By Alex Huls, theREELaddict.com
It somehow seems appropriate that with a show that so relishes playing with time that I would finally catch up with Season 5 of LOST at the same time I was revisiting Season 1 and 2 via the recently released Blu-Ray editions of the early days of the Lostians . In many ways I felt like I was having a LOST-esque flashback of my own, not only in terms of the time that has passed between Seasons 1 &2 and 5, but what has happened in that time.
What struck me most about my venture back into time, was just how remarkably far LOST has come since it first began and how much it has changed. With so many shows – and I’m not even talking about just legal/investigative/medical procedurals – finding themselves content to stick with what works and never change its fundamental concept too drastically, what’s refreshing about LOST is how it has continued to evolve with each subsequent season and to what degree. Regardless of whether you like the evolved direction or not (and there are certainly many nitpickers who don’t) there’s something to be said about a show that seeks to challenge not only us, but – more impressively – itself by perpetually taking new risks and making bold steps into new territory. LOST has never been afraid to grow its story and characters into entirely different directions, but never at the risk of sacrificing seamless, logical growth (well, as logical as time travel and smoke monsters can be).
What’s funny is that I’ve always certainly senses the evolving steps the show has been making since Season 1, but they’ve always felt small and gradual. With the benefit of hindsight (and re-watching) I realized how deceiving that was because, after all, if you take enough small steps at a rapid pace, eventually you find yourselves having travelled quite a difference.
That was never more apparent to me than when I was reminded of just how all of our beloved characters, the story and the mythology have broadened over the years. Given the ambitious scope of Season 4 or 5 it’s sometimes hard to remember – let alone to believe – that this show once upon a time started out being just about a bunch of plane crash victims trying desperately to survive on a deserted island while a weird unseen monster rattled around threateningly in the jungle. Or that this show’s first finale involved a cliffhanger essentially about what was in a deep hole in the ground, compared to its fifth finale which involved time travel, immortals, hydrogen bombs, a Locke-Zombie, and weird warring pseudo-maybe-Egyptian-Gods. Yet none of that evolution has felt unnatural or forced. When written out bluntly like I just have it certainly seems extreme, but if you take the loose end of any character or plot line in Season 5, you can unravel the causes and effects and trace them seamlessly all the way back to the beginning. Still, that doesn’t make it any less impressive.
In fact, LOST – just like BATTLESTAR GALACTICA – was never a show I felt necessarily compelled to watch from the beginning again. Now I’ve drastically reconsidered that, because there is going to be something tremendously exciting and rewarding in not only catching the little clues I’ll now catch as alluding to the road ahead, but in seeing just how the story and the characters made their way from Point A to Point Z. Hell, watching Sawyer progress from the jerk who only looked out for himself (remember his hoarding the guns?) to the heartwarmingly loving boyfriend of Juliette is worth the journey alone. Of course there will also be something thrilling in watching the whole narrative in one fell swoop, never interrupted by months between seasons, or weeks between episodes – full of waiting and anticipation. But most of all it will just be an awesome experience watching the show again, this time paying attention to how technically (i.e. the writing) the show blossoms from something so basic to something so entertainingly ambitious.
It will be an educational reminder as to just why LOST is one of the smartest, most ambitious, and daring television shows perhaps ever to have aired. In fact, I can’t think of any other show that has so consistently and willingly shaken up its own status quo without ever sacrificing an ounce of its quality.
Sometimes, change is good.
How do you guys feel about the evolution LOST has undergone? Is it something you love about the show, or do you wish it had just stayed simply about people surviving on the island? Which plotline or character do you think has undergone the most extreme chance, or which one has been your favorite?? ?