Why LOST Has Become Unwatchable (It's All About the Writing)

[We now take a break from our regularly scheduled programming for the following rant.]

I’ve been a devoted fan of LOST since its debut. I have watched
the first season four times; I have watched the second season three
times; I have watched the third and fourth seasons twice.

I can
watch it so repeatedly only because the writing is so damn good. I love
how the audience is given credit for having a brain, that we have
to guess at what people are thinking or feeling, and that even if
people’s motivations aren’t apparent at the start, we sense a good
reason for their actions, and there’s a payoff when the full story
(usually a back story) is revealed.

It is simply compelling to watch the characters interact and develop and grow. They act like real people. And we don’t have all the answers.

Unfortunately,
now that we’re knee-deep in season five, it feels like LOST is starting
to completely lose all the wonderful things that made it so good to
begin with.

  • We now get touchy-feely emotional status updates
    or displays from the likes of Sawyer or Kate, as if we were watching
    daytime drama. I don’t want people to vomit up their emotions every
    other scene! I want repression, misdirection, misunderstanding!
  • We now
    see characters do crazy things (that put themselves at enormous risk) that they have no reason or motivation
    to do (except out of the goody-goodness of their hearts).
  • Everything
    is now explained to us. (Hey, sorry folks if you haven’t been able to
    follow the time-travel plot twists, let us break it down for you real
    slow during this excruciating conversation, revealing how dumb we think you really
    are.)
  • Numerous plot holes opening left and right. E.g., aren’t people
    suspicious that Juliet has suddenly become a skilled surgeon when she
    was originally working the motor pool? Hello?

I just spent about 10 minutes Googling to find sympathizers, by searching:

  • Lost Season 5 poor writing
  • Lost Season 5 bad writing
  • Lost Season 5 terrible writing
  • Lost Season 5 writing

I found nothing. Am I being too tough on this show? Am I the only one? Aren’t there any writers/editors watching? Does anyone agree it’s quickly becoming unwatchable? (I think I may have some sympathizers over at AgentQuery due to a Tweet exchange on wanting to detonate the island.)

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0 thoughts on “Why LOST Has Become Unwatchable (It's All About the Writing)

  1. Lystra Pitts

    I completely agree that Lost has lost something. I was once so envious of the Lost writers. They could do anything, to anyone, at anytime and the story just evolved around it. The less information they gave the better we liked it. A polar bear on a tropical island! Yes! A killer cloud! Yes!
    It was an awesome vehicle for storytelling, there absolutely were no rules. It was free, it was open, it was fascinating.
    I think where they started to go wrong is they started to make rules. They started to define the island and create boundaries, saying that things were impossible or possible destroyed the freedom that the writers so enjoyed.
    Now we know so much about the island we can complain about this point or that, because they showed us the boundaries we know when they cross them. The writer’s wrecked their own playground. Like children on a lopsided teeter-totter they flounder around trying to get it to work again. They haven’t figured out that it is broken and it will never be the same.
    As a writer I am watching Lost with even more interest this season. I am watching and saying this is where they fail and this is where they succeed. I hate to get overly analytical during brain dead TV time. It means the plot has failed to hook me, but when I do, when I can actually step outside the story, that is what helps me the most when crafting my own twisted tales.
    All in all I am still watching and still learning from the writers of Lost. I am just not as entertained as I once was.
    Still, at least it isn’t Kings! That show should be a beacon of hope for all the bad writers of the world. You could write screenplays for NBC!

  2. Bill Peschel

    (One more comment, I never can shut up) 🙂

    If you don’t want to read the whole thing, they’ve added some links to external sites with a ton of information. I’ll cut and paste the text, but you’ll have to go there (reading is free) and read the opening post to get the links:

    Here are some interesting external links:

    The Tail Section: Excellent site for still frame photos of key scenes, along with some good analysis. But… beware of spoilers!

    Sledgeweb’s Lost… Stuff: Pretty good site, but again beware of spoilers. I use it mainly for the Timeline section, which is an incredibly detailed breakdown of “how long since…?” for almost anything you can think of (pre- and post-plane crash).

    Door Map from Episode 2.17. A nicely cleaned up version of the diagram Locke saw while pinned under the lockdown doors. No spoilers.

    Lostpedia: The wikipedia of Lost information. Quite a comprehensive site, but beware of spoilers!

    ThEmIsFiTiShErE: The Misfit offers his whacky commentary on “Lost”. Is he a nut-case or a clever insider? Careful, though, possible spoilers.

  3. Bill Peschel

    We loved the first season so much we got the box set. Then we bought the second season (we don’t have cable so we have to wait).

    Then, I came across an interview with the producers that said, in essence, that ABC owned the show and will stretch it out as long as possible to make as much money as possible. That killed my interest in the show for now.

    I’ll wait until the run is over and see what the reaction is before devoting so much time to it.

    As for discussions, I’ll direct you to the Straight Dope message board, where they’ve been hashing out each episode:

    Episode 9: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=510798&highlight=Lost

    Episode 10: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=511706&highlight=Lost

    Episode 11: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=512553&highlight=Lost

    Each thread has at least 80 posts, so be prepared to spend some time there.

    I love the Straight Dope site (it’s based on the column that appears in alternative newspapers). The people there are a little bit older, diverse and at times incredibly informative.

  4. Judy Schneider

    My family has been completely immersed in LOST since it’s beginning. And because I only catch bits and pieces of it, I have always been LOST, ever since season one (although, as you mention, you don’t have to follow every minute of the seasons to recognize that the writing is excellent). However, I do tend to be less LOST this season which likely means that LOST isn’t as intriguing or convoluted or just plain gripping it used to be. Oh well, you know what they say about all good things…

  5. Judy

    You are not alone! I feel Lost is lost, hoping to find itself as it goes. We (the viewers) are merely in the vicinity as they (the writers) attempt (through over-writing) to get their bearings… and yet, I’m still watching.

  6. Jane Friedman

    Shucks, I still have to love LOST, even if I yell more often and louder at the TV.

    I have not seen Lost-for-Dummies! That sounds brilliantly humorous. Available on YouTube probably? I will look.

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