Friday, January 23, 2009

Lost Obervations

I already wrote about the experience of Twittering Lost, so I won't get much more into that here. I just want to talk about my impressions of the first episode.


I was floored from the first moment. There was some unnecessary silliness (Sawyer's "Gimme your shirt" Hurley's T-shirt purchase, and Hurley/Sayid's "Weekend at Bernies" segments in particular), but for the most part I was in the grip of the storyline start to finish. The semi-resolution of last season's finale was great. The cameo appearances by many deceased characters was brilliant. I love how Sun has a dark side being revealed. On the negative side, I am not sure how I feel about the rest of the Oceanic 6. I don't fully understand their motivations, particularly Jack and Sayid, but I expect that that will come in time over the course of this season.

I do think that the producers of Lost are going to experience a viewer purge as a result of this episode, and here's why. The most common reason that I suspect that casual viewers ("casuals") are prevented from becoming rabid viewers is the story complexity. Casuals want to be able to miss an episode once in a while or miss the first 10 minutes here and there. Casuals certainly don't read blog posts like this one. The problem that casuals have that prevents them from becoming more engaged is story complexity. Rabid Lost viewers ("fanboys") such as myself delight in the complexity. We come up with theaories, post our obervations on blogs, examine the show frame by frame with our HD DVRs, and debate the philosophical underpinnings of the show. As more and more answers are given, the layers of complexity get deeper and deeper, and fanboys love it. I can't imagine being a Casual. I really can't. I love what the producers did with the storyline because it caters to the fanboy, but make not mistake, it will hurt them with the casuals. Just do a twitter search for #lost + confused to see what I mean.

On the other hand, I don't think that you can please the casuals and the fanboys. Thankfully, I think that the Lost producers are aware of this. I am guessing that they figure that they have a dedicated fanboy base that they want to maintain. If they had taken the story in a less complex direction, they probably would not have won over too many casuals and would have turned off the fanboys.

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