Javi’s ‘LOST Will and Testament.’

by waxbanks

Back to an old hobbyhorse, maybe/hopefully for the last time:

Javier Grillo-Marxuach has written a 17,000-word ‘Lost Will and Testament’ answering the question ‘Were you, the writers of Lost, making it up as you go along?’ If you like this sort of thing, go read it.

Lost is praised for the humanity and complexity of its characters, but it’s hard for me to take people seriously when they make such claims. I suspect a lot of the critical praise for the show comes from writers and wannabes who love its banal, too-obvious writerliness: the transparent string-pulling and hamfisted trauma-as-backstory and coincidence-as-story that passed for characterization on the show. The barely-subtextual drama of the writers’ room was more interesting (though less visually attractive) than the nonsense-in-the-jungle happening onscreen.

Its finale was embarrassingly bad.

Whatever.

It used to bother me that, beyond the initial ‘think tank,’ the writers had engaged in essentially no ‘worldbuilding’ beyond the ‘Hey here’s something cool!’ level — no systematizing, no coherence; nothing comparable to, say, the complexity of Game of Thrones, which of course would never’ve gotten to TV were it not for Lost — and were improvising nearly everything about the show. But that stopped mattering to me long ago. It’s network TV, that’s how it’s done, and the Big Brain tasks fell to Damon Lindelof, who may be ‘smarter’ than the rest of his Lost writing staff but who doesn’t seem to have had much to say for all that. My expectations lowered somewhere during the embarrassingly static Season Two and never recovered; Lost was fine as lurid pulp melodrama but as SF/F it was shallow incoherent nonsense

What’s surprising about JGM’s post is the revelation apparently he still gets a lot of such complaints. Hopefully his spirited, though subtly bet-hedging, defense of the show’s first two seasons will stop all that. There are so, so, so many ways in which Lost failed; merely being an American network TV show, subject to that ludicrous industry/format’s limitations and idiosyncrasies, shouldn’t be held against it.

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