Back in 2004, a TV debuted that changed my life. It changed the way I watched TV and transformed me from a casual viewer to a full-on nerd when it came to LOST. When that show was on, there were no distractions. It had my complete attention from the first flashback (or flashforward) to the preview for the next week’s show.
I remember seeing TV previews over the summer about the show and it looked fascinating. (In a moment of complete honesty, I didn’t even see the pilot episode until the beginnings of the final season. I missed it and never had a chance to see it until later. That may affect my confession as a LOST junkie, but I think it strengthens my argument. I was so into the show, I didn’t need to see the first episode to watch every week.)
We still owned a VCR at the time LOST first started on ABC. It wasn’t always a problem, but after a little while, I started a Master’s Program that met on Wednesday nights.
That was a problem.
Thankfully, my wife, and then our friend Mischelle (who both unwittingly began liking a science-fiction serialized TV show) waited for me most nights. I’d get home and we’d immediately rewind the tape and watch the adventures of Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Locke, Hurley, Charlie, Sayid, etc. The mysteries kept us watching every week. Even when they “uncovered” one mystery, we got about 50 more. Brilliant.
Like the Hatch.
Holy smokes that was amazing. We get this whole storyline with Locke unearthing this mysterious Hatch only to find out that someone was already inside!
And thus began my man-crush on Desmond.
The introduction of Desmond’s character totally changed EVERYTHING I THOUGHT I BELIEVED about the island and its inhabitants. What I thought, though, was not even close to the truth of the situation. It was greater still.
Just some of the crazy things that happened on the Island:
Juliet and Sawyer
Sawyer and Kate
Jack and Kate (oh the love triangles!!)
A shark with a Darma logo on it’s fin?
NOT PENNY’S BOAT (That one scene wrecked me. Like the first 10 minutes of Up. Oy.)
“We have to go back, Kate!”
Jack’s off-island beard
Hurley’s trip in the Darma van (probably made me smile bigger than anything on that show)
The hidden philosophical statements around every corner
The Black Rock
A plane full of Virgin Mary statues with heroin
“You’ve got some Arzt on you.”
The entire last season (crazy!)
Sayid in the submarine
The sonic fence around the island
Jacob’s cabin (spooky!)
And on…and on…and on…
LOST was perhaps the first show that I actively searched out clues on the Internet for what was going on. What was happening on that island? Why did the plane crash? Why them? Why those people? So many questions that we didn’t see answers to until the final season.
As for that final reveal in the last episode — I was okay with it. I thought the entire season was a nice send-off. A lot of people didn’t get it, but by the time they were cruising into that finale, the show had picked up a lot of casual viewers and people who didn’t get it. I’m good with creators having their own vision and seeing it through. I don’t buy that they saw the ending on the first day of the show (see Nikki and Paulo), but they committed and went with it.
I was such a LOST junkie, that I even entered a Haiku contest through Entertainment Weekly when the series came out on Blu-ray. I knew everyone and their brothers were going to be writing poems about Jack and Charlie and Kate and Locke, so I went a little more…obscure. Behold:
(Frogurt, if you don’t remember was a survivor of the plane crash, but died when the island was jumping through time due to a flaming arrow to the chest. He was kind of a whiner, so I don’t think there were a ton of tears shed when he bit the dust.)
I enjoyed the LOST complete set, but did eventually sell it to bulk up my adoption fund. Since I can catch it on Amazon Prime, I don’t worry about it too much.
I was so into LOST that when the show ended, I started watching ALL the shows the LOST alums started appearing in.
Why yes, I’ll watch Hawaii 5-0 because Daniel Dae-Kim is in it.
Of course I’ll watch Jorge Garcia in the FOX sci-fi drama Alcatraz. (It was FOX. I should have known it wouldn’t last long)
Why wouldn’t I watch Michael Emerson in CBS’ show Person of Interest?
Eventually, the shows lost interest for me. H5-0 became dull after a year and a half. Alcatraz was a tough sell to most people and Person of Interest was good, but I just couldn’t commit to the show every week.
Ultimately, they weren’t LOST. They were good television shows, but they weren’t culturally-defining TV. They didn’t challenge my way of thinking on a weekly basis. They didn’t make me wonder “Why would there be a polar bear on a tropical island?”
LOST was unique and cool. I doubt we’ll ever have another TV show that entices us like that. I miss it and remember my time with it fondly.