I miss LOST.
For six years, ABC’s daring sci-fi/adventure/mystery cross-breed topped my list of favorite shows. Each new episode was a household event; guests were welcome—if they agreed not to talk over the plot twists.
LOST’s strength was its ensemble approach. The show’s genre shifted, depending on which character was featured that week. It could be melodramatic tragedy—John Locke’s pitiful story. Or a bad-luck comedy, starring the adorable Hurley. Would you get an action-heavy thriller, starring Jack? Or a sci-fi head-scratcher revolving around Desmond?
Whatever character was featured, one thing was certain: the episode would end with a mind-blowing cliffhanger, accompanied by dissonant trombones and a black title card. These crazy plot twists kept you hooked, obsessively tuning in week-by-week to learn more.
But there’s a downside to a show so heavy on cliffhangers: you can’t really rewatch it. Sure, you can find the series on DVD or Netflix; it’s perfectly suited to binge-viewing by LOST newcomers. But if you already know every plot twist, why bother? where’s the suspense? What’s the fun?
You already know, for example, that [spoiler alert!] John Locke was paralyzed when his dad shoved him out a window. You already know that Claire (or Jin, or Locke, or just about anyone who “dies”) isn’t dead. You already know that there’s a Brit on a bike inside the Hatch. You know Henry Gale’s real identity. It’s downright boring when you already know what’s hiding behind the curtain.
LOST mastered the big reveal—but at a cost to its viewers. No matter how much you’d like to, you can never go back to the Island.