8 December 2004 | Sisiutil
Restored what little faith I have in TV
With so many high-quality shows ending or getting cancelled recently (Friends, Frasier, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel), and with the decline in quality of many others (The West Wing, Smallville), not to mention the egregious rise of turgid and tasteless "reality" programming, I'd just about written off TV as an entertainment medium. I was seriously considering ditching my TV and cable subscription in favour of my computer screen and broadband Internet connection.
Then along comes "Lost". I missed the first few episodes, but was able to catch up thanks to BitTorrent. Now I'm hooked. There are several things to like about this show, but here's a quick list:
1) Outstanding, intelligent, layered writing. There are multiple mysteries here, and for every answer we get, more questions emerge.
2) Rich, complex characters. Just when you think you've got a character pegged, you find out something new about them that's often surprising or even shocking. I'm enjoying watching the various relationships emerge and develop.
3) Strong performances. This is a remarkable cast of mostly journeymen actors with a couple of newcomers, and they're all turning in star-making work. Even some of the cameos have featured recognizeable, talented actors (e.g. Mira Furlan, Victoria Hamel).
4) A mysterious and fascinating setting. Of the four main story elements you learned in school, plot, character, theme, and setting, the latter is often the poor, neglected cousin. Not here. The island is dangerous, beautiful, creepy, and undeniably intriguing. It's like a character unto itself. Part of the fun of this show will be unravelling the Island's secrets.
5) Thematic depth. This isn't just a soap opera on a desert island. There are rich metaphors and themes to be mined here, such as on the challenges of morality; on the nature of communities and civilization; on our relationship with nature/the environment; and on spirituality, even mysticism, as well.
I'm grateful to see this show is a hit. Too often lately I've committed to a quality show early on ("Wonderfalls" being the most recent and much-lamented example) only to have a jittery network cancel it prematurely. I'm hoping "Lost" will have a long, successful run--if its creators, cast, and crew keep up the level of quality they've shown so far, I'm sure it will.