The last decade has seen some of the most compelling television ever created (which is funny, because it's also seen some of the most hideous; peaks and valleys, I suppose). Tracing this period, which many critics have called a Golden Age and claim constitutes a surpassing of the cultural value of movies by TV, back to an origin is a little imprecise, but it's not much of a stretch to say that it started around the time both OZ and The Sopranos were on HBO in the late 90s. Both of these shows had long-form narratives, and were very difficult to follow if you didn't start at the beginning. These were not the first such shows—Twin Peaks comes to mind as an early example, as does the criminally underrated Wiseguy—but, completely aside from the fact that people could say “fuck” and show tits (and, in OZ's case, lots and lots and lots of cock), OZ and The Sopranos were operating on another level of narrative consistency and artistic ambition within the medium of TV. The next few years saw network TV come up with ballsy, artsy concepts like 24's real-time conceit (even if it turned into absolute bullshit after season 1, still, they tried). HBO outdid itself with The Wire, which is not only the best thing in the history of television, it ranks with the great works of narrative fiction in the Western canon (I'm not exaggerating, so fuck off).
Network TV, due to the shackles of censorship, hasn't seen as much innovation as cable, though people who watch more TV than me can probably go on and on about the good stuff on network (I can personally vouch for Arrested Development, though I'm taking others' enthusiasm for 30 Rock, The Office, Friday Night Lights, Battlestar and other such titles on faith, since I've never seen them). I, however, submit that the high-water mark on network TV, in terms of balls, erudition, and sheer ability to compel is a series that saw its series finale the other night: Lost.
Lost is the only show I can think of on network TV where you literally have to start with the first episode to understand what the fuck is going on on any level whatsoever. Even shows like 24 can be followed season by season, and when Nina or Tony come back you can turn to the nearest nerd and go “Hoozat?” and they can tell you “Oh that's Jack's old fuck buddy who went bad.” Lost, on the other hand, absolutely requires that you start at the beginning. The only other TV show, network or cable, that I can think of where the same can be said is The Wire, and The Wire was so meticulously constructed (and “All the pieces matter” as Lester Freamon would tell you) that repeated viewings yield new layers, colors, and meanings like re-reading a great novel.
The things that make Lost different from The Wire (aside from the obvious shit like McNulty never had to shoot a polar bear, etc etc) are endemic to the differences between network and cable television. David Simon was allowed to fly relatively under the radar creatively, due to low ratings and a handful of executives at HBO convinced of his genius and the importance of the show who let him do whatever he wanted. Lost showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse had no such luxuries: they did have the advantage of absentee boss J.J. Abrams' big name, but they also had to deal with the fact that some executive at ABC corporate parent Disney, sitting behind his desk, stroking a Persian cat, might suddenly and arbitrarily murmur in deep, sinister tones, “Bring me their heads.” Because Disney is run by Blofeld. This brings about more of a need—either conveyed by an evil white guy in a suit or self-imposed—to keep the fans happy, which all too often means playing up romantic storylines, avoiding ambiguity and overly cerebral content, and certainly no controversy.
For some reason, Abrams and subsequently Lindelof/Cuse managed to get away with all the ambiguity and cerebral content they liked by having lots of romance and, ultimately, bringing the show to a resolution that, in openly and enthusiastically endorsing faith and religion, is as uncontroversial as one can get in the USA, United in Stomping Atheism. Lost managed to straddle the fence between being a magnificently erudite geekgasm and mainstream, popular entertainment by being just weird enough to keep the audience guessing and posting hundreds of thousands of words on the Internet comparing guesses, but giving people something to hold onto, in the form of compelling (and, for the most part, extremely good-looking) characters.
Largely because of my own biases against TV (I have a neurotic inability to follow more than one TV show at any given time; now that Lost is done, I'm back to catching up with Treme) I find myself comparing favorite shows like The Wire and Lost to literature rather than other TV. Whereas playing this game with The Wire leads to lots of juicily pretentious name-dropping like Emile Zola, Sinclair Lewis, and Frank Norris alongside the novelists who contributed material to the show like Richard Price, Dennis Lehane, and George Pelecanos, doing the same with Lost brings to mind less the writers name-checked on the show (Locke, Rousseau, Hume, et al as well as the endless parade of books in characters' hands) than the Harry Potter series, and that is by no means dismissive. Both are very long, multi-volume tales of strange and fantastic worlds and the battle between good and evil, and both resolve their final chapters with moving testimonials to the power and necessity of love.
Summarizing Lost in anything resembling a coherent fashion is fucking impossible; in one of the final episodes, perhaps the perfect guideline for the show is uttered: “Every answer will just lead to another question.” Even if you watch every single episode, there will still be a ton of shit you don't understand, and that's not only not a problem, that's one of the best things about the show (until the last ten minutes of the series finale, Lost was almost like a Rorschach blot; religious people saw it as a parable about Purgatory, SF geeks saw it as Viagra, and mothers of two in the Midwest saw it as sensitive-guys-with-stubble porn). That being said, here's an overview:
Oceanic Flight 815 crashes on a tropical island somewhere in the South Pacific, about 1000 miles off course where no one will think to look for it. A band of survivors stares down death by starvation/thirst, and eventually bands together around reluctant leader (and man of science) Jack Shepard, a surgeon flying his overbearing alcoholic father's body back from Australia to Los Angeles. Jack meets a cute girl with some skeletons in her closet named Kate, and faces antagonism from (apparently) amoral con man Sawyer (who also likes Kate) and nature enthusiast (and man of faith) John Locke, who until landing on the island, was paralyzed and in a wheelchair . . . but upon arriving on the island can walk. Hmmm. WAIT HOLY SHIT IS THAT A POLAR BEAR???? WHAT THE FUCK ARE POLAR BEARS DOING ON A TROPICAL ISLAND????
We flash back to all the main characters' lives before the island, wherein tantalizing connections to their lives on the island are revealed, including the above-mentioned Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Locke, single father Michael and his son Walt, former Iraqi Republican Guard torturer Sayid, junkie Britrock has-been Charlie, mysterious Korean married couple Sun and Jin (Sun hides that she can speak English for like half the season), pregnant Australian blonde Claire (who eventually becomes Australian blonde mother Claire, to a son she names Aaron), unlucky lottery winner Hugo “Hurley” Reyes (his winning numbers were 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42), and twatty rich kid siblings Boone and Shannon.
And who's that French woman we hear on the radio? Is she just batshit or are there really Others on the island? What the fuck is up with Walt? Did he make the polar bear appear by reading about it in the comic book? Did he make that bird fly into the window of his house in the flashback scene after seeing the picture of it in that book? Why the fuck did Walt burn the raft? What do the Others want with Claire's baby? How come the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42 keep reappearing all over the goddamn place (I mean, we all know that 42 is the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything, but still)? Why did The Others kidnap Walt? What's the Smoke Monster? And what in the holy name of fuck is in The Hatch?
Awesomeness of season (on a scale of “fuck off” to “fuck yeah!”): Fuck yeah!
Best episode: “Walkabout” (ep. 4)—when they reveal at the end of the episode that Locke was in a wheelchair, I unleashed the first of what I came to call a “Lost 'holy shit!'” This is a “holy shit” where the o in “holy” lasts a really long time and the “shit” ends in a very wide smile.
Deaths: Boone, in the first of many “he was lame until he got killed then he was kinda cool” Lost deaths, in an accident.
The season 1 cliffhanger saw Jack and Locke peering down into The Hatch as the camera pulls back. The first sequence of season 2 is a jaw-dropping, hard-on inducing walk through the first couple minutes of an unseen man's day . . . in The fucking Hatch! It turns out the guy living there is a slightly unhinged Scottish guy named Desmond—who Jack met pre-Island—who has been tasked with pushing a button every 108 minutes to keep the world from coming to an end. Hmm. Interesting. The Hatch was built by some mysterious bunch called the Dharma Initiative. The good news is, the Hatch (or, as it's actually named, the Swan Station) is very well-stocked with a ton of food, and there's running water, so all the survival issues of season 1 are over. The bad news is, the Others are out there, and they've still got Walt. Our heroes find a guy in the jungle claiming to be “Henry Gale . . . from Minnesota!” who they take prisoner. He turns out to be Benjamin Linus, the brilliant, Machiavellian leader of the Others. Ben gets all our heroes tied up in moral, intellectual, and ethical knots, and then gets back to his people.
We meet another group of survivors, from the tail section of the plane, including Bernard, a guy who was in the bathroom when the plane crashed, whose wife Rose was in the main section with all the season 1 people, LA cop Ana Lucia (whose misfortune of being played by the dramatically limited Michelle Rodriguez earned her a high degree of enmity from fans), a mysterious (largely because she was killed before any of her backstory was revealed) woman named Libby who falls in love with Hurley (as a member of Fat Guy Nation, it did me proud to see our president-in-exile pull a cutie like her), and a mysterious (largely because he doesn't talk and carries a stick with Scriptural verses carved in it) Nigerian named Mr. Eko. After Michael kills Ana Lucia and Libby to spring Ben so he can trade him back to the Others for Walt, only Bernard and Eko remain alive from the tail section, aside from the plane's stewardess and a bunch of kids, who defect to the Others.
Eventually, Locke decides to see what'll happen if they stop pushing the button Desmond was tasked with. Desmond tries to convince him how shitty an idea that is (the only time he ever forgot to push the button, a little flight called Oceanic 815 crashed) but you try arguing with John Locke. John Locke will fuck you up. So Locke wins the argument, and the dangerously powerful electromagnetism which the Swan Station monitors and contains is at risk of being released . . . except Desmond, because Desmond is awesome, crawls underneath the station and activates a “fail-safe,” which keeps the Island from being destroyed, but also causes The Hatch to implode, leaving the fates of Charlie, Eko, Locke, and Desmond up in the air.
Some of the questions remain the same: seriously, what the fuck is up with Walt? The Others go to this huge effort to kidnap him, and he hacks into the fucking Hatch computer to chat with his dad, and then suddenly the Others just let him go off with Michael? What the fuck happened that they suddenly wanted to get rid of his ass? Not as pressing, but the whole pregnancy thing—women who conceive children on the island invariably die—is like what the fuck? And are we going to live together . . . or are we going to die alone?
New questions: who the hell are the Dharma Initiative, and why does all their stuff look awesome, and why do they wear those beige jumpsuits?
Awesomeness: fuck yeah, far out.
Best episode: “The 23rd Psalm” (ep. 10)—Mr. Eko's flashback episode. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is one of the king-hell badasses in the history of the performing arts. In what I swear will be the last Wire reference in this post, I want to see Adewale and Idris Elba playing two gangsters called The Englishmen who just scare the living shit out of everybody someday.
Deaths: Shannon, again, right when she was starting to get cool (and providing Sayid a lot of opportunity to mourn decoratively), shot by Ana Lucia; Ana Lucia (meh), shot by Michael; Libby, being in the wrong place at the wrong time when Michael shot Ana Lucia and thus had to get got (HOW THE FUCK COULD YOU DO THAT TO HURLEY, MICHAEL?)
Wherein are contained some of the show's highest highs and lowest lows. In the former category, the first scene of the season premiere, where a bunch of the Others are sitting around in this idyllic suburb . . . when Oceanic flight 815 crashes into the Island, where said suburb is. That sequence got a “Lost 'holy shit'” out of me. The lowest of the lows was probably the “do you guys seriously think we're fucking retarded” introduction of Nikki and Paulo, not so much because the characters themselves were so annoying, but because a) Nikki was so ludicrously hot that we would have noticed her before now if they'd always been on the plane, and b) the writers kept shoving Nikki and Paulo into the middle of scenes and tasks where there was no need whatsoever for two more pretty people getting in John Locke's way. The show already had a useless, sexy character. Her name was Kate, and unless they were introducing Nikki as part of a lesbian mud-wrestling subplot involving the two of them there was no reason for her to be there, unless she was a spy sent by the Others, in which case John Locke would have to fuck her up. (Because John Locke will fuck you up).
Anyway, Nikki and Paulo are soon dispensed with, and shit starts picking up. We learn how Locke got paralyzed (his fucking father threw him out a window! HOOOOOOOOOOOOOLY SHIT!) Jack's vagina continues to grow into a singularity that threatens the existence of the universe itself, that guy with the awesome eyelashes who hangs out with the Others, Richard Alpert, hasn't aged in at least fifty years, another stunningly gorgeous woman lands on the Island and is promptly murdered by Locke, Charlie sacrifices himself to save everyone, warning Desmond before he dies that the ship that they all think is coming to save them is not from Desmond's fiancee Penelope . . . and the “flashbacks” in the season finale are really flash-forwards! To Jack, strung out on Oxycontin suppositories he's apparently been ramming up his vagina, telling Kate that they have to go back to the Island.
Mysteries include the time-honored and eternal “what the fuck/Walt” enigma, the now-familiar “what up with the pregnant broads” noodle-baker, why the fuck Nikki and Paulo even existed and why Lindelof and Cuse didn't just pull some Stalinist purge-them-from-the-canon maneuver and never speak of them again, who the hell is on that boat if Penny didn't send it, what Penny's dad Charles Widmore is up to and why he speaks with an Australian accent even though he's supposed to be English, and why the fuck they need to go back to the Island even though they haven't left it yet and have been trying to leave since 2004.
Mysteries answered include the polar bear question! The show answers it in such a matter-of-fact way that you almost miss it, and the answer is pretty obvious in retrospect: the Dharma Initiative brought them to the Island. Also solved is the following:
Locke: Where do you get electricity?This is notable for being the first notable moment where the writers said to the fans, “You want to know how [x] works? FUCK YOU, that's how it works.” (Ed. Note: anyone pissed off about the series finale can look back to this episode, and Ben's quote, for their answers)
Ben: We have two big hamsters running around in this giant wheel in our secret underground lair.
Awesomeness: Season 3 will make you schizophrenic. Everything either sucks or rules, no in between. Overall, it gets a quiet, gentlemanly fuck yeah, but Nikki, Paulo and the whole Sawyer and Kate in the polar bear cages epoch can go fuck themselves.
Best episode: "The Man From Tallahassee" (ep. 13)—Dude, seriously, any episode involving both Locke going out the window and the hilarious, revelatory hamster wheel quote has no equal. Honorable mention goes to the following episode, where Nikki and Paulo are buried alive.
Deaths: the aforementioned superfluous shitheads, with said burial taking place after the Smoke Monster assumed the form of some poisonous spiders or something; Mr. Eko, ignominiously and incongruously killed by the Smoke Monster because Adewale didn't like it in Hawaii; Naomi the hot parachutist, owned in the back with a knife by John Locke; Charlie, martyrdom by water; a whole shitload of Others.
Pound for pound the best season. Season 1, which had held that honor, was hamstrung by the need for exposition. Season 4, wherein we already know the main characters, can go full speed ahead. I watched this entire season in one day, and by the end of it I was both drained and exhilarated. Season 4 is fucking intense.
So the “rescue ship” arrives, and it turns out it wasn't sent by Penny, but her father. A team of scientists arrives, looking for the hot girl Locke killed, and physicist Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies, in full-on “I just landed on Earth the other day and you'll have to pardon me for being a little spaceship-lagged” Jeremy Davies Martian mode) introduces a whole lot more questions about the Island from a scientific standpoint (none of which are ever answered, but Jeremy Davies is so awesome at playing flaky scientists that it doesn't matter).
The flash-forwards continue, with varying degrees of cool (Jack and Kate being married, snore; Sayid doing hits for Ben in Europe, HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLY SHIT!!!!!) and no small amount of mystery about why it was only Jack, Kate, Sayid, Hurley, Sun, and Aaron who made it out. And who the fuck is this Jeremy Bentham cat who keeps visiting them . . .? Locke assumes control over the Others from Ben, and is told by the mysterious Jacob (the guardian of the Island) to “move the Island.” Ga-wha? It's a fuckin' island, isn't it? How can you move it? Apparently with that gigantic, ancient-looking wheel somewhere under the basement of Ben's house (not the one the hamsters make electricity with).
So Ben moves the Island, the ship explodes, but the Oceanic Six are rescued by Penny. Sun is devastated, since she assumes that Jin died in the explosion (where apparently the only person of any consequence to the show who was killed was Michael, who had returned as a crew member, in an attempt to redeem himself for killing Ana Lucia and Libby).
Oh, and the last flash-forward of the season reveals that the deceased Jeremy Bentham, who's been visiting everyone to tell them to go back to the island . . . IS JOHN FUCKING LOCKE! WHAT THE FUCK? John Locke will fuck you up, you don't fuck John Locke up! But, wait, the flash forwards are the future . . . goddammit, Jack, give me some of your Oxycontin for the headache this shit is giving me. Trust me, having a headache by this point doesn't mean you're a civilian.
Awesomeness: FUCK YEAH!
Best episode: Season 4 is one 14-part episode. The poor bastards who had to wait a week to get a new episode back in '08 have my sympathy; I didn't even start on Lost til three months ago (thank fuck for Netflix instant streaming and Hulu). What it must have been like waiting a week for shit this intense, I'm glad I'll never know.
Deaths: John Locke, as yet undetermined causes (eventually revealed to be Ben garroting him out of jealousy); Michael, martyrdom by C-4; Alex Rousseau, shot in the fucking head because Ben thought the guy with the gun was bluffing (quel un peu monstre pourrait tuer une si belle fille?).
Aaaaaand we have time-travel. Because, ya know, Lost was really too fuckin' simple up to this point. Due to Ben having fucked up when he moved the Island, knocking the wheel loose from its moorings, everyone on the Island—Locke, Sawyer, Juliet, Faraday, Charlotte (Faraday's weird-looking redhead), Miles the psychic—is hopping around in time. At one point they hop so far back that they see the whole statue over by New Otherton with the four toes that freaked Sayid out a couple seasons ago (of an Egyptian fertility goddess, bringing back the long-standing and seemingly forgotten pregnancy thing back). The hopping about through space and time eventually causes Charlotte to have a brain hemorrhage so Daniel can have a big dramatic scene where he cries to give him something other to do than his “hey guys, I'm from outer space, let's talk about science” routine, but eventually Locke travels through time and tells himself how to fix things (or something, he might have used Richard as his proxy) and he goes and does, and thoroughly freaks out some 1950s-vintage Others (led by a same-as-he-ever-was Richard) before returning to the present day and doing his Jeremy Bentham routine. And being killed by Ben. And returning to the island, not dead. Or . . . wait . . . fuck, I give up.
Eventually, Sawyer, Juliet, and Miles all end up in the 70s working for the Dharma Initiative, who are revealed to be a (mostly) harmless bunch of hippie scientists. Jack, Ben, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Sun, Locke's corpse, and Frank the pilot all hop on another plane that, through flying through a singularity, will bring them back to the Island; it works, except Jack, Kate, Sayid, and Hurley all end up in the 70s and Ben, Sun, and Frank end up in the present day . . . with Locke somehow alive. The mysterious “bounty hunter” who busted Sayid to get him on the plane turns out to be a Jacob cultist, who with a bunch of co-religionists figures out that something's a little fishy about this alleged Locke, who meanwhile has reassumed leadership of the Others and scared the living shit out of Richard.
In the season finale, we're introduced to Jacob for the first time, along with a man dressed in black who expresses a desire to kill Jacob and assures him that he will find a “loophole” that will allow him to do so. And, in 1977, Jack, convinced that if they detonate a nuclear warhead the Island has conveniently laying around, all the time-travel shit will stop, the Island will cease to exist, and they'll all wake up happily on Oceanic 815 (Daniel having muttered some crazy science talk to that effect before being killed by his mother, who then dedicates the rest of her life to make sure Daniel grows up to be a scientist so that he can prevent her from shooting him, instead of it just occurring to her that if he gets as far the fuck away from science as he can, he'll never time-travel and she'll never shoot him . . . trust me, I'm washing the Oxy down with vodka by this point; the fuckin' headache is giving me a nosebleed). Season 5 ends with the nuke going off. Boo ya.
Awesomeness: Fuck yeah . . . wait . . . fuck . . . what the . . . hmmm . . . no, okay, the nuke bumps it back up to a fuck yeah.
Best episode: one of those middle ones, either “316” or “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham.”
Deaths: Daniel, shot by his mom (a fate I almost suffered myself a few times as a fuckheaded teenager, making this death particularly resonant); the whole Dharma Initiative; Locke, strangled by Ben; Charlotte, terminal Superfluous Character Syndrome.
This season was when I started feeling like each season was a different show. Season 1 was about a bunch of people trying to survive on an island, seasons 2 and 3 were about said survivors locked in a battle against a malignant, duplicitous Other, season 4 was about the survivors and the Others banding together to fight off outsiders, season 5 was about the writers smoking a mountain of weed and whipping their dicks out, and season 6 was about religion. This last revelation didn't come until the last ten minutes of the series finale, but the second Jack's dad explained to him that Jack was dead and that he was in a place he and his friends had built in the next life to meet up before going into the light, I was like, “Yeah, it makes sense that they were headed here.”
The first thing to understand about season 6, as a summation of the show, is that it does not Answer All The Questions. “What the fuck/Walt,” the pregnancy thing, what the Island actually is, who built the statue of Tawaret, what the Man In Black's real name was (I had been hoping either for “J.R. Cash” or “John Locke” but was disappointed on both counts), how Hurley never managed to lose weight, why the fuck Kate wasn't killed in the middle of season 3, why Ben and Widmore's battle for control of the island disappeared from the storyline when it had been so huge for like four seasons, when Jack mysteriously regrew his balls (he had them by the finale, but I was confused by other shit and didn't notice when they grew back), etc etc. None of these questions will ever be answered definitively, unless Lindelof and Cuse commission an “official canon” novelization.
One question that was answered was what the hell the flash-sideways shit was: the afterlife, where everyone lives their ideal life. Except why Kate was still a fugitive, Sayid's love for Nadia was unrequited, Charlie was an eyeliner-wearing emotard, and Sawyer was banging Daniel Faraday's girl (who was waaaaaaaaaaaaay hotter this season, so much so that I didn't even recognize her when she showed up) when he was meant to be with Juliet will also go unanswered. At least they gave us something, even if it came perilously close to directly contradicting the frequent assurances from Lindelof/Cuse that the Island wasn't Purgatory (yeah, the flash-sideways wasn't the Island, but still).
All kinds of cool shit happens season 6. There was no real reason for Dogen the Temple guy to only speak in Japanese so his hippie-de-camp could translate for him, except it was cool. The Richard episode, “Ab Aeterno,” didn't really contribute anything to the show at large except being cool. The Jacob/MIB origin story “Across the Sea,” did contribute to the show, not because it mattered where the hell Jacob and his rival came from—they turned out to be twins . . . oh, sibling rivalry—but because Allison Janney (my celebrity fourth cousin! What's good, baby?) tells us “Any answer will just lead to another question.”
I think that line, and the “fuck if it makes sense, that was cool” tone of so much of the final season is, ultimately, the message Lindelof and Cuse wanted to leave us with. “Don't trip about Walt. The pregnancy thing, meh, sands of time. At the end of the day, giving yourself an aneurysm worrying about plot points we pulled out of our ass on deadline five years ago isn't productive. This isn't Literary Eschatology 420 with professors Abrams, Lindelof, and Cuse, motherfuckers, this is entertainment. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and if you're seriously that bent out of shape about Walt, go ahead and write some fanfic. But first fuck off so we can count our money.”
This is an entirely defensible position. Let's look at the big picture. Damon Lindelof is a nerd. J.J. Abrams is a nerd. They get themselves this gig where a bunch of people with a shitload of money are saying “Sup babes. Here's 12 million bucks, go shoot a pilot in Hawaii about a plane that crashes on an island. Come up with some strange shit.” As nerds in good standing, Lindelof and Abrams dutifully delivered a smorgasbord of SF, fantasy, and other delights earthly and divine. Then Abrams had to go make movies, so Lindelof brought in Carlton Cuse, another nerd, and said to him, “Hey . . . they're giving us a fucking whole lot of money to do whatever we want.”
Cuse stroked his chin and said, “Whatever we want?”
And Lindelof assured him, “Whatever we want.”
Now, put yourself in their shoes. If you were a nerd (who am I kidding with the “if”?) and someone gave you a shitload of money to do whatever you want, what would you say? If that was anything other than a full-throated “fuck yes” you're lying to yourself. This is not to say Abrams, Lindelof, Cuse, et al, are uncaring, unfeeling, money-grubbing trolls. Far from it; they're nerds like you and me. But they're nerds who by dint of hard work, talent, and luck got themselves into a position where they got the opportunity to live out one of the great nerd dreams. They have the right to do whatever the fuck they want with their own dream.
Chuck Klosterman pointed out on a podcast where he discoursed on the Lost finale that modern TV fans have this odd sense of entitlement, to wit, that they have a proprietary right over a favorite TV show. This is not the case. Liking something does not confer ownership, nor does it give your anger at the series not ending exactly the way you wanted any righteousness. My own feelings about the way Lost ended are ambivalent; as a non-religious person (to put it extremely mildly) I got a slight case of narrative blue balls about the flash-sideways turning out to be the afterlife, and as one of the tens of millions who J.K. Rowling spoiled rotten with the perfect way she wrapped up the Harry Potter saga (well, near-perfect, she was a little cavalier about the way she iced Lupin and Tonks, but hey, one fuck-up ain't bad with something that massive) I was a little let down that we never found out what the Island was.
But you know what? I'll live. First of all, I only started watching the fuckin thing in February, and as awesome a ride as it was, ten mildly disappointing but still well-crafted minutes of TV isn't something worth getting bent out of shape about.
Anyway, season 6 awesomeness: a lower key fuck yeah than seasons 1 and 4, but a respectful one.
Best episode: “Ab Aeterno” (ep. 9)—sure, everyone went goo goo ga ga over this one, but with reason. Nestor Carbonell works it, convincingly portraying an extremely unworldly 1860s dude from Tenerife who gets sold into slavery and ends up crashing on the Island because Jacob decided to make him consigliere, granting him immortality in the process.
Deaths: literally everyone on the show. Well, except Walt, because no one knows what the fuck happened to him.
Terry O'Quinn as John Locke/Smoke Monster/CockbLocke
This man is a god. Even before he became a supernatural being on this show, he was always the most awesome part of it.
Michael Emerson as Benjamin Linus
Running a close second.
Jorge Garcia as Hugo “Hurley” Reyes
The president-in-exile. You know why his nickname is Hurley? FUCK YOU, THAT'S WHY!
Henry Ian Cusick as Desmond David Hume
Romantic. Tragic hero. Lover. Constant.
Sunjin Kim and Daniel Dae Kim as Sun and Jin
No one has ever been as in love.
In the end, Lost needs to be hailed for what it is: a television show of uncommon boldness, that dared to be literate, that managed to entertain both intellectually and viscerally. To blame it for not being exactly what you wanted it to be is a waste of time. Do what I do when something pisses you off: write your own fucking script.