Last night, ABC aired the much-hyped final episode of its hit series Lost, which I've followed since the first season in 2004-2005. The finale had some pretty overt religious themes, and though I consider myself a man of science, not a man of faith, I think they worked within the context of the show. Unlike some viewers, I don't have any serious issues with the way Lost wrapped up last night.
However, I am pessimistic about how the series will come to be viewed as a whole. Television series today, much more so than before the days of the Internet and the DVD box set, are judged as a whole. And while there were a lot of great individual episodes of Lost (“The Constant” and “Ab Aeterno” in particular), the series overall seems disjointed to me.
During the early episodes of the show, the writers seemed to be spinning their wheels a lot. There was an early first-season which ends with a character discovering a mysterious hatch buried in the ground. I was pretty excited to see the next episode and discover the contents of said hatch. But the mystery of the hatch was dragged out for more than a dozen episodes, and its contents weren't revealed until the second-season premier. Many plot points followed the same model, being introduced as intriguing mysteries, then left unresolved for many episodes or even seasons. It was kind of frustrating, but I ultimately came to accept it as simply the way Lost was made.
More recently, though, the show began to wind down, and I presume the writers realized they had to actually wrap up the myriad loose ends they'd been creating, because things moved at an appreciably quicker pace during the last season or two. Plot elements were introduced in the last few episodes which, had they been part of the first season, would surely have spanned the better part of an entire season, but which now had to be resolved in only two or three episodes. I appreciated that Lost was finally being more forthcoming in answering the questions it posed, but it didn't really feel like the same show I'd been watching back in 2004 and 2005.
Having watched the show week-by-week over the course of six years, it's hard to say whether that perceived change is due to a real shift in the show itself, or simply a change in the way I've come to view it. With the last season still fresh in my mind, it's difficult to judge it in the same way I do the earlier seasons, with which I'm much more familiar. Now that Lost is a completed work, I'd like to get the whole series on Blu-ray and revisit it in a few years with a fresh perspective. I wonder how it will play out as a whole—will it be a satisfyingly cohesive, or will it be flawed and disjointed?