Why LOST Lost Me…and Can’t Find Me Again - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Why LOST Lost Me…and Can’t Find Me Again

February 19, 2009 by  

“But it’s so good now!

“Seriously, though, it’s so much better now!”

“Last season sucked. I’ll admit. But, you should start watching again, man.”

These are the things I hear when I tell people that, last season, I stopped watching “Lost.” But, it’s also what people told me after I stopped watching “Heroes” and “Grey’s Anatomy” and a countless number of fan favorites that I too once loved dearly but then fell off of my radar. These shows, with “Lost” being the premiere example, became a chore to watch for me, not a pleasure like TV should be.

My remote is dead right now. So, in getting ready for my favorite new show of the season, “Life on Mars,” I turned ABC on a little early. I saw the last few minutes of “Lost”. People were on a plane and then Kate was almost dead or something like that. I had no idea what was going on. And, then I realized…it was the same feeling I had when I was watching “Lost” every week; when I was following all of the viral websites and fan forums; when I was discussing it with all of my friends and trying to get people who were saying the same things I am now, to convert. I had absolutely no clue what was happening.

Now, before you freak out in the comments below, I know….Not watching the show for awhile is bound to get anyone…well…lost. But the feeling was the same. Total confusion. What I realized was that I was happy that I didn’t spend the hour to get to that point of confusion. And, then, as I watched “Life on Mars”, I truly realized what “Lost” was missing that keeps me watching similar shows.

I love a good mystery.

I would say that 80% of my weekly television shows are procedural crime dramas. We’re introduced to a case, the cops come in, they do their magic and the case is solved by the end of the hour. This isn’t to say I don’t love shows that are outside of the box. I mean, the two shows I write about for GMMR are “24” and “Dexter.” So, at the beginning, “Lost” was great. It was the ultimate mystery! You are dumped in the middle of the situation, along with all of the castaways, not knowing where you are, who you’re there with, or, most importantly to the show, why you’re there.

But, then, I felt, “Lost” rambled. Tons of questions were asked every episode without any answers given. Every week became a burden, because I knew going into it that we weren’t going to get any closer to what was going on. So, after missing a week and struggling to find the motivation to catch up, I decided to give up.

And, honestly, it was one of the best TV decisions I ever made. It freed up my time. It allowed me to watch the tons of other shows that I actually enjoy watching every week. Are they on the plane of quality that “Lost” is on most of the time? No, probably not. But, that’s one of the joys of television: We all get our own little box and we get to decide what’s on it.

My point is that “Lost” is the mystery. That’s the show, at it’s core. It’s not “CSI” set on an island. It’s not “Criminal Minds” but with castaways. And, honestly, that’s OK! I have no problem that this show exists that has a huge following and challenges that following every week. It just isn’t for me. And, here’s why.

My favorite shows on TV right now are shows that have overarching mysteries that are moved forward every week in the context of a plot that works independently on a week-to-week basis. I watch too many shows to devote so much time pondering the fates of Jack and Kate and what the last thing Ben and Sawyer and Locke did. When you start to worry too much about where the pieces are on the board, you lose sight of the game. Do I get frustrated by “Life on Mars?” Only every week! But, the plot, characters and secondary storylines are there every week to keep me coming back. It’s those secondary storylines that, I feel, “Lost” is missing.

Which, like I said before, is fine. It’s not that I’m not smart enough to “get” the show. I was watching “The West Wing” when I was in 7th grade. I can handle a dense complicated show. But, when the complicated stops being fun, I need something else to keep me coming back. “Lost” just didn’t have that for me, no matter how many Others were found or how many hatches were opened.

I think my friends who watch “Lost” are hoping, one day, that I’ll get back into it on DVD and fall in love all over again. And, honestly, before tonight, I was keeping that in mind. But, I think, at the end of the day, “Lost” is lost on me.

Filed under #1 featured, Lost


19 Responses to “Why LOST Lost Me…and Can’t Find Me Again”

  1. Mary on February 19th, 2009 4:26 pm

    I totally agree with your post. I love shows with “overarching mysteries” like Chuck, Life, and Burn Notice. I have gotten used to the attacks from Lost viewers begging me to come back. Tv is meant to be enjoyed, and if the show is more trouble then it is worth then that is a good reason to stop watching. In the interest of full disclosure I still watch Heroes and love it but I can understand where people can find it annoying. Besides the lack of gratification that watching an episode of Lost has there is also the fact that there is maybe only one or two characters I don’t want to strangle every time they are on screen. (unlike Heroes, IMHO) SO, I thank you for your thoughtful and coherent post and I will forward this to all my “friends” who are still trying to get me back to lost.

  2. powx on February 19th, 2009 4:58 pm

    I love your blog, and agree with most of the opinions you express, but you’re totally wrong about this one! Because in season 4 and now in season 5 we are getting some sweet answers! Especially in season 5, where a lot is revealed.

  3. Pedant on February 19th, 2009 6:16 pm

    I agree with a lot of what you said, Philboy, and you have a great conversational style in your writing that fits perfectly in blog format. There is just one simple change in mechanics that could increase the readability of your post 75%:

    Do you notice a pattern here?

    “… I stopped watching “Lost.” But, it’s also what people told me after I stopped watching “Heroes” … ”

    “I had no idea what was going on. And, then I realized … ”

    “… probably not. But, that’s one of the joys of television … ”

    “It just isn’t for me. And, here’s why … ”

    ” … Only every week! But, the plot, characters and secondary storylines … ”

    ” … I can handle a dense complicated show. But, when the complicated stops being fun … ”

    You have a tendency to add extra commas after using a conjunction (e.g. “and” and “but”) to start a sentence. (By the way, in some formal writing, people will often tell to never to start a sentence with a conjunction, but I find that it adds to the voice of the writer and is actually very appropriate for blog writing.) This is often what you’re supposed to do, as when inserting an aside (such as “you know” and “by the way”) right after the conjunction, but in the examples above there was no reason for the commas. It makes the prose more disjointed and plodding to add extra commas, so it’s generally better to not use them in these cases. Here’s a good example of comma (non-)usage:

    “Not watching the show for awhile is bound to get anyone…well…lost. But the feeling was the same.”

    Just a helpful note! Honestly, getting that one rule will make your writing even better than it is now. I wouldn’t bother writing such a comment if it wouldn’t have a very high payoff. 🙂 I enjoyed your post!

    Pedant, i.e. Laila

  4. Philboy on February 19th, 2009 10:23 pm

    Pedant— I have had that trouble for years! I wrote this on a whim and wrote it as I was thinking about it. You’re point it well taken!

    Powx— That’s awesome for “Lost” fans that they are finally getting answers. But, two things in response:

    1) From current “Lost” fans that I’ve talked to recently they’re just as confused as they’ve ever been, even if the producers have thrown them a bone a time or two. AND…
    2) Is it really worth sitting through four or five years of now knowing what the heck is going on?

  5. ColoradoKila on February 19th, 2009 11:07 pm

    You must be psychic! That is exactly what me & my dvr have been waiting for!

  6. soxgirl815 on February 20th, 2009 8:54 am

    I am a LOST fan and have stopped trying to convince people this show is amazing. If they left or never started- forget it- they don’t care. The people who stuck with are the people who will be rewarded with what is being answered and done this season. Not everyone loves everything. I have dropped so many shows this season due to lagging story lines, bad writing, and even worse acting. There are other shows such as Friday Night Lights that everyone seems to love and tried to convince me to watch and I admit I tried and I hated it- I could not get past the football, but that is another story. So as a die-hard LOST fan I say watch what you want, some may think your missing out but if you are not entertained anymore and not going to be invested then forget it with a show like LOST you have to be to truly enjoy it. There will be no convincing here.

  7. Bill on February 20th, 2009 9:32 am

    How can not watching one show free you up to watch…more than one show? Isn’t just one free hour you now have?

    And LOST is awesome, and if you love a good mystery then your NOT watching it is all the more perplexing.

  8. spacyz on February 20th, 2009 10:33 am

    I disagree with your assessment of the show based on my love for Lost, but I also totally understand your view. For anyone looking for regular answers and resolution, this show isn’t for them. There isn’t any way that a show this unusual could appeal to everyone.

    I also enjoy procedurals, but I like Lost because it is different. I really enjoy the story and characters, although I am more of a casual viewer. I don’t spend time on the online experience or discussing every episode. I just enjoy the ride and decided along the way that I wasn’t really concerned about getting all the answers. This season has been excellent. Since the show received an end date and there is a limited number of episodes remaining, the pace has picked up and we are learning more answers.

  9. Philboy on February 20th, 2009 10:50 am

    Soxgirl- Thanks for the comment. One thing that the “Lost” fan culture has, as well as some other shows, is that the fans feel like they have put in a bunch of time and work to get this pay off at the end. I hate to sound like an 80-year-old man yelling at his mailman, but don’t the viewers technically pay the producer’s salaries? Why should I work for them, or at least to the extent I felt like I was with “Lost”? But, your points are well taken.

    When you get into polar bears and smoke monsters (which I left out because they are what every Anti-“Lost” fan uses), you lose me a little bit. At a point, I thought that “Lost” as getting weird for the sake of being weird. In reading your comment, I realized that I’ve never really left a show for the writing! I think it’s always been a plot or character issue. Good points though all of them. Oh, and you should watch “Friday Night Lights” 😉

    Bill- Firstly, I think I’m learning that I enjoy the mysteries that are a bit more realistic: murder, serial kilers, secret government organizations, etc. But, it’s a nice distinction to make. The freeing up of time may have been more figurative, but it certainly didn’t feel like it at the time. It felt like I could fit much more TV in in the time it took me to find the motivation to watch “Lost” (I usually had to watch it on ABC.com). Maybe it just felt like I had more time because I was watching the shows I really enjoyed, or at least wasn’t so frustrated by. Thanks for the comments and I hope you get the answers you’re looking for!

    Spacyz- Thanks for the comments! I’m glad you agree and disagree all at the same time. 😉 I will say that, from what I’ve heard, since the people behind “Lost” came to the show with an end date in mind, the whole thing has been a bit more focused, which is good. I have a hard time that you’re really getting answers since, like I said, all of the “Lost” watchers I know are as confused as ever, but more power to ya! Like I said before, I hope, at the end of the Grand Experiment that is “Lost,” I hope you get the answers you’re looking for.

  10. Ana Maria on February 22nd, 2009 9:29 am

    …O.K., so not watching Lost freed you up to watch other shows; cool, you are just not watching the best of them!…

  11. TV Blog Coalition - February 20-22 | Daemon's TV on February 24th, 2009 3:13 am

    […] While some of us are big fans, this week we looked at why some people are just not that into Lost. (Give Me My Remote) […]

  12. c on February 26th, 2009 4:23 pm

    I’m having a similar issue with Lost, although I do keep watching it every week. I’m always super excited when they do one of those episodes that has the “pop-up video” bar at the bottom, explaining who people are and how they’re related story-wise.

    I keept watching, because I’m still hoping for it to turn out in an interesting way. But every week, I feel like at the very end, I’d need a chart to figure out what the hell just happened. There’s SO many connections to keep in your brain, and you get them in only small bits at a time.

  13. TV Talk From Fellow TV Addicts » the TV addict on February 26th, 2009 8:02 pm

    […] While some of us are big fans, this week we looked at why some people are just not that into Lost. (Give Me My Remote […]

  14. dude on March 2nd, 2009 10:36 am

    people who complain that they dont know “What is going on in LOST?” “Oh my god i am so confused!”. Should not be able to watch tv. People, stop thinking about what is happening, and just enjoy the ride, LOST is not a life altering, bible secret, meaning of life answering tv show. Its not really that hard to understand what is going on. I think people are used to saying, “I have no idea what is happening”. It is a conversation piece now. That phrase should be added to the dictionary. It really annoys me when wanna be “losties” say they have no idea what is going on. Dont watch if you cant think in multidemensional.

  15. Qawii on March 4th, 2009 7:52 pm

    I have been thoroughly teed off with lost…. so I did a search “lost lost me .. ” and got a few hits. I am not alone. Lost is stupid for 2 reasons mainly:
    1) It makes no sense … all it has going for it is nice actors
    2) It is based on some man’s insane notion that we are gullable or as insane as he is in sucking up his premise of the existance of a magical universe at x latitude and y longitude and that his strange gods and religion are acceptable to us in the west.

    What I do like about 24 is that screwball politics and traitors and such ugly things area at least believable …Once more, good actors, a story line which you can follow, well written, good hook every night ….pretty good eh!

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