Thursday, 11 February 2010

Found...?

The cultural phenomenon that is Lost made its return to our screens at the weekend for what will be its sixth and final season.

At times, Lost has been one of the most frustrating shows on television to be a fan of – answering the myriad questions it creates with a plethora of further questions, yet no one can deny that this is TV at its finest – bold, uncompromising and addictive as hell.

Yes there has been the odd mis-step, season 2 was a particular low point, but for six seasons Lost has consistently delivered quite possibly the most compelling, unmissable show on TV and the two-hour premiere of season 6 was no exception to this rule.

Picking up where we left off at the end of season 5 with Juliet (the brilliant Elizabeth Mitchell) detonating a nuclear bomb, we now seem to have two timelines established – one in which, as theorised by several of the characters, Oceanic flight 815 never crashes on the Island (which is for some reason now completely underwater) and actually makes it to LAX, and one where the survivors remain on the Island but back in the present day as opposed to in the past where they found themselves for much of season 5.

Confused? Join the club.

The ability of Lost to have you on the edge of your seat even when you have no idea what the hell is happening really is an incredible feat, I can see why, over time, some people have grown exasperated with the show and its inherently bamboozling nature but for those who have stuck with it for six seasons I am confident that we will soon be rewarded in spades.

The Lost universe is one of the richest tapestries I have ever known in fiction of any nature and due to the time travelling, and now alternate reality themes of the show it allows the writers to give long time fans lovely little moments featuring former characters – see appearances in the premiere by Boone, Arzt and Frogurt.

Enough about why Lost is so great, if you aren’t already aware of that then where the hell have you been for the last six years!? On to the season 6 premiere…

I’m intrigued to see where they are going with the alternate timeline, by the looks of things everyone is going to be worse off than if they had crashed – Locke still in the wheelchair, Kate on the run, Charlie under arrest etc.

I’m currently under the impression that in the alternate timeline the Island never existed (above water) hence why Desmond who was never originally on flight 815 was now on board. It’s certainly going to make for interesting TV, especially as even without crashing many of the main protagonists are going to still be interacting with each other – Kate and Claire, Jack and Locke etc.

Although we know these characters inside and out, to see them meeting for the first time after all we have seen them go through together in the crash timeline, especially the likes of Jack and Locke and Kate and Sawyer, is one hell of a mind-fuck but opens up even more layers to this already multi-faceted show, further exploring the ideas of fate and destiny that have been alluded to on many previous occasions.

In the timeline we are all familiar with though, things continue to get weirder and weirder.

The man in black, Jacob’s rival, whom we met at the start of the season 5 finale is actually the smoke monster and now inhabits Locke’s body.

Okay…

At least we finally got some semblance of an answer on what, or seemingly now: who, the smoke monster is.

Judging from Juliet’s from the grave message to Sawyer, courtesy of Miles, my guess on the dual timelines is that the bomb detonation did in fact do what Jack hoped and reset everything but it has also left the survivors still on the island unaware of their plans success, possibly due to some sort of tear in the space-time continuum – if that makes any sense at all! Hey, I’m spitballing here!

Juliet’s death was very sad and touching and I know some people have derided it as overly saccharine, but from day one Sawyer has been my favourite character on the show (closely followed by Desmond, brother) and his relationship with Juliet was one of the best developments the show ever made, so the two deserved a soppy, heartfelt send-off, and if this now leads to the return of bad-ass Sawyer then I’m all for it.

It was a shame to see Juliet die, but given that this is the last season and how many former faces are returning I doubt it will be the last time we see her on Lost; hopefully she’ll return and have a happy ending with Sawyer.

A nice touch that I really appreciated was the fact that Miles, Sawyer and Juliet have had that life together with the Dharma initiative and the effects of that are still present – Juliet calling him “James” and Miles and Sawyer remaining close “Jim” / “Boss”. It’s little things like that, that make this one of the greatest shows ever made, sure there are no end of plot holes that make your head near explode if you try and fathom them but small continuity points like that really reward the audience and give further depth to our heroes and their relationships.

I’m really pleased to see Nestor Carbonell added to the main cast – Richard Alpert has long been one of the characters that fascinates me the most and I can’t wait to hopefully get some insight into his past and how he manages to never age – I’m assuming the pool at the temple that brought Said back to life is going to have something to do with it.

Yes, the majority of the main survivors of the original flight – Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sawyer, Jin, Said and then Miles from the subsequent Island arrivals now find themselves in the Temple of the others.

In a nice touch, we saw Cindy the stewardess and the two children snatched by the others in season 2 living there in what seemed like harmony with the others who are led by an Eastern gentleman who refuses to speak English as he doesn’t like how it “tastes” and his right hand man played by John Hawkes (great actor).

Once Hurley revealed to them that Jacob was dead, the others freaked and began barricading the temple, assumedly to keep Locke 2.0 from getting in, and then after being drowned (or so we thought) by the others in their mysterious pool Said came back to life and appeared to be healed from the gun shot wound he had sustained previously – what all that means is anybody’s guess.

My theory – Jacob needed a new body and now inhabits Said… too out there? This is Lost we’re talking about.

Overall this was a fantastic season debut – the 90(approx.) minutes of the double episode flew by – Lost’s flashback nature has always been good for breaking up episodes and really making them flow in terms of pace but this double episode really grabbed you from the opening frame and never let you go. I know it’s a cliché but I was on the edge of my seat for the whole of both episodes.

Anyone who gave up on Lost around the season 2/3 mark has to be kicking themselves now because ever since the announcement that they were ending the show after this sixth season, Lost has had an energy and focus that has made for some truly brilliant television.

With the end now firmly in sight, the audience for the most part isn’t really any the wiser on the mysteries of the Island but I have complete faith in the Lost masterminds to wrap this up in style and cement the status of this show as one of the best series in TV and cultural history.

I’m under no illusions, they will never be able to satisfy every curiosity and answer every question they ever posed but as long as we get some sense of closure and at least a modicum of a resolution then I may just buy into the claims that there was a plan from the start for Lost.

Plan or no plan though, no one can deny that this has been epic TV on the most ambitious, uncompromising of scales and it has been entertaining as hell.

Lost – the sixth and final season airs Fridays @ 9pm on Sky1

Other Musings:

- Two quick is it wrongs for you:

1. Is it wrong that when I saw Heather Mills on Celebrities on Ice that I really wanted the fake leg to come off?

And how tempted do you think the commentator was when he introduced her, rather than ‘charity campaigner’ to say ‘gold digger’…?

2. On the Lottery quiz show In It To Win It, the contestants have this really unnecessary desire to explain why they are selecting the answer they are, not “because I think it’s right Dale”, it goes a little more like this…

Question – “what colour are your trousers – A. Red / B. Gold / C. Black?”

“Well Dale, Looking at my pants now I can see that they aren’t gold and they don’t look red either, so I’m going to go with C. Black…”

Get on with it you fucking moron!

Is it wrong that I want these idiots to go home with absolutely nothing? And what’s with dancing across to the question area? Are they told to do that by the producers or is it just a side effect of the copious amount of drugs most of the contestants on this show are clearly taking?

- Speaking of Saturday night TV on the big 2 (ITV and BBC) – its absolute gash.

I know no one is forcing me to watch either channel, and for the most part, I don’t, but these are two of the biggest broadcasters in the World on the night when TV viewing figures are probably at their highest and the best they can come up with is the likes of Take Me Out?

With all the great programming that’s out there it’s a shameful travesty that unadulterated shit such as Take Me Out with the ‘hilarious’ (notice the inverted commas) Paddy McGuiness occupies prime time scheduling when some of the finest TV shows ever made are buried in the schedules on digital channels that the majority of the population probably don’t even know exist.

- It was the Superbowl last Sunday and I was pleased to see the Saints take home the Lombardi trophy.

It’ll be great for New Orleans to have something to toast after years of strife and they were the gutsier team on the night, thoroughly deserving their momentous win.

I thought both quarter-backs were outstanding but I was most chuffed to see Jeremy Shockey get a TD and take home another ring – he may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I was a big fan of Shockey’s during his Giants tenure and was disappointed when my adopted NFL team traded him (although I understand why).

Hopefully Shockey can stay injury and controversy free now and continue to tap into the potential he showed earlier in his career.

Also, while we’re on The Superbowl – The Who’s half-time show was awesome as expected and Carrie Underwood showed she has pipes to match the best of them but what the hell was Queen Latifah doing!? Did I hear some jeering while she was performing?

TV Moment of the Week:

- Has to be Callum Keith Rennie’s guest appearance on 24 to single-handedly save season 8 from the depths of mediocrity.

Okay, so maybe I’m being somewhat bombastic in my praise there – the latest two episodes were a distinct improvement over what had gone before and it wasn’t all down to CKR.

That said, across the two episodes he was head and shoulders the best thing about the show – seriously is there a more underrated TV actor out there?

24 Day 8 Death Counter Update:

Hour 5 –

Ziya Dakhilov – executed by Vladimir Laitanan (shot in the chest)

Episode Death Total = 1

Cumulative Season Death Total = 12

Ongoing Jack Bauer Kills (JBK) Total = 3

Hour 6 –

Nurse @ Medical Centre – shot dead by Dimitri and Bazhaev’s henchmen

Security Guard @ Medical Centre – shot dead by Dimitri and Bazhaev’s henchmen

Dr. Joel Levine – shot dead by Dimitri and Bazhaev’s henchmen

x3 of Vladimir Laitanan’s men – shot with sniper rifle by Cole Ortiz

Oleg Bazhaev – shot dead by his Father Sergei Bazhaev

Episode Death Total = 7

Cumulative Season Death Total = 19

Ongoing Jack Bauer Kills (JBK) Total = 3


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