Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lost along the way?

I have had a novel percolating in my mind for too long to remember. I know, and have written, the opening pages. I know exactly how it is going to end, right down to the final line. What I can't do, probably will never do, is get from that beginning to that ending. C'est la vie. Maybe there is no story there, just an idea I'm not smart enough to deal with.
I mention this because the developing meme among those who are defending the ending of Lost, the TV show, against those who feel cheated, most because too many questions were left unanswered, goes something like this:
The show ran for six years, for heaven's sake. It's not just a two hour episode or even a movie. You can't possibly tie everything together which happened over that stretch of time.

Let's postulate that in TV terms, a long running episode show telling a single story is comparable to a novel in literary terms.

Can you come up with a successful novel which did not, in the end, provide satisfaction in one fashion or another about all the stories and characters who passed through its pages, no matter how long the time span? Would you want to read such a novel?

I am not one of those terribly upset about the ending but there are certainly a myriad of things which seem to have been meaningless over the previous episodes. What were the numbers that plagued Hurley and kept showing up elsewhere all about? What the hell did the Dharma Initiative have to do with anything? How come Jacob could leave the island but Smoky Monster could not? What did pushing that button every 108 minutes have to with anything? Why could no babies be born on the island? These were big issues in seasons past and some or them, all of them, should have been dealt with.

I know you start out here and know you want to get to there in a project as big as this one was and invariably run into dead ends or failed storylines along the way. But that should be your problem to solve, not the audiences.


  1. I am now more glad than ever that I did not get into this show when I read about how much of it was seemingly ignored at the end. I like your mention of how many successful novels manage to wrap everything up at the end. It is the same lament about series like DEADWOOD or CARNIVALE that they were never allowed to conclude their stories.

    And, apropos to nothing else here at all, this is what I see in the Google Reader when you post to this site and using it as a search term brings me to this site, but why it shows still manages to intrigue me: "I have Heard The Mermaids Singinglifomfmappreg"

    I wish I knew what the hell it all meant. Maybe it is a LOST thing.

  2. I wish I knew why that happens and what it means as well.

    By choosing not to watch Lost, you missed one of the better mainstream TV shows of this century. Just because they didn't wrap everything up, doesn't mean that they failed. Far from it.