Monday, October 03, 2005

Lost and Found

One Wednesday night sometime last fall, I discovered a new show simply called “Lost.” And for the first time in a long time, I was hooked.

The program did not rekindle a Party of Five fetish—although, for the record, I would rather be stranded on the island with Jennifer Love Hewitt than Matthew Fox. Nor am I so enamored with the physical form of Kate that I suffer withdrawal if I don’t get my weekly cleavage-cam of the island’s most eligible bachelorette—although for the record, I would rather be stranded on the island with Evangeline Lilly than Matthew Fox.

Actually, I would rather be stranded on an island with Jennifer Love Hewitt and Evangeline Lilly than writing this right now.

End daydream. And … we’re back.

No, something rare draws me to “Lost,” something a show has not done in years. Quite simply, it challenges the viewer. It makes you THINK.

The success of the show, frankly, has shocked me.

After all, insultingly undemanding programs have dumbed us down to the point that we do not expect our multimedia entertainment to spur us to discuss. To ponder. To question. To think.

Take, for example, “Friends.” Millions enjoyed it; it was feel-good TV—if shallow, vain, two-dimensional creatures make you happy.

“Lost” strikes me as different. Despite some trite moments, the writers seem to care about the thinking audience. They put clues in strange places: Hurley’s reappearing Lotto numbers, for example. They let the characters evolve and devolve: witness Jack’s developing leadership and Sawyer’s one-step-forward, two-steps-back “growth.”

And best of all? The Question.

It has been on everyone’s brain since the crash, and It remains stuck there like a dryer sheet to a sock: What IS this island?

I have heard some theories—each of them intriguing. The island is purgatory. The island is Jack’s bad dream. The island is a government experiment. Interesting answers, all. Each makes you actually THINK, and each makes you discuss possibilities with friends, family, coworkers, or even convenient nearby pets. But each of these suppositions are, in turn, wrong, wrong, and wrong.

The way I see it, the island is the American television viewers’ collective brain—the creators, cast, and crew of “Lost” have crashed smack-ass in the middle of it. And all the demons, all the ghosts, and all the illusions of the island are simply the monsters left over in our heads from the crap we have subjected ourselves to for decades.

It is working. “Lost” has switched our minds on, and we are all the better for it.

Which is why I will carry the burden, why I will make the sacrifice, why I will volunteer to star in the spinoff:

“Lost II: Stranded with Jennifer Love Hewitt and Evangeline Lilly.”


At October 04, 2005 4:46 AM, Blogger aprilatwsu replied to my musings ...

OK, so I caught the show last year too. I fell in love with it, and it made me think. I haven't really been able to watch it in a while. But I never really thought of all the things you just did, that just makes the show much more interesting to me.

At October 05, 2005 5:23 PM, Blogger Rebecca replied to my musings ...

i can't believe that it has taken so many people so long to figure out what a great show "LOST"'s been my wednesday night indulgence since it started last season...i tried to convince others, but it was only after it arrived on DVD and they could indulge themselves in 5-7 hour stretches of the show w/ no commercials and back to back viewings (so that small things became much more apparent) that they decided they were in...

if you take a walk down memory lane in my blog, back to last fall (sept. or oct., can't remember which) you will stumble upon my original blog about the show...since then, i have had at least 2 other articles, if not more that i can't remember, dedicated to the topic...

submitted for your approval...

At October 06, 2005 4:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous replied to my musings ...

It is a FICTION show which teaches NOTHING.

You do not watch TV?

How sad.

You miss a LOT of great informationlike the TV series shown 25 years ago which has been digitally remastered, with new animation and is being shown again.

It is called COSMOS and NO one should miss it.

How about the true story of the people who fought back and kept the terrorists from crashing into the White House?

There are MANY, MANY
very informative and interesting programs on all you have to do is look for them.

Like "Beyond Tomarrow"


"Discoveries this Week"

Neil C. Reinhardt

At October 06, 2005 10:43 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Although we seem to largely agree on the weakness of television fiction, I have to disgree with you on one point--fiction can, and does, teach. In fact, sometimes fiction is a more effective way to convey a theme or message ... and it can help train one how to process information and language just as well as nonfiction.

Cosmos was great. And I am sure there are many other interesting and informative nonfiction televison programs that I do not make time to identify and watch--just as there are many interesting and informative nonfiction books that I do not find time to read! It's all about one's sense of value and time management, isn't it?

David A.

At October 10, 2005 4:48 AM, Blogger .: raven :. replied to my musings ...

i have seen ton of on line groups that get together to discuss LOST. it's an amazing phenomena. not since Melrose Place have i seen so many people discussing a prime time TV show around the water cooler.

i myself have not watched it.

i am addicted to: The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel (TLC) and of course, General Hospital and One Life to Live.


At October 17, 2005 7:03 AM, Blogger David replied to my musings ...

The parts of Lost I have seen were pretty awesome. You just reminded me to go rent the "complete first season" because I didn't get to see most of it.

At October 17, 2005 9:56 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

If you DO get the DVD set, please post a comment here about the special features.

I'm not sure that I'm ready to buy it just for the shows, which I saw and probably don't need to see again except to catch the details I missed the first time around, but I would like to know if the extras are worth the price tag.


At May 22, 2006 7:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous replied to my musings ...

Hi David,

Yes, you are right. You can also learn from fiction stories. I learn from Dale Brown and Tom Clancy among others.

And some fiction tv shows are great also.

SO I apologize for my commets.

Please, Take Care!

Neil C. Reinhardt


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