I’m probably committing sacrilege with every word in this post, but sticking my finger in the eye of conventional wisdom seems to be a ‘thing’ with me.
Skiffy Tube has begun its long anticipated re-run of the JJ Abrams wonder show LOST and I accidentally got drawn in to watching it.
I was not drawn in by the wonderousness of the show, nor was I captivated by the splendiferous acting of the ensemble cast. My experience was more like that of the extra who got sucked in to the turbine.
In other words, it literally sucked. And then it splashed bloody little fleshy pieces all over the landscape.
What initially attracted me was an incessant rising and falling jet engine whine. The TV was running in the other room (I rarely watch the bloody thing) and somehow it managed to find itself set to Skiffy Tube. I was finally annoyed enough to leave the keyboard. Once I realized that I had a chance to watch LOST from the beginning, I decided to leave it on and settled in to watch the first few episodes to see what all the moaning was about.
First I’ll say this. How the Sci Fi Channel expects to keep an audience with 4+ minutes of commercials between a scant ten minutes of program is way beyond my powers of intellectual analysis. First they turn off their core audience, then they blatantly ignore their new audience’s complete lack of attention span. WTF? Even I had trouble remembering what I was watching.
This kind of thing only makes sense if you assume that the SICs real plan is to run the channel into the ground. If I were an investor, I’d hire one of those forensic accountants and have him do some forensicing. This might be one of those Zero Mostel ‘Producers’ deals…
Anyway, to get back to LOST. Maybe I have just too damned much experience with movies, television shows and literature, but I found the whole thing A: boring, B: easily anticipated and C: stupid.
I will not be hanging on the edge of my seat to find out what happens next because I already know: the stereotyped characters will fulfill their roles as competent young doctor, snivelling coward, blonde bimbo, creepy guy, jolly fat man, cute young kid and such. They’ll all do stupid, non-sensical, panicky things, fights will break out when the action slows down and the fright moments will be telegraphed from ten miles away.
That this is what passes for a blockbuster television show from the creative genius savior of television drama reminds me, sadly, of the fact that television audiences get what they deserve and what they can handle. Which these days appears to be – not much.
Just a few examples from the first couple of episodes to illustrate my point:
The doctor, the Felon and the Drug Addict make their way the jet’s cockpit to retrieve the transceiver. There they discover the Pilot still alive and are menaced by the GIANT SHADOW. The Pilot, who could barely move, the one who’s been unconscious for 16 hours, STICKS HIS HEAD OUT THE BROKEN COCKPIT WINDOW and is, of course, immediately sucked out to oblivion, accompanied by screams and raining blood.
Don’t be embarrassed. Raise your hand if this took you by surprise. I knew the moment the pilot gasped his first fright-take gasp that he was a goner, and the moment I saw the broken cockpit window I knew he was gonna get sucked out of it. Double cliche. Boring.
THEN, everyone runs away from the comparative safety of the fuselage interior. Riiiiiiight. Call me a snivelling coward, but. When there is a giant shadow-thing lurking in the jungle and you’re inside a cave, stay in the cave. There was no compelling reason for the characters to leave. Sheer idiocy. Boring.
Later, the Muslim manages to repair the transceiver and there is much anxiety over a fading battery. Maybe this was some kind of oblique commentary on the bankruptcy of Muslim extremism or something, but I think it was just poor writing. If you can repair a transceiver, you can remove the battery or disconnect the leads. When the battery is disconnected, the little demons inside can’t get out. Dumb. Boring.
The battery thing put the capper on this show for me. If the survivors are that stupid, there’s no point in rescuing them. And no point in continuing to watch this poor excuse of a fantasy thriller.
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