Filing Cabinet of the Damned

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Gilligan, Little Buddy!

My friends love the teevee show Lost. For those who don’t watch it, here’s the setup: an airliner crashed on a tropical island, and the survivors are trying to get rescued. The island is not what it appears to be. In the first episode, they run across a peevish polar bear. There are people already on the island who have unknown motivations. There’s a big clanking whatsit in the trees.

The show is building up a big mystery. Where are they really? What’s going on?

Seriously, does anybody think the writers know already? C’mon.

How can a viewer get involved in the story when you know they’re making it up as they go? Look at the secret-driven teevee series of the last few years: X-Files, 24, Alias, they all made it up as they went along. The “grand mystery” was eventually solved (or in the case of Alias, will eventually be solved) by cobbling together the pieces left by writers on previous episodes and grafting together some sort of resolution.


It’s like watching teenagers making up a story. “And then...uh...robot monkeys attack! Yeah, that’s cool. It’s part of the Grand Mysterious Huggermugger! Somehow.”

The central mystery of the island is at best a half-formed notion to the writers right now. They have no idea what's going on. I’d put money on it.

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