Happy Birthday, Lost

Happy Birthday, Lost

I was in a bar with a couple of good friends, when the question came out: what was our biggest flaw? We all took rounds discussing the others’ flaws, but when my turn arrived, they answered in a second.

“You can’t let go.”

Pssht, I don’t know what they meant by that. Anyway, here’s a post celebrating the 10th anniversary of a TV show!

I remember watching the Pilot, in March of 2005. I was 13, and American TV took a while then to get to our screens. This was the first time I had sat down and watched a ‘grown-up show’, and it blew my mind. “Guys, where are we?”

Remember 2005? Broadband wasn’t a thing yet. So I had to suck it up and watch it on my TV screen, avoiding spoilers like the plague. One escaped, though, thanks to Raúl, I found out a character death in the Season 3 finale. So I sat down to watch that episode, crestfallen. Surely, that was the biggest spoiler there could be.

Nope.

Another image burned in my mind: me, sitting alone in my darkened room around 11:00 pm, a moment after “Through The Looking Glass” ended. Mouth agape, brain still trying to process what happened. I was on the floor, at the foot of the bed. I think I was hugging my knees, but that might just be my brain trying to embellish things.

If there’s a decisive moment in my life, a moment when I realized what television could be… this was it.

So here’s what I loved most about Lost:

1.- The Community

This was the first show that fully embraced the Internet. It was a show meant for rewatching, reviewing, re-capping. It trascended the watercooler. I suppose there were casual fans of Lost (and there’s nothing wrong with that), but they were missing something. Lost had a sprawling cast of people of different races, ages, backgrounds. So did its fans.

It was fun. I wasn’t a little kid sitting alone in a dark room anymore. I was part of something bigger than me. Live together, die alone. And in Season 6, that evolved into something better: for 16 weeks, a group of around 7 friends gathered in my home to watch the final season. We ordered wings and burgers each week; once, I missed a pivotal Widmore scene with Ben (you know which) because I was outside paying the delivery guy.

2.- The Characters and Mythology

I loved both. Sure, the mythology had its missteps (the whispers), but the characters had tepid flashbacks and Jack’s tattoos. Lost was at its best when it combined the two, when the characters took active steps into the mythology, and when the mythology informed their characters. That’s why I love the fourth season, when the characters off and on-island where out there making things happen. It also has The Constant, the perfect example of mythology and character mixing together to create something amazing.

It’s also why Season 5, just like Season 6’s “Across the Sea”, doesn’t work for me. They both are like “You want mythology? Here! Hanso foundation! Dharma! Literal answers to your questions!”.

3.- The soundtrack

‘Nuff said.

4.- It was the last time television was epic

You could probably make an argument against me here. I might actually agree with you. But I stand by this:

Lost was a show made by people at their peak. Everything, from the music, to the direction (Jack Bender did wonders on a TV scale), to the music (see above), to the performances (Terry O’Quinn pounding away at the hatch? Michael Emerson after what Keamy does to Alex? Goddamn perfection.), to set dressing, special effects, and so on, and so on…

It was a perfect combination. Sure, Game of Thrones has the battles, but suffers a bit in character development. Breaking Bad is a great show, about a few people, in a relatively small city, and it’s mostly about the journey of one man.

‘Through the Looking Glass’, though? That’s my favorite episode of Lost, and it’s chock-full of epic moments. The survivors trekking through the Island, the confrontation at the beach, the plan between three separate groups and the wildcard of Locke…

Epic

5.- The Ending

If you didn’t like it? Fuck you. No, I’m kidding. Sorta. As I said above, answers aren’t anything. The ending of Lost wasn’t supposed to answer everything. It was supposed to end the story it was telling all along, and in that, it succeeded. The finale is emotional, funny, action-packed and the characters get the denouement they deserved. I loved the finale because of those reasons.

There’s probably never going to be another show like Lost. But that’s okay. We already had Lost, and it was the best.

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