Tuesday, September 13, 2011


In early May I started something I'd been interested in for a long time-- watching "Lost." I wrapped up the six-season, 121-episode series two weeks ago. I'm still looking to fill the void.

I ate up the show, burning through two or three episodes at a time, needing to know what would happen next and how each's episode's cliffhanger would be resolved. Needed answers to the questions. So many questions.

The thing is that I watched the whole season in less than four months, averaging about an episode each day. Sometimes I went two or three days without one. Somedays I watched four at a time. I'm not necessarily proud of those moments, but I do love the show. It's probably my second favorite, behind "The West Wing."

Plot-driven and always moving forward, seeming towards an important and thematic ending. I was hooked.

Characters brought up questions that had no definite answer. Discussions could not be resolved: Good/evil, Free Will/Destiny, Fate/Coincidence, Motivation/Truth.

I watched the show at about the same time as a co-worker did and we stayed no more than four episodes ahead or behind of each other throughout. Several times, we spend an hour plus discussing all the above themes, which characters were our favorite and least, who we would follow into the jungle, and why they acted as they did.

Discussions are best accompanied by burgers and brews.

Recently, I came to the conclusion (albeit a personal one) that "Lost" is art; that is, it puts forward an argument in the guise of media and each viewer can see something different. The conclusions that I draw from the same 42 minute episode can be completely different from my brother's, roommate's, friends'. You have to make your own kind of answers. That means a seemingly unlimited number of meanings that can be culled from the show. Think of the debates and arguments it could spawn. And did. And does.


In some ways, "Lost" took over a major portion of my life. It was the basis of at least 1/5 of my conversations for a few months. Was that because of a personal flaw? The brilliance of the show? Or the expanse of technology manifesting itself on my couch?

An article from grantland.com talked about being able to watch the entire series of "Friday Night Lights" online. Many other shows exist in their entirety on Netflix, including "Lost." His feelings are put into words much more eloquently than mine:

I am often perplexed by the modern desire to consume entire seasons of television shows with services like Netflix, Hulu, or even Amazon Gold Box Deals. No longer are we watching last night's episode of a popular series to talk about it around the water cooler at work. The emotional and intellectual journey you went on with a TV show says a lot about the way you interpret the human condition by simulating it thru the content that you spend your time consuming.

Binging on an entire season of a television show without commercial interruption allows you to completely 'immerse' yourself in the world of your new favorite show. You aren't waiting thru commercials or watching the same annoying network promos over and over again. If you were forced to watch the same show week by week, it wouldn't be as meaningful because you allow the show's portrayal of 'real time' to override your personal version of real time. Cliffhangers would be obnoxious. By binge-watching, you are spending quality time with the characters, forming a deep emotional connection with them.

That's exactly what I did-- become good friends of Locke, Sawyer, Juliet, Hurley, and learn to hate Jack, Ben, and Smokey. That's right, I hate Jack Shepherd.

Also, being at essentially the same point in the series with one of my friends allowed me to have those "water cooler" talks. Meaning my addiction wasn't as self-destructive as it could've been.

The end of a 36-hour, seven-episode binge in a Bakersfield hotel.

-- --

There was a lot of buzz about the conclusion at the end of the series. I loved it. I thought it wrapped up everything beautifully. But I have several personality traits that are too personal to delve into here that played a role.

Most everything was well done. But that's only my interpretation of the art.

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