Saturday, 15 January 2005

Lost

Last year, at the beginning of the television season, I stated that the word for this season was "bland." For the most part I stand by that. For the most part the shows that debuted this television season have been derivative and unremarkable. Little did I know that there would be one exception to the overall banality of this year's TV offerings, a show simply called Lost.

When I first heard the premise for Lost, I thought it sounded utterly preposterous. For one thing, with today's technology it seems impossible that a plane load of people could remain stranded on an island very long. For another, I thought that a show about people stranded on an island would run out of stories to tell pretty rapidly, unless they played it for laughs (and that has been done before--the classic Gilligan's Island). Little did I know that creator J. J. Abrams had more in mind than a TV version of Robinson Crusoe with more characters.

Indeed, there is more to Lost than meets the eye. Abrams has left many questions to be answered, not the least of which is what caused the plane to crash and exactly where our castaways are. Why don't the compasses point to where north should be? How did John Locke (Terry O'Quinn) miraculously start walking after the crash, when he had been in a wheel chair before? What is the mysterious beastie that stalks the island's jungles? One thing seems clear. This island is like no other. In fact, it might not even be in this reality...

Much of the success of Lost can be attributed to its large and fine cast. Dominic Monaghan (Merry from the Lord of the Rings movies) is perfect as Charlie, the good hearted rock star who is recovering from a heroin addiction. Josh Holloway is all too convincing as Sawyer, the bad guy in the group who always looking to make a quick buck. Perhaps the best performance is given by veteran Terry O'Quinn as the mysterious John Locke, the man who seems to know literally everything.

If Lost has one flaw, it is Abrams' tendency to telegraph his foreshadowing. The perfect example is from the pilot episode. People keep walking in front of the plane's turbines, which are still spinning. It doesn't take much for even a none too bright viewer to realise that sooner or later someone will get sucked into the turbine (and they do...).

For the most part, however, Lost is an enjoyable ride. Even when one starts thinking that the show is a bit far fetched, the show soon traps them once more. Lost is an enthralling show to watch. And the single bright spot in an otherwise dull season.

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