Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Across the wine-dark sea: an epic for our time

All the web hate for last night's episode really got me thinking - what exactly are people so upset about? It seems clear to me that LOST has never been a tightly-scripted contemporary sci-fi narrative -- it's much more like the sprawling epics composed by ancient bards riffing by the firelight as they swigged from their wineskins. Like classic poetry passed down through oral tradition, there are all kinds of detours and dead ends, stand-alone stories and evolving mythic themes that ebb and flow through the episodes - as well as the ongoing stories of our heroes and heroines. Maybe there's no way it can all add up, but so what? Personally, in a corporatized entertainment culture of predictable plots and formulaic storytelling, this sort of far-out, anything-goes, kitchen-sink inclusive narrative works for me. It may be the secret ingredient to the show's cult appeal as well - which is why it is so damn hard to duplicate.

I think the frenzied fans who will not rest until they find out the "answers" to everything are kind of missing the point. Remember all those Sopranos fans who felt ripped off when the series didn't end with an epic bloodbath? (Hats off the David Chase for denying them!) Don't be like those mooks, watching the show for all the wrong reasons.

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