Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost: Why did you expect more? *Updated*

The season finale was last night, you'd have to live in a cave to not know it was on, after all ABC has been promoting it for 5 months during the final season and over the last month seems to have assaulted every potential advertising route.

Let's start with the epic fail on the part of ABC and the East Coast HD feed (possibly for regular feed too). Technical difficulties plagued the broadcast with stutters and display breakdowns every couple minute, with a TV audience hanging on every word for a 'solution' this was unacceptable. ABC's ad focus seemed to be "You've invested 6 years, tonight all your answers will be revealed" and then on broadcast made it one of the most infuriating things to watch. This is what I would call an epic fail, but alas during the broadcast (1/2 way through the actual show) they flashed regularly "Technical difficulties, please stand by" stand by for what? As the show went on, they flashed that they'd be replaying the episode due to difficulties next Saturday, so ABC fucks up and they get to generate more ad revenue on their worst performing night? Plus make people wait the full week to watch the show as it was produced? I can assure any advertisers that it will be TIVO'd on my system and I will not watch one commercial of the show for that night, but will view the show in order to watch without the interruptions that plagued the broadcast. Just for the sake of the advertisers anyway, I watched the show on delay last night anyway, so I missed those commercials too.

I can also promise I won't be watching shows on ABC for the next year at least, call it a self imposed boycott that I'm sure will have no effect on the station, but it will make me feel a bit better.

So let's get to the episode itself. For those that are disappointed in the finale, I have to ask "Why". Did you expect to see everything resolved or to be satisfied with the ending that's just another occurrence of the biggest TV hype? If you did, I'm sorry, it just wasn't going to deliver that 'perfect ending'. However, like much of the final season, they provided answers and resolutions to issues on the show. I thought they did a fair job considering it's been evident that the 'story' of the show has never really had a central focus, there were way too many story lines that felt 'made up as you go along' throughout the show. As someone who writes like that, it's hard to connect all of the story lines when you've ventured down different tangents. Considering they had opened so many lines though, I thought they did a fair job of providing closure.

Most user reviews I've seen have stated they are upset, that 'they all were dead the whole time'. Well this is the first part that's really wrong, while they did all meet at the end, and Christian did advise Jack that he was in fact dead, the references to the other people, was that yes they were dead, but some died far after Jack and some died before him. In my opinion the story was Jack's throughout with the other characters supporting him, it was his path to death that the story focused on, and completed with his eye closing, which fit with the mythos, as Jack's eyes were what we saw out of after the plane crash in season one. I don't believe they were all dead throughout the series, as Jack's father pointed out, all of it was real, so they crashed and lived and died on the island. Jack died at the end after repairing the island and in his journey to the other side was visited by all who helped resolved his life.

The problem I have with this though, is it doesn't explain the sideways flashbacks that we experienced for the last year or so, given Christian advised that 'everything was real' I can't put my finger on how that played into it. I expect at some point (likely the series finale DVD available for purchase 8/24) will have some commentary from the writers that further clarifies it.

The rest of the show was closing out story lines from the previous two seasons and trying to put characters to rest. For a show with such an ensemble cast, it was an attempt to resolve the issues for all of the characters, even though the story was about Jack. (at least in my opinion).

I thought the episode was fair and given the large amount of material they were supposed to close up, I thought they did an average job of doing so and giving people a chance to say goodbye to their favorite characters. The episode reminded me a lot of "Quantum Leap's" series finale, where Dr. Beckett learned that he essentially was the cause of his continuing leaps and we got to see favorites from the show at the end, but in the end he continued 'leaping' with no reason other then it was his choice.

I do want to give props to Jimmy Kimmel's special after Lost, where he provided 'alternate endings' using the actors to film skits of alternate endings from "the Sopranos" and the "Newhart show". In my opinion there has never been a series finale that lived up to the "Newhart show", his second one, where he wakes up in bed with his wife from his first show, and tells her he just had the strangest dream, he was running a resort in Wisconsin. That's the gold standard that people look for (and were expecting something approaching that for Seinfeld), but I doubt that we'll see anyone manage to pull of that perfect closure for some time.

I would have liked a little levity for the show's closing and I think they had a chance for the Newhart style ending. My suggestion would have been after full credits for them to cut to the Dharma Initiative's favorite scientist, who then proceeds to thank viewers for participating in the Dharma Initiative's 6 year social experiment where they have been monitoring our emotions and thoughts on the concepts of the Dharma conceived fairy tale.

*Update* I was mistaken to the technical problems being on the east coast HD feed. It was purely a WEWS Cleveland problem, they've posted their explanation and 'apology' here.

Here's a thought for WEWS, since the local news ran right after the series finale, perhaps that might have been a good time for an apology, or for an explanation of a rather large technical fail on your station's part. For local area news on a Sunday, I would say it's a rather significant event, considering 20-30% or more of the population was tuned into the show and rather likely a higher % that was watching your news would have been left overs from the show. Not mentioning the issues or apologizing at the beginning of the news broadcast shows me that you really didn't care to apologize and the only reason you've posted any type of apology is due to the fallout from your station's failures.

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