Friday, January 22, 2021

IN PASSING

Actress Mira Furlan has passed away. She was 65.

She will be remembered as Danielle Rousseau in LOST.

Her character was important as a means of telling the story about the Island. She was shipwrecked on the island 16 years before Flight 815.  As the Island Smoke monster began to manifest its evil in her crew, she lived to survive alone. She was pregnant. Her child, Alex, was stolen from her by Ben. It was her sense of revenge that kept her alive (and perhaps that led to the Smoke Monster allowing her to live).

Her story also introduced us to the Temple where the Smoke Monster apparently lived. It also set the stage to tell the story that survivors could co-exist with the Others. The truce would be a fragile one.

It also showed that mental issues were an embedded theme of the show. Living as a hermit for years made Rousseau a survivalist; keen to nature and her surroundings. When she captured Sayid, he was aware of how dangerous she could be. But he believed she was different than the Others.

When she joined the 815 survivors to fight the Others (as a means of reuniting with her daughter), many fans thought her death scene lacked the full potential of a reunion and worthy demise.

 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

ISLAND: A NEW SERIES

The lock down of 2020 did spur some changes in entertainment viewing habits. Through streaming services like Netflix, international audiences have been exposed to k-dramas. South Korean television shows have their own set of tropes and story lines which are fresh to new audiences. One gateway series was "Crash Landing on You" which had an unbelievable premise (a South Korean heiress has a paragliding accident by crash landing in hostile North Korea only to find love with a NK soldier.)

A smaller network is promoting a new 2021 series.

The OCN Network is casting a new k-drama that may interest LOST fans.

“Island” is a fantasy exorcism drama based on a webtoon of the same name. It will tell the story of man who needs a woman to end his cursed immortal life and a woman who does not know about her sad and cruel fate. The two are joined by an exorcist priest who is consumed by the guilt of having been unable to protect one girl. On the island that possesses an evil darkness despite its beauty, the three characters who seem unlikely to get along will gather their strength to protect each other.

Won Mi-Ho is the only child of a father who runs the Daehan Group. She is arrogant and selfish, but she also looks sad. One day, she makes big trouble. Because of this, her father banishes her to Jeju Island. She is assigned to work there as a high school teacher. She teaches ethics. Meanwhile, Won Mi-Ho gets involved in a case related to ghosts. The ghosts have sought to get rid of the human world. They target Won Mi-Ho. A mysterious ghost hunter tries to protect Won Mi-Ho.

At first glance, the premise seems to be a concentrated version of the original LOST premise. A mysterious island inhabited by supernatural beings where human visitors need to unravel the mysteries in order to save themselves and mankind.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

A LOST RANT

 ScreenRant listed the 10 worst “answers” of LOST:

10. The Whispers are Souls.

The whispers come from the souls of dead people who haven't "moved on" yet like Michael.
It was an answer that gave evidence to the early purgatory theorists, which the show runner continually deny.

9.  Desmond had Mind Powers because of Electromagnetism

Desmond’s powers were nonsense and caused "electromagnetism" stemming from the hatch implosion makes no sense because there were others near the Hatch who were not affected.


8.  The Sideways Timeline is Purgatory

 
The opening of Season 6 seemed to suggest that Juliet had split the timeline.
In one branch, the island remained and nothing changed. In the other branch, the island was destroyed and the events of LOST never occurred. But then we found out that it was not a branching timeline, but purgatory. It caused a lot of confusion — "they were dead the whole time!" — but even those who weren't confused were left bitterly disappointed and upset with the reveal. Even some tried to salvage the sideways branch as being some sort of “dream” state (before moving on?) but it all comes down to Bad Filler episodes.


 7.  Walt’s Special Powers

 
Walt plays an important role throughout the first season, and to some extent, the second season as well. It's very clear that he has some type of special connection with the island, and has some sort of mental powers. He also showed some sort of teleportation powers in Season 2, as he appears to Shannon right before she dies. But a growth spurt exiled Walt from the series and the disappointing answer for his mysterious powers was that he was "special.”

6.   Revived Locke was Actually the Man in Black

Locke dies midway through Season 5, but we were briefly led to believe that he was revived after returning to the island. Of course, Locke remained dead, and the Man in Black was simply using his corpse to have a corporeal form to split the Others from Jacob so he could try to escape the Island. Of course, a paralyzed Locke crash landing on the island can walk, run and hunt like an Outback warrior, but his remains stay dead without resurrection even though Jack’s dad wanders around it at will?

5.  The Confusing Numbers

The numbers were another major mystery, and they were a part of LOST from the very beginning. In the end, we found out that the numbers correlated to Jacob's numbering system for the candidates to replace him. Why would an island god need to be replaced by a mortal?  As if that wasn't lame enough, it also doesn't answer anything else: Why were they broadcasting from the tower? Why do they bring people bad luck? Why are they seemingly cursed? Why do they constantly recur both on and off the island?


4.  The Smoke Monster’s origins

There were countless theories regarding the Smoke Monster, and it remained one of the most prevalent questions throughout all six years of the show. And then we found out it was just the result of some magical reaction after Jacob’s brother (the Man in Black) fell in the magical glowing light cave.


3. Jacob and The Man in Black

For that matter, Jacob and the Man in Black  remain extremely divisive and controversial figures. "Jacob" was mentioned as far back as Season 3, and while there are various "hints" of their existence throughout the first couple seasons,  most people found their existence a total blindside that ruined the show. The show pivoted abruptly to a supernatural fantasy show with no reason. All the mysteries, questions and Easter eggs were washed away by two god-boys playing with humans (spirits) as pawns. There origin story episode was very good but it should have been shown early in Season 1 if that is the true mythology of the show’s creators (which most people believe was not - - - because they wrote themselves into too many dead ends to rationally explain.)

2.  Magic Island

Perhaps the biggest question of all contained the most disappointing answer of all. "What is the island?" It's a question that permeated LOST throughout all six seasons, as it was clearly evident that it wasn't just a regular island. There were scientific facts thrown at us to analyze, research and theorize. From an alien ship, to a parallel universe time portal to a secret military base, there were viable alternatives to the explanation that the island was just “magical.”  

1.  The Magic Light

But why was the island magical? The explanation was that the island containing some sort of “magical light” that does magical things and keeps evil at bay from doing what exactly? What is the magic light exactly? Was the magic light the cause for all the crazy island stuff?  Locke's sudden ability to walk?  Smoke Monster's origins?  The ability for the island to literally move through space and time?. Electromagnetic properties of the island? The ability to disappear? Magic as being the answer to all the unanswered questions is a cop-out of epic proportions.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?

 AN OUT-OF THE BLUE QUESTION:

WHAT IN LOST WOULD YOU HAVE CHANGED?

 There were plenty of unanswered questions, plenty of angst about the final seasons direction, and curses about the Ending. But generally, what would you as a loyal viewer want to have changed in the original series?

PLOT ELEMENTS? 

Did the show have to have its start as a plane crash survival story? Could have it been set in a different location such as hospital, mental institution, a secluded university campus or secret military base?

Did the show have to have a mixed genre premise? Could it have been a straight drama? Or could it have been a straight action-mystery?

Did the show need to have unclear time travel rules and supernatural smoke monster elements? If you took away the Jacob and the Island story line, would LOST still have delivered on its character goals?

CHARACTERS?

Would you have pared down the ensemble cast into a smaller focus group? Would you have eliminated the Tailies from consideration? Would you have changed the Others from its Ben's cult status to something else (like pagan, primitive natives with special powers such as worshipping the smoke monster)?

Would you have not used flash backs and flash forwards to give us the main characters pre-island stories? Would you have given the broken characters a new chance to live out their lives in their set, reality pain (such as Locke and his paralysis)?

Would you have given a secondary character a bigger role in the main story? Would the Others been better served under Patchy? What if the pilot survived to take control away from Jack? 

THE ENDING?

What did you really want to see in the final episode? Did you need a happy ending or could you have lived with a bitter island bloodbath? Did you need to see a post-island epilogue of the final survivors trying to cope back in the real world (such as Sawyer maybe uniting with his daughter)?

Would you have wanted to erase the flash sideways world in its entirety? Would you like the island stories to end, in context, on the island?

Would you have wanted one last twist - - - such as Hurley in the mental institution playing with an island snow globe?  

Would you have accepted a Sopranos style ending (sudden end to black) which was considered by the show runners?



Monday, October 12, 2020

A WORD FROM THE CREATORS

 At a recent virtual panel at NY Comic Con, LOST showrunner continued his advocacy for LOST. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse said there no plans for a reboot or spinoff of the series which had its 15th anniversary of its premiere. However, they would support another show in the LOST "universe" if someone had a great idea to convince Disney/ABC to do it.

 Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were asked what they both think about any possible reboot or spinoff. 

"It would not be a good idea for us to go back," Cuse said. "This comes up all the time and, I think, Damon and I have been very consistent and forthright on this topic. We told the story that we wanted to tell."

Over six seasons, LOST followed a group of survivors of Oceanic flight 815 who crash landed on an island. As they tried to go back home (and then get back to the island), it was consistently a top-rated show on ABC.

To this day fans love re-watching and discussing the series' few unsolved mysteries — including one Cuse and Lindelof said they'll never answer about the identity of the people on the Season 5 outrigger.

While they have no interest in rebooting "Lost" or exploring any spinoffs, Lindelof said he would be supportive of anyone who pitched a good idea. 

"If somebody else comes along who has a great idea to do something set in the 'LOST' universe and sells that to The Walt Disney Company, they will have our blessings to do that," Cuse said. "We see no reason to do it. It doesn't feel like there's anything that we have left to say that's worth saying. We did it."

Lindelof said Disney has never come to him with any other show pitches since the show wrapped up in 2010.

"For the three final seasons of the show — four, five, and six — we put so much emotional energy into ending this show," Lindelof added of why they have no need to revisit this world. 

After 15 years, the show continues to be a iconic series from the past. To re-create a show with that much detail and location shooting would cost double or triple the old budget (which was already high for its time). Another re-boot problem would be that it was a serial show, where each episode was linked to the next. This made it impossible for secondary revenue like television syndication, which demands intact single episodes of shows (in case people cannot watch everyone in a row).

The LOST universe itself is a cryptic concept. Fans still debate whether it was science fiction or fantasy. Fans still debate whether it was real, imaginary or a hybrid psychotic event(s). For all its flaws, it would be very difficult for another producer to re-create the magic of the Island and its mysteries.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

THREE AND OUT

Yahoo News reported on LOST's back story from one of its co-creators.

LOST launched a television phenomenon by creating mysteries and Easter egg hunts like the numbers, the hatch, and The Others.  It had high ratings from the 2004 pilot right up until the finale in 2010.

A common debate has been when the series jumped the rails to go out into filler tangents and story line dead ends. Some believe the middle seasons were merely filler episodes which distracted from the original intent of the show.

Co-creator Damon Lindelof  all but admitted it when he recently said the original outline for the ABC series was a three-season run.

“There were all of these compelling mysteries and so we were saying, ‘We wanna have this stuff answered by the end of Season 1, this stuff answered by the end of Season 2, and then the show basically ends after about three years,’” Lindelof told Collider. “That was the initial pitch.”

“[ABC] were not even hearing it… they were just like, ‘Do you understand how hard it is to make a show that people want to watch? And people like the show? So why would we end it? You don’t end shows that people are watching.’”

Eventually, ABC allegedly agreed to set an end date for the show – but on its own terms: 10 seasons.

That never came to pass, as Lindelof eventually reached a compromise during negotiations around Lost’s third season.

Lindelof was set on a longer fourth season to wrap the story up which still involved “a number of the characters” getting off the island and later returning for the final run. When ABC offered just nine episodes, the two parties settled on slightly shorter seasons up to season six, a marked departure compared to the 20-plus episode seasons we got in the show’s first two years.

Despite the apparent directional conflict with the network, LOST moved forward, with all its flaws, to the controversial finale. Would have a concentrated LOST series have been better? Would more mysteries been solved? Would the End be different?

 Let's look back at the first three seasons as a guide with the help of lostpedia:

Season 1 concentrated on the middle-section survivors and their fight for survival and rescue. This was the modern update of the Robinson Caruso shipwreck story. It is a classic premise to hook viewers with a familiar story told in a new way.

Major plot points included:

Finding a suitable camp location.
Half the survivors, including Kate, Sawyer, and Sayid settled on a beach near the crash site.
The rest, led by Jack, chose to live in the caves which are located in the jungle, near a source of fresh water.
Investigating the Island (searching for food and water, discovering the caves, and learning about the Black Rock).
Confrontations with The Monster.
Getting to know and trust each other (see especially Kate, Locke, Sawyer, and Jin).
There is a relatively long-standing animosity between Michael and Jin: the latter attacked the former in order to get his watch back, which Michael had found in the wreckage of the plane.
The survivors (especially Jack and Shannon) begin to question Locke's intentions due to his lie about Boone's injury and consequent death.
Trying to leave the island.
Building and launching the raft.
Hunting for Claire, after she was taken by the Others.
Opening the Hatch found by Locke and Boone.
Started to tell the survivors' story by introducing and using Flashbacks.

The early story was basic survival: food, shelter and water. Also, a means of rescue.
But the survival group was not unified so individuals personal instincts were more important than uniting around  common leader. This was the early character conflict between those who thought they would lead.

The mysteries were unusual: the Black Rock ship found in the middle of the island; the Smoke Monster, the Others and the Hatch.  The story pivoted from basic survival to danger from Monster, the Others and the Island itself.




Season 1 Finale: As the castaways brace themselves for an attack, Claire's baby is kidnapped, leading Charlie and Sayid on a dangerous chase into the jungle. While the threat of the Others bears down on the castaways, the raft crew continues their flight from the island - but when the hope of rescue appears on the horizon, they will soon learn that appearances can be deceiving. Charlie and Sayid stumble into a trap as they race to confront the kidnapper. Jack and Locke argue as they prepare to blow open the hatch. The raft crew is overjoyed to be discovered by a passing ship, but their elation is short-lived when they realize things are not what they appear. The hatch is opened, and what is inside it stuns the survivors.
 

Season Two focused on the Hatch. To find something scientific and out of the ordinary on the Island filled the castaways with hope (and food and protection) but also doubt (what was its purpose on the island). The writers were praised for effectively using flashbacks to flesh out the secrets of the characters.

Major plot points included:

The Swan, the Numbers, and pressing the button, all of which appeared to have been resolved by the end of the season.
The tail-section survivors, whose stories began and ended in the season, with the exception of Eko and Bernard.
The Others, including Tom, Goodwin, Klugh, and the fake Henry Gale (Ben).
The DHARMA Initiative stations/
Continued to tell the survivors' story by using flashbacks

Finale: Live Together, Die Alone: After discovering something odd just offshore, Jack and Sayid come up with a plan to confront "The Others" and hopefully get Walt back. Meanwhile, Eko and Locke come to blows as Locke makes a potentially cataclysmic decision regarding the "button" and the Hatch.

Season 3 mainly focused on the Others who had become the biggest danger to the castaways survival.

Major plot points included:

The Others (including Juliet Burke, Tom Friendly, Ben Linus and Richard Alpert), who they are, why they are on the Island, the way they live their lives and who leads them.
Contact with the outside world, including Penny; the Flame and Galaga being destroyed.
Desmond's future-telling powers, going back in time and Charlie's imminent death, and to a lesser extent, time.
The mysteries of the island, mainly pregnancy issues and the healing properties (see Mikhail).
The arrival of Naomi and the freighter.
Continued to use Flashbacks and during the final episode of the Season 3 they first introduced the Flash-forward idea that was used throughout all of Season 4.

Finale: Through the Looking Glass:  Jack and the castaways begin their efforts to make contact with Naomi's rescue ship.

"Through the Looking Glass" means where nothing is quite what it seems. In Lewis Carroll's book, it can mean clocks that work backwards or "... a poor sort of memory that only works backwards."
Alice again enters a fantastical world, this time by climbing through a mirror into the world that she can see beyond it. There she finds that, just like a reflection, everything is reversed, including logic (e.g. running helps you remain stationary, walking away from something brings you towards it, chessmen are alive, nursery rhyme characters exist, etc.).

At the end of Season 3, current reflection shows series turned to pure fantasy and not reality.


But by the end of Season 3, LOST could have wrapped up its main stories without jumping the shark (literally and figuratively) with the entire Jacob Temple worship story which attempted to merge ancient religions with an old Greek surreal tale of sibling rivalry.


A three season run would have boiled the LOST story universe into easily absorbed plots:

1. The conflict and tension in the 815 survivors camp on leadership and direction for survival. A passenger class struggle between the middle section and the tail section who had more contact and suspicions about the Others.
2. The external conflict and combat with the Others who claim the Island and its magical properties as their own. The story would have concentrated more on the science cult's obsession with time, pregnancy and mental experiments (which could have easily explained the Monster as being the physical manifestation of mentally ill minds through the Island's unique electromagnetic fields). In other words, the Smoke Monster would have been the island Frankenstein, roaming the island after breaking out of its captivity.
3. The realization that the only way to leave the Island was through the Others assets (boats, communications, etc.) or through rebellion (the freighter coming back to dethrone Ben as the island leader.) It could have been an interesting dynamic on whether Widmore would be as evil as Ben or whether he would have rescued the 815ers then restore the "real" original research of the Island. This would have been a cleaner and more logical ending to the series as it avoids the pitfalls of supernatural beings and clear evidence of a purgatory premise. The main characters would be given an opportunity to "go home" on the freighter or "stay" to live a new life on the Island.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

THE END REVEALED BY A SLIP OF THE TONGUE

When the Sopranos ended its television run, it did so in such a fashion that it had its fandom up-in-arms, cursing and wondering what the hell happened to their favorite show. It ended with a hard cut to black. No one knew what would have happened next even though the episode built up to a climatic ending. Boom, without warning, the series ended.

With this type of controversial ending now possible, LOST fans worried that its show runners would also try to pull a large "fake out" to avoid answering the calls of diehard fans for answers to the key mysteries.

The writers did try to get out of years of story layers when they thrust upon us the flashforward universe, where the characters were living different lives but apparently in the same island time frame. It began to call into question whether the flashbacks were actually truthful portrayals of the characters prior to the crash landing on the island. For if the flashforwards were not "real" in the sense that that universe was merely a holding world until the souls of the friends could reunite in the after life, then the same could have been true of the flashbacks (which contained some serious medical and legal errors). If the flashbacks were a dream state, what was the island? A collective dream state or purgatory as speculated by some season one viewers.

LOST viewers never got the clarity from the producers about the last season. We were merely told that the show was always "character focused" so they did not have to answer the complaints.

After many years of debate, Soprano fans got their answer. From recent NY Post article:

The Sopranos” creator David Chase accidentally spoiled the finale during a leaked interview for  his book celebrating the Emmy-winning HBO mob drama.

At the end of 2007’s final episode, titled “Made in America,” Tony Soprano (played by the late James Gandolfini) is eating out with his family amid a turf war between the New Jersey and New York Mafia families while an enemy hit man waits in their midst.

The screen then fades to black as Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” blares on the soundtrack, leaving it ambiguous whether the show’s star gets whacked — until now.

Spoiler alert: In the roundtable discussion, co-author Alan Sepinwall asked Chase, “When you said there was an end point, you don’t mean Tony at Holsten’s [the diner], you just meant, ‘I think I have two more years’ worth of stories left in me.’ ”

Then Chase, 74, dropped the bombshell: “Yes, I think I had that death scene around two years before the end … But we didn’t do that.”

Noticing his epic leak, co-author Matt Zoller Seitz chimed in: “You realize, of course, that you just referred to that as a death scene.”

“F - - k you guys,” replied Chase upon realizing his blunder.