Lost Losing It? Part II

Posted: November 15, 2007 in TV Stuff

Mr. Eko Meets His End The third season of Lost was a strange one.  While I generally thought of it as very good most critics and other hardcore fans slam it mercilessly for some of its well lets just say its less than par episodes.  With the exception of the middle 3 or 4 episodes last season I was pleased.  What didn’t please me was the hiatuses the show went on.  I’d endured it for seasons 1 through 2 and it had gotten very old by the time season 3 rolled around so I can understand why even some hardcore loyal fans stopped tuning in.  The breaks in the season coupled with the “filler” episodes (which are completely useless, and don’t bring in new fans) really let a lot of people down.

I blogged about Lost losing it earlier this year when the season hit that mid season slump and we were forced to deal with such things as Jack’s tattoo and a few other stories that just didn’t matter.  On top of that the episodes where even engaging or interesting.  Then with the introduction of Mikhail in “Enter 77” the show returned to prominence.  Each week after that the show got better too and it peaked with the episode entitled The Man from Tallahassee.  This was Lost at it’s best.  The season then cruised through it’s latter half bringing us good stories and a season cliffhanger that delivered the goods.

Fast forward now to November 12th, 2007.  The new fall season has started, most of the shows blow and while it’s still a few months off the new season of Lost draws near….Oops! I almost forgot about that tiny writers strike that’s going on!  Though I’m no fan of Unions I am behind the writers and any employees who rally up against an unfair employer.  The writers are the lifeblood of television and movies and I believe that the studios should give them what they’re asking for which is nothing unfair.  Anyways I digress.  Though it’s difficult to wait 10 months for my favorite program to return to the air, as it gets closer the wait seems less arduous.

Some shows and networks have already made smart decisions regarding whether or not to air the new seasons of their best shows.  In this case it’s mainly serialized shows I’m speaking about as many fans of serialized dramas will undoubtedly get upset if they get an abbreviated season.  Fox did the right thing by pulling 24 from it’s schedule.  Obviously they took notice of how fans get upset with abbreviated seasons and hiatuses much like ABC did when they finally came around to realizing Lost needs to run straight through with no re-runs and no breaks.  This time though ABC is moving forward strike or not and plans on airing the eight episodes of Lost’s fourth season.  Some will say “some Lost is better than no Lost” while other will agree with me that with it’s already short sixteen episode season planned, cutting it to 8 will undoubtedly piss a lot of people off.  So what now?  Do they show the 8 this year and the other 8 next year or do they possibly tack on the final 8 of this season to next seasons show?  ABC is obviously milking this show for all it’s worth and after last years ratings plummet and fan revolt I thought they had learned their lesson.  Stretching the show out over 3 more seasons instead of 2 was a really moronic idea and now the decision to air only the first 8 of this season, I believe to be equally as moronic.  I think most fans would agree that they’d rather wait and get it a full season instead of half of one.  It’d be really nice to see them withhold the first 8 of this season and add them to 2009’s season so that we get more Lost all at once! 

The real reason I wrote this article though is because of something I read over at MSNBC news yesterday regarding the strike and Lost itself.  Here’s a quote that they posted that apparently came from Damon Lindelof.  I found this most disheartening being a hardcore Lost fan.

“Recent comments from “Lost” showrunner Damon Lindelof seem to imply these first few episodes will be paced similarly to those early season-three episodes.”  and there was a quote on there that I can’t find now where he stated that the first 8 episodes where not that good.   Now I had no problem with the first six episodes of Season 3 though I think of them as of lesser quality but MSNBC also made a good point when they say “The producers of “Lost” need to stop blaming the serialized format — and their own fans’ so-called impatience — for the show’s poor performance. Instead, they should take some cues from the folks at “24,” because even if FOX weren’t postponing the season, the first eight episodes of “24” will be better than the first eight of “Lost.”

This is nuts in my opinion.  You have only three seasons left and 16 weeks in each of those seasons to tie everything up and deliver all the answers we’ve been waiting for.  Sure there are some episodes that are going to be build up’s or setup’s and thus be a bit slower but at this point in the shows run there should be no long build up’s or “filler” episodes.  Networks love those stupid upbeat episodes that fans always hate yet they still force the creators of great shows to include so many of them a season in an effort to gain new fans.  I don’t know if becoming an executive makes one’s IQ drop but don’t they realize that people who have never watched a show like Lost aren’t going to watch it because of an upbeat episode?  Even the few that might tune in after word of mouth spreads will tune right back out once the show returns to its dark and serious roots.  In addition to that you gain one or two new possible viewers while you lose many more faithful fans than you gain.  People attracted to a show like Lost have a particular taste for the things the show deals with and the forced additions of fillers only servers to piss loyal fans off.

The other thing that blows me away is that Lindelof and Cruise would even consider writing these types of episodes (forced or not).  Lost is at a point now where its become a show of answers and mystery instead of questions and mystery so these long build up’s just further serve to alienate your faithful audience.  I can’t see myself ever not watching Lost through to it’s completion but even build up episodes should hit the mark ever single week.  If you need the long build up then these guys should have negotiated for 3 full length seasons instead of an abbreviated 3.  Even at that length of time one or two of these episodes is fine and serve a purpose but any more than that really hurts the show.  Every episode in Season One and Season Two hit and in big ways for me.

To wrap this rant up I’ll only say is that ABC and the creators of Lost should take a cue from both the Sci-Fi Channel and Ron Moore who is behind Battlestar Galactica.  That channel interfered with production and later apologized to Moore and crew because their “happy/filler” episodes didn’t help bring ratings up…they just hurt the show.  That show as well as shows like it have a specific story to tell and are generally dark in nature to reflect the realities the show deals with.  Battlestar has only a couple of episodes that I thought were only so so.  Lost has many more though it remains my favorite television show.  Get on the ball guys….I know it’s only a television show but you’ve created something great, don’t screw it up.

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