a script revised, I’m on the computer. I find myself trolling the dark alleys of eBay, hoping to score a deal on the season 1 box set. Maybe I’ll be that lucky schlep who wins the box with just $20! Can you imagine?!
Please, help me. I NEED HELP!
The one blessing in all of this insanity is that there is an end in sight. Once I complete season 4, I join the rest of the millions of people who watch Lost and are waiting until January 2009 for the fifth season to begin. My eyes will have time to recover from the glare of the computer monitor; I won’t feel as if my retinas are burning. Moreover, ABC and the producers have agreed to end the show in 2010, giving the series just two more seasons to wrap up everything. This is a brilliant move. With an end date and a finite number of hours, we viewers won’t be subjected to meaningless characters and stories that feel like filler. Thank you ABC, for saving my life. Although Lost is so dense, like a Dickens novel, it’s worth watching many times over. No! Stop!
All right. I have to wrap this up. It’s 6 AM on Sunday morning. My wife just left for work and the kids are still sleeping. I think I can get an episode or two in before they wake up. Yes, if I time it just right, I can get at least two more in to get me through the day.