Articles from TMF News [May 21, 2010]
May 21, 2010 (Connecticut Post - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) – The way Mike Ganino sees it, a show like ABC's twisty sci-fi drama “Lost” doesn't come along very often.
Few TV series have the audacity, brilliantly complicated writing and impeccable casting of what's become arguably the most talked-about show of the past 10 years. Thus, in planning a party to celebrate/mourn the airing of “Lost's” final episode this Sunday, Ganino, who lives in Monroe, is going all out.
He's devised a “Lost”-themed menu, featuring such delicacies as Polar Bear brand ice cream (in a nod to the arctic creatures that roam the show's mysterious island) and peanut butter (a favorite food of some of the characters). Ganino's even hoping to procure labels featuring the logo of the show's Dharma Initiative and paste them on cans of beer, so the libations at his party will resemble those quaffed on the show.
He had been mulling the idea of sprinkling sand in his living room, but then his wife intervened. “She put the kibosh on that,” he said.
Over the show's six seasons on TV, “Lost” aficionados have formed a kind of cult. For them, this isn't just a TV show about a plane crash and a bunch of castaways on a crazy, possibly magical, island. It's a cultural touchstone.
Days before the show's 2 1/2-hour finale, Ganino couldn't quite say why “Lost” has earned such rabid devotion from fans. He just knows the show is special, and that he'll miss it when it's gone. “It seems it's been around forever,” he said. “I can't remember what it was like not to talk about 'Lost.' ” Others agreed that “Lost's” boldness puts it in a class by itself. Because it's a serial, with plot threads that carried over week to week, some found it hard to follow. In fact, “Lost” risked alienating people by not offering easy answers, said Rich Hanley, an assistant professor of journalism at Quinnipiac. “TV wants things clean and simple,” Hanley said.
“Lost” was complicated and messy. It discussed the Bible and philosophy. It killed off main characters. It had time travel, monsters and people possessed by said monsters. Thus, Hanley said, some casual fans eventually rejected it. But “Lost refused to “dumb down” to get a wider audience and, because of its commitment to strong storytelling “it will eternally be part of pop culture history,” Hanley said. He added that he could even see students of future generations studying the series academically. “It has the symbolism and mythology and stuff required for a good dissertation,” he said.
Lisa Burns, an associate professor of media studies at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, agreed that “Lost's” challenging, intelligent writing is its defining characteristic. She said the show is unique in the way it deals with topics both fantastical (time travel, monsters, etc.) and realistic – such as the battle between good and evil. “Viewers like to watch shows that deal with issues we grapple with every day,” Burns said.
She said fans have also grown attached to the show's complicated characters. That's particularly remarkable given that many of the series' actors weren't stars before “Lost” started. With the exception of “Party of Five” star Matthew Fox, who plays do-gooding doctor Jack Shephard on “Lost,” most of the show's cast members were either character actors or unknowns before landing their roles. Burns pointed out that Evangeline Lilly, who plays escaped convict Kate Austen, and Josh Holloway, who portrays con-man turned hero Sawyer, were struggling actors when they were cast.
Another unique aspect of the show is the way that it capitalized on the booming Internet age, Hanley said. Cyber-space has provided people with a way to discuss “Lost” with friends, family, and even strangers from all over the globe. “The show really fits into the Internet age,” Hanley said.
Meanwhile, fans in the region said the main thing they'll miss about the series is talking about it afterward. That's certainly true of Ganino, who works at the Shelton accounting firm Dworken, Hillman, LaMorte & Sterczala and has formed a sort of “Lost” fan club with his co-workers. He and his colleagues – many of whom are coming to Sunday night's shindig – spend hours dissecting episodes. Each has his own unique take on the show. Ganino, for example, likes the mythology-heavy hours of the show, like the May 11 episode “Across the Sea,” an origin story about the mysterious island denizen Jacob, and his brother, who became the island's feared Smoke Monster.
Though lots of fans didn't care for the episode, which featured almost none of the show's regular characters, Ganino was enthralled by it. “I thought it was fantastic,” he said.
Others in his office have their own favorite “Lost” moments. Nick DaPaz of Shelton said he really likes what the show has done with Locke, the complicated character played by Terry O'Quinn. Last season, the character was killed off, but, as fans know, death doesn't always mean the end of a character on “Lost,” and Locke was resurrected. Rather, the Smoke Monster took his form, giving O'Quinn a whole new character to play. “I never used to like Locke's character until he became the Smoke Monster,” DaPaz said.
Though fans said they'll miss the show, many were ready for it to end and answer some of the questions its posed over the years. Alice Salem of Westport didn't start watching the show until last year, cramming five seasons' worth of episodes into a few months of viewing.
She caught up in time for the sixth season and, though she's enjoying it, she feels it's time the show ended. “It's such a heavy show, and there's so much detail that I feel frustrated, like I need closure,” Salem said.