Archive for Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Save the best for ‘Lost’

Lawrence fans of the cult TV show ‘Lost’ anticipate the series finale

"Lost" fanatics (from left) Joe Noh, Joel Pfannenstiel, Jacki Becker and Drew James.

"Lost" fanatics (from left) Joe Noh, Joel Pfannenstiel, Jacki Becker and Drew James.

February 2, 2010

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“Lost” season six premiere, the final season

Tuesday, Feb. 28 p.m. - 10 p.m. on ABC, Sunflower channels 9, 12 and 200 (HD)(An hour-long recap episode precedes the premiere at 7 p.m.)Need to catch up?All "Lost" episodes from seasons one through five are available free online at hulu.com/lost. A very handy guide of 10 essential episodes from all five seasons is at ew.com.

The "Lost" season six promotional poster.

The "Lost" season six promotional poster.

The name of this Facebook group kind of says it all: "Americans Against the State of the Union on the Same Night as LOST."

When it became apparent a few weeks ago that tonight's long-awaited final season premiere of "Lost" might be pre-empted by the State of the Union address (you know, the one that would address war, widespread unemployment, health care reform and all that) the Internet lit up in protest.

Fans' blogs, tweets and Facebook groups all begged the White House to let their show go on.

Those fans' fears were put to rest by White House spokesman Robert Gibbs at a Jan. 9 press conference: "I don't foresee a scenario in which millions of people that hope to finally get some conclusion in 'Lost' are pre-empted by the president," he told the AP.

Long-term commitment

For those on the outside looking in, what exactly inspires the "Lost" cult following can be a bit mystifying.

The show started in 2004 with a plane crash on a mysterious tropical island. The ensemble cast of survivors was immediately thrust into a whirlwind of alliances, heroism, deception and betrayal. At times it could be mistaken for a dramatic version of "Survivor" - except that "Lost" isn't suited for casual viewing. Dozens of interwoven storylines arc over the course of multiple seasons, with the "good guys" and the "bad guys" seemingly always in flux.

Those who haven't started from the beginning or haven't watched pretty much every episode since are sure to be, well, lost if they try to pick up midstream. That's likely why the show has lost viewers every season - from an average 15.7 million viewers for season one to 11 million viewers for season five.

But for those who have spent the last five years enrapt by each and every episode, "Lost" is just about the best thing that ever happened to television. "Lost" devotee Joel Pfannenstiel says waiting for each new season and each new show can be torture.

"It's fun torture though. If you're going to be waterboarded by a TV show, it might as well be 'Lost,'" he says. "It takes all the awesome elements of other shows and crams them all into one little basket."

"Lost" spins an elaborate mythology centered around "the island" that tackles all kinds of metaphysical and mystical enigmas: free will and fate, faith and reason, good and evil, miracles, premonition, numerology, time travel, ghosts, the afterlife. Tiny pieces of the mystery surrounding the island are doled out slowly, stoking fans' can't-wait-for-the-next-episode addiction.

You might think this all sounds insane. And it is. But it's not — featuring "Lost" fans (in order of appearance) Drew james, Jacki Becker and Joe Noh. Caution: contains brief salty language.

The love/hate relationships with the show's characters — featuring "Lost" fans (in order of appearance) Drew James, Jacki Becker, Joe Noh and Joel Pfannenstiel. Caution: contains brief salty language.

Drew James didn't watch "Lost" from the get-go. But after a solid four days of watching seasons one, two and three on DVD, James is hooked.

"You're led to believe that every little piece of information you're handed you need to retain because it's going to be important at some point or be connected to the over-arching storyline," James says. "There are a lot of red herrings in 'Lost,' but how convoluted it is is what makes it fun."

That is, unless you're not one of the converted. Nathan Schwermann's wife is a "Lost" superfan, so he's given the show a fair shake - but he doubts he'll ever appreciate it.

"I never know what is going on. I am always completely lost. There are so many things that seem completely irrelevant to the show. Like why was there a polar bear on the island. And they spent an entire season of having a guy push a button every hour," Schwermann says. "It's just part of marriage that I put up with 'Lost.' She puts up with me leaving the toilet seat up, my love for '24' (my favorite show that she hates) and my love for video games."

Social experiment

Drew James, Jacki Becker and several others watch every episode together - twice. The first time they scream at the TV as the action unfolds - the second time through they watch in complete silence, soaking in every detail.

"When you watch 'Lost,' you don't watch it alone," Becker says. "I may pick up on something totally different than Drew or somebody else. When you watch it together you're all like, 'Hey, what about this?' or 'What about this?'"

Each year, Becker hosts a season premiere party at her house with a dozen or so friends.

"This year, you're not allowed in my door without a costume. There are rumors of a smoke monster that's going to show up," she says of one of the island's mysterious characters. "I'm pretty excited to see how they're going to get that done."

She says they'll be video conferencing this year's premiere with one of their watch-party friends who's since left Lawrence. Food and drink will be provided - all "Lost"-related, of course.

Jacki Becker's very own Dharma beer.

Jacki Becker's very own Dharma beer.

"We'll have mangoes and wild boar, and the beer will all be Dharma beer," she says, referring to the generic white "Dharma Initiative" wrapper that covers all the island's food containers. (Note to reader: if that doesn't make any sense, never mind.)

It'll be a bittersweet party tonight - they've waited years to know how it all ends, it's just too bad that it has to end at all, James says.

"It makes me sad that it's coming to an end, but it's also really nice that it's going to be a complete story," he says. "With the rabid fanbase, the writers know that there's no way they CAN'T answer all the questions for us before the end."

Great expectations

The questions. After five seasons, "Lost" has raised far more than it has answered. The ongoing mysteries of the show have inspired countless fansites that dissect each episode and theorize on what it all means. One of James' favorites sites is "Totally 'Lost,'" by Doc Jensen.

"Doc Jensen is a GOD when it comes to writing on 'Lost' theories," James says. "I'll read it and sometimes feel smart because I'm like, 'I thought the exact same thing.'"

Among the questions that hardcore fans like James really want answered in the final season (again, if this doesn't make any sense, never mind):

• Why can't children be born on the island?
• What's the significance of the numbers 4 8 15 16 23 42?
• What exactly is the Dharma Initiative? And who is Richard Alpert?
• Who are The Others, what is their motive, and what is the nature of their connection with life off the island?
• Is Locke somehow special, or is he just a pawn?
• What's up with the giant, four-toed foot statue? The Black Rock? The smoke monster?
• What's the deal with Walt? Or Libby?
• What's the story with the Adam and Eve skeletons?

And then, of course, there's the big question. What does it all mean? What is the island? Is it a sort of purgatory for the survivors? Is it the focus of a game being played by Illuminati? Is everything merely part of Hurley's imagination?

For the "Lost" faithful, everything's riding on how it all ends, says Joel Pfannenstiel.

"A lot of serialized shows don't pay off at the end - you're just like oooh-kay, what was THAT? Why did I waste my time? And that's really sad because it devalues everything that came before. This thing you had in your mind and held up as the pinnacle of awesome is crushed," he says.

"If they don't pull off a really awesome ending, it's going to really suck."



Lawrence "Lost" fans — In their words

Jacki Becker, Lost fan.

Jacki Becker, Lost fan.

Jacki Becker — downtown small business owner hoping to capitalize on all this magical free money Obama talked about in the latest State of the Union. If the word -ball has a competitive league I probably play it (dodgeball/kickball/triviaball?). Other than that, I am a Virgo/Libra cusp who loves cats and concert promoting.

Favorite character: Hurley. As much as I want to say Sayid, I am just not a violent person, so I have to go with the lovable oaf who sees dead people, loves to cook, and whose dad is played by Cheech Marin. He has a kind spirit, takes things far too much to heart, but can be strong and stand up for what he thinks is right when in a pinch. Oh, and speaking of pinch, man his cheeks are full on pinchable.

Least favorite character: Let's just hear it for my whole freakin' gender. All the women on Lost are driven by their love relationships. It's all about the men in every woman's life on the island. Kate "Freckles" and the three-way tear-fest between her, Jack and Sawyer. Kate just really really bothers me, always trying to be "strong" but she seems to always blunder in a land of salty, salty pathetic tears.

How will it all end: I don't want it to end. But I also know I don't want any kind of happy ending which ends with the flight actually landing at the intended destination for Oceanic flight 815 on Sept. 22, 2004 (I bring up the date only because it's my birthday and, well, it makes me feel even more inexplicably attached to the show).

Other favorite TV shows: Dexter, Big Love, Six Feet Under, Mad Men when you are looking at hour-long programs and not comedy. I was the hugest X-Files fan, and I still watch episodes every now and then — but the journey and the ensemble cast which accompany "Lost" make it truly the greatest TV show of all time.



Nathan Schwermann, Lost detractor.

Nathan Schwermann, Lost detractor.

Nathan Schwermann — computer science student, Android developer/enthusiast, aspiring video game developer, hater of Lost.

Favorite character: Locke. I just like his expertise on the island even though they wasted an entire season of having him press a button.

Least favorite character: Jack. He's just plain annoying.

How will it all end: Tough one. I guess they are all dead, or it is a dream.

Favorite TV shows: Chuck, Battlestar Galactica, Dexter, Futurama, Venture Bros., Entourage.



Lost fan Samantha Schwermann.

Lost fan Samantha Schwermann.

Samantha Schwermann — preschool teacher, avid reader, pet enthusiast, lover of Lost.

Favorite character: Hurley. He is underestimated as a key character. I think he might have the answers to a lot of the questions. I also liked his love story. I was really sad when Libby died. Especially when they showed her at the same mental hospital as Hurley. They never finished that story line and I would like to see how it plays out.

Least favorite character: Jack, although I think he and Kate should be together. I think that he likes power and being in charge. He sometimes doesn't listen to what is best for others. He chooses the path he thinks is best. I don't like when leaders don't stop to listen to the people they are leading.

How will it all end: I think they are all dead already.

Other favorite TV shows: Battlestar Galatica is the best show ever. It had a great story line and even better actors than Lost. You became too enraptured in the story that you forgot that an hour has gone by. We watched season one and two on DVD and found ourselves spending an entire day watching Battlestar. I'm very sad it was canceled.



Lost fan Joel Pfannenstiel.

Lost fan Joel Pfannenstiel.

Joel Pfannenstiel — owner/operator of Astrokitty Comics & More, freelance illustrator, fan of karaoke, Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo and black and white pets.

Favorite character: Ecko and Sayid. Only one is still alive but both are bad asses and don't get as bogged down in all the stupidity like other people on the island. They just act, get things done, and don't take any b.s. in return.

Least favorite character: Jack. He's whiny and can't seem to get out of the repetitive and self-destructive cycles that always lead him down the same path. People seem to think he's the main hero character, but it's clear he's just kind of the guy who yells "Hey, follow me" and then leads everyone into a pit filled with spikes or something.

How will it all end: I think the smog monster will turn out to be a sentient fart, will use the time machine, and replace all human beings with fart-monsters. Either that or it'll all turn out to be a dream the Cloverfield monster had after a night of binging on grade-schoolers.

Other favorite TV shows: Arrested Development might be the comedy equivalent. Venture Brothers might be the animated equivalent. Both are pretty intricate and build on previous episodes. Both need to be seen from the beginning to fully enjoy the scope of the shows and all the little overlapping details. Battlestar Galactica (modern), Dexter and Hill Street Blues might be the same sort of gotta-see-what-happens-next-week kind of shows of that caliber as well.



Lost fan Joe Noh.

Lost fan Joe Noh.

Joe Noh — student/comic shop employee and KJHK talk show personality who likes music, movies, TV, video games, comic books, karaoke and food. Had hopes to play a younger version of Jin or Miles on Lost, but is devastated now that the show is reaching its season finale.

Favorite character: Desmond. He's smart and has one of the most interesting back stories. He is obviously special and is a key player in the overall scheme of things. Miles is my favorite new character because he's even more cynical that Sawyer. He's logical, and a realist. He's also very funny.

Least favorite character: John Locke. He has no idea what he's doing. His has directly or indirectly killed or gotten other people killed, and his excuse is always, "The island told me so." Although he claims he does, he doesn't have other's best interest in mind. He's the most illogical character and I laugh with joy every time terrible things happen to him. Don't get me wrong, he's an interesting character that keeps the show interesting, I just don't care for him. Mr. Ecko was essentially a better version of John Locke. I wish Mr. Ecko was still around. I also hate Sun's father. He's really ugly and essentially plays an Asian stereotype.

How will it all end: I think Jacob, Ben, Desmond, Locke, Charles Whidmore and "The Man in Black" are all key players in the end. There's some battle between them, although it's not clear who is on what side. I think Jacob and "The Man in Black" represent good and evil, and their battle will come to a violent conclusion right before there is a major plot twist. Most questions will be answered but they'll still save some for a feature length film that will arrive two years from now.

Other favorite TV shows: Twin Peaks (especially season 1), because it meticulously balanced mystery, humor, and terror with an amazing ensemble cast. Firefly because it's basically Millennium Falcon: The Series. Also, I love Joss Whedon. If it hadn't been canceled so early, it most definitely would be my favorite show ever. Dexter because it has great writing, acting, and amazing premise. Futurama because it exceeded every expectation I had for it. I love it much more than the Simpsons. Fringe because it's like an awesome mixture of X-File and Lost. Spaced because I cherish every nerdy reference it makes to Star Wars and Resident Evil. It also launched the careers of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz fame.



Elizabeth Carter

Elizabeth Carter

Elizabeth Carter — student, enjoys keeping up with celebrity gossip, volunteering at an elementary school, napping.

Favorite character: Either Ben or Locke. Both have this crazy undertone that we don't understand and that makes them interesting. Also they've both been burned by the island so they fear and respect it. The smaller characters of Rose and Bernard are also great. Their love story prior to coming to the island was so sweet and they've stayed dedicated to each other through all the hardships on the island.

Least favorite character: Kate. She always cuddles up to whichever leader seems right at the time, be it Sawyer or Jack. In the flashbacks of her, she seems like a strong woman so I don't know why she feels she has to attach herself to a man now on the island.

How will it all end: I have no idea how it will end, but they have a lot of explaining to do, and no matter how it ends it will leave some people unsatisfied. When Lost began, people began to dedicate their lives to it, decoding the numbers, making hypothesis, and watching for details. But now that the show has stretched on so long with so many months of nothing new in between, I'm sure some people just want their questions answered.

Other favorite TV shows: Doctor Who is one of my absolute favorite shows. I only began watching when it was "reborn" with Christopher Eccleson a few years ago but it is a wonderful program with adventure, emotion and humor. Sci-Fi channel had a miniseries called The Lost Room in 2006 which is also one of my favorites. The entire series is six hours, but the premise was really interesting and I have the DVD now.



Lost fan Kerry Comiskey.

Lost fan Kerry Comiskey.

Kerry Comiskey, Publications Coordinator for Ascend Books.

Favorite character: Sawyer. He is always trying to exhibit a tough guy persona, but underneath he is quite complex. He deals with the same conflicts we all do. Love, hate, lust, envy, greed, determination. He's very relatable.

Least favorite character: Hmmm...I suppose Penny's father. He's so evil. He wants the island, but we're not sure why yet. I can't wait to see how his plan unfolds.

How will it all end: It all ends with Locke. Wherever he is, that's where everything will be explained. It all has to be some sort of higher conspiracy, someone trying to find the secrets to how the world works.

Other favorite TV shows: Weeds, True Blood, Californication, Mercy, Grey's Anatomy, Nurse Jackie, The Tudors, Sex and the City, Gilmore Girls, Friends, ER (the early years), Gossip Girl, Brothers and Sisters, Friday Night Lights.



Lost fan Lauren DeGraw.

Lost fan Lauren DeGraw.

Lauren DeGraw, recent KU graduate. In this rockin' economy, degrees in spanish and journalism have allowed me to move back in with the 'rents and work as a server in Denver. I love concerts, wine, traveling, bad reality television, PBR suspenders and I have a somewhat creepy obsession with Anthony Bourdain. I miss Lawrence terribly and wish college never ended.

Favorite character: Sayid. I feel I can ALWAYS trust him. He is incredibly intelligent and dependable, which is a great combination. I never question his actions or intentions, he keeps everyone's best interest at heart. He also has a really great back story and I forsee him having a very large role in the end of the series. I really like that the creators of Lost made him Iraqi, which could typically undermine his reputation, but instead he breaks the stereotype that Muslims are all terrorists and untrustworthy. I thought that was a nice touch, whether or not it was intentional.

Least favorite character: Ben. You can't trust a word he says. As far as a character others may like but I personally don't care for, that's tricky. Each character has something to offer and you become attached to each of them in your own way. But if I had to answer, I'd say it has to be Juliet. Although she has proven herself to be pretty trustworthy and loyal to the Oceanic survivors, there is something about her that gives me a bad vibe. I always felt she had selfish intentions and manipulated others to go along with her. However, who can blame her? I would want off the island, too. Also, as a team Sawyer/Kate fan, I didn't like that she started a relationship with Sawyer in season five, but that's a pretty selfish reason. She did end the season heroically, but I don't think she is actually dead.

How will it all end: I've debated this question for five years now with other Lost fanatics. I know that the creators won't resolve all mysteries on the show, which is frustrating. I just hope they don't turn the island into a metaphor for purgatory or a figment of crazy Hurley's imagination. With the time travel and relocation of the island in the last couple of seasons, I am even more confused than ever. All my theories are shot. I do think the end of the series will end with the Oceanic flight departing Sydney with the same passengers. They will all have a connection they can't explain but this time the flight won't crash.

Other favorite TV shows: One of my favorite shows of all time is HBO's Six Feet Under. I thought everything about it was flawless — the writing, the acting, etc. You feel such a connection to the characters, similar to Lost. The series finale was perfect, which is hard to do with any show. I do also love True Blood, which is from the same writer as Six Feet Under, Alan Ball. Like Lost, it's got a crazy storyline that keeps you on your toes. It's just a fun, over-the-top show.

Comments

Kirk Larson 5 years, 4 months ago

I did the same thing, watched the first four seasons on DVD then started watching in real time.

acg 5 years, 4 months ago

I never got into this show. Well I watched the first several episodes then I missed a few weeks and never did understand what was going on when I tried to pick it up again. I have a special place in my heart for Lost, though, because my nephew is in three episodes. He was stationed in Hawaii and they were filming. They had an open casting call for men who look like soldiers and since he was in the Army, well, that's all obvious. He got a part in an episode and then they had him consult on two more and then they put in him two more after that. Pretty cool, eh?

Kirk Larson 5 years, 4 months ago

ChiHawkInKS , How do you know it's stupid? Do you watch it? I think it is one of the better written, more clever shows than I've seen in a long time. If you're going to compare, what do you watch that's so much better?

slhix02 5 years, 4 months ago

Yes ChiHawk; please read a story about something you hate simply to put others down. Good plan. All you did piss yourself off.

Kirk Larson 5 years, 4 months ago

In the timeline of the show, they crashed in September 2004 and have only been there several months.

acg 5 years, 4 months ago

ChiHawk, you're so uber cool with your disdain for anything mainstream! I'm surprised you even deign to own a television. Now, get off the blogs about a stupid show for mindless idiots and get back to your Neitzsche, already. The gasbag quotient online doesn't need you factored into the equation.

Liberty275 5 years, 4 months ago

I'd rather watch House. And read Nietzsche.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 4 months ago

Haven't ever seen it. Don't want to. Just some more network sewage for the lame minds with nothing whatsoever to occupy their minds but the open sewer that the tv networks have become. A lot of hoopla. Who was it that said something about "full of the sound and fury signifiying nothing?

Same deal.

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