Thursday, May 27, 2010

The End of the "LOST" story.

In creating a story, one of the most important things to consider is the payoff. Will your audience feel satisfied watching the story? Will they feel you have resolved the questions you presented to them? And will your intended meaning reach them?

Really good stories are able to blend the plot resolve and meaning into a solution that makes the audience feel rewarded for reading or watching the narrative.

Most filmed stories seem to lean towards one or the other. For example, most  summer "popcorn" flicks present a nice wrapped up conclusion to their story, but it usually lacks meaning. Audiences who just want to be entertained usually view these movies.

Dramas will present character growth in a way that also challenges the viewer to take the meaning and apply it to their own life.

Another popular genre is the mystery. It usually focuses on the puzzle pieces of the case, inviting the audience to guess and piece together the answer, seeing if they were right in the end.

Stories that are well received usually stick to their own genre. Even if there are plot twists and surprises, it generally does not go into the realm of "what the... just happened?"

To suddenly throw a incredibly ridiculous and unnatural plot twist into a story is known as "jumping the shark" or, as I prefer to call it,  "nuking the fridge". (no, I am not fond of the wannabe an Indiana Jones 4 movie.)

After the ending of the TV show LOST last Sunday, many fans felt the popular TV show had gone absurd in the final 15 minutes, and that they had wasted six years of their lives. Others connected with the story and were satisfied with the ending.

My analysis and thoughts of "The End" (LOST 6x17) after the jumping shark.

I started these reviews of LOST, mainly becuase I enjoyed reading them. (Thank you Jeff Jensen for all the literary and cultural trivia. It's because of you, I really got into analyzing.) I had hoped to do one for each episode this season, but then when it came time for tech rehearsals on Pinocchio, and visiting my Marine while he was still in the area, and other things in life, I put writing for the blog aside. By the time I came back, enough episodes had passed it was pointless to catch up. (and I had read spoilers about the last few episodes that made it so I couldn't write a fair review.) But the ending of this show was definitely worth writing about, as it is the most to the point ending to a television show. And the End was....

They all died and went to heaven.

So on first viewing, I, like other viewers, went "whaaaaaaaaaaat?". Although the show has had many spiritual themes, the payoff was very... anticlimactic. With all the mysteries on the show that were left unanswered, why should we spend a whole half a season watching the characters in a unreal world where they are all dead? If they all died, why did the rest of the show matter?

Before moving on, it is important to remember worldviews. Mine is that the truth of God and life is found in the Bible. That we are sinners, and can be saved by the graceful sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And as Christians, we must keep that first in mind always in any entertainment we partake.
LOST was a spiritual/mystical show and I was interested in seeing what worldview the series ended up at.
The creators of the show decided to use a universalism religion in the finale. Universalism believes that all religions and theologies lead to the same place, God and Heaven. That belief is wrong. There are also problems with how it is used in the narrative.

From the narrative, it is assumed this "limbo" life is a place where one can work out their issues in life, so they can proceed into heaven(?) being fully enlightened and perfected. The view of the character Jacob was that there exists good in every man. And that man can better himself.
Therefore every character on LOST could eventually better himself in limbo land and enter into heaven. This would mean all the bad guys...

Including our favorite smoke monster.

Another quote from Jacob: "It only ends once,  everything that happens before that is just progress."

So, was the show just to watch the second to last phase of progress in these characters' moral evolution?

In that, I am disappointed with the ending, because it makes plots and decisions on the show seem irrelevant if they can all just "have a go again".

However, there are things I liked about the heaven ending at the same time. It was a reminder, that even though we, as TV audiences, sometimes watch shows religiously, the truth is, that if these people were real, they will die in the end too.

It is a reminder for us, that we must consider our life in light of the next life. We are enlightened. We know what comes next. Our job here is to glorify God in this life and bring others to him. Nothing else will carry over or will be worthwhile there.

The reason I reviewed LOST is because not only I enjoyed it, I was fascinated by the fan community. People are really reached by good stories. I hope to present well done stories worthy of my King, that others will enjoy and maybe even be challenged by.

So LOST was an fun show to watch and review. And Th-th-that's all folks!

(and yes, the dog survives. ;)

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