Thursday, September 7, 2017


Poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote, “The only journey is the one within.”

The basic structure of a good story is a good premise, strong character development, action, reaction, conflict, choices and a journey's end.

The quintessential story arc in this generation is Luke Skywalker's journey to become a Jedi. From humble beginnings, a tragedy propels a naive young man into a dangerous adventure across the galaxy in search of truth, purpose and family. But throughout, the journey was within Luke's heart and soul - - - the mixed emotions, conflicts, set-backs and new friendships that affect how he would become a man.

Did anyone in LOST have such an heroic journey?

Sun defied her rich and overbearing father by marrying a poor fisherman's son, but her life did not end well.

Locke tried to rebel against his miserable life without a family, only to be crippled by his own father which led to a lifetime of mistrust and failure. His life did not end well either.

Kate was a bored, troublemaker as a child who kept her selfish ways of manipulating others in the forefront of her personal survival game. She had an opportunity to change (as did all of the characters) but she did not. She could never find true happiness in her life.

Sawyer was a vengeful boy who turned into the man he despised for destroying his family. But when he could have had a chance to led a family, he turned his back and fled responsibility. He took the easy way out because his personal bitterness and torment was his own internal best friend.

Sayid led a life of struggle and burden of responsibility. He did the dirty jobs. It affected his mental state. When he left Iraq and found his true love, it was taken away from him. In his journey to find her, he failed the woman he claimed to be the love of his life - - - and wound up with a woman he had only a short affair.

Hurley was an introvert scarred by his father's abandonment. He felt he was unlucky at life and that he was the sole cause of his own problems. But when he got lucky and won the lottery, a life changing event, he willed himself into more bad luck. In order to keep himself together, he invented his own best friend and checked himself into a mental institution to be safe from the world that brought him only bad luck. Even when he tried to change his life (by finding the meaning of the numbers), his plane crash lands on a dangerous island. He has an opportunity to re-invent himself but he never does. We don't know how much of Hurley's experiences and thoughts were real or imagined as some theories believe.

Jack may have been the closest to a clear path journey. His story starts as being a highly successful surgeon. He is at the top of his profession. He is well respected. He holds life and death decisions in his hands. But his demon is the lack of love from his father. His relationship with his father eats away at his soul to the point of jealousy, ire and mental breakdowns. The fact his father dies in a Sydney alley causes Jack to begin a journey into a downward spiral of personal torment. He becomes the reluctant leader of the survivors. His decision making becomes fragmented between himself as being the leader and good of the group. He decides to hide his island past when he is rescued, causing even more pain and suffering to the people around him. When Locke is killed, Jack has his final mental breakdown - - - the illogical quest to return to the island to fulfill some unknown reason. At this point, objectively he lost his ability to be rational. But since he left enough of the old Jack in the minds of his island mates, they joined him on a fateful journey back to the island. But the resolution on the island did not solve any of Jack's life problems. It was merely murky waters of his own discontent to the point of a suicide pact with the Man in Black as they went down into the Light Cave. Jack did not die a hero's death, but a foolhardy attempt to runaway from his problems. He did not have a personal redemption. He did not find the solution to save his friends. He did not get them off the island or home.  Jack's journey was the reverse path of Luke's. Jack did not find his journey's end with true answers to make his life great.

Friday, September 1, 2017


The Korea Herald had a long interview with a LOST alum.

Daniel Dae Kim is widely credited with having broken barriers for Korean-American actors in Hollywood. Since his debut in 1992, Kim has starred in popular series, including “Lost” and “Hawaii Five-0,” and has been outspoken in his advocacy of racial equality in the American entertainment industry.

Kim, who was born in Busan, South Korea but was raised in the United States, told reporters that he is branching out into producting Korean drama titles in the US. Next month, “The Good Doctor,” a remake of the hit 2013 KBS drama of the same name, written by Park Jae-bum, is set to air on ABC on Monday evenings.

In the original series, actor Joo Won is a pediatric surgeon with autism and savant syndrome. The ABC series will feature Freddie Highmore as Shaun Murphy in the role. The show also has a multi-ethnic cast of Antonia Thomas, Nicholas Gonzalez, Chuku Modu and more.

Kim said producing has given him a “surprising” amount of satisfaction and newfound freedom.

“As an actor you can only get the roles that you are given. As a producer you can create a world from the ground up and populate it with the types of people you want to see, ones that reflect the actual reality around you,” he said.

Kim is hopeful that more Korean TV dramas will be re-adapted for American television in the future -- his production company 3AD has several projects in the works -- but says they need to be tweaked for the American system and audience.

“You can’t just rely on romance. For a show to succeed in America you need something beyond a love story -- an engine that can keep it going for several seasons maybe," he said. Korean dramas tend to be hyperfocused on the intense emotions of characters, he noted. “I remember watching ‘Winter Sonata.’ There was a lot of ‘I love you but I can’t be with you.’ ... In Korean dramas, (the characters) feel everything 100 percent. If they’re in love, they’re deeply in love with their whole body, their whole being.  These things are, I think, unique to Korean culture and the way (Koreans) express (feelings). That’s one of the dangers of trying to bring a Korean format to America. Relationships are different in America. Things like divorce and family are treated differently.”

Regardless of the adaptation process for remakes, however, Kim feels original Korean dramas “shouldn’t change at all” and should remain true to their distinctive identity.

“That’s the character of K-drama.”

A growing hot topic in Hollywood is diversity. Many imported content from Asia has gotten whitewashed by casting non-Asian actors in main roles. Kim pointed out that many Asian-American actors get “tired of just waiting and hoping that someone will write” a multidimensional, fulfilling role for them, so they venture into the creative process themselves.

Recently, Korean-American actor Justin Chon of the “Twilight” film series wrote and directed the film “Gook,” which released in the US on Aug. 18. The film centers on two Korean-American brothers and a manager running a shoe store in Los Angeles when a riot breaks out and upends their business.

Kim predicts more of such movements will take place. He also believes that a gradual transition toward racial equality is taking place in Hollywood, though it may feel slow to many.

“I think it’s changing. We’re having roles for Asian men where they get to be sexy and funny. ... But it’s ridiculous that we still have to face those obstacles.”

Kim had a breakthrough role in LOST. His character did not speak English. He spoke Korean in the series. No viewers complained about it. It added to the realism of the show. It also emphasized the lack of communication between different cultures can lead to misunderstandings and problems.

South Korea's major export is K-Wave - - - its entertainment culture in film, TV and music. It is just getting started in America.