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A Spaceship Would Have Been Better

Like so many others, it seems, I did not appreciate the series finale of Lost. Here’s why.

First, I should say that I thought it was a good episode of a television series. It was well written, well produced and well performed… generally speaking, anyways. It has some problems though.

The biggest problem with the show is what seems like a random mix of genres. Not so much throughout the series but at the end. Season one introduced us to The Island and the Losties… it started as mostly a drama series (at least to me… that’s why I didn’t watch right away) with something subtly strange going on. Soon though, it would become pretty clearly a science fiction show with some drama woven into it. That was the first thing that made the show great. I think that the problem with science fiction on television is that it, a lot of times, fails to make the characters truly compelling. I love science fiction but by itself it just doesn’t have the wide appeal for prime time. Lost did because you didn’t have to care about the characters to like it and you didn’t have to care about the mythology to like it either.

Season Six was a sharp departure from that formula. There were no science fiction elements to Season Six. Even the Smoke Monster’s origin story stripped the science fiction out of him… His brother threw him to the ground, he hit his head on a rock and floated down a stream into a cave with a strange light in it… for some reason that transformed him into a pillar of black smoke. No explanation for this is even attempted. This is clearly a fantasy story… and just because Barnes and Noble puts sci-fi and fantasy together on the shelves doesn’t mean they’re even nearly the same thing. They just have a similar audience.

This just doesn’t work for me. Seasons One through Five were clearly sold as science fiction but in the end we find that the product has more in common with Grey’s Anatomy than Star Wars. They kept telling us that the character stories were the most important thing to them but they also hinted strongly that the mythology of the show was at least of secondary importance. In the end it was just abandoned. It would have been one thing to leave a few of the mysteries hanging in the end but all of them? Really? What is The Island? You can’t answer that. It wasn’t revealed on the show. All you can give is your non-canon theory. Why does Jacob need to protect the island? From what we saw it seems like his brother was right. Desmond pulled the plug and the island started shaking… but what effect did that have on the rest of the world? As far as we can tell, none.

There were so many parts of the story that were made to seem like big parts of it but didn’t really need to happen. If it had been the mother who was still in charge of the island when the plane crashed it would have been a much shorter story. She would have killed everyone but her replacement, end of story. Jacob wanted to give them a choice but I’m sure you all remember just how that choice was presented. One of you needs to do this or you and everyone you love will be destroyed. Some choice! Ha! None of it needed to happen. The stakes were real? No, they weren’t.

My rant about the show, about the final season and about the series finale is far from over, but I’m going to cut if off because I have other stuff to do… In the end I think what destroyed the show is evidenced by the extra 30 minutes they added to the finale… who notices that most of that was commercial time? At some point before the two hour mark they showed commercials five minutes apart! The Target commercials were hilarious though. The writers had, in their hands, one of the greatest television shows of all time and they screwed the pooch in the end because they didn’t believe they could write a compelling science fiction ending that did justice to the characters… at least not one that 13 million people would watch.

Rant over.

The good thing to come out of this though is that they’ve shown the proper model for prime time science fiction. Flash Forward didn’t catch on in time and got cancelled… Fringe was doing it wrong at first but seems to have modified the model for their show. Lost was participatory. The audience was able to speculate and theorize which made them feel like a part of the show and that’s why it was so loved. They could research and discuss with other fans what this or that meant or what was going to happen next and then all together they could watch for the answers. If only they hadn’t failed so spectacularly at delivering those answers.

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highbrow

22 thoughts on “A Spaceship Would Have Been Better

  1. I am a science fiction lover and agree with everything that you said. My immediate reaction to the finale was that I was going to have to join Ben and Eloise and not enter the church because I wasn’t ready to move on without answers.

    And then I watched it again.

    I cried at every other scene as if these people and their circumstance were real. As soon as I put myself in their place, sitting in that church with my friends and family, being washed in the light, I no longer had questions to ask.

    That might have been the intentions of the writers to use emotion as a cover-up for a massive cop-out – but I no longer care. I am thrilled to have been a part of this journey. I loved every second of reading/writing theories.

    Can’t wait for all of you to join us in that church and go back to loving this show. I’ll be the one next to Juliet staring at her boobs in that black dress. WHOA!

  2. There you go… a cover-up for the massive cop-out. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Like I said, it was an excellent 2.5 hour episode of a television show… But it was like watching a different show than we were watching the first five years.

  3. I’ll be the one sitting next to Hurley’s smelly ass. I’d be too drunk to know where I was.

    I share your disappointments Highbrow. I felt about a hundred times emptier than I was predicting I would. I just wanted to see how anything within the show related to anything else within the show….and nothing related when it was done. There was not one interesting reveal, and absolutely nothing connected.

  4. Exactly… How did anything that happened in the finale relate to the DI? Or Jacob? Or the energy pockets? The fate of the rest of the world?

    They made no effort to connect the finale (or the entire final season) to the rest of the show.

  5. highbrow I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    “It was like watching a different show than we were watching the first five years”

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I just don’t see the relavance. Like you and Chief said, it was a great episode (apart from the last 10 minutes), but not a great ending.

    We needed an ending that gave meaning to everything we’ve seen over the last 6 seasons, and it just wasn’t.

    I remember reading that Darlton had joked they would be going into hiding once The End had aired, which to me shows that they knew they’d written a bad ending.

  6. yes totally agree,highbrow how came all the people that liked the show are getting mad at us for not liking it to the over all of the story. me and my dad deleted seasons six on are dvr,but can’t delete it out of my mind.

  7. A spaceship, a meteor, a black hole. Anything would have been better! The writers didn’t even have to go into detail, just give us something. Instead, they completely ignored the real fans of the show.

  8. They seemed to put so much time and effort into developing the sci-fi/fantasy/mythology of the show then they just abandoned it at the end. I don’t feel like we were done receiving information about it… it’s disappointing because it could have been something we discussed for a long time to come but I feel like we don’t have enough information for that yet…

  9. I do agree with what you’re saying Highbrow, only I don’t think I’m as disappointed as you – I think I’m too easily pleased! I’m an emotion junkie and they sucked me in.

    I do agree it was a cop-out though; maybe the show got too big for them. They opened a Pandora’s Box of ideas, and though they progressed them, they got scared when it came to resolving it all. However, if they knew 3 years ago that they had as much time to wrap it up, they also had that much time to resolve one or two issues. I also at least expected a fuller story about the DI. I suppose it’s up to one or two genius fans to write a more-fulfilling last season. Maybe a DI spin-off or even a Mr Eko spin-off. What happened to him – he’s the only main character that didn’t get a look in this season!

  10. The actor couldn’t come to an agreement with the producers for his appearance. I guess he wanted too much money. Oh well.

    I would have been happy with an “Across the Sea” type episode for the DHARMA Initiative. They were a bigger part of this show than the Man in Black and thier mother.

  11. I’ve always said that ONE of the strongest elements of Lost is indeed the characters,
    I keep Telling everyone that we get so close to them that they mean more to us than most characters on other shows.

    Why was this such a special journey..?
    Because(though in a chronological mess)
    we got to follow all these individuals
    in the most important moments of their lives.

    Having said that – nothing – absolutely
    nothing of all the SciFi/Fantasy-elements that took place on that Island
    (and to certain extent pre-Island)
    felt neccesary to Tell that kind of Character driven story.

    Then they would have been better of trying something like “Crash”
    (Love that movie – understand that there’s a show as well, haven’t seen it though)

    However, we’re presented with one mystery more strange than the other.
    We early on understand that there are these numbers – that apparently mean the End of the World or something, they’re cursed and show up Everywhere!
    (In the End it turns out – they’re just numbers..)

    There’s these “Others” who live on the Island and terrorizes our dear Losties
    (Even though they’re the “Good Guys”
    and it’s their Godlike Leader that brought them there)yet won’t let anyone leave,
    and they even take a boy from his father while leaving him to die.
    In the End it turns out – they have no reason whatsoever

    There’s this frozen Wheel in a cave,
    with hieroglyphics
    (That seems to appear everywhere on the Island)
    that seems to have the ability to move people through time – A very selected few,
    to very specific places in time.
    (Which made me for one believe that there
    were some concious awareness behind it – yet it seems to be an “untaimed natural Force”)
    In the End it turns out – It was just supposed to be an exit.

    We hear of this allknowing guy named Jacob.
    whom every Other loves and are willing to die for – for the “cause” for the Island and everything they’re “accomplish”
    Yet, he talks to very, very few, give no reason for what he’s doing and seem to not have any real ones either. And what little we do hear from him is all “Free Will”
    still extremely few of his actions point
    to it – quite the oposite. He brings people to the Island AGAINST their will where he knows that they most likely will meet a horrible death of sorts.
    In the End it turns out – the Wise Jacob is
    actually alone responsible for the great “Danger” threatening the World, and that he himself haven’t managed to figure anything out for the last – I’m sure not even the Writers know – God knows how many years/centuries. He has no plan whatsoever,
    but he doesn’t Tell this to anyone(not even his closest advisor and basically first/only friend – probably because he knew no one would follow him anymore if they knew…free will…yeah, right..)

    Instead he waits to the absolutely last moment before he reveals – nothing(basically) He gives a few people the “choice” to take his place or everything and everyone will die anyway
    (Though he doesn’t say how or really why)
    He expect them to find a way to do what he himself after all this time have no idea how to – awesome….

    Through the entire whow we have been lead to believe that everyone was a part of a big puzzle – that they all needed to do what they did – to get where they had to be.(The entire timetravel – Dharma thing was about them changing what had gone wrong – and we were even kead to believe it worked, yet no we know it didn’t – Juliet was simply dying and the “Alternate Timeline” turned out to be the afterlife – with no link to the Island whatsoever)
    So inspite of Daniels sudden change of Heart(I forgot about us – the variables – we CAN change things!)he was wrong – nothing on the Island changed, Whatever happened happened – the Plane crashed anyway. So the entire Timetravel was for nothing(It was said to been made so weäd get answers about the DI – but does anyone feel we did – or did we as always get even more confused)

    We lead to believe that we’re heading towards the End – a big conclusion.
    “It only Ends once – everything in between is just progress..”
    But it turns out the “Beginning”
    we saw was preceded by unknown time and event . and the “End” was just three years ago. There was Never an End
    “You will have to do it for as long as you can..”(Which in Jack’s case was very brief)

    Hurley took over and evidently died
    so it’s still not over.
    the Island/Source must have been in some sort of danger still for Hurley and Ben both to have Died, yes..?

    I loved the characters – this show has provided some of the best ones ever.
    And no shadow of blame can ever fall on the actors – they did a wonderful job and were just as left in the dark as we were.

    But like so many else – that alone is not anywhere near why I watched Lost – nor loved it so. It seemed like an awesome sci/fi show crafted by the most briliant minds ever behind TV.

    And still I always said – Lost can be the best show on earth – or the worst.
    It depends on how they manage to tie everything together. Now, in retrospect
    – calling it the worst show ever would be a bit much, but I will Tell you this.

    We all got they couldn’t tie everything together – but they tied NOTHING together.
    It’s as if the Writers each got a season with the premise – It’s an Island with people on it – do whatever – WHATEVER – you want with it – that the writer could play around with before the next one takes over with his own idea and so forth..

    I’ve read some people still in denial saying things like – “You’re just angry because you didn’t get the answers all on a plate – watch the show again – they’re out there!” Well, no…they’re not..

    For me, that’s one of the big problems – it’s evident now that nothing is
    connected. Are you still so delirious that you think you can go back to season one and find a clue as to what the Island is..?
    In spite of everything Lindelof and Cuse have said – they never thought very far ahead.. The truth is(as I have stated in another post)even though they say they “Don’t want to give too many answers because it’ll ruin the mystery of the show”
    the reason so many(every)mysteries were never resolved is because they don’t have any answer.. They themselves DONT HAVE any answers – so you can’t find any of them by rewatching the previous seasons – there’s nothing there..

    Is there anyone that will recomend Lost to anyone with a clean conscience..? I couldn’t..

    Island and people……..and mysterious happenings.. The things that went on there,
    most people with the slightest imagination and writer-skills could write that..
    Whenever something over the top happened – me and my friends would take, laugh and say – “well that’d be strange in the real world, but this is Lost – it’ll be great to see how they explain that later on…”

    If you don’t have to worry about tying things together, anyone could write the strange things going on – there are no rules on Lost…on the Island sure(And why the Hell didn’t we ever get the rules explained, there seemed to be many of them – and that’s the sort of thing that should come with the torch as Protector..), but not on Lost..

    How naive I feel now thinking we would ever get any answers at all..

    With all the peices of my broken Heart –
    there’s no denying that the writers never knew where they were going and that
    they played us all into thinking they were..

  12. I’m not just dissapointed with the ending but I’m quite angry actualy not only did they not answer questions but they left us with more, like who created the chamber where the light was and made the cork that des pulled out and jack put in. How was this put in in the first place because when it was taken out and the light went out the island was in self destruct. Why didn’t jack turn into smoke when mib did. What about hurley and ben, what happend to Clare when she got home, how did Richard live out his days. Most importantly what was the point in the alt timeline, yes it was nice to see them all happy before the journey to heaven but come on they wasted half a season when they could of been answering questions. I just don’t see why the couldn’t of have a entire episode dedicated to Jacob and the losties around the fire answering questions about the mysteries of lost and what Jacob couldn’t answer mib could of to ben. My only hope now is a dharma spin off which would be quite cool where these could figure out all the mysteries while doing their experiments.
    I swear I never thought I could get this angry over a tv show I’ve been watching interviews on YouTube with the producers and watching their little smug faces makes me boil even more you just no they havnt got a clue how they are going to answer any thing and they are just fobbing people off and copped out with this whole going to heaven story line which pissed me off, honestly if any 1 asks me what lost was like because they have never seen it and they are going to buy the boxsets to watch it I will tell them all the need to watch is episode 1 seasons 5 finale and season 6 the rest is all filler

  13. totally agree. I initially didnt like the ending, then read a bunch of threads and was satisfied. Now Im back to hating it. As another thread noted, they only gave us half an ending. They concluded the characters but none of the mysteries of the show. Weaksauce.

  14. The character stories were epic, I’ll give them that. I loved that part of the show. And yeah, I’ve known for as long as anyone else that the character drama was going to be a big part of the show’s resolution. But all the other stuff was just put in there to get people to watch for six seasons instead of the one that they actually needed. None of that other stuff mattered at all… that’s fine for people who have Lost on their watch-list along with Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy, but I watched as a science fiction fan. That’s what I was watching for and if the writers thought for even a second that they could end the show like this without pissing off and disappointing fans like me then they must be completely retarded. Seems like about 75% of the show that was just dropped in the last season… just happened to be the 75% I liked best. I held out hope that they’d get to it in the finale but it turned out they just had 20 minutes of extra commercials to show.

    Good job on the character stuff… Way to drop the ball on the truly imaginative part.

  15. I liked the aspect of the finale that revealed that Jack had died and that the symbiotic timeline was actually an afterlife. I liked seeing all the characters being reunited because as you said, the character development was monumental in this series.
    I totally agree that this last season has left me wanting all along. They even dropped the character plot lines for a few episodes. The sci-fi element was completely lost and I also was waiting to see how they would resolve it.
    It feels like they needed another season or two to finish everything they needed to resolve. It was as if they didn’t have enough time to finish and wrap things up, or the show was being dropped so they just hurried and shoved a general ending on the end of the the greatest web of sci-fi/religious/mythological themes we’ve seen on TV. With no resolution.
    AND – even the moments where some of the characters “remember” was cheesy, I have to say. I loved Jack and Kate, loved Charlie and Claire. The Shannon and Sayid scene was just ridiculous and made me roll my eyes in disgust, not to mention the banter between Hurley and Boone. CHEESY!
    A general answer and premise to tie in seasons 2-5 would have been so nice. They could have easily taken out some of the crap from this season and tied things together a bit more neatly.
    Maybe we should have a contest as to who can do the best REAL final season of Lost.

  16. The most important character in the series was??????

    Dogen.

    That was a joke by the way. The problem with Lost, is a bit like supporting the English national soccer team. They play very good games, but then have a bad game and the wole of England is pissed off.

    We came to expect so much, that our standards were extremely high.

    So instead of the show maybe getting an A+, it ended up with perhaps a B+.

    Very good, but not OUTSTANDING.

    The earlier epsiodes with the others in the temple (Dogen etc) where not relevant enough, but probably needed to keep us doubting about the nature of the FSW.

    Perhaps explanations of Dharma, MIB in the cave etc should have been developed more to attain an A+ from all people on this site.

    Still enjoyed it though.

  17. Yeah, good point… they wasted time in the final season introducing characters and then killing those characters off before they even became relevant.

    I still think that showing the DI’s origin would have wrapped up the series better for us… not as the last episode or anything but it should have come along at some point this season… it might have even fit better back in season five…

  18. I wish stupid UnLocke had been able to leave the island so we could find out what the big deal was in the first place. It was rather anticlimactic when Jack killed him. And I don’t understand the afterlife being so life-like with families and births… what’s the point in being dead? If you never “move on” then you get a whole other life..

    I miss the days when we used to joke about aliens being the final reveal. sigh.

  19. Let’s all get on it – the Aliens probably have better shows.

    I’m not saying we’d be able to understand or make any sense of them – but hey – we can’t with Lost either, can we;)

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