Saturday, 11 June 2011

Day 252

I've been revisiting record-busting TV dynamite Lost. Obviously this is a bad idea, given that there can only be 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and 4 nerdy TV addicts in a flat at any given time. But Lost is safe and comfy territory; it can be fodder, backdrop, padding, punchbag and blissful escape pod all at the same time.

Lost first appeared in 2004. I was in secondary school, and when David La Chapelle's enamouring teaser was released we were all sucked in like pins into a hoover.

A plane crash-lands on a desert island and everyone starts yelling at each other above the crashing of waves and the bubbleybubbleybubbley sounds of the tropical woodland. Someone is heroic, someone is selfish, and someone is preggers. There's terrifying roaring/clickety noises in the distance, and the possibility that they're not the only people on the island. And in the meantime, they're not getting rescued, so everyone has to worry about mangoes and fishies and brushing their teeth.

The Swiss Family Robinson aspect of Lost can be really fun to watch. Early on in the series there's an episode devoted to them settling into some caves with a convenient waterfall (Mira Azora 9.8kW Electric with a removable showerhead). There's also an episode in which meaty redneck Sawyer is getting headaches while reading Watership Down, so they make him a pair of reading glasses. Having their lives on the island properly enjoyed by the audience like that makes the island seem much more alive.

Which is important, because the premise of the entire series -- all six seasons -- is that the island is alive. I saw all the episodes as they came out, but at the moment, on my re-watch, I'm still on season 1.

I can't remember if it's the best season, but it's certainly the one people refer to as the good old days.

So far, I've noticed two things I never picked up on before. One is that the incidental music is extremely manipulative. Some of it is really enlivening and sweeping, but they (the editors? who?) have a habit of ending scenes on a cliffhanger and then adding in a deafening crescendo. Like this: "I'm going to do it. I'm going to kill him". nnnnnnnnnNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN.

The other thing I noticed is that the director likes to take the female characters when they're feeling vulnerable, strip them half naked, and then pan slowly over their body. Generally, in film and TV, slow camera drift over male flesh is considered homoerotic, but slow camera drift over female flesh is convention. I brought this up on Facebook and my cousin, a genius, replied that the answer to this problem is as follows -- "A show with a lot of flesh of both genders, and ONLY slow camera work. If a shot of the face must be done, then pan up from an oily torso".

To be fair, there is a lot of eye-candy on Lost. Namely Daniel Dae Kim and Michelle Rodriguez -- and Naveen Andrews (playing an Iraqi), who I just caught in one of the most startling/inappropriate Jonathan Ross interviews I've ever seen (go forth, if you interested. Just be prepared to grow bored of hearing the word "heroin").

The best plots involve Dominic Monaghan's lovable guitar-strumming drug addict turning to fatherhood, Jorge Garcia's lottery-winning comical fat guy discovering he's cursed, and the annoyingly-named John Locke putting aside his lonely tragedies in favour of jungle-loping knife-weilding button-pressing fatalism.

Lost is known (and sometimes avoided) for being puzzling. It can pretty much be summed up by the title sequence. Just the word "LOST", blurred. When the word finally comes into focus it's almost out of shot.

And it's true that after the first couple of seasons Lost does begin to bide its time, but answers are eventually given, and spotting clues to the sixth season in the first season is irresistible.

There's enough characters to please most people, and the island itself is just FUN. Lost may be Strongbows to The Wire's Ch√Ęteauneuf du Pape, but at least you can down it.

I apologise for saying "Ch√Ęteauneuf du Pape". It won't happen again. Now shh.

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