Love it or hate it, the show that helped define and reinvigorate modern television ended last night. Here’s my thoughts…
First off, I should toss in the required-by-law SPOILER WARNING. I may talk specifics, so if there’s anything you don’t want about the show ruined for you, stop reading right about… now.
Six years ago, I didn’t give Lost a single moment of my time. I heard about it, and, knowing nothing about it (and being to lazy and ignorant to just look up a basic summary), blew it off as a Survivor knock-off. A year later I moved from Chicago to Portland with my girlfriend. As we were settling in to our new way of life as freelance artists, we began looking for stuff we could have running as background noise while we worked. After running through the same fifteen or so movies over and over, we turned towards TV shows.
Still knowing nothing about it, other than it was starting it’s second season, and there was something about a hatch, I felt compelled to check it out. Still don’t know what made me. It’s not like I had friends telling me, or anything like that at all. I just did it. After some convincing, I got my girlfriend to sit down with me and watch the first episode over dinner one night.
Three nights later, we had watched the entire first season. We’ve both been hooked ever since.
Lost is the opposite of everything that makes for a hit television show. It’s a novel on screen, with only the beginning and ending worked out. Everything in the middle grew organically, instead of by committee. When viewers (and even network execs, I’m sure) asked for answers, the show runners instead threw more questions at us. When other shows challenged it’s spot for top dog on network television (I’m looking at you, Heroes- oh, you poor people who backed that horse), the show runners, writers, and crew dug their heels in even deeper. “You think all of that stuff was weird? Well, not only are WE setting an end date for the show, but we’re also throwing EVEN MORE crazy stuff at you.” Lost exposed mainstream America to more fringe theories than anything else in popular media (seriously- could you imagine string theory being a major part of a network show twenty years ago?), and blurred the line between faith and science.
It’s for all these reasons that I love Lost.
Don’t get me wrong, the show has always had it’s rough edges- every work of fiction does, and those rough edges really stung at times. BUT… the good far outweighed the bad. Like Babylon 5, Buffy, Farscape, The Shield, Battlestar Galactica, and The Wire before it, Lost told the story it set out to tell, and provided some of the most referenced and memorable moments in tv history.
And as happy as I am that the Survivors of flight 815 (and all the friends they made along the way) finally got what they had coming, there’s still a part of me that’s sad for the Man In Black.
He never got to go home.