On Netflix

ABC’s Lost: The Good, the Bad, and the Super Confusing

I never watched any of ABC’s popular drama “Lost” when it was still airing weekly, but I definitely remember the buzz and excitement over the last couple seasons. I especially remember hearing people discuss and speculate on what the last season meant, on whether the characters were actually in purgatory or something like it.

Years later, when we finally started watching it on Netflix, I began to understand what all the buzz was about.

The Good

The show is pretty compelling. The basic premise is that a plane full of people crash-lands on a mysterious island, and the survivors start experiencing very mysterious things.

The two-part pilot episode opens with the crash, and we see right away that it was not an ordinary crash, because the plane seems to have just split apart in two. There is tension and excitement as some characters run around helping a bunch of seriously injured people. And we’re soon introduced to our main cast: Jack, a doctor with a hint at some kind of angsty past; Kate, a cute but tough young woman who might be a criminal; Sawyer, an annoying southern redneck type; a middle Eastern dude, a Korean couple, a black father-son pair, a bickering 20-something brother and sister, a pregnant chick, a bald guy who seems to have suddenly regained use of his legs, a super fat guy, and a washed up rocker.

So, there’s a lot of strong interpersonal conflict between the members of this motley crew as they adapt to their new situation, try to find a way to get home, and eventually try to solve the mystery of what the heck is going on, on this island. We get frequent flashbacks showing the back-stories of the main characters, interspersed with the present story, to keep it all varied and pretty interesting.

The Bad

It’s kind of cheesy here and there. There are some dialogue issues, things like the characters addressing each other by name way the heck too much. Also, this is a minor issue, but the beginning title sequence always bothered me. It looks so lame, like I could have just thrown it together using a font found in Microsoft Word… I know, it sounds nit-picky, but it did sort of add to the cheesy feel that the show sometimes had.

The other main bad aspect of this show was the inconsistency. As compelling and interesting as the story was, by the time we had finished the series we were left with some serious questions; there were several plot elements that had been introduced in earlier seasons but were never referred to again, mysteries that were never solved. And there were some plot elements whose meanings were changed entirely in later seasons, in an inexplicable way.

The Super Confusing

We expected the last season to tie everything up, to explain all the weird things that had ever been introduced.

It didn’t.

Instead, it left us saying, “Wait, what?” And Wikipedia-ing to find out what it all was supposed to have meant. And it still didn’t make sense. Which was really a shame, because it had seemed to be headed somewhere deep and profound.

Moral and Religious Issues

Morally speaking, it’s not too bad. There are frightening elements (think monster-type stuff), a bit of mostly implied/off-screen sex, and some violence. The violence is the most pervasive issue, but it’s not Mature-rating worthy – definitely nothing like you’d see in say “The Walking Dead” or even “Daredevil.”

There are also some religious issues to note. There are two Catholic characters, and on the one hand Catholicism is kind of portrayed in a good light. For a while. Then it gets super confusing. For one thing, one of the Catholic characters pretends to be a priest when, as far as we could tell, he was never actually ordained. Along with this was what seems to be sloppy research into the intricacies of our religion – really guys? You couldn’t just ask a priest or something? It’s not that hard to get right. For another thing, the confusing aspects of the last two seasons of the show, where some of the extraordinary phenomenon of the island suddenly seemed to change from somewhat benevolent to being super evil, meant that the meaning of the Catholic character’s earlier interaction with the supernatural stuff totally changed. Hence, super confusing.

Over All

It is a very entertaining show, once you get past the initial cheesy elements that seem to be remnants of the late 90s. It did get remarkably less cheesy as the seasons progressed.

Even though the show ended without answering every question and was somewhat unsatisfying in the end, I do still feel that it’s worth the watch.


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