This is a guest post written by Zac Parsons.
As someone who is laughably prone to hyperbole, it may may seem inconsequential that I laud it as the greatest television show of all time. You may be asking yourself: “What is so great about it?” or “How can a modern show compare to TV classics from other eras?” or “What kind of a weirdo, fanatical, booger eating, sci-fi dork would care so much about a TV show?” These are all fair questions. I am not sure if I will be able to suitably answer any of them for you (but I do not eat my boogers, I’ll have you know).
It is my hope that this article piques your interest enough to watch the first episode for free online on abc.com.
If you are not engrossed in the tale of Flight 815 after a handful of episodes, then I will ask your forgiveness for presuming your interest in the fields of philosophy, psychology, and sociology. This is not a show designed merely to titillate and help to escape from “reality”.
If you find your mind and heart constantly returning to the question of “What is the meaning of life?”, then prepare yourself for a vivid, elaborate, amplified discussion of that very question that IS the show: LOST.
It is a show that gives color, clarity, and context to the questions of your conscience.
If something on the show leads you to believe what you are watching is “unrealistic”, take comfort in the fact that you are experiencing a vivid, detailed, highly personal metaphor. The line between fiction and science fiction is fine, but don’t let crossing it ruin the truth that is being illustrated for you within the framework of the show. What the uninitiated know or (don’t know) about the show will vary, of course. That framework simply is….
A group of people are stranded on a remote island in the South Pacific.
You’ve heard the hypothetical questions: “What book would you read if you were stranded on a deserted island?” or “What would you do if you could start your life over in a new place?” or even “Would you sleep with _________ if he/she was the last person on earth?” LOST tries to answer these questions (and more) by putting characters of the ilk of classic historical archetypes on the island:
- A doctor with a knack for leadership and mind built up in the world of science, logic, and reason, Jack Shephard believes that all problems are solvable, and that he can help to solve them. (His father’s name, Christian Shephard, may remind you of a certain religious metaphor)
- Beautiful and innocent on the surface, Kate Austen struggles to define herself apart from the men in her life. Her relationships with men are as varied and different as the characters in a book like…. hmmm I don’t know…. Sense And Sensibility?
- As carefree man, with plenty of reasons to be bitter about life, John Locke believes that his past has made up his present and future. He let’s destiny and fate drive him forward in life with little fear or trepidation.
- With a name like “Sawyer”, you may immediately recognize the connection between this southern con man who lives by his own rules and the characters of Mark Twain’s stories.
It’s fun to have a new character introduced and to guess what argument or theory that person might represent. LOST is a teleological journey to an end point that was decided before the show was even picked up. Instead of sitting around a table and wondering where to take the story next, the writers are simply giving depth and detail to each episode, each of which is a tile to be placed on the board for the mosaic.
What the final picture looks like, only the creators know, which is a lovely metaphor in itself.
If you still don’t get LOST, then I won’t encourage you to get any further lost with me. But if your interest is piqued, please join in the conversation and get LOST with the rest of us.