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Lost The PlotÖ
by Marc Butterwood
Good TV is not easy to come across, and while the Swine jury is still out on Lost(!), there can be no doubt that it has proved to be a big hit with audiences across the globe. With the second season just starting on Channel 4, (only a month after it premiered to the national Eskimo TV network in Antarctica) now is as good a time as ever to have a look at what some claim is the greatest TV show ever devised.
Itís easy to be critical of Lost with absolutely everyone claiming to like it and rushing to discuss whatís going on after each episode. Many would say Lost is to television what The Davinci code is to literature. It gives a veneer of intellect, an impression of you being a thinking man or woman for watching the show. But the writers, whose previous work has included the critically unacclaimed Alias, shown in the 1am slot on channel 5, seem to have devised a master stroke in not knowing themselves what the fuck is going on.
The three writers submitted a 30 page document to network chiefs at the ABC network which had given itself breathing space whilst drowning for some time in the shit it aired. Desperate Housewives provided an excellent fix to its target audience of Heat readers, but Lost was to get ABC back on their feet. Having read the 30 page document, which was just a brief outline, the chiefs announced that shooting would commence in two months. This has set the tempo for the show Ė so much is done ad hoc, that there are big gaps in the weekly schedule while the writers take some time to work out what should be in the next episode. They are literally making it up as they go along.
For those unaware, Lost centres on the survivors of a plane crash on a mad island. In short the island has links to all sorts of things we donít understand, and we will learn that itís part of an experiment by top scientists on a scale not quite done before. The show itself leaves many, many little clues around for the viewers, if they pick up on them, to investigate. Some are quite interesting, and some are having an effect on the world outside the TV show.
The literary world for example, sees books being read or mentioned that have significance to the plot. The Third Policeman, a critically acclaimed book written and released over 50 years which focuses on a man out of touch with reality who loves his bicycle, has been perhaps the most important so far. One of the writers has mentioned that readers of this book will be one step further in working out whatís going on. The result is that this book, penned by a brilliant drunk genius Irish madman, has soared in sales. Similar book references include Alice in Wonderland and Watership Down, with rumours rife of the Razzle yearbook making a fleeting appearance as well.
Comics too make an appearance Ė the Green Flash is glimpsed with a polar bear and an island in a bubble pictured on a page, again seemingly significant. But another interesting development, cooked up by the writing team, is the use of the internet.
Searches for Oceanic Air and Dharma on the internet bring up sites developed in line with the show to again seemingly give out clues. Of less interest is the Drive Shaft website relating to a characters band. Fans obsessions with these sites led to the programming for all the sites being entirely decrypted by experts in a vain attempt to get clues.
Flashbacks are a big theme as well, with each episode containing flashbacks of a characters life prior to the crash Ė and we also see here that many characters have links and have crossed paths before meeting on the island. Add into the mix recurrent themes of dysfunctional families, a range of races represented, among the characters, black and white, ying and yang, close-ups of the eye, mythology and philosophical references, and thereís quite a bit to look out for.
Even the creators arenít sure how long theyíll keep the show going for. JJ Abramís expressed his huge concern recently that itís keeping ABC alive to such an extent that they worry what ABC will do to keep the show going off air. But with Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje joining the show (he was the huge fucker in prison show OZ who used to beat up the mafia with a tin of corn and bum the living daylights out of them) alongside Michelle Rodriguez, itís a show well worth a butchers. And if the cast seem on edge, it might not be the quality of the acting but the fact that much of the show is shot in a disused warehouse where a mass shooting took placeÖ
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