Why Lost is losing “it” and its audience
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Today is Wednesday, usually an exciting day for a Lost fan such as myself, but I’m not excited, not even the least, and that disappoints me. I was there from the beginning when Jack opened his confused eyes amidst the trees in late September 2004. I wasn’t the only one either as the pilot drew an estimated 18.6 million viewers that night. We were fascinated by the mysteries of the island, the dark hidden pasts of its new inhabitants, and even the roar of the unseen monster sent our minds reeling with the possibilities. Where has that passion for Lost gone and why did it fall so quickly?

As the show’s popularity grew, so did its story and evolving characters. We begged for more information, for any little bit of anything we could get. What brought them to the island? Who else has fallen victim to its curse? What is going on? Every aspect of the story was dissected. The DHARMA logo was discovered to mimic Chinese Bagua with each logo connecting different aspects of the Bagua elements. The mystery numbers were rumored to be the lat/long of the island. Even Locke’s name referred back to the 17th century philosopher of the same name who theorized tabula rasa or “blank slate”, which was also a name of an early first season episode. It seemed that every detail had been carefully considered and planted as gifts to the audience. Each episode was laded with anticipation and then hours of discussion and research followed each Thursday morning.

Then that it all seemed to end. Everything about what made it great stopped. Why? What did we do to you writers of our once precious tale? Instead of intriguing reveals into our main characters’ past we start getting flooded with new additional characters. Mr. Eko was great and interesting, but c’mon, I want to know how Locke ended up in the wheelchair! Why are we getting new characters, new questions, new stories in lieu of answering the ones we already have? Didn’t you ever learn to not answer a question with a question?

As the writers added new characters and new dimensions the story continued to grow, but this time it was too fast and too much. The once small, contained region of the island exploded into multiple islands and hatches popping up every fifteen feet. The veil was lifted too quickly. The secrecy once surrounding “the Others” vanished to reveal a community “with backyards” and operating rooms. They went from being scary, silent, forest walkers with children dragging a creepy teddy bear to a regular set of neighborly folks that hold town meetings.

Even the scripts and settings have evaded their previous sense of danger and unknown. Last week we were subjected to the story of Hurley and his pursuit of bringing an old VW bus back to life, “because we need some fun”. Accompanied by bouncy, happy music the gang pulls together through a series of knuuck-knuuck (read: Three Stooges) silly lines between Sawyer and crew to achieve Hurley’s new dream of running the bus because he “believes”. The mood was too light, the lines were too cheesy, and the story was irrelevent to anything and everything. When you start ripping off scenes from Little Miss Sunshine (everyone pushing the beat up ol’ VW bus to get it started), you’re off course.

But that’s just the problem. The writers are so far off course can they ever get back? Can they stop with the Desmond flashbacks, stop with the Juliettes, stop with the pointless Jack flashbacks of his time with Ms. Tattoo? Is that possible? Is it too late for them to cut the fat, return the focus to center, and wrap up this failing project? Please, for the sake of your audience which has invested years in your story, go back to what made this exciting.

As Stephen King often wrote in his Dark Tower series, you, authors, have “forgotten the faces of your fathers”. You have lost your way. You have lost your audience. You have lost it.

I’m not alone: WhyLostSucks.com

Written by: Matt
Posted on: Wednesday, March 7, 2007

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