Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The End is Here

One of the greatest TV shows of the decade came to an end on Sunday night/Monday morning (depending on where in the World you are) as the series finale of Lost finally aired.

My original plan for this week was, with both Lost and 24 ending, to cast an eye over some of the new shows that will be hitting our screens this fall season and see if there is anything amongst that little lot that could possibly fill the chasm in the schedules that the two aforementioned TV juggernauts have/will leave (more on that next week now).

But in the aftermath of Lost’s beautifully realised finale, cyberspace has been full of people venting their spleen over the 2 and a half hour epic that unfolded. Some praising the poignancy of it, some crapping all over it – whichever camp you are in yourself or have been reading the work of, it certainly seems as though any idiot with access to a keyboard and a blog or website has been voicing their opinion on the Lost finale.

So with that in mind, here are my thoughts…

First of all, let’s just set one thing straight, finales are always shat on by just about everyone. From Seinfeld to The Sopranos, people never react well to their favourite shows disappearing from their screen. A finale can never live up to the lofty expectations that fans have for the swan song of something that they have lived and breathed for years.

Sadly, this is now true of Lost as well.

People are ranting left, right and centre about a lack of answers, a cop out ending and just about anything else you can imagine. Half of it I’m convinced is down to a lack of intelligence. I’ve read literally dozens of different theories on what actually happened in the finale, when to me I think it’s pretty clear.

I’ve got to admit I sat there for a good few minutes after the credits rolled hoping that maybe there’d be some post-credits reveal or bonus scene, but when I realised that wasn’t coming I was content and satisfied with how this TV phenomenon had wrapped up.

People with an axe to grind are wrongly focussing too much on the ending that occurred in the flash-sideways universe and I really don’t understand why. This is a thread that was only introduced for this season and I think that it was tied up very poetically and complimented the fact that this was the final season almost magically.

There have been five other glorious seasons of this show with island based adventure, if the island storylines had been wrapped up with some sort of ‘it was all a dream’ explanation then I could definitely understand the bile some people are spewing towards the show.

But that wasn’t the case, I think the island-based story was concluded at a perfect juncture – book ended so brilliantly by Jack in the bamboo field. Enough characters got resolutions and enough was left open for us to imagine what would happen in the future.

Lost is a show with a rabid fan base and it has to have played into Cuse and Lindelof’s plans that fans will be speculating and telling stories about Lost long after the show has ended. If they’d tied up absolutely every loose end then there’d be nothing left for people to dwell on and debate.

Was anyone really expecting the myriad of questions the show has posed over its six season run to be answered in one two and a half hour episode? There were that many balls to be juggled we were always going to be left with a few outstanding queries.

The major questions had been answered long before the finale even aired.

I’ve read pieces from people that have brought up Walt – do they not realise that given the fact Malcolm David Kelley grew almost beyond recognition in his time away from the show that it would have been nigh on impossible to bring him back. His journey was wrapped up just fine for me when Locke met with him a couple of seasons back.

I genuinely hope that over time, people’s raw feelings will evaporate and that the venom being directed at Lost at the moment is just down to anger that this magnificent spectacle has now finished, or just down to the uncontrollable stupidity that I touched on earlier.

Because I personally adored the finale. I laughed, I (very nearly) cried and I was kept hooked (at 5am in the morning no less) for two and a half very short hours. Even clocking in at a mammoth running time, it wasn’t enough. I never wanted it to end; this was a master class in gripping television.

I loved the diversity of those who actually got to leave the island in the end – I would have never called those six being the ones who got away – Frank, Richard, Miles, Sawyer, Kate and Claire.

I suppose it helps that Richard, Miles and Sawyer are my favourite three characters, after Desmond of course, but it was still most definitely a motley crew of survivors.

Everyone who hadn’t died we left in a place I think they were happy with – even in death, Jack found the meaning on the island he had been looking for, Ben finally got to be important to the island, Desmond lived and had the hope of maybe being reunited with Penny and Hurley was left to do what he does best and “take care of people”.

I honestly don’t see how anyone can gripe about how things were left on the island.

People seem to be directing most of the disparaging comments towards the flash-sideways universe, which has been nothing but entertaining all season.

My view on this is that if this had just been a season finale rather than the series finale there would be no where near this level of controversy but as it was the series finale, expectations were in another stratosphere.

The flash-sideways universe was only a small(ish) piece of the most majestic jigsaw puzzle and dwelling too much on that one aspect of the show will only sour the memories you have.

It was a spiritual, multi-denominational religious ending but it gave our beloved characters, and us, a happy ending. Lovers and friends were reunited, people’s journeys came to an end and almost every character found closure and just “let go”, which is now what we ourselves need to do.

Without the flash-sideways universe, very few characters would have had a happy ending. Sure Sawyer eventually got off crap hole island but he had lost his beloved Juliet and just about every other character was far happier in ‘death world’ than we left them in the living.

The finale was an emotional affair, but it was that Sawyer-Juliet reunion that very nearly pushed me over the edge – I always loved those two together and you must have a heart of stone if you weren’t moved just a little by their vending machine reunion.

All the ‘awakening’ moments in the sideways storyline were emotional – Sayid and Shannon, Charlie and Claire, even Jack and Kate – a feel good ending for so many characters was never going to happen on the island but this alt-universe gave the audience and the characters an ending of joy rather than pain.

I’m not usually one for saccharine but I fell hook, line and sinker for this final episode. It nearly moved me to tears and if any other genuine fans out there feel differently then I think they’ve really missed the point of Lost.

I honestly believe there are two groups of people who watched Lost: those, like myself, who simply fell in love with the characters, the storytelling and the mysticism of it all and those who watched out of curiosity – to see just what all the fuss was about and not to miss out if some earth-shattering revelation was eventually made.

If you are one of the former then I would imagine you are of a similar mindset to me, if you are one of the latter then you are probably writing an angry piece tearing the finale, and the show, to pieces as we speak.

Lost has always and will always be a character piece. Sure, the mysteries of the island kept us all intrigued, but really they didn’t matter it was how they made our heroes interact that mattered.

Did we ever really get a definitive answer as to why the island was travelling through time? I guess we sort of did but even we hadn’t it wouldn’t have bothered me because without that narrative device we’d have never seen Sawyer and Juliet get together and have some of the show’s most beautiful and heartfelt moments.

You have to get past the island and its plethora of mysteries and focus on the characters and how their journeys ended – if you can do that then I don’t see how anyone can be unhappy with how Lost ended its run.

I could honestly go on and on for days about the show, the finale, the actors, the characters and the fans but for now I just want a bit of time for it to all wash over me.

I had to get something down on the blog to get how I was feeling off my chest, but in terms of really evaluating how the series ended, well I think that may take a great deal of time and several repeat viewings.

From where I’m sitting, some 60 hours later the finale of Lost was by no means perfect but it was poignant, poetic and magical – just like the past six seasons have been.

Thank you Lost for six years of sublime television. You shall be missed dearly.



24 Day 8 Death Counter:
Hour 21
x4 Russian operatives – shot and killed by Jack Bauer (JBK x4)

Pavel Tokarev – tortured, then has stomach cut open by Jack Bauer (JBK)

Episode Death Total = 5

Cumulative Season Death Total = 93

(Ongoing) Jack Bauer Kills (JBK) Total = 31


At this point exactly 1/3 of the Day 8 deaths are thanks to Jack Bauer.

Other Musings:

- Back when American Idol had whittled its cast down to the top 24 I picked my top two girls and boys.

Now although poor Lilly Scott didn’t even make the top 12, my other three selections ended up actually being the top 3.

With Casey now gone, it is down to Crystal and Lee for the crown of American Idol 2010. I really hope Lee can do it, like Adam Lambert last year Crystal doesn’t need to win; she’s already got a great career ahead of her now thanks to Idol.

Lee on the other hand I fear needs to win to cement his future effectively. The signs are good for Lee to pull of what a couple of weeks ago would probably have been deemed an upset though. Like last year’s winner Kris Allen, Lee has improved beyond recognition as the season has progressed, whereas Crystal has been consistently good (a la Adam Lambert last year)

Lee has somehow managed to leap frog Crystal to the head of the betting now and is the favourite to be announced the winner on Wednesday night. His popularity is not just down to his unbelievably good voice though, he is humble, shy and self-deprecating – almost the complete antithesis of the somewhat smug Crystal.

I really hope Lee does the business but even if he doesn’t I can’t complain really because I never thought he’d get this far.

- At the start of the year I wrote about a number of adverts – some good, some impossibly annoying. The current state of adverts is definitely leaning towards the annoying side but then came along one ad that turned all that around – this piece of genius from Nike:



- The greatest TV event of the year is this Saturday night – The Eurovision Song Contest 2010. I’m honestly more excited than I was for the Grand National, which really is quite worrying.

For anyone who loves Eurovision and all its campy glory, here is a little video clip to wet your appetite – the greatest entry of the last four years…



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