My “Lost” Algorithm

Finally! The immensely-satisfying payoff to years and years of waiting!

For “Lost” fans, it comes after sitting down and watching tonight’s series finale, in which All (or at least “Enough”) is revealed about just about everything.

For me, it comes after hitting LostPedia the day after the finale airs, and getting the whole thing in like an hour or something.

I missed the first few episodes. Even by then, the eager and enthusiastic reports coming in from many of my friends made it clear that I’d never get caught up until the first season was released on DVD. And I couldn’t watch the second season until I had watched the first. All told, I could jump in during…I dunno…the start of Season Three? At which point I’d sort of need to commit to watching every new episode every single week of every season, wouldn’t I?

“…Or I could just hold off until the whole series is done and dusted, and then read the episode summaries,” I thought.

I instantly knew that I had hit upon a winning solution. It was just like Thomas Edison’s “Eureka” moment in the development of the electric light bulb, when he leaped from his chair and shouted “Of course! I’ll just have my huge team of researchers laboriously try every possible concept, and then take all the credit once they happen across the right one!”

Yes, you’re right. “Lost” is a marvelous television event, the likes of which we’re not likely to see again. Yes, I know, it’s all about the journey you take with these characters. Joseph Campbell, blah blah blah. Look, I made my peace with this decision way back in 2004. That’s when I realized that in all honestly, the only thing I actually cared about was the simple answer to the question “So what the hell was the deal with the island?”

13 thoughts on “My “Lost” Algorithm”

  1. Andy, I have the same plan (to somehow netflix the old seasons and get caught up). Now if I can just avoid the spoilers this week …

  2. That’s my response to most TV shows. They come and go so quickly (with the exception of MASH), why not wait until the end, and catch up via Hulu, DVD, or another online source. Doesn’t tie you down to trying to find a TV when the shows are on, doesn’t get you caught up in the absurdity of OMG-What Happened … EVERY week!

    This only works if you work solo and not in an office, in which lunchtime chatter is all about each week’s episodes, of course!

  3. What a sad post. If you can’t digest the story of Lost right, why do it at all?

  4. The other issue of course is that so many tv series get cancelled way before their time these days, because an executive somewhere has the opinion of “it didn’t get the numbers i wanted fast enough” (simplifying somewhat, but that’s basically the gist) and kills it off before it has the chance to mature and build any sort of loyal audience. I find it hard to commit to *any* new series these days when the spectre of “death by suit” seems to hang over the whole industry.

    Related: to me, a good tv series needs good writing, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into huge viewer numbers immediately or even ever. (See also: Mad Men.) The reverse is also true. (See also: Two and a Half Men.)

  5. Watching a film after it was recommended is a reasonable thing to do. Committing to watching 121 hours of television…isn’t.

    I dropped off somewhere around Season 2, I think. The series started off good, then went down rathole after painfully uninteresting rathole.

    Then I decided to do what someone else at the time recommended: wait until the finale airs, see whether everyone loved it, *then* commit to slogging through the whole damn thing. Because if there’s no satisfying ending, the whole thing is just a huge exercise in frustration.

  6. Season 3 was a huge timewaster in my view. However, the rest of the series was great. I was not completely pleased with the series ending but I am soooo glad I watched all of the shows. Some of the characters really impressed me and I was eager to learn their ultimate fate. Lost had # 1 spot in my book for best TV series.

  7. So where are those episode summaries? That’s been my plan for a while, as well. I’d love to know what the whole thing was about, but not bad enough to slog through that many hours of tv. Even while it was going on.

  8. Nope, I was wrong. Just went to find summaries and realized I don’t even have enough interest to slog through reading them all. Have to just catch what I can from the ether.

  9. Suzanne,
    ABC has a series of short videos titled “lost untangled” at its website. Each video is an entertaining summary of each Lost episode. Start there.

  10. We in the UK have just had the Final Ashes to Ashes and I have not seen a single bad review. Short seasons , no intricate Arc Plots( apart from the main premise) and each episode enjoyable in itself. I don’t know about you but Enterprise and Deep Space 9 lost me when it required you to. Make a commitment to watch in order.

    In short if you want a good laugh and and an old style cop show try Life on Mars and Ashes to ashes. Think you can get it on iTunes and the production values are super.

  11. “the only thing I actually cared about was the simple answer to the question “So what the hell was the deal with the island?””

    They didn’t. Fucking. Answer. That. Question.

    That’s what I’ve been wondering about since I started watching in season 2, after having powered through season 1 on DVD. I watched every episode as it aired each week. I spent five years of my life really curious to find out what was the deal with the island.

    Apparently the question that the producers thought everyone was most curious about was whether or not Jack and Kate would hook up in the end.

    Bah.

  12. Yeah, and reading a summary of the Star Wars trilogy is just as good as watching the films, and reading the Cliff Notes for Crime and Punishment is just as good as reading Crime and Punishment, etc. etc. etc.

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