TV Series Review: Lost

By Devdutt Nawalkar

The final season of Lost begins next month. Paens have been written to this groundbreaking show already so I’m afraid a latecomer like me has little of worth to add to the steadily growing legend. As a matter of fact, I only started watching the show some three months ago, courtesy of the instant play feature on Netflix. The obsessive-compulsive freak that I am, I have managed to eat up five seasons, or roughly a hundred hours of ass-on-the-couch since then. Watching it has been some experience, not devoid of troughs but also filled to the brim with some of the most exhilarating peaks in television history. In a way, I’m going to miss the show more than the regular viewers who were there at the beginning and may have been privy to some of the disillusionments that usually develop as any series unfolds. I haven’t had time to get bored, grow disenchanted, drop out, and then try to find my way in. I’m glad about it too, especially the last bit because, believe me, finding your way through the labarynthine indecipherables that define Lost is about the hardest thing you can endeavour to do as a modern-day couch potato.

I’m not a big fan of TV. In fact, I haven’t followed a TV show since the good old Doordarshan days. Well, ok, I was big on Wonder Years, Tour of Duty (remember Paint It Black?), Small Wonder, Home Improvement, and others during the initial foray of Star Plus into Indian homes, but it’s been a good ten-fifteen years since the sun set on that era. Somewhere along the way, my patience waned, life grew busier, TV got shittier, and I stopped giving a fuckadoodoo.

I remember the hoopla around Lost when it first aired in India; in fact I remember a very cute female friend (no names, but hey you!), a big fan of the show, constantly pestering me to check it out. Being the cult asshole that I was back then (and still am), I refused to give in to the hype and kept peering up my ass. Hindsight, of course, makes lame jackasses of us all, and I’d give anything to go back, especially to the first season, and experience the rush as it happened. Then again, keeping base with the show’s theme of predestination and determinism, maybe it was intended to happen this way. Either way, as things stand, I am officially an unbearable Lost junkie, nerd, dork, etc, with theories on what happened why, and what happens next.

For those not in the know, Lost tells the story of the dubiously fortuitous survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 that took off from Sydney for Los Angeles, and crashed onto an unchartered, mysterious island in the tropical South Pacific. Their first days are optimistic as they lie waiting for rescue. However, hopes recede as days pile on, and while exploring the island and tending to basic survival, they begin to learn that all’s not as it seems on this sultry paradise.

Lost pioneered, to the best of my knowledge, an episodic style of story telling, woven around periodic flashbacks that tell the story of each islander leading upto the crash. While it may seem superfluous at times, with even some minor characters getting their own showtime, it adds remarkable texture and sinew to the story, and, most importantly, it makes the viewer care for the characters. By the time you reach the end of the first season, you’re so hopelessly embroiled in the characters’ fates that you cheerfully put up with the more egregious suspensions of disbelief.

, in many ways, also assembled the best ensemble cast in TV-dom. There are absolutely no bum actors, and the chemistry they share with each other is palpable and throbbing with empathy. How many prime-time shows do you know that regularly devote whole episodes to relaying the story of an Asian couple, all dialogue conveyed through subtitles? None, that’s how many. Sun and Jin converse with each other in Korean yet manage to blend in effortlessly through the strength of their performances. The same applies to all the others, even the bit players in the main protagonists’ history. Preordainment, fate, destiny; I don’t buy any of it, but it’s inconceivable that anyone else could’ve played these parts.

Not as obvious in the early goings, Lost draws major inspiration from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. A key character reflects poor Billy Pilgrim’s travails, and his plight is the premise on which the entire show stakes its pitch. At a more sublime level, beneath the adventure and the pulsing suspense, lie fundamental questions that have confounded thinkers since ancient times. Why are we here? What purpose do we serve? Does everything happen for a reason, or is the universe just plain, unorganized chaos? Is there really a difference between good and evil, or is everything just a matter of perspective? Heady stuff, but Lost attempts to seek answers in its own, strange manner.

Everything isn’t plain sailing, however. Much like life, the show hits brick walls every now and then, including a couple of truly execrable episodes in the third season. But one of the better things about Lost is that the directors never hesitate to get rid of annoying characters. And by the time one lumbers around to the nail-bitingly surreal climax to Season 5, many of the supposed loose ends from earlier seasons have been tied together to present the viewer an irresistible rubix cube to unravel before the final trek begins.

Season 5 of Lost is scheduled to start airing on January 22, 2010, and will conclude, seventeen episodes later, somewhere in May-June. I’m strapped on for the ride as it hurtles through space and time to wherever its imminent end may lie.

READ: Movie Review of Shanghai (Hindi, 2012)

5 Responses to “TV Series Review: Lost”

  1. 1 Sam
    December 14, 2009 at 14:45

    Welcome to the legion of fans of mind boggling, ‘Lost’. Get ‘Lost’ in its intriguing climax, thrills and chills. Better late than ever coz once you watch it, you will remember it forever. It’s one of the best thriller based serial that has graced the television screen. The suspense, climax has intensity and is riveting to the point, where it makes the heart pound faster.
    Every single episode has something new to offer, and that makes it remarkable. To spring s surprise is one thing, but to continue springing a string of surprises, episode after episode, is the stuff what dazzling brilliance is made up of, of course, accompanied by consistency to deliver. Let’s get lost in its mesmerizing effect that grips the mind. 🙂


  2. 2 Poonam
    December 14, 2009 at 14:56

    The cable TV walla won’t air Star World in our area simply because it is not in demand 😐 The misery!
    I didnt miss any of the episodes though. My friend and I watch downloaded episodes whenever possible. 😀


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