Sunday, February 07, 2010

Why I Quit Lost

Disclaimer: This post is my own opinion and does not at all reflect the opinions of my wife on the show.

I quit Lost. Yes, after only the first two seasons. Why, when so many enjoy the show?

First, I want to be fair and give some praise to it:
  • High production values - it is very well made; the acting, sets, effects, etc.
  • Mainstream science fiction - I have to put it in the science fiction genre, and making a show with such mainstream appeal is an amazing thing
  • Draws you in - the cliffhanger at the end of nearly every episode is a great means to get you to watch next time
  • Killing off characters - not every show does that, but it certainly adds suspense
  • Details - I have to doff my hat to show creators that can manage the level of detail and consistency that (I understand) was applied that can keep the obsessive fans intrigued looking for the connections.
Second, I should mention that I was cynical about the show before my wife got me to start watching the first two seasons. I'll admit I can't pinpoint the source of it - my best guess is that it's related to the obsessiveness of the fans that I noticed before watching it. I doubt I would have been so cynical to start with if I had watched it from the beginning.

But, why quit? Here you go in no particular order:
  • Coincidences (connections between characters before the crash)- the first few were funny, but it got old to me quickly
  • Flashbacks - I understand they get less as the series goes on, but they were getting old. I just don't care enough about the characters to find out all this background info on them. Were they all bad? No. But they just got old and seem to make events drag out more.
  • Difficulty taking it as science fiction - it took me most of the first season to realize I was watching a science fiction show. In the SciFi genre, it is typical to jump in to a crazy situation (e.g. an intergalactic war) and explain things later. As a scifi reader, I have come to expect that I may be disoriented at the beginning but will have answers to what's going on at some point. Having the show set in the current day and only very, very slowly reveal the scifi elements, I had a hard time dealing with the scifi elements cropping up. It was just outside the typical formula for me.
  • Lies - I really think this is a better name for the show than "Lost" The lies really get old. Michael's lie to get Walt back. Ben Linus (not to mention all the Others) - one big pack of lies. Kate - I really don't care about her mysterious motivations to run anymore, I just assume she'll lie about them. Sawyer makes his living off of lies. Echo - lying about being a priest. Charlie - lying about heroin. Dharma films - lies or not? I understand there's a big lie about the freighter coming up (that I'll never see). Do I need to go on? I would say that lies are just as foundational to this show (if not more so) than the crash. And a lie is a poor foundation.
  • Pushing the button - this is a huge problem for me. Even with the level of computer technology we had in the 70's, it was entirely possible to execute some automated sequence every 108 minutes. There is no reason for manually entering numbers every so often. Knowing what I know about computer technology, I just can't get around that fact and have major problems with that piece of the show.
  • Cliffhangers - at the end of EVERY FREAKING EPISODE??? Ok, not every episode, but easily 75% of them.
I think that hits my main problems with it. I admit I would like to find out "what happens," but I have no desire to sit through that many hours to find out. So, yes, I am reading through the synopsis of the remaining seasons on LostPedia. The problem there is that they assume you've watched the show, so it has been difficult to follow references to things.

So, Lost fans, have your fun. I hope you enjoy the show and that many of your questions get answered. I admit it is well made and very popular. But for my part, count me out.