Tuesday, September 30, 2014

BUILDING ON THE PAST

It is a reoccurring theme in human civilizations. In today's modern world, it is playing out on the battlefields of the internet. For many early pioneers like the open source software developers, who believed their code should be open, free and easily modified by anyone. This was more a movement than a business plan. But the usefulness of the core concepts led to mass adoption in UNIX, Linux and GPU. So those early geniuses helped grow the massive internet communications platforms that everyone uses today.

But subsequent evil geniuses have quickly learned to exploit the exploits of their predecessors and use the openness of the internet protocols to hack into personal data and network administration commands. Instead of building upon the past's accomplishments, newcomers sometimes tend to twist and usurp the past's accomplishments into their own game.

Whether you consider this part of basic human behavior, one or more of the deadly sins in action, or the underemployed with too much time on their hands, it is a basic motivating factor that drives debates in society.

In LOST, we cannot go back to the show's first mythology beginnings. From what was shown in the series, we know that many different civilizations came to the island, left their monuments and cultural markers, but they were replaced by new arrivals. MIB opined it was a never ending cycle of corrupt humanity.

If we look back to the oldest artifact shown in the series, it would have been the Light Cave. It was the source of the unique energy, said to be "life, death and rebirth" powers. However, this cave contained ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs referring to, in part, to ancient death rituals. Whether the Egyptians were the first to arrive at the island is debatable; but at least they were the dominate group to explore and possibly attempt to control the light source.

But if the light source cave is the first historical feature, then who or what is the first historical person on the island?  We assume that it is Crazy Mother, who was apparently alone on the island when Claudia's Roman ship wrecked in a storm. But Crazy Mother referenced her own mother, so she was not the first being on the island, but merely the last surviving member of her kind. Based on this evidence, we could conclude that there is some bridge back to the very beginning of the light source, which is the beginning of life itself.

If we look at the remains of the past cultures that happened upon the island (Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Americans), what do all these historical people have in common? All of them were culturally keen on trying to answer the Big Question: the creation of life.  This broils the science vs. faith debate. Religious people believe a god created humanity. Scientific people believe that the universe's forces unleashed the building blocks of life, and evolution of those components interacting and creating new compounds created life. Neither side can actually prove their thesis.

Another cultural theme expressed in most civilizations is the concept of good and evil. This is usually depicted in black and white terms. In the series, the yin-yang of black and white representation in Adam & Eve's stones, to the appearance of Jacob and MIB, led credence that LOST was attempting to symbolize this ancient philosophy.

Even in science, the expression of light energy, such as the sun's rays, will create dark shadows depending upon surrounding variables. If the island was the source of light (life force), then one could extrapolate that the island would also contain shadows (death forces). The latter could encompass the physical properties of aging or decay, but could also include the human emotional factors that lead to deadly consequences.

So all the elements of past civilizations are incorporated into the fabric of the island symbolism.

Every island civilization came to ask the Big Question, and failed to maintain its existence.

There has been only one island constant in the historical information. Under the temple, there is a depiction of the Smoke Monster opposite an image of Anubis, the Egyptian god of the underworld. As such, the smoke monster predates the earliest known people brought to the island. And those people viewed the smoke monster on par with its own gods.

Instead of building upon this past, subsequent leaders of the island, including Jacob, tended to put themselves above the smoke monster in status and control. The Others worshipped Jacob and not the smoke monster. The Others feared Ben's lethal leadership style, but they did not think Ben as a god. And even Ben was conflicted - - - he sought the approval of his demi-god, Jacob (as a possible missing approval he never got from his father), but in a fit of rage, he summoned the smoke monster to kill Widmore's men. In times of trouble, man often prays for intervention from their god to change the course of battle.

So the smoke monster is both a symbol of darkness and a state of deity. Every civilization on the island recognized the smoke monster as a powerful thing, but slowly removed it from centerpiece of island mythology. For arrogant men took the role of guarding the light away from the smoke monster. If the smoke monster, as an intelligent being, realizes that his sole purpose has been thwarted by newcomers, evil geniuses, hacking into its authority. No one wonder when it bonded with the memories of Jacob's brother, the smoke monster wanted to leave the island because it felt it was not needed or wanted as guardian. There was no respect to its past and its role in balancing the light and dark in the universe.

Monday, September 29, 2014

LEADERSHIP IN A SERIES

Fox posted part of a GQ interview with television icon Tom Selleck.

Selleck, 70, is a recognizable actor with a string of popular series.

Selleck said he had his struggles early on, and credits working with James Garner for showing him how to be a TV star the right way.

The then 34-year-old Selleck "had done the leads in several pilots, but nobody saw them because they didn't sell, and I did this thing on 'Rockford,' and I watched Garner, because I'd been on a lot of shows where everybody was walking on eggshells and there were battles about who was coming out of their dressing room first,” he told GQ. “[Rockford] understood that leads in a show like a television series involved leadership, probably: When you're not feeling so good, put on a happy face, it's infectious—these things sound kind of corny and stupid, but this is our life.”

Selleck took his experience on "The Rockford Files" and put it to use the very next year on "Magnum PI," the show that made him a star, and again on "Blue Bloods."

“We all like each other, and we don't have anybody stir the pot on 'Blue Bloods,'” he explained. “I like to think I've set some of that example. I'm older than most of the actors. I play the patriarch, and it's a rare opportunity to show a positive example.”

Most television series has a central lead actor who is the focal point of the show. As such, it is this lead actor who has considerable clout in how his or her show is run. But in LOST's ensemble cast, there were no major stars in leading roles. 

Now, the show producers may have decided early on that secondary actors would give the show more "reality" and connection to the viewers. The writers probably preferred to have 10 main characters to 1 in order to flesh out more back stories. The actors may have had some subconscious relief that they did not have to carry a big budget television series on their own shoulders.

 But in all the articles about the show, I don't recall one mentioning that the actors took a leading role in the direction and creation of the series. Michael Emerson clearly stated that he had no idea where the show was going from episode to episode. He merely got his script, memorized it and worked through the shoots.

Which may be the reason why LOST seemed to take sudden right turns without much explanation. The actors had no idea what was going on except that more mysteries and plot twists were being written for them. But if the show did have one strong lead character, such as a Garner or Selleck, he or she would have asked questions like "why are we doing this," or "what does this mean in the overall structure of the plot?"  Like the show's own filmed serial, there appears to be more fractions than actual leaders.

Fans will think that Jack was the lead character in the show, but in reality he was supposed to die after the pilot episode. Kate was originally thought as going to be the lead, and perhaps counterbalanced by Locke's character. So early on in the process, the producers had little idea who would become fan favorites or leading characters.  As such, the producers and writers held all the control in the series' direction.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

IS IT POSSIBLE?

Is it possible that someone will be able to take the LOST story and re-work it into a unified climax of the desperate, tangential plots?

Yes, if someone took the time and effort to re-edit the series into chronological order (which I have not seen except the first two hours), then in the buried archeological pit of the scripts there is a lost treasure that ties everything together.

In order to tie every piece of the LOST puzzle together, one will have to consider suspending belief but not to the point of irrational McGuffins. The best science fiction has at its core science principles "extended" by theoretical advancement.

For example, is it possible to survive a mid-air plane separation at 30,000 feet? No. Is it possible to survive a free fall from 9,000 feet (as shown in the Others centric episode showing the crash from Ben's perspective)? Perhaps, but unlikely. Is it possible that since Desmond did not enter the numbers promptly, causing a system failure and release of electromagnetic energy, that the unique EM properties could have acted as parachutes or pillows for the survivors who landed alive on the island? That could be a possibility. With the Desmond error causing an electromagnetic incident, is it possible that based on the FDW's ability to harness the EM to shift the island in time and space, that the EM discharge selectively carried the survivors into a different time, space or dimension (including the afterlife as in Dante's Inferno)? That could be a greater possibility since it links together more key elements of the story mythology.

And this is how it could be possible to use the story clues, stated science principles, island factors, and cause-and-effect relationships to build a detailed model of what actually happened to the characters in a unified story that would tie all the loose ends.

In order to accomplish something this grand, one will need to extract the core mythology elements and make them core building blocks from which "the answers" can logically be found for the show's mysteries. There truly needs to be story rules to avoid continuity issues.

It will be complex, confusing and frustrating. For example, the writers had no consistent concept of "time."  It was linear. Then it was circular. Then it was classified as a moving stream. Each one of these time concepts is different. And when the writers dropped the bomb in the sideways world having "no past, no present, no future, but just now," how does one deal with characters moving forward in a space with no time at all? The "now" is not the present because the present represents the future minus the past. Unless the after life principle is that souls live in a null space, then why would they appear to live "normal" lives along a progressive time line?

Even if one can forge through the serious stuff, can one weave an explanation that would appease, delight and answer all the questions of the die-hard fan? Probably not. And that is why no one has really tried to tackle this ambitious project.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

SCOPE OF SHOW

In 2010, a writer for the web site Culture Warrior, wrote that the lasting impact of LOST would be on television itself, and not the lasting effects of the show's own story. We review the article's comments with how television has changed in the last four years.

The show was described as "a sea change" on how viewers would watch television and how stories are told through the medium, using similarly complex and enigmatic plots aiming to inspire its viewers to watch religiously and engage in endless Internet debate.

As a result, the show's legacy would bring both promising and potentially negative implications for the future of network television. On the positive side, television content across the board has become remarkably complex and even cinematic (with enigma-free but similarly engrossing shows like Mad Men) in the last half-decade or so, and the increased complexity of plot has brought with it a more attentive and discerning viewer. Television can no longer be background noise, but a full and enveloping sensorial and narrative experience. The rise of the attentive, immersive viewer creates the internet forum of show discourse. With the more discerning viewer met with the more complex forms of storytelling, there are greater requirements and a higher bar raised for similar subsequent dramas, so this trend potentially forces writers to move against repetitive structures of storytelling that have defined most of television history. This requires creative teams to possess definite talent and originality.
  Since LOST was not self-contained episode viewing, like past series, it has the problem of becoming too detail oriented in order to keep the viewer engaged in a long, plot throughway that lasts through multiple episodes and seasons. Since viewers of LOST rewatched, reworked and theorized on the plot points, creators need to acknowledge and understand the new requirements to strict attention to detail which requires extraneous work outside each individual episode (more effort than afforded a normal TV shoot). 

On the negative side  shows like LOST these require a network commitment to finality. Ratings and scare advertising dollars do not tend to give new shows long commitments. Asa result, long drawn out complex plot twists can lead to critical dead ends if the show is terminated prematurely by the network. Nothing ticks off fans more than when  their  show is canceled before all its questions can be answered or its mysterious solved. Twin Peaks, a notable pre-Internet forum example of enabling the discerning network viewer, wasn’t able to play out as planned, and HBO cancelled the 6-season trajectory of Carnivale after its second season. Heroes is another show that will face interruption before its revelations are exhausted, so the enigmas introduced and the audience’s commitment can become wasted on questions never answered and closure never achieved. On the other hand, shows like LOST force networks to constantly be in search for new content, for these sprawling narratives have to have a limited endpoint from the outset lest they descend into the ridiculous (each subsequent season of 24, Prison Break after characters have successfully broken out of prison, or Twin Peaks trying to figure out its destination after revealing its McGuffin). A show with a sprawling mystery like LOST are clearly much higher than with the self-contained episodic mysteries of Law and Order. The latter show may have had a longer stamp in network television history, but nobody is expecting it to deliver the earth-shattering revelations that were anticipated season-to-season in LOST.


The success of LOST was eventually the cause of its down fall. Expectations for the show skyrocketed quickly among ardent fans. LOST became a victim of its own success since the audience it enabled – the monster - - -ultimately attacked its creators. To the emotional satisfaction of some fans and infuriation of others, LOST'S  fan base reacted to the finale either by sharing a love for the characters that the producers and writers so obviously possess or pounding their fists against the wall for not having spent the past six years watching some different show. Immediately after the show's finale, the fan response showed a vast disparity of critical responses to the episode, a response distinctly different from past debate on the show's details and plot points, as little of it has to do with competing interpretations of its mysteries and centers more on competing definitions of what the show is (character study or sci-fi mystery mosaic, supposing the two are mutually exclusive in this case).

And it is this conversation itself that reveals where the strength and weakness of shows like this lies: its relationship with its audience. Even the final episode’s biggest detractors would be hesitant to call LOST  a poorly-written or ill-conceived show: if nothing else, it is the unprecedented quality of its network television writing (or, at least, plotting and editing techniques) into a remarkable event in television history. But it constructing a show that works only in tandem with escalating expectations and mystery while inspiring fan discourse, the following that  LOST needed in order to survive was  also the one it cannot fully satisfy. An increasingly discerning viewership whose opinions are readily available (and studied) by the show’s producers in order to mine, subvert, and challenge expectations inevitably also provides a barrier from ever satisfying those expectations driven by  a fan base inspired to deconstruct, question, and debate over the show’s every moment – if a satisfactory response is ultimately even possible in this case.

There is a point to make about the show's ending going to be a dead cat bounce no matter what the writers were going to make. If the mysteries were the hook to engage fans, it was the fans engagement in trying to find the answers on their own that made it difficult for the show to find the right ones. The possible answers to its introductory mysteries seemed endless, and only the show’s initial surprises could really feel surprising. Fans believed they wanted to know the answers  but really it was more fun  to debate over the show's details, predictions, theories, and own conclusions,  so real answers are always a little sad not because of what the answer is, but because an answer exists in the first place. The LOST producers gambled that the mysteries would hold interest, but the intense interest in the subject matter would doom the producers to failure because the expectations of a remarkable ending would be impossible to meet.

That is televisions's classic Catch-22 : most popular show finales are always disappointing when given a realm of debated alternative answers and endless possibilities. From the Smoke Monster to the hatch to the Dharma Initiative to the glowing cave,  LOST was a series that could only function through answering an enigma by revealing another enigma, a new question to answer an old one, and so on down the dark rabbit hole. 

A lasting effect is the idea that network television can be serious, authoritative, and deserving of deep fan loyalty and attention to detail. Even if LOST ultimately did not meet the expectations of its fans who were searching for in answers to its infinite questions, the contemporary landscape of network television is better off because series like LOST challenge the notion of television viewing as not just sitting couch potatoes, but engaged viewers.

There have been many critically acclaimed and popular shows in the past four years with strong fan bases like Breaking Bad. The difference today is that while LOST was destination viewing, new shows are not tied to a day and night - - - with internet streaming and DVD binge viewing, the community of newer television shows is not as strongly bonded together as before. In fact, some viewers now prefer to wait a year and binge view a season, especially if the show contains LOST-like complexity and mysteries. One can pause and review past episodes on the fly in order to see if the writers "got it right." With the broadband technology at your tablet finger tips, a viewer does not need a community to help look for answers and insight - -  Yahoo or Google search can do it for them. So new popular shows can be just as entertaining as LOST's twists and turns, but the viewing experience is different.

Friday, September 26, 2014

COMMUNITY

In the short burst of LOST memory articles and posts on the interwebs, there is one thing that everyone can agree on: the lasting legacy of LOST was that it built communities of fans who followed the show.

It is one thing to discuss an episode of a show or sporting event next to the water cooler the next morning. That has happened from the dawn of television to today. But the LOST experience went from a one-time, casual conversation with co-workers or friends, to dedicated sites where people interacted, discussed, debated, argued and flipped out over story details for the six days  in between episodes.

This is why LOST has even today so much deep meaning for many people. These community experiences bonded in our inner core. It changed how we looked at television shows. It made us change how we discussed our favorite TV show. It changed  how we digested the show. In the past, entertainment was called the "boob tube" because it was a one-and-one flash of content that was meant to be consumed and slowly forgotten by the time the next show appeared on the TV screen. It was the functional equivalent of brain candy. But LOST made most of us think, and think hard about what was on the screen.

It made some of us dust off old science text books to re-learn concepts of space, space-time and ancient civilizations. Homework is something not connected with television viewing. In fact, it is the polar opposite: kids used TV to avoid doing homework. The first example of this was the appearance of the charging polar bear. WTH? How could a polar bear be living on a Pacific tropical island? Common sense would dictate that polar bears could not survive on the island. Research on the topic would yield information such as this : When you look at the polar bear's white fur under a microscope, it is actually clear tubes, almost glass-like in a sense, that they refract sunlight onto the skin. It's a little like burning ants under a magnifying glass. All those picture we see of polar bears looking playful as they roll and slide on the snow, they are actually cooling themselves off. And from this information, one could start further research to speculation on how the polar bears could survive in hot climates. Then one considers that polar bears live in zoos located in hot weather zones, there has to be a scientific answer for such adaptation.  It was the foreshadowing of the Dharma experiments. It was those type of connect-the-dots thinking that made on-line communities so vibrant.

In reading many comments and posts, the thing most fans miss most about LOST is their fan communities. There was nothing left to discuss after the finale after people expressed their opinions on whether they liked or hated the ending. A few tried to keep their groups going by trying to move their tribe to new sci-fi or drama shows, but it did not have the same appeal as LOST.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

INTROSPECTION

E! Online posted an interview with LOST writer Damon Lindelof. In the article, Lindelof states:



That first season, really creatively, we weren't able to do any advance work until the first season ended, because we had a tiger by the tail. And because JJ and I had met so late in the game and put the pilot together so quickly and it was green lit without a script, blah blah blah. This sense that the audience was feeling that we were making it up as we were going along was a very real feeling and I was the one that was like, "Now there is so far to fall."


There certainly was no Twitter or Facebook presence, but you could feel the buzz happening around the show. And it was absolutely and totally terrifying and overwhelming. I was 30 years old and sort of driving this car with a sense of a tremendous amount of honking behind me. It was like, "Why are you all following me?! I don't know whether to go left or right!" So my memories of September 22 and 23 should be, "Oh my god, that was one of the greatest days of my life," and in hindsight, of course it was, but it just didn't feel that way at the time.


I hope it's remembered for the experience that happened in the six days in between the airings of the episodes. As a TV viewer, for so long I had been feeling, with the exception of some of the things that were happening on cable like The Sopranos, that there weren't really any water cooler shows that gave that feeling of, "I can't wait to see what's going to happen next." The last time I had really experienced that feeling on network TV was with the X-Files and then more recently Alias, which I was just as obsessed with as you were. 


This is about as close as Lindelof has come to confirming some of the show's critics about the direction of the show. Yes, most fans were aware of the harried back story of the show: that ABC executives pushed for a drama-survival show, and roped in the "hot" TV property master, J.J. Abrams, to do the pilot. And then it as surprise hit with the critics and the viewers, drawing an a large, unexpected audience. Lindelof admits that this took everyone by surprise, and the staff struggled with the show because they could not "do any advance work" during the first season. He was aware of the audience feeling that they were making it up as it goes. But then the show became beholden to technique over substance --- the flash backs, the character back stories, and throwing out mysteries --- to double back and put a cohesive story line back together.

He concludes with the legacy that most viewers adhere to: that when LOST first aired, it was the community of discussion groups that were just (or more) important to the LOST experience than the actual episodes. The legacy of having a roller coaster ride instead of an orderly epic story is still the major sticking point.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

RETROSPECTIVE

The one entertainment writer who got caught up in the LOST madness the most was EW's Jeff Jenson. He wrote elaborate discussions and theory articles after each episode, which took fanboy to the mainstream. (He also became a cult celebrity writer, so much so, that he later left to help write a film with the LOST showrunners). 

In his ten year anniversary article, Jensen laments on his show experience.

He wrote:


Pop culture anniversaries can often be “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative” affairs. Lost requires a more complex remembrance. You can’t recall how it hooked all of us without also recalling how it dissatisfied so many. Waxing nostalgic about that seductive, sublime first season—the simplicity of the macro narrative; the artful intricacy of the flashback storytelling structure; the poignancy of its gracious humanism; the adventure, the humor, all those glittering mysteries! —reminds those ultimately unfulfilled by Lost of their misplaced faith, and what the show had become by the sixth and final season.
 
Lost‘s treatment of its core themes—redemption, community, survival—started earthy and existential and finished esoteric and mystic. A show that originally seemed to embrace (and question) all worldviews appeared to pick favorites, choosing the “man of faith” over the “man of science.”
In the aftermath, we are left with Losties who feel certain that they were loved, Losties who feel jilted, and an enduring conflict between the two parties that boils with the rancor of a bitter custody battle: How do we remember Lost? Was it a success or failure? Who decides? Who gets to be the caretaker of its memory? If there is one thing I hate about Lost—and it is probably the only thing I, an ardent, gonzo acolyte of Lost, truly hate about the show–is how its evolving vision (unintentionally) fractured the show’s vibrant fan community, and how its well-meaning wont for never-ending, friendly debate over the show’s finale has resulted in never-ending, unfriendly fighting over the show’s merit and meaning. 

What is certain is that Lost helped change the way we watch and talk about television. A once-passive experience processed the next day around the water cooler is now an interactive experience parsed immediately via social media, recaps, and blogs. Of course, Lost reminds us that this kind of cultural interaction can also be a messy, flawed affair. Case in point: Me. I wrestle with the value of my contribution to the conversation. The overthinking. The projections. The emotional enmeshment. My constant theorizing—sometimes cheeky, more often sincere—cultivated the notion that Lost was a puzzle to be solved, not a story to be enjoyed. What I regret the most is season 6. Those frustrated by the show’s oblique, confounding story needed clear-eyed, common sense analysis—not one last hurrah of my absurd shtick. I am sorry. 

The legacy of Lost is seen in shows that try to cultivate following and fervor not so much by replicating its strategies, but by modulating them to minimize their risk. Few, if any, have produced Lost-level results. Heroes—hatched as Lost was beginning to exasperate viewers—attracted eyeballs with high-speed plotting, then realized it wasn’t sustainable, then flailed for better solutions. Fringe launched running scared of serialization and mythology; it stumbled. The precedent of Lost seeded, or at least surely makes appealing, binge media like Netflix and the anthology format represented by True Detective and American Horror Story—single season blasts of weird fiction. Big saga TV thrives in the form of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, whose viewers don’t have the same “Do you have a master plan?” angst that Lost fans had: the series bibles are available at a book store near you. These are shows for a culture that frets bold, demanding storytelling as much as it craves and celebrates it.



Monday, September 22, 2014

10 YEARS AGO TODAY

It began 10 years ago today.

"Pilot, Part 1" is the first of the two-part pilot episode with part two airing the following week. The two parts re-aired together on October 2, 2004.

Jack,  a doctor from Los Angeles, finds himself one of forty-eight passengers who survived the crash of Flight 815 on a mysterious island. With the help of other survivors, he begins to treat the injured and attempts to find the cockpit of the plane in the hope of contacting civilization and rescue.

The episode establishes the show's use of flashbacks to show characters' lives before crashing on the island.  The one flashback in this episode depicts Jack's view of events on the plane just prior to the crash. 

And thus began the roller coaster journey for both actors and fans of the series. A full decade later, we continue to remember, muse, analyze, and theorize about the show.

There are a few things we realize after all this time.

First, LOST was a hard show to follow. Unless you were hooked by the initial premise, you could not jump in mid-stream and figure out the quickly expanding tangential story lines. And even after viewing an episode, you had to rewind it in your own mind to figure out where the story was coming from and where it was going.

Second, LOST itself began to get lost in its own favorable press clippings and got too clever for its own good. Plot twists were used more and more to shock the audience than explain the mysteries that the writers made seem so important.

Third,  LOST was one of the first shows to gather communities of fans to discuss in nearly real time each episode; dissecting the story lines and character motivations and coming up with predictions, criticisms and answers. This was before the social media instant messaging of Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Fourth, LOST still makes us think about things. Yes, it could be how the show could have been better. But it is also the habit of trying to learn something new, expand one's comfort zone to research, write and communicate new ideas to fellow fans. 

Our relationship to an important television show like LOST  is like our own relationships. It will have its ups and downs. Women like men with rough edges, thinking they can change them. Men go overboard to impress with adventure and excitement to woo a lady who may not be ready to settle down. The ending of LOST was like a relationship crossroad. Some people accepted it, liked it and settled for it. Some people were disappointed, confused, hurt and walked away from it. As one writer recently wrote, LOST was the best show on television until it became the worst.

I started this site before the final season as a means of expanding my community posts, thinking that Season 6 would be awe inspiring good. This is the 838th post. I never imagined making so many LOST essays or posts. But even today, when a news article or thought sparks a connection to the show,  that pings me to create another post. And some of them expand my understanding of the show, try to make better sense of it, or try to reconfigure it to make it better. Mindful, that nothing will truly change. Today, there is probably less than a handful of sites that still discuss LOST. Most of the fans have moved on, some reluctantly. 

But there is one universal truth in the LOST fan experience. If anyone ever questions you about your inability to make a commitment, you can always reply, "I watched every episode in the six season run of LOST."

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014

BEST ACTORS

LOST had memorable performances. But in the Mount Rushmore of LOST acting, we must narrow the field down to four individuals:

LOCKE



Terry O'Quinn had the greatest range of situations in which to perform. He did quite well. Received Emmy Award nominations in 2005, 2007, and 2010 in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of John Locke.  He won the 2007 award beating out, among other nominees, fellow Lost actor Michael Emerson.

BEN



Michael Emerson came to the series as a guest star, but his performance captured the imagination of the fans and producers to where he became a main character. He won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series in 2009 for his role as Ben.

DESMOND



Henry Ian Cusick was another guest star who made an impact to become a regular cast member. Cusick, after three guest starring episodes during Season 2, became a series regular at the beginning of the third season.  Cusick was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series at the 2006 Emmys for his performance as Desmond in the episode "Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1".

ELOISE



Fionnula Flanagan was an accomplished actress prior to a guest role in the series. However, her portrayal of Eloise Hawking made her a mysterious center piece to future story lines bridging the island, Dharma and the Others. As Ben was seen as evil incarnate, Eloise was a much more sinister and powerful force behind the scenes.  When she was in a scene, you could see the mental gears churning some devious plot.

One can now realize that these four characters were pivotal in the final two seasons of LOST. O'Quinn's character was reborn in the form of Flocke. Ben's power struggle with Jacob and Widmore led to the chaotic final chase to find a final island guardian. Eloise was all knowing in both worlds, and tried to keep them worlds separated so she would not lose her son, Daniel. And Desmond became the bridge between the island and the sideways realms. In some ways, these four actors pushed themselves in the prime, leading roles as the series wound down.

TOP 10 MOMENTS

There were many important, moving, plot shocking twist moments in LOST. During the original run, there were "game changers," or highly anticipated or shocking moments which made the show great fun. It is always hard to narrow down a list of Top anything, but here is a personal recap of the most important moments in the series.

1. MIB's speech to Jacob on the beach.

“They come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt. It always ends the same.”
“It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.” 


2. Bearded Jack telling Kate that "they had to go back," which was actually a flash forward scene.


3. The Hatch during a lock down, when the count down timer goes hieroglyphic "He Escapes Place of Death," and Locke finds the Blast Door Map.



4.  Flight 815 tearing a part in mid-air.



5.  After Ben saves Locke from committing suicide, Ben strangles him to death.



6. Ben "summoning" the smoke monster by pouring water down a old drain after Keamy executed Alex.



7. Eko speaking to the smoke monster in his brother's form. Eko refuses to relent from his past, which angers the smoke monster into killing him. Eko whispers his last breath to Locke, "you're next."

8. The Others attacking the raft and taking Walt.



9. From the viewpoint of the rescue helicopter, the island vanishing after the frozen donkey wheel is turned by Ben.



10. Desmond turning the fail safe key which causes and explosion, implosion and purple flash of the Hatch being destroyed.




This is not an exhaustive list. Some shocking honorable mentions include:

Michael murdering Ana Lucia and Libby.

How Locke was thrown through a window by his father.

Dying Charlie note written on his hand to Desmond, "Not Penny's Boat."

Desmond's phone call to Penny in "The Constant."

The O6 return to find Claire a crazy jungle lady with a mummified squirrel baby.

The shining moment to LOST were these type of memorable scenes. They continue to linger in our collective consciousness. Those moments got us thinking and talking. Those moments kept us coming back for more. Those moments kept us driving for answers to our personal questions. Those moments kept us from becoming lost in our ordinary lives.

Friday, September 19, 2014

LOGO

The slowly spinning and drifting LOST opening credit logo.

In stark black and white, a color theme in the series.

Blackness as in the vast void of space. The unknown dimensions for which time and space resides.

Darkness, another theme of the series. Good against evil; science against faith.

The word "lost," which infers definitions like misguided, fear, troubled, misplaced, forfeited, neglected, fallen, irredeemable, irreclaimable, irretrievable, past hope, past praying for, vanished, strayed, condemned, cursed, doomed. All words which could describe elements in the series.

Is the LOST logo opening the perfect symbol for the show?

It probably can mean that viewers got "lost" in the various mysteries, twists, Easter eggs, red herrings, blind corners, pseudo-science, theories, counter-theories and relationship twists.

It probably can mean that the producers-writers got "lost" in their flashback format, their editing techniques to drive up emotions or drama, background details, cliffhangers and supernatural elements to concentrate on a coherent final season script.

It may also in the annals of television history a "lost" opportunity to be the greatest show ever; one with total critical, peer and viewer overwhelming approval.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

NEW QUESTION

There is a new gnawing question that just popped into my head. It is like "Who is Buried in Grant's Tomb?"

Who is buried in the Temple?

It is a major question because under Egyptian death rituals, the Pharaohs built temples as part of a complex burial mythology. The island temple was filled with hieroglyphs, many with passages from the Book of the Dead, an ancient text on how a soul can manage the journey through the underworld to paradise.

Since the temple was built on the island with Egyptian mythology and construction, one must assume that an Egyptian demi-god had it built in his honor. In the tradition of the culture, the temple would have been built in the king's life time, and his priests would manage the ceremonies when the king died so that he would be guaranteed passage to the stars. The priests would break a part the body, organs into separate vessels, to be reunited in the after life. There would be offerings of gold, food, beer, servants and weapons that the king could use during his journey through the underworld as they believed that the soul took a human form in its path through the after life.

After death, the priests and their followers would be charged with maintaining the temple and praying for the soul of their departed leader. But over a long period of time, one could imagine that their ranks would thin and their time on the island would die out.

Egyptian culture was the first civilization. It predates the empires of Greece and Rome. As such, parts of it remain in today's current societal foundations. As such, since it goes back thousands of years, the temple on the island could be that of a "lost" Pharaoh. Some scholars believe that the ancient Egyptians did possess the engineering knowledge to create ocean faring boats to explore the seas. As such, a conquering king could have made it to the Pacific with a large crew of soldiers and servants. Once shipwrecked, he would have ordered a temple be built in order to fulfill his destiny.

In a series that loved its complex back stories (like Alpert's), this could have been a good one - - - and set a solid foundation for the LOST mythology. Given the detail in the temple sets, one would think that some one gave it a great deal of thought - - - a great deal of importance that was somehow itself lost in the story line as it went forward.

So who was buried in the temple? We will never know.

But what happened to the king? We can assume that his passage to the stars may have been interrupted, intercepted or thwarted by the mere fact that his temple was not in Egypt, and aligned to magical stars of Orion. If his temple was not properly "aligned with the stars," his soul (ba and ka) could never reunite in paradise, so in essence, his spirit would be trapped on the island.

A spirit trapped on the island seems to fit the profile of the smoke monster.  It wanted to leave the island to go "home," which could mean Egypt or even the after life paradise promised in the ancient texts. After thousands of years, the spirit would become angry, frustrated and desperate. The spirit would know how things should happen, and who should help him in this time (his priests and servants). But once they were gone, it had to wait for humans to shipwreck on the island in order to fashion a way out of its island limbo.

The spirit could have convinced many men or women that it was a god. It may have promised immortality and special favors such as power or wealth. Whether Crazy Mother was the final Egyptian follower of the Pharaoh or whether Alpert eyeshadow took on the markings of an ancient Egyptian priest, they seem resigned to their own fate to serve the island (spirit) in its quest to find a loophole in trap. Desperate, the spirit recruits more and more priests to his service, such as Jacob to find humans with the ability to cross time and space (realms) or Dogen to revitalize the reincarnation rituals inside the temple pool. Everything done on the island by modern man had the tangential goal of helping bridge the present with the after life.

The hieroglyphs in the frozen donkey wheel chamber indicated the words "travel" or "open Earth" gates. This is a possible portal to the after life which needed a human being (and its life force) to operate.  The smoke monster became frustrated with the humans who came to the island, as they turned corrupt and failed in their mission to worship him or help him escape Earth. The guardian of the island must be considered the High Priest of the Temple, who has the special knowledge of the ages, i.e. the after life. If one can control the power of life and death, that person could control the universe. And that is probably the true corruption that frustrated the spirit the most.

The real LOST story may be the island plight of the unknown, trapped Pharaoh spirit. For the most important and revealing quote in the show was from MIB to Jacob:

“They come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt. It always ends the same.”
“It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.”

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

LOST LESSONS

Television is to inform, entertain, enlighten, educate and change its audience.

Some shows are cliche, formula, slapstick, dumb, aggravating, annoying, supernatural, preachy and challenging to viewers.

A good story should lead the reader/viewer on a journey of adventure, self-discovery, conflict resolution and a final life  lesson.

In the years after the finale, writers have continued to grapple with the life lessons to LOST.

Many viewers claim that LOST is one of the greatest television shows in history, but at the same time many faithful viewers were angry at the ending. Many writers believe no matter how one viewed the finale, LOST changed the way most people will watch TV and how creators of new television shows plan their story lines. 

LOST's writers created many mysteries and ambiguities which fueled the show's popularity and critical response because it seemed to be playing by different rules. Season ending twists kept viewers coming back year after year. So profound were these mysteries that thousands of websites, blogs and forums were devoted to answering viewers’ questions, as well as developing their own Lost conspiracy theories about science and faith, life and death, and everything else in between.

Just as there are various debates on how people perceived the ending, there are just as many discussions about what lessons LOST tried to impart to viewers. For example:

For the most part,  the Oceanic 815 crash survivors were all ordinary people who lived ordinary lives, with common problems and vices. Yet these normal travelers all ended up doing extraordinary things that were uncharacteristic of their former lives when they were removed from their comfortable and known existence and into the mystery and danger of the island.  We saw kicked drug habits, self sacrifice for the sake of others, and love towards significant others that had not previously been expressed.

Likewise, another lesson could be one cannot live without taking some risks. 

Characters like Hurley lived in isolated shells, fearful of society's wrath that they were different or crazy. Once they survived the plane crash, the characters had to shed their normal routines and habits in order to help the group survive. By changing their own interpersonal programming, and going outside "their comfort zones" did the characters actually grow as individuals. Yes, there might be unforeseen consequences, total failures, deadly mistakes, but the characters learned that some risks were worth taking. 

The bonds of friendship are one of the risk-rewards of living a good life. "Live Together, Die Alone" was the bumper sticker for the show.  The importance of the statement was clear: if the survivors couldn’t learn to work together and get along, they wouldn’t make it and would die a lonely death.
Relationships are what bind us together as people. Life often sucks, but it sucks a whole lot worse when our relationships separate us rather than uniting us. We need people around us who can support, encourage and empower us. Without that, we could lead a very lonely and depressing existence. In “real life” it’s true that we either learn to live together, or die alone.

From a show creative process, there were two forced lessons upon us.

First, the purposeful philosophy that "Some Questions in Life Will Go Unanswered."

Each week we loyal viewers returned to watch the new episode of LOST hoping that new clues and information would answer some our questions. And week after week, it appeared that more questions were being posed by conflicting clues than hard and fast answers.

The writers and show runners believe that there will be mysteries in our own lives that we can’t comprehend, questions of love and faith and why we did the things we did. But it’s the mysteries of life that make it such a ride. So, in one aspect, the wild ride is more important than how the ride works.

The other lesson for television producers and writers is how series should end. There is a phrase in Hollywood that a show should not "pull a LOST," meaning a controversial, confusing and perplexing end that fails to meet most fan expectations. 

It is not new that televisions shows have struggled on how to write a proper finale. For very popular shows, the last episode is dreaded like a funeral wake. It brings mixed emotions. Some had endings that fans liked, accepted or thought could have been better (such as M*A*S*H) or some that  bewildered their faithful fans (SEINFELD, THE SOPRANOS) but none had the spectrum of feelings from positive to negative than LOST's end.  Creators and show runners would simply like to deny for as long as possible that their show is ending and they think that if they simply leave things on a cliffhanger that it will sit better with fans; opposed to trying to do the honorable thing and actually write an ending to the show. There is no greater poster-child for bad show endings than LOST. It is the perfect example of how when a show betrays a large portion of its fan base, it will never live it down. There have been many lessons from LOST. One of the primary lessons from LOST is: be careful who you trust. Damon Lindelof continues to push aside unhappy LOST fans to the point of giving up defending his choice for the series finale.  

Perhaps, the real lesson between show runners and the audience is the element of trust. Trust is something that is earned. Trust is something that needs to be maintained. Trust is something that can be lost in an instant. 

It is the enormous burden,  trust. Television viewers today are investing their time in shows that they trust. They want to know that their heroes will get to live long healthy lives. LOST betrayed that trust and picked off its characters until literally they were all sitting in a church waiting to walk into the light to move on to the afterlife. Even today, the absurdity of the LOST ending strikes many fans as being hard to grasp, like getting punched in the gut until the air explodes from your lungs. In any relationship, trust is the glue that binds two souls together. For a great deal of LOST viewers, they trusted that the writers were going to give them a mind blowing ending that the greatest show in TV history had promised; a clever and neatly wrapped up package which made absolute sense and tied the mysteries together into a neat bow. Be careful what you wish for; be careful of who you trust. Disappointment is also a life lesson. For good or ill, viewers had a 6 year connection boarding on love affair with LOST. If one looks at LOST as the end of 6 year relationship,  how you reacted to the end of the series is probably how you relate to real friendships and relations in the real world.

The lasting effect of LOST on die hard viewers is probably how the show changed the way they view television today. Can they invest time on a show with many mysteries and questions, and not get burned in the end? People overcome bad break-ups; people can over come disappointment and move on with their lives. Perhaps, that is the most important lesson of all.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

OUT OF SYNC

In biology class, students were required to dissect a frog. By cutting open the bloated corpse, students were supposed to learn how the internal organs worked inside the frog.

If we take the series as the frog, we can find three distinct organs or story lines:

1. The island crash survivor story arc which was the beginning of Season 1.

2. The Dharma-Others, Ben vs. Widmore story line which took root in the middle of the series.

3. The sideways story arc dominated the final season.

These are three distinct stories which really do not mesh well together.

It may have been better to break a part each of these three main stories into their own self-contained mini-series.

I think the overlap of the stories (in an attempt to amp up the drama and conflict with the 815 survivors) made things too complicated and muddled over time. The initial conflicts seemed to get overwritten then dropped as the series continued toward the Ending.

For example, the Ben vs. Widmore "war" was promoted as an end-all bloodbath with deep seeded roots, but it sputtered and really was never presented as much more as a board room clash over the remains of the Dharma assets and the Others loyalty.  The final conclusion was Ben's petty assassination of Widmore, but that did not change the direction of the show or create any lasting impact on character development.

If you kept all three dramas separated, it may have made a clearer focus on the actual characters (in a character driven show). If the plane crash survivors did not have to deal with outsiders, but merely try to cope with survival and creation of their own new civilization, there could have been as much conflict and action that was not juiced by dangerous outsiders or black smoke magic. If the Dharma-Widmore-Ben-Others conflict was carved out as a separate story (without the time travel 815ers interventions) that may have concluded in a better fashion (possibly, with no one left on the island if Ben and Widmore truly went to war.)  And the sideways story arc needed to really separate itself from the forgotten character back stories to show a real alternative for each character (a real lesson to viewers that choices do matter in one's life.)

Season 1 and 2 could have been 815 crash survivor centric. Season 3 and 4 could have been Dharma-Widmore-Other-Ben flash back island history in conflict/war. Season 5 could have been the sideways alternative. Which would leave Season 6 to weave these resolutions together.

The main 815 characters could have learned the history of Dharma-Others in Season 3 by stumbling across the empty barracks and records/journals of those who fought those battles. It would be a lesson plan on how not to survive on the island by petty jealousy, power plays or betrayals. The sideways alternative could have been positioned as the main characters "dream" scenarios of how their life was, or could have been and what it might be if they were rescued. Since the survivors were not going to be rescued from the island, each character would have a lot of down time to imagine what happened to their lives, their regrets and their lost future. The sideways would not be a place in the after life, but the subconscious desire of each individual.

Then how could these three distinct story modules come together in the final season?

Simple. After years of being on the island, the 815ers are rescued by a passing freighter which was blown off course in a storm. As the 815ers tale of survival is told, it brings back the prior survivors of the Ben and Widmore more to the 815ers on the mainland, to share what happened to them when they got back "home."  The final season would involve how the survivors would cope coming "home" to the mainland - - - how their families had changed, how their jobs were lost, how they "didn't fit in" and then how they missed their fellow castaways.  Culture would build them up as instant celebrities, then bring them down as flawed characters out of touch with current society.

There could a final reunion in an LA marina. The main characters could meet to discuss their problems fitting in to their re-booted lives (which probably in some ways mirrors their lives prior to Flight 815). There also could be former island survivors like Ben who give the forlorn castaways the ultimate choice: to return to the island.

Each character's final decision making process would be the climax of the show. Who would stay and who would give up their re-newed life on the mainland, for the harsh life on the island? Who would step up to be the new (or old) leaders? Who would tearfully break the final bonds of friendship to stay in LA? And that is how the three story lines could sync together.

Monday, September 15, 2014

UP IN SMOKE

Another significant feature to LOST was the island smoke monster. It took many forms, as a menacing and killing mass of darkness, to human form in Christian Shephard, a horse and Flocke.

But if the characters were in a dream state, what does smoke symbolize?

The smoke is a dream symbol for conflict-laden forces which are stronger, the closer, biting or more darkly the smoke is in the dream. It is a good sign if the smoke still resolves during the dream action or pulls. This points because to a relaxation of the dreaming or his conflict, a solution can be found. We should find out whether it concerns the grey-black smoke of a fire or the white-grey of a blazing fire. Smoke can symbolize in the dream also passion, even if it is not 'roused' maybe yet for a certain person. In addition, smoke stands at the same time for cleaning.

At the spiritual level the smoke in the dream is a symbol for the prayer or the victim which climbs to the sky. In addition, smoke can also show climbing the soul figuratively. This may be the process of cleansing the soul for its journey to the after life.

If everyone needs to be or become a smoke monster in order to clean up their sins, issues, emotional failings and burdens as a means of enlightenment and re-birth in the after life, the island could have been that proving ground. In the theme of light and dark, it is possible that the soul is split into two separate divisions, the dark side of the soul going to the island while the light side going to the sideways world. As such a person's aura gets two ways in which to see the bigger picture of life. The sideways world draws out the "goodness" in a person, while the island world draws out the bad. It is when a person true soul can come to terms with both the dark and light can it be re-awakened to continue its journey through eternity.

It would seem to be a personal redemption without a moral component. Most people have issues based upon environment, personality, disorders, relational and cultural factors that may bog down a person's achievements in their life. The separation of the darkness from the good is a means of purifying the spirit so one side does not dominate over the other. Balance, which is key in nature, is restored when the person is ready to accept themselves for whom they are.



Sunday, September 14, 2014

RUNNING THROUGH THE JUNGLE

Another dream connection to the series was the constant use of a character "running through the jungle." In dream interpretation, what does that mean?

Jungle Dream Explanation: In a dream, a jungle means people one cannot benefit from their company. Among them there is an intruder, for jungles grow on plants intruding upon one another, behind which hunters hide to jump at their prey. If the jungle belongs to someone, then it represents enemies one will have to fight.

Running Away Dream Explanation:  Running away from something in a dream means turning to higher power for safety and protection. Running away in a dream also could mean receiving an appointment, or it could mean repentance from a sin, or it could mean one's death. If one sees himself running away to escape from an enemy he fears in a dream, it means that he will be safe. If a man of knowledge or a scholar sees himself running away from an enemy in fear in a dream, it means that he will be asked to sit as a judge, or to govern. If one sees himself running away but has no fear in the dream, it means his death.

There is danger in the jungle, so to dream about it means that one will have to confront an enemy in real life. The process of running through the jungle in a dream state can add the element that one is seeking Devine intervention or enlightenment for one's safety and protection in a real world situation.

Kate was apt in running through the jungle (she had the most missions). In real life, she was running away from her criminal past. But in some ways, she was running away from herself and the responsibility for her own actions. Perhaps, she was seeking some safety and security when she was running through the island's jungle. But it would seem her own true safety was in her own death and reunion at the sideways church.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

PLANE CRASH

As one of the older theories of the show's premise, dreams are subject to interpretation.

What does it mean if one dreams about a plane crash?

If you dream of a journey – airplane or car are the most common – that ends in a crash those crash dreams are about the fear of not hitting your goals. Perhaps they are unrealistic, or perhaps new circumstances have made them appear harder to achieve.

If you dream of a plane crash it suggests you are anxious about the failure of a project. The dream meaning is of you having planned a project that doesn’t get you where you thought it would – and is accompanied by the fear that things will end badly.

Plane crash dreams (and car crash dreams) are particularly common during recessions and times of financial crisis, and can be directly translated as someone worrying about their financial situation – a lifetime’s journey, with a planned end, where there is a sudden concern about getting safely to the goal.

However the dream can in fact relate to any important project or goal where there is a fear over successful completion.

Plane crash dreams can signify you have set unrealistic goals, that the goalposts have moved, or that events have suddenly obscured the finish line. The dream is an expression of your anxiety.

A dream of a plane crash represents your self doubt and your lack of faith that you can successfully complete a project.

Plane crash dreams can also represent an extreme fear of phobia of a future event.
Plane crash dreams are about your anxiety for the future. It is a mental life check.
It might therefore be an appropriate time to look at your goals to see if they are still achievable. Can you make changes so that your goals appear easier? Or do you need to recalibrate your goals to take into account current circumstances?

The fear of failure can often be overcome by a fresh analysis of the obstacles in your path and a more realistic plan on how to reach your goals.

Plane crash dreams represent project failure and the anxiety associated with meeting one's goals. Doubt, fear and failure are part of these dreams.

And it is clear that the main characters all had some sort of failure anxieties based on their back stories. Kate was anxious about escaping her crimes. Sawyer feared failure in not tracking down his parent's killer. Jack was worried about getting his father's acceptance. Hurley was distraught that he would never find love. Locke feared success in any endeavor, from school, career to relationships. They all worried about crashing and burning.

If LOST was a collective of the characters' plane crash dreams, how did they end? When one dreams about heaven, or their view of an after life existence, they dream  of  a place where there is no suffering and everyone is happy. So, if you dream about heaven, you could be seeking relief from the physical or emotional pain and sadness in your real life. 

In essence, the dream theory can explain the two disconnected features of the LOST universe: the island (dream of plane crash) and the sideways (dream of heaven) arcs.

Friday, September 12, 2014

MYTHS OF DEMI-GODS

In Greek mythology and other cultures, there are stories about the heavenly gods coming down to Earth to mess with the human population. Sometimes, these gods mate with human females, creating a hybrid off-spring which other gods try to eliminate. These demi-gods have half human and half-god like traits. They may have magical powers, but still be mortal.

Under the background of these stories, the off-spring are usually hidden away from the gods in order to protect them from destruction. Sometimes they are banished by the gods to a faraway place so their mere presence will not upset the gods' rule over humanity. At times, these off-spring are cursed by the gods so they could have no human interaction, such as the ability to turn men into stone.

As such, these stories may be relevant to the island guardian. The ones we have seen, like Crazy Mother and Jacob, appear to be immortal, with magical powers but yet have the ability to die under certain circumstances.

Perhaps, the initial island guardian was a demi-god, banished to this remote island. One of its magical powers is the ability to turn human beings into smoke monsters. With the essence of human souls trapped in smoke form, they would be trapped on the island prison with their host, the demi-god.

We saw the smoke monster take many human forms. However, that does not eliminate the possibility that there were more than one smoke monster on the island. The whispers, the trapped souls who have no physical form, may be like cloaks that a smoke monster absorbs in order to create a human form.

What damage does one do by banishing a supernatural being to a deserted island to live their eternity alone? You try to find loopholes in order to bring things to the island "for play." Jacob was all about playing games; and his manipulation of Alpert to Ben Linus was all a part of an elaborate game that Jacob made up the rules as it went along. In one way, this may be a childlike game of "tag." Jacob was looking to find a person to be "it," the new guardian, so his prison sentence or banishment would be over.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

LITTLE PEOPLE

There is an ancient Celt legend on the Isle of Man that says it was once inhabited by a band of Little People who had magical powers that could transport humans into other realms, only to return hundreds of years later.

The concept of alien abductions, disappearing ships and aircraft in time vortexes, and strange electromagnetic properties of Earth's hot spots, have bolstered the concept of inter-dimensional transport to new worlds or new universes.  Consistent with these theories is the suspension of mortality in the travelers. They allegedly return to Earth as if only a day had passed when in fact it had been a century.

So these portal dimensions must be a place where there is no linear time line. A place where there is no concept of past, present or future just mere existence. Sound familiar? That was how the sideways world was explained.

It could be a reasonable definition for the after life. A mortal soul must travel somewhere to become immortal. It is why Christian told Jack that some of his friends died "long" before and "long" after his own demise, but they did not skip a beat living in the sideways realm.

How could that be?

Well, if you reverse the Earth's Little People's mythology, one can imagine that the souls in the sideways spirit world were abducted or taken to the island realm in order to experience new things, work out problems, or become re-acquainted with humanity.  This would suppose that the linear time elements of the human souls would be 1) flashbacks, to 2) sideways world, to 3) island realm, then back to 2) sideways world conclusion.

In ancient Egyptian culture, this chain of events is described as a soul's journey through an underworld. It could live in human body form in another dimension without knowing its own fate. It could think that it is living a human existence when in fact it is a second life. In this second life, the souls eat, drink, marry, fight, and die. So why would there be a need for a second life in the scheme of the after life?

If the lesson is that one cannot move on without sufficient bonds of love and friendship, than that is what occurred in the sideways church.  Without the characters having experienced the island tangent, they would have never experienced the deep bonds they missed during their earthly existence. One can imagine reincarnation of multiple existences in order to awaken one's final spirit.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

STAR CHILDREN

In the lore of Native American people, there is creation story about their ancestors being star children. It goes that mankind was created from beings from the stars. As such, they believed that one day they would return.

The concept of children of the stars can be adopted to the LOST mythology.

If you break a part the main story periods, pre-Flight 815, post crash and the sideways arc, you can get a formula for the native legend.

We must assume that the events in the flashbacks were true, that the main characters lives as represented in the story. The issues, personalities, crimes, emotional problems, etc. were all part of each individual.

We know that the sideways arc was the after life. Everyone in that plane of existence was dead, but remembering their past lives seems cloudy or confused. Most of the characters actually were living separate and distinct "new" lives such as Jack, as being amicably divorced from Juliet, and being a father.

So what is the in-between state? The island may represent the transition between life and death. A level of existence where both body and soul are in the journey of dying, perhaps along the analogy of the ferryman carrying souls across the River Styx, for a price. Flight 815 was that ferry.

If the island was a world of semi-life and semi-death, the process of removing mortality to immortality, the island setting is that bridge. The characters became "star children" because in order to migrate to the universe of pure souls, they had to work out their earthly human issues and become better, content souls.

And as "children" on the island, they acted like children. That would help explain the inconsistent behavior, the lack of common sense, the elementary school soap opera romances, the "war games" in the school yard, and the fantasies that kids would like to act out.

The characters needed the island and its events to release the baggage of their past lives so their souls were properly prepared for the white light of the stars.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

HOW TO GET HOME

One of the themes of LOST was the character's desire to "get home."

There are many expressions about home.

Home is where you live.
Home is where you sleep.
Home is the shelter where you keep your possessions.
Home is where the heart is.

But in broader context, home is connected with the promised land in many cultures.

This supposes that our life on earth is a transitory event. That on the path of life, our mortality is nothing more than a way station to the next form of existence.

Many religions have concepts of heaven or paradise for "good" people after they die on Earth. It is a comforting notion on what happens after we pass on, and for those we leave behind.

Many ancient cultures believed that man was created from the stars, and upon death returns to the stars.

But there is no clear explanation for how this transition happens.

There are views of the brimstone of hell for sinners, and near-death experiences where people began walking to the "bright light," but since no one has been revived from the after life, we really don't know what happens next. It is a matter of faith over science.

So it is open to interpretation and imagination of how one travels back to the stars, or paradise.

The concept of the soul is a means of explanation. It is the spiritual vessel that can transcend time and space; to recreate your body in a different dimension to live on.

This journey may be as important as the destination. That is another strong theme in the series. The journey of the main characters to get to the sideways church.

The whole LOST saga could be placed in the after life journey of the characters. They needed to suffer physical and mental pain in order to figure out what was truly important. It was not a moral redemption but a personal manifestation of releasing one's own emotional demons in order to see the world around them in a new light. They need to get beyond the material aspects of life because they are immaterial in the after life. They need to get deep personal bonds with other souls in order to share the burden of getting to the doors of paradise.

If this is the true purpose of LOST, then the sideways season makes a little more sense.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

TOP 7

Yahoo recently named its Top 7 Worst TV Show Endings. Of course, LOST was mentioned:

At this point, "Lost" is synonymous with unsatisfying series finales. After six seasons of intricate plot build-up and a never-ending series of loose ends and questions about the true nature of the island and its inhabitants, the writers revealed they had written themselves into somewhat of a corner.

Instead of answering the audience's questions, the two hour finale "The End" ended up smoothing over most of the show's most important and unresolved problems by explaining that they all were in purgatory, though if they had really been there the whole time, no one knew.

Ask a "Lost" fan about the finale and you're sure to summon rage and frustration years later.


Well, reactions to the finale has been tempered as time has passed since Christian opened the church doors to add a final mystery to the series. Most upset fans have moved on with the viewing lives. But most are still waiting for their next, great adventure show.

Replacing a beloved television show is like trying to replace a family pet. It can happen, but it is never quite the same. You cannot clone the happiness, thrills and excitement of the old show because one tries to impart that impact in advance on the new show (which is not necessarily fair to the new writers and creators). For a short time, TV execs commissioned shows to be "The Next Lost, " but they all failed because no one can re-create the early mysteries and give us all the answers in a brilliant, neat package.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

THE ORDER OF JACOB

All religions have been obsessed with the meaning of life and death. In this alternative LOST, Jacob is the leader of secret sect whose mission is to protect the most sacred of places, the source of the life force. The life force which creates, destroys and renews all life in the universe. A force so powerful that its protection is protection of all life.

Jacob would have his followers in an underground temple in an abandoned California mission. There, we would see the Lamp Post facility with its old computer and swinging pendulum. Alpert would be Jacob's liaison to Dogen, the temple master who would teach the new recruits like Locke to the path of enlightenment. 

There is one concept that is clear as day. The concept of god, creator, and all knowing being is found in one place, in the light source. It has the power to create life, destroy life and to give rebirth. As such, it is an entity of enormous power. But in its energy form, it is venerable to attack or discharge which to throw the universe into chaos.

Jacob's cult is part religious order and part paramilitary guards. Chief among Jacob's recruits is Sayid, a despondent Iraqi War veteran who seeks peace and redemption for his past sins. Sayid is trusted with a crusade to protect the energy source from the heathen capitalists that want to exploit its power to the destruction of mankind. Sayid believes that this mission will get him to paradise in the after life.

It is Sayid who finds a wayward Locke the perfect tool to help in Sayid's quest for immortality. Locke is a man without a family; without dreams; without hope for a future. Sayid can use that emptiness and fill it with the purpose of the Order.  Locke falls for the high purpose and his elevated personal stake in something much larger than his pitiful life. So Locke is recruited to spy on Dharma. But Locke, thinking himself as an avenging angel, takes it upon himself to destroy Dharma which leads to major headaches for Jacob and Sayid. Locke's actions actually brings Dharma and Widmore closer to finding the hidden light source. Jacob must scramble to contain the damage.

He finds a prospect in Bernard, a dentist who is searching for a miracle cure for his wife's terminal cancer. Bernard finds Jacob at the mission and asks him for Divine intervention. Jacob makes "a deal" with Bernard - - - he must get a job at Widmore's research facility in order to disrupt Widmore's chase of the light source. The early information Locke acquired from Dharma is Bernard's passport into Widmore's facility . . . posing as a disgruntled ex-Dharma employee.

Rose only learns of the deal after Bernard has started to work for Widmore. She is livid that Bernard was conned by some "religious nut," and their relationship turns sour. Bernard is distraught. Widmore sees a sudden change in Bernard, and he confesses that his mind is on his sick wife. Widmore offers him hope (a false promise of a cure that he is close to achieving) if Bernard can recruit "someone special" for his project. Bernard goes to Rose's social worker mission where he meets a lonely boy who has lost his mother, and is abandoned by his adopted father for foster home placement. Bernard talks to Walt about the future, how it is always darkest before the light. Bernard sneaks a peak at Walt's file while waiting for Rose to end her work day. He finds out that Walt's adopted father abandoned him because Walt has "unusual abilities" to control nature, especially birds in dangerous ways. Bernard steals a copy of this report and takes to it Widmore, who is impressed by Walt's condition.

Bernard says he is not unsure Walt can trust him. So Widmore gives Bernard the candy to lure Walt to their side: the identity of Walt's real father, Michael. So Bernard makes another deal with Widmore to recruit Walt with the promise of giving him a chance at a new family life. Walt, who has no future on his own, accepts the proposal to go with Bernard to meet his father. But once in Widmore's compound, a distraught Bernard confesses that it was a trap - - - a pledge to get a cure for his sick wife - - - that Walt was merely a pawn in a bigger game. Walt feels betrayed by adults, again. So he lashes out, causes lab animals to die, foam at the mouth, bite their handlers, and destroy much research gains. But this mental ability fascinates Widmore to no end. He could use Walt's mind to find a portal to the life source.

But after confessing to Rose his bad deeds, Bernard is told that he has to make amends to Walt. So Bernard, through the files at Widmore's offices, tracks down Michael. He tells Michael that his son "needs" him. That he is being held like a lab rat at Widmore's facility. He needs to rescue his son.

But Michael has no means of taking on Widmore and his men, like Keamy. Until he meets a man outside the research campus who stops his car to ask Michael if he needs a lift. That man is Alpert, who takes Michael to the mission to meet Jacob to discuss his problem. And Jacob offers Michael a solution: Sayid and his skill set. And thus Jacob finds a weapon to pierce Widmore's iron gate. But Sayid will only use Michael and his life as a diversion for his own plan to take down Widmore's research facility.

Jacob's cult then has a two front battle on its hands: one to take down Dharma, and another to take down Widmore.