Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September 22, 2010: Six-Year Anniversary

Today is the 6 year anniversary of the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 from Lost. yes, I'm commemorating an anniversary of a fictional flight, with fictional characters...but more importantly I'm commemorating the anniversary of the premiere episode of one of my favourite television shows of all-time.

Since May 23rd of this year, I've been mourning with the rest of the Lost Universe, sad that our weekly religion has come to an end. I have been planning a full and complete re-watch of the entire series, every episode since Season 1...with recaps for each. I wasn't sure when I was going to start, until one of my friends and a fellow Lost fan (thanks Jim!) suggested that September 22 would be an ideal start date. So that's what the plan was.

But sometimes regular life gets in the way, so unfortunately, I just don't have the time right now to devote to this re-watch. Sure, I have time to watch one hour a week, but the time and effort that I want to put into the recaps, along with the post-episode discussion I'm hoping it will generate...well, it's just not the best time. So I have to announce that I'm delaying the Re-Watch for a little while. I'm not sure how long, but hopefully we can start it up by the New Year, at the absolute latest. Make no mistake...I am still 100% doing it.

So in the interim, to commemorate today's anniversary, I'm going to re-post my Ode To Lost, which was originally posted the week before the Finale.


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.

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