Friday, May 21, 2010

May 21, 2010: An Ode To Lost

As I thumbed through my 2004 TV Preview issue of Entertainment Weekly, I was reading about a bunch of new shows that were premiering in the fall. There was the Friends spinoff featuring Matt LeBlanc and Drea De Matteo (also both featured on the cover); a new incarnation of the CSI Franchise set in New York; a new show about a bunch of housewives who lived on the same street; a legal drama starring James Spader; a medical drama about a cranky doctor with a cane…and this show about a plane crash on an Island.
I was reading the synopsis, which include the sentence ''There are going to be things that will be just left of normal on the show, but the reason you'll care is because you get invested in the characters", and I thought to myself “How the hell is that concept going to be able to last a full season?” Plus, it was starring the guy from Party of Five, the guy from Millenium, and one of the I wasn’t optimistic. I just passed on by.

I was flipping around on September 22, 2004, and saw that the 2-hour premiere of Lost was on in a few minutes, so I decided to tune in. I watched the opening sequence on the beach, with Jack running around, a guy getting sucked into the engine turbine, and all sorts of craziness going on.

“Too busy”, I thought…and switched the channel.

That’s right. You heard that right. So, I’m letting you in on my little secret…

I didn’t watch the first season of Lost.

Yes, that’s correct. Me! Super Lost-geek…Mr. ‘Don’t you dare call me or text me during Lost’…Mr. ‘write a 4,000 word recap right after the episode’…didn’t watch the first season.

But a lot of friends watched it, and raved about it. I would catch a few minutes here and there as I was flipping around on Wednesday nights, but never enough to really follow what was going along. “Oh, an Iraqi guy who is a torturer?”, I thought to myself, “Isn’t THAT unique?” And why the hell did he have a British accent?
Then one night I caught the last few minutes of a recap show, highlighting the story up to that point, and the closing image of John Locke looking into the hatch piqued my interest. I went into work and asked one of my co-workers, Larry, what it meant. He explained that he didn’t know yet, and that the show was getting better and better every week. He recommended again that I watch it, and since he and I had similar tastes, I figured I would give it a shot. But with the serialized nature of the show, and the new trend of TV on DVD, I committed to not watch any in that first season, watch the DVDs in the off-season, and then pick it up in Season 2 if I liked it.

So after the first season ended, I got the DVDs for Labour Day weekend in 2005, and planned on watching as much as I could over the course of the weekend. I figured I could fit it all in before Season 2 premiered two weeks later. Little did I know just how addictive it was, and ‘one more episode’ didn’t seem that bad at 3 in the morning. Eventually, I had watched the entire first season…all 25 episodes…over the course of that weekend.

And I was hooked.

I watched on Wednesdays at 9, Wednesdays at 10, Thursdays at 10, and Tuesdays at nine. It bounced around like a rabbit trying to stay out of Ben Linus’s satchel. But every time it changed slots, it meant a new routine. When it aired on Wednesdays, which was my regular poker night, I would generally get home between 1 am and 2 am. Having recorded it while I was gone, I couldn’t wait until the next night to watch it…we were all going to be talking about it at work the next day. So I would have to stay up that extra hour, to make sure I watched it before I went to bed, regardless of how late it was.
When the switch to Thursday happened, I was thrilled, because I had a viewing routine on Thursday night. I would head to my girlfriend’s house to watch Survivor and CSI already, and now Lost was on right after, so it would work out perfectly, other than having to drive home at 11 pm. Keep in mind that this was before I was writing recaps on the blog, so that wasn’t an issue. Then back to Wednesday (damn it!), and then finally off to Tuesday for Season 6. Lost was the utility infielder of mid-week television viewing.

As I devoured the recaps online every week (Erika, Vozzek69, Doc Jensen, Robz888, Luhks, Anna, and many others), I started writing my own late in Season 5. It was very fulfilling, and the response was overwhelming. I’m sorry I came to the party so late, and I wish I would have started much earlier. I’m actually considering going back and re-watching each episode from the beginning, and recapping them along the way…I haven’t decided yet. I know I’m not the only one to discuss doing that (or even do it in the off-season), but I’m thinking it might be a good way to keep up the writing that I’ve been enjoying so much.

And now that it’s coming to an end, I look back on the past 6 years as a fantastic journey. It was frustrating, it was rewarding, it was joyous, it was emotional, it was heartbreaking, it was mind-challenging, it was funny, it was poignant…it was just plain awesome. I’m not sure as television shows go, I would place it as high on my all-time list as The Wire, or Sports Night, or Homicide: Life on The Street, or maybe even Six Feet Under…but as for as ‘event viewing’ goes, and something that held me captive for that long, Lost is #1 by a long shot.

I saw fish biscuits, smoke monsters, spinal tumors, sonic fences, time-traveling bunnies, and Bad Robots.

I learned about The Black Rock, The Hanso Foundation, Mittelos Bioscience, the Hoffs Drawlor funeral home, The Valenzetti Equation, Tawaret, nanobots, the Panopticon, and having “a constant.”

I saw polar bears, boars, spiders, horses, a dog, and that god damn Dharma shark.

I craved Apollo Bars, Dharma Ranch dressing, MacCutcheons Whiskey, and 3-piece dinner from Mr. Cluck's Chicken Shack.

I visited Swans, Orchids, Pearls, Lamp Posts, Hydras, Flames, Tempests, and the Looking Glass...oh, and also Room 23.

I listened to Mama Cass, Petula Clark, Patsy Cline, Three Dog Night, Geronimo Jackson, and Drive Shaft.

I noted countless references to Star Wars, Star Trek, and The Wizard of Oz. And was re-introduced to half of the cast of Deadwood.

I met some people with some very famous names, like Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Bentham, Burke, Bakunin, Faraday, Hawking, Alpert…and even C.S. Lewis.

I travelled to the South Pacific, Australia, Korea, England, Nigeria, Tunisia, Scotland and Portland, and many others, all the while knowing full well that I was looking at Hawaii.

I heard “Dude”, “Brotha”, “Son of a Bitch”, and WAAAAAAAAAAAAALT!!!!

I played golf with Hurley, ate imaginary Peanut Butter with Charlie and Claire, pushed the button with Locke, planted a garden with Sun, and built a raft with Michael.

Plus, now whenever I see a Volkswagen van, I can associate it with something other than the Libyan terrorists from Back To The Future.
I lived alongside all the other die-hards on various message boards and websites. There were Jaters, and Skaters, Purgatory Theorists, “Where are Rose and Bernard?” junkies, questions about Vincent, "Richard Alpert is Ra the Egyptian Sun God" (with eyeliner) arguments, and those who insisted that Aaron was the answer to everything. And my personal favourite, all those people who said "I think that (insert random background character from newest episode here) was actually (insert character no longer on Lost)" No, none of those people were Cindy, and for the love of GOD, every black woman you see is NOT Mrs. Klugh!

I mourned the loss of Charlie, Eko, Daniel, Michael, Sayid, Jin, Sun, and Juliet.

Nikki, Paulo, Zoe, Frogurt, Caesar, and Charles Widmore…not so much. Those ones actually made me a little happy.

Ilana, Dogen, Lennon, Charlotte, Libby, Danielle, and Alex…I wish I had been able to learn more.

Boone, Shannon, Ana Lucia, Tricia Tanaka…shrug.

I absolutely lost my breath seeing two Portugese guys in a snowy shack, the words "Not Penny's Boat", and "Kate, we have to go back!"

And I did it all while I was flashing back, flashing forward, and flashing sideways!

So this is it…”The End.” Everything ends at some point or another, doesn’t it? You break up with your high-school sweetheart…your favourite basketball player retires…the cereal you ate as a kid doesn’t get made anymore…maybe the lead singer of your favourite band dies…or your version of TV religion comes to an end.

Maybe I should have written this post after the Finale aired, but I wanted to say these things before it ended…while it was still there, still living and breathing, still a relationship that I feel with the characters on the show.

I truly believe that the Finale will be fantastic, and I will feel happy and fulfilled at the end. My expectations are high, and I refuse to lower them.

And even if I’m not…I’m thankful for the journey.


DarkUFO said...

Fantastic post mate.

Mark said...


DannyW said...

nice. altho you think watching all season 1 in a weekend is bad. Having never watching Lost before I ended up watching 5 seasons just under 2 weeks on Netflix. Just in time to jump in on Season 6, although I did watch LAX parts 1 & 2 online.

I do laugh at the Rose & Bernard comment, because I was just thinking about them during this last episode.

As far as TV reviews go. They don't have to stop because LOST is ending. I'm sure you'll keep writing about Survival and Amazing Race. Why not make the jump and writing for other TV shows & series. Hell if I find myself reading one of your reviews while watching some of the shows I watch, I find myself having Urges to type out a quick review once the Episode is over.

Which I might start doing as alot of my Summer TV series are starting up next week.

Andrew said...

Here Here Sean!!

I didn't start watching until this past summer and put Seasons 1-5 together in a whirlwind and have not missed a single night of Lost (or post from you) all season!

Gonna be an interesting thing around 11:30pm Sunday night... Just don't think it will be the same on TV for a long long time.

Anonymous said...

If there were Emmy Awards for Posts I think Sean would have it in the bag!!!

Quirky Character said...

I was kinda hoping it would be in verse...

Patti B. said...

Beautifully said. I will definitely mention this post when I write my own thoughts. Thanks.

SunSet said...

I cried a little reading this...THANK YOU for writing and summing up so eloquently what we (the fan community) are all feeling right now.

I have never watched a lot of TV, but appreciated good shows when I saw them. I was a HUGE X-Files junky, and I love that you were also a fan of Homicide: Life on the Street because damn that show was awesome. Anyway, I ended up getting pretty sick in 2004-2005; life wasn't being too kind to me so I found myself at home over the years parked on the couch in front of the TV. I had missed the start of LOST in the fall so decided that when they started airing the re-runs over the summer(I'm in Canada) I'd watch it. I honestly remember thinking "how on earth can they make a TV show about a plane crash on an island last more than 1, maybe 2 seasons?"

Well after the Pilot episode I knew right there and then that I was wrong; I was hooked. Holy s*#t what brilliant writing! I felt for the characters, I was sucked deep into the mystery, remember Charlie asking "guys where are we?", I felt like I was right there with them. Oh and I Googled those damn numbers over & over again. I researched the Casimir Effect, philosophy, time travel, literature, and electromagnetic properties.

I can honestly say that going through all of my health issues these past 6 years, LOST has been there like a trusted friend. This, a TV show of all things gave me hope, faith and comfort. I felt like each of the characters at one point or another. If I could talk to each & every person who worked on LOST over the years, I couldn't express how grateful I am for creating such an amazing story. What a ride!

Now today, two days before we all know how LOST ends, the feeling is completely crazy, very scary, a lot sad but extremely exciting!

Thank you doesn't seem big enough, but Thank You Lost.

Brittany said...

Amazing post!! Got a lil lump in my throat!! I found LOST in the middle of season 5 and by the end of that season had totally caught up on the whole series. I too was hooked and have been a devoute believer in the LOST religion ever since. I cannot really express how excited I am to finally know the end but like everyone else and VERY sad to see it go!! U summed it up the best way possibe!! Thanks for all your posts!!

TresBelleKnits said...

Gah! Sean, you have me in tears!

For the first time of many this weekend, I'm guessing.

I, too, found Lost late. I didn't start watching until Space started running it from the pilot, everyday at 7pm.
I was hooked from the first scene and I came to treasure my weeknight 7pm routine.

They scheduled it so that all through the summer, they played seasons 1 through 4, finishing just days before season 5 began again on CTV.
I HATED having to wait a week and not only a day to find out what happened next! I don't know how you Losties did it for 6 seasons!

For the finale, I plan to put my 2 year ld to bed 30 minutes early, turn off my phones and bar the doors, lock myself in my bedroom with a box of tissues, sit right in front of the TV...and cry from beginning to end. ;)

doug... said...

Not all LOST fans have been on board fron the beginning. I didn't appreciate it until between the 4th & 5th seasons! A friend lent me the first 2 seasons on dvd and I was hooked. I dvr'd as much as I could off different stations and couldn't get enough. So glad I did. Absolutly brilliant show that will be missed.

MarkMooya said...

Great post Sean .... im so sad.

Mandi said...

Ahh memories. I was hooked from episode 1. I feel like I need to watch the lot from the beginning again now though. We have 3 more episodes to go here.

Mandi said...

so last night was the penultimate episode here in NZ, the final is saturday night. i feel so sad, but also a bit frustrated. after hanging in for 7 years the answer better be more than they just needed some friggin new person to protect the light on the island. AND you cant tell me (if that is the answer) that they had this idea from the beginning!!!

I remember in season 1 I was so bitterly dissappointed at the end that there was gonna be another season - what I thought, I have to wait still to find out what is going on?!

then about season 4 i was getting frustrated by the constant teases and changes that lead you to more questions and just seem to be a bit like common guys get real, you are going overboard now. But then I heard it would be ending in 2010, and I hung in hoping it would stop disappointing me.

So now in the last days here in NZ, I am really hoping the end is worthy of the years of commitment, and I am not left high and dry. I should be crying at the loss of lost - even more than I did at the end of ER.

Erin said...

This was fabulous. It gave me goosebumps and got me all teary-eyed all over again. Thank you!

Steve in Seaside said...

I can relate my friend. I was two seasons behind when my, then girlfriend, introduced this show about people crashing on an Island that I've always been drawn to but never had the chance to dive into.

Season 1 was down in two days with me nose to the laptop screen as she slept and me thinking "just one more and I'll go to sleep!" I caught up in season three and have been hooked and dedicated ever since.

My girlfriend became my wife, and our daughter knows the meaning of LOST night. With all that gone now, we have a gaping hole in our lives that I don't see ever being filled. Thanks for the brilliant recap and I hope to see some future recaps from the beginning like you said.

Trust me, there will be plenty of people looking to see the whole thing again from another prospective.