Netflix Instant is modern man’s greatest/underutilized invention — You literally could be watching The Super Mario Bros. Super Show right now! And without getting your DVD copy out of its case! — but there are so many choices it’s difficult to decide which film or TV show to watch. Insert this series, which makes your life a little easier by giving some thumbs up recommendations to the things I love. Because sometimes it’s hard to tell whether watching a Jean-Claude Van Damme “movie” will be worth the experience (Double Team: yes. Death Warrant: no). This week’s recommendation is ABC’s Lost. (The first five seasons are available on Netflix Instant)
On Sunday, ABC aired an epic two and half hour series finale for the network’s most successfully ambitious show since Twin Peaks. No program took as many risks as Lost; not all of them worked, but very few could generate the emotional impact Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof created for its audience. Each week provided insightful philosophical commentary — albeit sometimes forced — and offered compelling television for 42 minutes — albeit with some go-nowhere cliffhangers — but, first and foremost, the characters represented Lost‘s best qualities. We’d not only see who the characters were on the island, but who they were before and what they’d become. Insignificant ones would be disposed — some in graceful ways, others in shocking reveals — in order to free up room for newer, more dynamic characters. The cast grew and grew with each passing season, and the characters’ collective story widened. Midway through the series, there’s a sense that we never want to see these characters leave this place. All they have are the people they meet after the crash; their only real family are these few survivors. By the end, those who watched Lost were immersed in a singular world and came out with entirely different worldviews.
I might not have been a dedicated Lost follower if it wasn’t for all the great analysis out there. The AV Club’s Noel Murray, Star Ledger’s (now Hitfix.com’s) Alan Sepinwall, the Chicago Tribune’s Mo Ryan and Entertainment Weekly’s Doc Jensen all provide insightful recaps of the show’s later seasons, and I highly recommend reading them after each episode. Watching Lost is a journey. As It begins a new life on DVD/Blu-Ray, I advise taking it slow; you should cherish your time with these characters.
Note: Please no discussing major plot points or the series finale in the comments. I’m trying to keep this post as spoiler-free as possible.