Bad LOST fan, no biscuit (no spoilers)

  • May. 13th, 2010 at 4:23 PM
crypto: (sarah looks ahead)
As LOST's final season keeps drawing closer to its finale, I've been following more of the reviews and discussions of TV critics and what Jason Mittell calls the TVitterati.

But I've also been talking about the show weekly with a group of my co-workers -- it's truly our watercooler show, and we make a point of checking in after each episode. All of us are arguably fans -- is there anybody still watching who could be called a casual viewer at this point? -- but we're not on message boards, we don't have Lostpedia bookmarked, we might each check out reviews and recaps online but we don't obsessively track every pronouncement from Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse, we forget the names of minor characters and plot points from three seasons back. We're fans in the sense of highly engaged viewers who have a socialized way of engaging with the show.

Needless to say, I'm increasingly starting to think that my coworkers & I are watching from a different planet than the critics & TVitterati.

The consensus in my workplace is that there's stuff about this season that we like, and stuff that we don't like, but overall it's been disappointing and less entertaining than previous seasons. Meanwhile, I look online and see an increasingly elaborate set of norms and values advanced about the proper LOST fan's orientation to the show: we must have faith in Darlton; we have to believe that the finale will effectively retcon any dissatisfaction with elements of a given episode or plotline; it's okay to want some answers, but bad to want everything answered and worse to complain about the answers we get; be patient, be patient, be patient.

I guess I've never been a LOST fan in the sense of a true believer or proselytizer -- nor, for that matter, the apostate, the fallen fan who's turned on the show with precisely the same degree of passion which had once fueled their devotion. But lately, I'm wondering if me and my co-workers count as fans at all. Sure, we speculate and try to make sense of what's going on, but mostly we're along for the ride: call us post-mythology fans, who enjoy the sense of a mythology without being especially caught up in the details or the denouement. As long as it all feels like it's coherent, and could make sense, we don't worry too much about making sense of it or getting all the answers.

Time's James Poniewozik writes today in defense of arrogance as ascribed to LOST's showrunners, or more precisely in defense of ambitious 'auteur' television. And I certainly can get behind that -- I love my messy, flawed Sarah Connor Chronicles and Farscape and -- yes, still, despite everything, Battlestar Galactica too. But to me, LOST has never been anywhere near as ambitious or smart or complex as those shows, and the weaknesses and limitations that were obvious from the show's inception have returned with a vengeance in its final season. Unless, perhaps, you're the 'right' kind of LOST fan.


LOST 6x15

  • May. 11th, 2010 at 11:38 PM
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
spoilers )