Saturday, June 30, 2018

FLEETING FAME

Yahoo News reported a bizarre incident involving a LOST cast member.

Evangeline Lilly was en route to do press for the new sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp, in which she shares equal billing with Paul Rudd  when the encounter occurred.

“I was walking onto the plane and this talent scout was like, ‘Oh my God, for a minute there I thought you were Julia Roberts. Does anyone ever tell you you look like Julia Roberts? You could be a model. You could be an actress,” recounted Lilly. “I’m like, ‘Oh, well, that’s very nice of you.’ And she’s like, ‘No, that’s what I do. I’m a scout. I manage talent. And I think you have potential. I’m telling you, you could have a career if you wanted a career [in entertainment].”

Lilly never let on that she did already, in fact, have a very successful career in film and television  “I had to delicately turn her down and tell her I wasn’t interested in the industry.”

The talent scout, meanwhile, may never know that she had tried to recruit a Marvel superhero. Lilly, in her mind, could be the one who got away. “If only I could have signed that girl, I could have made something out of her. Instead she’s just gonna wallow away in her tiny life,” Lilly laughed. “[She’s] never gonna know she could’ve been the first title female character in the MCU.”

Friday, June 8, 2018

LOST AS A TERM OF ART

In a recent WIRED article, the writer uses the LOST franchise as a term of art.

The reviewer of HBO series "Westworld" said his problem was not that thw show would not be enjoyable, but that it was that it’s the kind of show that invites obsession. The kind that presents Big Questions—that never get answered. - - -   essentially, that it was going to be the next LOST.

LOST began to get viewers to deep dive into episodes to find clues. Apparently, Westworld was trying to accomplish some of the same tricks of the old ABC series. It started with logos . . . do they mean something else?

In the episode, "The Riddle of the Sphinx,"opened with a montage: James Delos (Peter Mullan) is in a finely appointed modernist apartment. He walks through what appears to be his morning routine: drinking water, smoking a cigarette, getting in a few minutes on a stationary bike. All the while, he’s listening to the Rolling Stones’ “Play with Fire.” If the scene felt familiar, here's why: It's just about exactly how Lost introduced Desmond at the beginning of Season 2. (Yes, Season 2! The same season in which Westworld currently finds itself.) In that montage, Desmond made a smoothie, typed a series of numbers into a computer and pushed “the button,” and got in a few minutes on a stationary bike—all while listening to another 1960s hit: Cass Elliot's "Make Your Own Kind of Music."
The reviewer reminds those that don’t remember,  LOST ended almost exactly eight years ago, on May 23, 2010. And, after six seasons of giving its audience diamonds-in-the-sand clues involving hieroglyphics, philosophy (there’s literally a character named John Locke), flashbacks, flashforwards, smoke monsters, and 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 (aka “The Numbers”), most of those hints led exactly nowhere. The ending was satisfying in its way, but most fans still to this day throw up their hands in frustration when asked what it all meant. (Seriously, if you didn’t watch and want to feel good about all the time you saved not doing so, Google “unanswered Lost questions.” It was a lot of setup without a lot of payoff and was frankly a little annoying. 
The reviewer concludes with "But.

 That show also changed the way a lot of us watch TV. It taught people to look for clues, to not take everything at face value, and to not always assume that narrative answers would be spoon-fed to them. And in that regard, it was revolutionary.

So LOST has now become a turn-of-art meaning, its own genre in the televisions universe. When a show that does not want viewers to passively "follow" the story as presented, but challenge the events seen in real time to see if they make sense or mask some hidden meaning. As a story telling template, LOST will endure as a quirky, frustrating, roller coaster of tangent plots, red herrings and Machina moments that will drive obsessive viewers crazy. And maybe in an era of instant smart phone gratification and a ten second twitter attention span, TV needs obsessive shows in order to survive.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

FATE WORSE THAN HELL

One of the theories about LOST and its quirky sci-fi story line inconsistencies was that the characters were not "living" in a real world environment, but part of some grand experiment or alternative world (through technology like networking brains of coma victims).

Science may be catching up to some wild fiction.

The Daily Mail (UK) reports the scientists have kept alive pig brains outside of the body for the first time as part of a controversial new experiment. The radical experiments could pave the way for human brain transplants and may one day allow humans to become immortal.

The report suggests to ethics experts that any experiments to reanimate dead brains could lead to humans being locked in an eternal "living hell" and enduring a" fate worse than death."

That's according to Nottingham Trent ethics and philosophy lecturer Benjamin Curtis who made the comments in light of controversial experiments on pig brains.

"Even if your conscious brain were kept alive after your body had died, you would have to spend the foreseeable future as a disembodied brain in a bucket, locked away inside your own mind without access to the sense that allow us to experience and interact with the world,' Curtis said. "In the best case scenario you would be spending your life with only your own thoughts for company.
'Some have argued that even with a fully functional body, immortality would be tedious. With absolutely no contact to external reality it might just be a living hell. To end up a disembodied human brain may well be to suffer a fate worse than death."

Last month, Yale University announced it had successfully resurrected the brains of more than 100 slaughtered pigs and kept them alive for up to 36 hours.

Scientists said it could pave the way for brain transplants and may one day allow humans to become immortal by hooking up our minds to artificial systems after our natural bodies have perished. 

In LOST, viewers were conflicted about who, what, where and how the main characters were interacting with each other on an island that was not an island (where the laws of physics and smoke monsters roamed). Immortality was seen through Jacob, who shipwrecked as a baby on the island during Roman times. The Man in Black appears as an immortal smoke monster savagely imposing judgment on humans. Even the character of Michael appears to be trapped as a "whisper" on the island as a soul that cannot move on in the after life.

The idea that LOST could have been merely a network of reanimated brains now has a thread of truthful basis in current science. And the nightmare of being trapped on an island hell is what Mr. Curtis alludes to in his criticism of the experiment's potential outcome.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

CULT OF THE GODS

One of the main background themes to LOST was the temple and the clear Egyptian artwork that told the stories of Death and the Afterlife.

In ancient Egypt, it was believed that a person's soul would travel a dangerous journey through the underworld. It would be tested and a final judgment would be made if it would reunite with a body in heaven. It was said that the soul would be weighed against a feather by the god of the underworld. If the soul was heavy with sin, then the soul would be condemned to hell.

So Egyptian kings and queens and royals were buried in elaborate tombs and temples to "help" them on their afterlife journey. They were buried with gold and jewels to bribe ferrymen across the River Styx. They were buried with food and wine to sustain their souls on the journey. They were at time buried with their servants who would serve and protect them.

Egyptian rulers believed that they were gods from the stars. That there final place was to return to the heavens.

There are some who believe that there may be more truth in that myth.

The ancient Egyptians built thousands of years ago the largest free standing masonry structures in the history of the planet. Massive stone blocks were moved, placed and perfectly aligned to the stars. In modern times, the largest stone supported skyscraper was 10 stories. In ancient Egypt, it was 23 stories. Modern engineers still do not know how ancient people with stone and bronze chisels could move and lift 10 ton blocks to create the massive pyramids. Even with today's heavy industrial equipment and cranes, it is doubtful that we could achieve such structures.

So the mystery of how the pyramids were constructed is joined in the religious attributes of its creators. If the ancient kings were in fact aliens from another planet with advanced technology to move large stones with ease (which would show their great power and "magic" over the human race), then our own perception of history would be false.

Beyond Egypt, there were other ancient cultures who built massive pyramid structures in harsh climates and locations. Those ancient engineers also had a detailed and accurate grasp on astrophysics and hydrodynamics to built temples and water systems which could sustain a population of more than 50,000 (which is a huge amount in ancient times).

One explanation is that our ancient forefathers were a lot smarter than we think they were. We, today, think we have the most knowledge and savvy because of our own education, experience and accomplishments. But our ancient relatives were more tuned to nature and its properties since they were more dependent on direct interaction with nature than we are today in a our processed economies. After more than tens of thousands of years of trial and error, our forefathers could have developed technology to move large stones with ease - - - something completely lost on us today.

This is not as far fetched as you might believe. In the dark middle ages, much of human knowledge was lost (it was kept alive by monks writing manuscripts). Much of the great ancient inventions were lost in the great fire of the Library of Alexandria.  Those inventions may have included the first computer, navigation devices, the first automatic door and water fountains. Recall, inventors around the time of the Roman empire were magicians who entered the royal courts with fancy machines and usual feats of mechanical engineering. Leonardo had concepts of flying machines and modern tanks.

So ancient temple priests may have been the magicians of their time because they had superior knowledge. Knowledge equated to power. While much of human thought was harnessed in order to create the next superior weapon for conquest and defense (which is even true today), such knowledge could have been applied to solve the mysteries of life after death.

The pyramids could have been the launch pads for the exploration into outer space. Observation decks to the heavens or portals (physically or metaphysically or interpretive) would have been the quest of the powerful rulers who wanted "immortality" as their legacy.  All major religions believe in some form of afterlife. The ancient Egyptians may have tried to find the pathway to the afterlife and bring it into their present.

Likewise, LOST's island could have been a metaphor of the quest for the pathway to immortality. A weigh station along the underworld journey of lost souls trying to reach a final judgment; to release the burdens, sins and regrets attached to their human souls. The guardians of the island were like the cults of kings who oversaw the graves and temples of ancient Egyptian rulers. They stood guard over the buried souls so the living could not disturb the dead's journey. In the LOST story line, "outsiders" like Widmore wanted to come to the island to disrupt the guardians and to take the island's power to their present. It is that grave robber dynamic that pushed the guardians, including Jacob, to recruit his own army of "followers" (including the 815 castaways) to defend the island against the likes of Widmore and his kind.

Friday, April 13, 2018

RANDOM FODDER

 One of the issues in LOST's narrative was the apparent continuity errors. Some were viewed as production issues, others as easter eggs. In a very random exploration, let us discuss a very minor Other named Jason.

Jason was a minor  character who, on numerous occasions, aided Pickett, Ben and Ryan Pryce on various tasks against the 815 captives. He was once termed one of the ten trustworthy minions of Ben. Even though he was in the midst of several missions against the 815 captives, he did seem to be slightly different - - - he appeared to have a conscious.

During Season 3, he was first seen assisting Other named Michael in the Hydra operating room as Ben tried to convince Sawyer that he was in control. Jason told Sawyer to bite down on a stick to manage the pain while he held him down during the operation (which allegedly included planting a mini-bomb in his chest which turned out to be a hoax) and at the time Ben discussed Sawyer's fate at the Hydra Island lookout point.

Jason also assisted Jack at Colleen's funeral.

When Ben in surgery with Jack, Jason tried to convince Pickett, who was assisting, not to leave the operating room to go kill Sawyer. Jason went with Pickett to the cages, but instead of killing Sawyer, Pickett and Jason were beat up by Kate and Sawyer and left in the cages. Once they got out of the cages, they went to the beach to try to capture Kate and Sawyer, but they were unsuccessful.

Jason was one of the men who raided the 815 beach camp. Jason survived the initial ambush explosions to help capture Jin, Sayid and Bernard. As they were lined up on the beach waiting execution by Pryce, Hurley drove the van through the jungle striking the Others. Sayid tripped up Jason to the ground, then broke his neck to kill him.

However, several days after Jason's beach death, he is seen at Richard's camp. Ariston Green, the actor who played Jason, admitted in an interview that he was the person in that scene.

It was probably a production issue where the director needed background members and Green was available. But some would think that the producers and director would have known they killed off a character before this shot - - -  which could lead to viewer confusion.

But one of the oddities of series was the strange "reincarnations" of certain characters on the island. Patchy was the prime example as the mad Russian got killed several times over but seemed to reappear to take revenge on the castaways.

But Jason reincarnation could have been a "reward" for not being purely evil, but just a foot soldier taking orders. That view would give the show at a least a partial moral fiber to the actions and consequences of some actors. If you have some morally positive attributes, you could be saved from final judgment or given a second chance in your island life.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

PROS AND CONS

Some people use horoscopes and astrology signs to determine whether they are compatible with other people, especially in relationships. The positive and negatives of each sign are mere generalizations. However, some people are comforted by those general attributes.

Likewise, you can always put together the pros and cons of characters with each other in their potential relationships.

JACK and KATE.

Pros: Both have lost Daddy issues so they have a common focus.

Cons: Jack tries to fix his problems to gain his father's favor, while Kate runs away from her problems.

SAWYER and KATE.

Pros: Both have a reckless, wild and manipulative to criminal mindset.

Cons: Both have a reckless, wild and manipulative to criminal mindset.

SAYID and SHANNON.

Pros: Both feel abandoned by their families but for different reasons.

Cons: He is sentimental while she is too selfish.

LOCKE and HELEN.

Pros: Both longed to have their own family.

Cons: Locke was obsessed with his past to not see a hopeful future with Helen. Helen was too naive and supportive of Locke to tell that he would never change.

HURLEY and LIBBY.

Pros:   Both tend to be introverted followers with an easy sense of humor.

Cons: Both have hidden emotional and psychological scars that block them from opening up to others.

CHARLIE and CLAIRE.

Pros: Youthful spirits that are trying to run away from their personal faults and failures.

Cons: Charlie's addictive personality traits and Claire's psychological paranoia to the pressure of family life.

JIN and SUN.

Pros: They share the same culture but from different parts of the social spectrum. They are both rebellious against their position in life. They share a similar goal.

Cons: Their personal ambitions lead to personality conflicts with other people. Personal goals outweigh relationship goals.

DANIEL and CHARLOTTE.

Pros: An analytical and practical mind tend to work well together as a team.

Cons: Daniel's sheltered life with his dominant mother makes it difficult for him to communicate, while Charlotte's personal drive stifles other people around her.

As in real life, the LOST characters' relationships had their strong points and their weaknesses. In the eight relationships noted above, five failed. One was a dubious affair and the other two bonded apparently in the after life.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

WONDERLAND

What would it be like to be caught between worlds?

The world of the living and the world of the dead.

The world of the living and an other world of a distant alien planet.

Both are plausible explanations of the island in LOST. It is true because of the lack of concrete canon to support the sci-fi story lines with actual physics.

Peppered throughout the discussions of the island are scientific concepts like "portals," "worm holes," time travel experimentation, psychological conditioning, and unique electromagnetic properties. But to suspend belief in a science basis for the island, what do we have to consider?

An island that cannot be seen or mapped from the sky is not an island. It is something else.
An island that can move and disappear is not an island. It has to be something else.

But since Eloise Hawking could calculate its apparent location (with some assumptions), the island's movement must follow a pattern. Nature follows patterns. So does the Earth's electromagnetic grid. The island could be moving to intersection points along with Earth's electromagnetic grid. This makes the island a ship and not an island.

Electromagnetism and bending of light are principles in research for stealth technologies. To make things appear invisible, magicians use mirrors and distraction (such as a pretty assistant) to make the illusion complete. Mirrors, distractions and illusions were all story points in LOST.

What is the purpose of an island moving along an electromagnetic grid? It could be "recharging" itself from specific deep core entry points. It may need a certain amount of energy or flow to "contain" its own power system (which malfunctioned several times to create time skips and purple skies).

Some viewers believed the island was a space-time portal. The teleportation of Locke and Ben to Tunisia was proof of it (in a small scale). The capture of Flight 815 from the sky could be another example as well as all the ship wrecks. It could also explain the "immortality" of Jacob since he controlled the island and thus controlled time itself. One could equate Jacob to that of being a Time Lord.

No one has really thought about the island as being a TARDIS like device piloted by aliens. But in a UFO observatory conspiracy theory, an island would be a good cover to house a base to spy on human beings. A remote island would be a great place to bring humans to do experiments on. You don't need to be gray aliens to poke humans; as shape shifting beings you can create yourself in the image of your laboratory animals.

Jacob and the Man in Black did admit that bringing humans to the island was part of their grand game. An experiment on how humans react to the island conditions, with MIB lamenting that humans always screwed up in the end. MIB was so frustrated with it that he wanted to go "home." But Jacob would not let him - - - basically making him/it a prisoner on the island. So MIB used the corrupt humans in order to rebel against Jacob, to seize control of the island ship to leave Earth.

It does sound like a Dr. Who story line: who controls the TARDIS can control the universe. As Widmore desired control of the island, there were others like Ben who tried to protect it from becoming a weapon of power. But Ben was corrupted by that same power when he purged Dharma.

Therefore, we have the literary means of the island being the center piece between two worlds. The debate is what is the other world?  Is it the religious connotation of the after life (as adored by the temple and the Egyptian mythology)? Or it is a sci-fi based drama based upon the Faraday notebook and Dharma stations?

In either situation, it puts our castaways not as lost survivors of a transportation disaster, but human guinea pigs in a science fiction fantasy world.