Tuesday, January 29, 2008

So that you're not LOST

My favorite show, LOST returns this week. It’s people stranded on a tropical island without Jeff Probst saying, “Wanna know what you’re playing for?” But since LOST is an ongoing serialized adventure, if you haven’t been watching you might be a little, well…lost. So allow me to get you up to speed.


JACK (Matthew Fox) – A handsome doctor who the castaways look up to, not because of his leadership ability but because the actor has a feature career. He’s verrrry serious. A joint the size of a piñata would do him a world of good.

KATE (Evangeline Lilly) -- Hot brunette. Killed her boyfriend. I would still date her in a second, even if she wants to go to a gun show.

JOHN (Terry O’Quinn) – Miraculously able to walk on the island. Yet still parks in handi-capped zones. Very mystical. Good candidate for Scientology.

SAWYER (Josh Holloway) – The good looking bad boy. Edgy. Dangerous. Defiant. Every girl wants him when he’s 20. When he’s 50 and living in a trailer park he’s lucky if Bea Arthur gives him a second look.

SAYID (Naveen Andrews) – The one terrorist who tests well.

HURLEY (Jorge Garcia) – Fat guy/comic relief/castaway mascot. Keeps things loose 'round camp when people are kidnapped or eaten by animals.

SUN (Yunjin Kim - pictured) – Korean married to Jin. Pregnant. There's a slight chance that it’s her husband's baby. Can speak in English or Korean subtitles.

JIN (Daniel Dae Kim) – Korean married to Sun. Outsider of the group because he can’t speak English, has no personality, and never needs to shave.

CHARLIE (Dominic Monaghan) – Dead. So much for the Charlie spin-off.

CLAIRE (Emilie de Ravin) – Had a baby on the island. Still better than a Kaiser hospital. Is really Jack’s sister but neither of them knows that. Should they ever have a romance and get married the island will be renamed West Virginia.

DESMOND (Henry Ian Cusick) – The character they added that no one likes. Has a Scottish accent. Calls everyone “brother”. Has premonitions. Likes the Patriots on Sunday but says “take the points, brother”.

BENJAMIN (Michael Emerson - pictured) – The leader of “the Others” (another group of island inhabitants. They resent the castaways for calling them “the Others” when they were there first. As a result, want to kill everyone.) If Harold from Harold & Maude grew up, moved to the tropics, and went off his meds he’d be Ben.

JULIET (Elizabeth Mitchell) – Fertility doctor from Portland Oregon recruited by the Others. Once she got to the island she realized, “Hey, this isn’t the Mayo Clinic!” Still not the worst career move she’s made. She played Mrs. Clause to Tim Allen in the last two installments of the Santa Claus trilogy.


In a flash forward we just learned that Jack and Kate have gotten off the island and have returned to civilization. He’s now a suicidal drunk and she’s Venom on AMERICAN GLADIATORS. At the end of last season Jack tells her they’ve got to go back. Good luck finding another flight that plans to crash there.

Meanwhile, on the island we’re introduced to yet a new group of folks –the Freighter People (alternate name: The Other Others). They’ve arrived to either rescue our castaways or use them as pawns in some insidious plan, the purpose of which will be clearly explained in fifty more episodes. Which one do you think? But knowing LOST whatever we expect they will do something different, fresh and shocking, and we will be in for another great ride.

So pack up, Kate. Jack's right. It is time to go back.


maven said...

You've got everyone down pat, Ken. LOL

I'm so excited about Thursday night's premiere. Sorry it's only 8 for now, but it's better than nothing, and I totally support the WGA ("the whispers" of things good in negotiations can be heard on Lost island).

Thanks for your unique take on the craziness of Lost!

Anonymous said...

I think the first time I noticed Naveen Andrews was in an indy film called "Easy," about a girl who had a job giving products names. He played a Bard College English professor who had an affair with the former student. The whole picture I kept saying to myself,"He looks sooo like a Bard College English professor who's having an affair with a student." In real life I understand far from a cradle robber.

Eric Adams said...

I just found the site. You had me at "Lost Review" I think I'll waste too much time on this site. Keep up the good work.

The Adams Family

Tallulah Morehead said...

A joint the size of a piñata would do ME a world of good. In fact, it would do anyone a world of good.

We'll see just how dead Charlie is. I've been fooled on this show before.

But I still say, The Freighter People will turn out to be The Harlem Globetrotters.

So tomorrow night, for catch up, they're running an "Enhanced" rerun of last season's finale. Unfortunately, "Enhanced" doesn't mean digitally removed costumes. It means they're running captions along the bottom of the screen of "Back Story," for people so bored by a rerun, they would rather read.

Reading? Please. If I want to read, I'll pick up a book, the last refuge of the electronic-enterainment-challenged.

Unknown said...

What I love about the writer's strike is that with this instead of thee 16-episode seasons we will get one with 8 and two with 20 episodes.

So everything will be fine and dandy unless they will do another stunt like last season ripping a perfect 24 into two pieces *sigh*

I am still convinced that Charlie didn't have to die. His death was totally moronic. But the character had run it's course so I'm ok with it.

I honestly can't believe that it's already been 260 days since the last episode... time just flies...

jb_dean said...

'Desmond, the character no one likes'?? Do you mean on the show or the fans because neither could be farther from the truth. Show: Charlie, Hurley, Sayid, Locke ... they all like him and as for fans ... Desmond has a HUGE fan base (at the fuselage.com he comes in just behind Locke and Sawyer) so I'm not too sure what you meant by that comment.

PALGOLAK said...

I respect the fact that you need to keep you writing 'chops' sharpened, but this posting saddened and, yes, depressed me.

blogward said...

Never understood the appeal, myself. Looks like a bunch of people making a megabudget deodorant advert apart from the unpleasantly ugly one who's obviously the villain, like Dr. Smith in Lost...in Space, If anybody remembers that. And I just can't get past a fat guy remaining fat on a desert island, I just can't.

Bitter Animator said...

You don't really like Lost, Mr.L? Really? Nah, that's just sarcasm - comedy, right?

I would hope most writers would villify Lost as an insult to the craft. The show's writers have clearly had no idea where the show is going, what any new element introduced actually amounts to and relies on fans to theorise based on the crap they throw in there effectively making the fans actually write the stories.

That seems like lazy writing to me. Yeah, they've been great with the characters and have had good drama and certainly know their hooks but have thrown away any need for coherence or, importantly, pay-off.

Lost is a show of first acts.

They introduce a hook, just as you would in the first pages of any script. They then build some intrigue around it and, just as you're getting to what would be the difficult second act of that particular story thread, they introduce the next hook - another first act. No setup is ever paid off. It's setup after setup.

And what's scary is how people are willing to just run with the new setup and never wonder what happened the previous threads.

That's why there are constant introductions to new characters, new elements. It's just hooks. All just first acts.

An insult to, you know, actual writing.

Yeah I'm ranting and you may ask why I care if I clearly despise the show and the answer is that I didn't always. I loved the early episodes. What a setup. What a hook. It was when I got to about the 14th setup that I couldn't take it any more.

You were wondering how shows would be remembered. Well, I hope Lost is remembered for the smoke and mirrors scam it is.

By Ken Levine said...

Sorry to disappoint you but I do like LOST. I find it inventive and can never out-guess them. It's not above gentle ribbing but I do think LOST is a terrific show.

Bitter Animator said...

Well, different strokes. It takes different strokes. Different strokes to move the world.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm Scottish, and I LIKE Desmond! His Scottish accent is better than his German one in 24, brother.

Anonymous said...

Bitter Animator said "Well, different strokes. It takes different strokes. Different strokes to move the world."

Wait - the guy who railed against the writing of Lost for nine paragraphs is now quoting a Gary Coleman sitcom?

Unknown said...


Sein deutscher Akzent in 24 war schrecklich

For a german his accent was horrible so I think you are right ;-)

rob! said...

am i the only person not watching Lost? the initial ads for it didnt draw me in, and now i figure i'm so far behind...

maybe if the show was just still images of Evangeline Lily, i know i'd watch that...

Anonymous said...

"bitter animator", you didn't wait long enough for the payoffs. There were plenty of them, but they usually occur in the second half of the season. The season finales, in particular, are great at paying off "first acts" from earlier in the year. Also, now that there are a finite number of shows left, we'll see a lot more payoff and a lot fewer setups.

Alto2 said...

LOST, the "Twin Peaks" of the new millenium. It's hopelessly addicting. Your line about Sun, "can speak in English or Korean subtitles," had me rolling in laughter.

maven said...

"Bitter animator": You've got it all wrong. LOST is the only show I know that asks the viewer to invest some thought into the story. The writers/producers know exactly where they are going. And now that there's an end date to the show, they can reveal the story in the way they want to. LOST is like a novel, revealing a chapter at a time. I don't want to read the last page. It's one of the few show on TV that asks people to think, and expects more of the viewer than most shows. Sure, unanswered questions are frustrating, but I trust the producers to tell me the story at their pace, and I'm thoroughly enjoying where it leads me!

Robert Hogan said...

Actually Kate killed her father. Kate (living under an alias after said murder) married a cop (played by Nathan Fillion) then abandonded him after admitting she was a wanted fugitive. The abandonded hubby was so distraught he became the captain of a space ship called Serenity.

Richard Cooper said...

I'm still lost... What is time again?

Anonymous said...

Bitter Animator said, "The show's writers have clearly had no idea where the show is going."

Why is this a problem? Did you know what was going to happen three seasons down the road when you were writing for Cheers, Ken?

Bitter Animator said...

You're going to hold up sitcom form Cheers against Lost? Yikes.

Maven you, on the other hand, make a very good case for the show and raise some good points. And maybe I do have it wrong and they know exactly where they're going but I doubt it myself.

I'll never know for sure of course but I'd be pretty damn sure they had no idea what that monster was when they introduced it in the pilot. It was tearing up the forest like Godzilla creating a no-go zone and then... sort of fizzled out into nothing. That's only one example.

But as for asking the audience to invest some thought in the story, again, I can't know for sure but, well, you know what I think that is. I think they're flying by the seat of their very flimsy pants and loyal fans are desperate to fill in the gaps so that they haven't wasted 50 or more hours of their lives - a number you could cut by half if they dumped the filler flashbacks whih served a purpose for about four or five episodes.

But, hey, we won't convince each other and if you enjoy the show then you're the lucky one. I guess some of it comes down to what you'll forgive - I mean, I love Battlestar Galactica but it opens telling us the Cylons 'have a plan' at the start of each episode when it's pretty clear that they don't. I'm kind of willing to let that go because I enjoy the human stuff. But, even then, there was only so far I would go theorising about the show because there are simply no real answers to the questions I had.

And, similarly, the characters on Lost are great so it's probably not all that different. Just opinions...

Dan Cronin said...

Ken, I highly recommend going to iTunes and watching the very funny and well-done "Lost in 8 Minutes" for a super-fast recap of everything that's happened to date.

melissaq9 said...

You sir, are my hero.

"In a flash forward we just learned that Jack and Kate have gotten off the island and have returned to civilization. He’s now a suicidal drunk and she’s Venom on AMERICAN GLADIATORS."

I knew Venom looked familiar!

LOST is back!

Anonymous said...

"Lost" can be frustrating for even the most devoted fan, but it was definitely picking up steam just before the hiatus. Can't wait to see where it's going.

It's also fun to speculate about who will be the next cast member to get a DUI.

Anonymous said...

"There's a slight chance that it’s her husband's baby."

It IS Jin's baby. Juliet did the tests, remember?

Anyways, I made a nice big post on my blog about *some* of Lost's secrets. I know pretty much all you can know up to this point, and I laugh ferociously at those who say the show has no answers. HA (x5, for ferocious effect).


Seriously, though. Ask me any questions you have about any of Lost's mysteries and I'll answer them.

By Ken Levine said...

Kate's boyfriend died too. Remember the little metal airplane?

But my feeling is, there's always SOME baggage.

Anonymous said...

This is topic, but considering the audience of this blog, might be of interest...just ran across this item:

(Irvine, CA) -- Taco Bell has announced a contest for striking Hollywood writers. All guild members have to do is come up with some snappy sayings for the restaurant's "Border Sauce" packets. A Taco Bell representative said they wanted to, quote, "show support for the thousands of creative minds." The winner will receive free food for a year and the honor of giving the company's spicy sauces a bit of personality before they're ripped into and squirted on a chalupa [[ cha-loop-uh ]].

Anonymous said...

Err, that should've been "off topic"

Anonymous said...

Benson, you seem Lost. Bahaha

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet) - Cate Blanchett's autistic sister. The only actor since Bruce Willis to succesfully use one facial expression to convey a multitude of sentiments.

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth Mitchell also played Angelina Jolie's lesbian lover on Gia. _that_ was a nice career path, but then she went on to play Dr. Weaver's lesbian lover, which was kinda ok.. How do you follow Gia anyway?

Anonymous said...

carlo conda said,
"Seriously, though. Ask me any questions you have about any of Lost's mysteries and I'll answer them."

I'll take you up on that. What's Evangaline Lilly's home phone number? You can send it secretly to my e-mail address, alaskaray@evangalineIloveyouandwanttohaveyour babies.com

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine calls LOST "The best novel Stephen King never wrote."

Kate didn't kill her former boyfriend, who was married with a kid, but he got killed helping her escape the fuzz after her Mother turned her in for the second or third time. (Thanks, Mom.) Kate's feelings of guilt are still the same.

The monster fizzled out into nothing? That will be news to Mr. Eko, who is under the impression that the monster stomped the living hell out of him when it battered him to death against trees. And the Dharma Initiative built the sonic fence to keep the monster out.

Gee, why didn't a show that will run 6 seasons reveal the answers to all it's mysteries by the end of season 2? Perhaps because it would make seasons 5 & 6 rather dull?

But there's been plenty of pay-offs. We now know where the polar bears came from, what Kate did, what happened to the Dharma Initiative, how Locke ended up in his wheelchair, we've seen Russo reunited with Alex, Sawyer get his revenge on the man who ruined his parent's lives, Ben's creepy backstory, lots of stuff keeps happening.

Bitter Animator, you're too used to instant gratification. I can see you , somewhere around the middle of HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS, saying "When does the kid kill Voldemort already? This is taking forever. She's just making it up as she goes along."

I've bought each season of LOST on DVD, because I've found watching them again, in concentrated, one-after-the-other form, I find lots more stuff layered in there.

Which is not to say there are no mis-steps. Anyone hoping Nikki & Paulo dig their way out of their sandy graves? I thought not.

And count me among those who like Desmond, more male eye candy with a sexy accent. Stumbled across some terrible recent TV movie on a religious channel a month or two ago with Desmond playing Jesus. He was still calling people "Brother". "All men are my brothers, brother."

But Desmond is waiting to read OUR MUTUAL FRIEND until right before he dies? I've read OUR MUTUAL FRIEND. It's a terrific book, but most editions run about 900 pages, so he better get LOTS of notice on his death. But then, he has all that precognition. If he starts plowing into OUR MUTUAL FRIEND, we'll know he's forseen his demise. (Actually, it's one of Dickens's best books. He should have read it, and kept THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP to read while dying, as it really sucks. Dickens was just making it up as he went.)

Anonymous said...

D. Mcewan, I know exactly what you're saying.
Another 'misstep' was the 6 episodes of being in cages, though there's so much going on anyways that I rather enjoyed it the second time through (I just finished my third watchthrough of the series (and second watchthrough of season 3) this weekend. Well, I still have the last two episodes of season 3 left. Gonna finish them Friday.

Anyways, there's so much going on in every episode of Lost. Even if it's a filler, there are still scenes with Juliet or Ben, for example, and you can literally dissect their expressions, dialogue, and so forth to figure out what's going on behind-the-scenes, if you know what I mean.

Heck, you find out Juliet is 100% good during the first minute of Season 3.

And to the poster who wanted Kate's phone number, she doesn't have one. Remember, she's on the run. I can, however, tell you the coordinates to her tent on the beach. Watch out for Sawyer, though. He won't actually shoot you, but he'll scare you by pretending like he will.

Seriously, though. Any questions about Lost that you have will be answered to the best of my human ability. I guess email me or post one up at my blog.
Glad to help. Haha

Anonymous said...

As others have pointed out, Kate didn't really kill her boyfriend.

Also, Juliet isn't from Portland. I believe she's from Miami, when Richard (Ben's right-hand man who apparently doesn't age) recruited her to work for Ben by telling her she was going to be working in Portland (which I suppose is code for The Island).

Although Ben is from Portland.

And everyone loves Desmond. Clearly the best of the non-original castaways.

And Carlo, I agree, I also think I can logically explain every mystery on the island (except for one, which I'm e-mailing you about in a second). I predicted the twist in "The Brig" from the first season, as well as some others, so I'm pretty confident.

Little Miss Nomad said...

I admire the hell out of you, Ken, but don't rag on Henry Ian Cusick. Because he isn't angry all the time like Sawyer, or geriatric like Jack, Desmond and his accent is easily the most attractive guy on the island. Yeah, he's been misused a bit as of late, but have a little faith, brother.
And I betcha 10 to 1, Charlie ain't dead forever.

CM said...

Agree with the Desmond-lovers -- he is the only likable one left on that island since they killed off Mr. Eko.

jb_dean said...

LOVE to read all the Desmond-Love! I knew I wasn't blowing [black] smoke. LOL Henry Ian Cusick is fantastic and so is his Desmond. Long live Des and Long Live Lost!

And to those that don't have the patience to stick it out for all of the pay-offs that the show has provided ... well, that's why there's YouTube. Short clips that won't strain the weakest concentration. ;)

Tallulah Morehead said...

Amazing. One little throwaway joke reference to Henry Ian Cusak, and in 24 hours, Desmond has gone from the "character nobody likes" to the star of the first LOST spin-off: EVERYBODY LOVES DESMOND.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

I think bringing up Dickens is a good point here. I actually liked the fact that the writers of Lost were sort of making it up all as they went along. I think that they did know where they were going... they were just looking how much distraction they could heap on that before going that without violating the premiss. It's like a mental exercise. I expect to like the series less and less as it gets clearer which one of the unrealistic scenario's they are going to take to the end... although the twist at the end of last season whows that they are probably not going to end on a reveal and final battle, but are actually going to talk about consequences.

By Ken Levine said...

Wow. Interesting that so many people like Desmond. That has not been my experience. I've heard a lot of grumbling from people who've said the characters they've grown attached to get less time while this guy gets more. But if he's really that popular maybe that's why.

So I stand corrected.

MrCarlson said...

The character people really hated was Ana Lucia. And that's why Libby ended up killed by Michael. It was just supposed to be Ana Lucia, but she didn't carry that much of a fanbase, for the fans to care. I for one applauded when she bit the dust.

Anonymous said...

Ana Lucia? Eko? Boone? Shannon? They've been on that island about 3 months and those names already seem like ancient history. Dead, buried, forgotten. Not particularly realistic. But that's just a given for this show, which is certainly entertaining enough if you ignore some of the obvious flaws. I could watch Ben manipulate people all day.

Anonymous said...

Making it up as they go along? Right... What exactly are they making up, exactly? Just because you didn't catch the small details in season 1 and 2 doesn't make the things presented in season 3 'made up'.

Anonymous said...

I don't doubt the writers have generally known where they're going, but the premise would probably have been better served in a limited series format, or short seasons a la the British. There's lots of cracker crumbs in that meatloaf, if you know what I mean. I will be utterly gobsmacked if even half the little mysteries and connections pay off in any truly satisfying way ("satisfying" being the key word there). But I'm hooked!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Levine -- love your stuff. I blurk (blog lurk) everyday... And I like to make up words.

Just wanted to thank the person who recommended watching the "Lost : 3 Seasons in 8 minutes" video. "The hatch blew his clothes off, and now he can see the future."


Anonymous said...

"What exactly are they making up, exactly?"

Ah, to awnser you exactly exactly: ALL of it. You see that's what writers of fiction do, from Dickens to Rowling to Abrams, Lindeloff & Cuse, to me, they make it all up, because none of it ever really happened.

Oscar Wilde defined it quite well: :The good ended happly, the bad unhapply; that is what 'fiction' means."

Anonymous said...

Desmond and Charlie were great, it was like Merry and Pippin with beards. Glad to see the Desmond love springing up. And just to show I'm not a blatantly nationalistic Scotsman, I quite like Kate too, brother. Maybe for different reasons.

Anonymous said...

Stepfather, wasn't it?