Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Lost" in Eight Minutes

I was always the sort of nerd who, once he decided he liked some TV show, saw every episode and remembered all the plotlines — thus, too, my musings on comic book continuity in more than one entry on this blog over the past three years.

At some point in the past few years, though, I started to realize, in a tragic irony worthy of a Twilight Zone episode, that while Hollywood’s been taken over by nerds who think like me, I’m getting too burned-out on protracted obsessive-nerd drama to keep consuming the stuff.  I think in some ways it was X-Files that broke me, eight years ago: a glorious, nine-season-long pole vault straight into a brick wall.  Pointless.  And don’t get me started on that terrible second movie again.

So now, when I see, for example, Julian Sanchez write with enthusiasm about how Fringe is designed to be watched with TiVo so that you can slo-mo certain clues that hint at what the next episode’s about, or I hear that the plot of Battlestar Galactica changes before your eyes if you Twitter about it while using a secret decoder ring (the latter I made up), it just sort of makes me tired.  I’m sure it’s all cool, but I just don’t know if I have the energy — the naive optimism, really — to ever again dive into multiple seasons of something that “works 400 times as well if you follow it for the whole five years” (much as I will always love Babylon 5, don’t get me wrong — or at least the first four seasons).

For a long time, I thought I’d catch up on all this stuff on DVD, which also sounds great in principle, but then the creeping mathematical awareness dawns that I can’t imagine cramming, say, three whole days into my schedule to watch Arrested Development.  I may yet watch the David Tenant Doctor Who.  We’ll see.  Watching a season of 24 in twenty-four hours still sounds like a good performance art idea, but I wouldn’t want to bet I’ll get around to it (naturally, one would have to press play at the time seen in the timecode on-screen, for maximum effect).  I saw a few seasons the normal way.

In conclusion, I’m sure Lost has been good and that this coming Tuesday’s season-six premiere will bring joy to many people — but watching this eight-minute summary of the first five seasons sort of makes me want to lie down, as Scott Nybakken once said of the high-spirited posters for the musical Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk.


Gerard said...

I never understood the appeal of 24.

1. Kiefer Sutherland, aside from Stand by Me and the Lost Boys, is not a good actor.

2. For a show whose plot usually revolves around multiple terrorist plots to blow up an American city, the show is not that compelling.

Clay Waters said...

I always buy books figuring when I get some free time I’ll read them, but when I actually think about my schedule that makes no sense. I don’t read on vacation or when I’m with the family. The only solution would be to commit a small crime and insist on jail time, which would free up mandatory time away from Internet access and the outdoors. If I have nothing else to do, I read.

FWIW, since life is short, you can probably get away with just the initial 3-hour miniseries of Battlestar Galactica.

And my picks of the best episodes of the new Dr. Who (all penned by the same writer, Stephen Moffatt):

Season 1 two-parter: “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances”

Season 2: “The Girl in the Fireplace”

Season 3: “Blink”

Season 4 two-parter: “Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead”

Dave said...

I sort of feel the need to make it clear that although I watch new Dr. Who, people should absolutely NOT use it as a measure of my taste, wheras old school Who, I proudly stand by. And I’m not just being nostalgic, the new one has the trappings of Dr. Who, but not so much of the imagination. The TARDIS is just one room. Need I say more? And I can’t really introduce a new person to old school Who. It takes dozens of years, starting with an intense study of Tom Baker episodes through the eyes of a five year old before the concept of regeneration is even introduced.

I just discovered Babylon 5 (only through season 3 so far) but IMHO it’s far superior to BSG.

Not that BSG or Lost are bad, but when “Nerds like you” take their interests and reconfigure them so the General Public can appreciate them, something is often lost. You can’t really shove subtlety down someone’s throat, know what I mean? It’s not that they’re bad, but I think the rabid, mainstream fans are experiencing certain things for the first time.

I think what you need to do is get with the spirit of the times and become unemployed – plenty of catching up time.

Xine said...

I watched all five seasons of *Lost* over a couple of months, just finished last week, and am now bereft (easy pun ignored). It has the virtue of being what Umberto Eco said made *Casablanca* such a success: it very self-consciously constitutes *all* genres of popular film. *Lost* is soap opera, travel show, prison film, alien movie, occult film, medical drama, western, heist, Saturday-serial, war movie….and on. The nods to *Twilight Zone*, *Twin Peaks*, and *X-Files* are obvious, but what I like about it is how unapologetically it shifts genres by (and often within) episode. (And Josh Holloway is hot.)