The most important event in US narrative television history is taking place this year. After six seasons, the television series Lost is winding up. What makes this so important for narrative TV in the US? It’s the first time a show has been able to structure itself to end on its own terms.
The first two-and-a-half seasons of Lost are good, but they are not compelling viewing. This changed mid-way into season three when the show’s producers were given permission to set their own end date. From that point on, the show developed a tight structure and a purpose-driven narrative. Lost suddenly became great must-see television.
This freedom to explore the narrative enabled producers the opportunity to make one of television’s weirdest narratives even stranger and more complex. No longer were viewers watching a show with a clear linear structure. Instead, the producers took them on a ride that involved flashbacks, flash-forwards, possible alternative realities, and characters literally time travelling. All the while never once neglecting the show’s bread and butter of giant smoke monsters, sonar fences, and tropical polar bears.
For the past three seasons, Lost has not been kind to the casual viewer, but for those willing to put in a little effort each week, it has been an amazing ride.
If you are still watching Lost, there is no way that you’re not eagerly awaiting each new instalment over the next month. For those of you who gave up early on a show that didn’t seem to be going anywhere, I recommend you get your hands on the DVD sets. There has never been a show quite like it.
Details: Catch the last three episodes. Lost airs Wednesday nights on 7Two at 8:30pm and is available on DVD/Bluray. Earlier Crikey review of Lost here.
Flashback: a week in Daily Propositions. In case you missed them, here’s what we were into this week: