LeadingSmart

Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

Lost: The Best Show on TV?

I should probably title this post, "Why Scott McClellan is the Smartest Man in the Blogosphere." At least today. That is because Scott, editor of Collide Magazine, agrees with me that Lost is the greatest show available on TV. Here are his reasons...

The story is key—Although the show has occasionally involved explosions, car chases, gunplay, and fist fights, those things are not what Lost is about. Instead, viewers are watching a huge narrative play itself out. The episodes and seasons are mini-narratives that comprise the overarching story of the island and its inhabitants. And that overarching story, so far, has been unlike anything we’ve ever seen on TV.

Nobody’s perfect—As the Losties’ backstories have been revealed, and as we’ve watched them interact on the island for 90 days, one thing is clear: there are no perfect people in the Lost universe. Isn’t that refreshing? In most episodic television, the characters are too good and things work out too well. Any character flaws are only skin deep, which allows them to patched up in a 30-minute episode. Real life just isn’t that way, which is part of why Lost resonates with its viewers.

Anything is possible—Redemption for sinners, polar bears in the jungle, and cancer in remission are just a few of the unlikely realities on Lost island. It’s really cool to watch a show that takes place in a world where conventional wisdom doesn’t always apply. In fact, rational science can’t explain everything that takes place on the show, which leads us into …

The supernatural—A lot of shows on TV dismiss the supernatural entirely (especially those courtroom dramas we love so much). Some other shows embrace the supernatural, but in a laughable way (think Touched By an Angel, Joan of Arcadia, The Ghost Whisperer, etc.). Lost’s acknowledgment of supernatural phenomena is creepy, suspenseful, and brilliant. Plus, it reminds us that for all its boasting, Big Science isn’t an omniscient monopoly.

Layers—Sure, Lost is pretty wide (it has characters and storylines out the wazzoo), but it’s also deep. Every character and event has multiple layers to it. That makes for pretty engaging entertainment, but it also might help us to stop reducing everything and everyone to a soundbyte. As it turns out, soundbytes rarely tell the whole story.

Mystery—When did the human race become so obsessed with overturning every rock and solving every mystery? Sure, it’s good to discover cures for diseases and new species of wildlife, but we need to learn to live with and appreciate the mysteries of life. Why do things happen the way the do? How do things happen the way they do? We don’t know, and nowhere is that more evident than Lost message boards.

Everything and everyone is connected—We tend to believe that people float in and out of our lives without consequence, but in reality, we’re all connected. Did you know that millionaire Hurley owned the box factory Locke worked in? Did you know Locke did some work (I think it was a home inspection) for Sayid’s long-lost love, Nadia? Lost often reminds us that we are all connected, and that the people around us are important in our personal stories and the bigger story we all find ourselves in.