Wednesday, June 04, 2008

LOST season 4 sucks!

I finally broke down and watched most of LOST season 4 this week. I had assumed that the season 3 finale would be a "jumped the shark" moment. In reality, LOST didn't just jump the shark; it started dancing the Charleston on the rim of the shark tank. Thoughts about what went wrong will accumulate here.
  • The first thing to realize about LOST season 4 is that the producers of LOST hate LOST. The mass extermination of plot elements that took place in season 3 only gets much worse in season 4. Season 4 doesn't just toss nearly all of the surviving "mythology" into the trash bin; season 4 kicks the main characters off of the island and then *MOVES THE ISLAND* so they can't get back to it.

  • The point of LOST season 4 is that LOST, from this point on, is going to be an entirely new show. This new show, which we might call "The Benjamin Linus Chronicles", involves LOST season 3 supervillain Benjamin Linus becoming Benjamin "Danger" Linus, international man of mystery. In season 4, Benjamin Linus finally decides to leave the island in order to become a world-bestriding colossus who uses his vast wealth (never seen) and influence (never seen) to wage a global war on terror against industrial titan Charles Widmore (i.e. the rich, evil, old white guy).

    The island, on the other hand, is pretty much worthless now that Ben has become Blofeld. Locke inherits it as his consolation prize.

  • At this point, you must be assuming that season 4 explains the remaining mysteries surrounding the island. Season 4 tells the audience squat about the island! It also shows the characters who do know the secrets of the island making it clear that you are too stupid to understand them, even if they told you. Characters who know the secrets of the island even threaten each other with violence in order to prevent the slightest scraps of information from leaking out to the viewer.

    News flash: you, the viewer, are not going to be told the answers to any of the island's mysteries, ever. The producers obviously assume that you are some kind of mouth-breathing idiot for even bothering to care about the show's mysteries.

  • Another of the serious problems of season 4 is that the producers apparently came down with a case of "Seinfeld"-itis when they were planning it. For example, season 4 makes heavy use of flash forwards (the opposite of flashbacks) with the twist that the flash forwards are in a rough reverse chronological order between successive episodes. In other words, half of season 4 uses the "Seinfeld" trick of telling the story "backwards".

    Another example comes near the end of the show when the six Flight 815 survivors who make it back to civilization (i.e. "the Oceanic six") give a press conference to a legion of eager reporters. The reporters start asking the survivors some unpleasant questions which become extra unpleasant for the six survivors because they are shamelessly lying in their answers. The effect is to echo another notorious "Seinfeld" innovation: putting the star characters on trial for the crimes and misdemeanors that they've committed in previous seasons.

  • There is one real trial presented in season 4: fugitive/murderer Kate Austin is put on trial for her crime spree before crashing on the island. In defiance of the near-universal expectation that Kate would get a totally inexplicable presidential pardon in advance of the proceedings, the prosecuting D.A. actually manages to plea bargain Kate up to a slap on the wrist.


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