Lost Heroes

Lost, ABC Wednesdays 9:00 pm
Heroes, NBC Mondays 9:00 pm

I was not an immediate fan of Lost. I watched the first episode when it aired in 2004, and while I thought there might be something to it, I didn't watch it anymore that season. However, after having so many colleagues at my office say how good it was, I bought the Season 1 DVD last year when it came out. Frank and I watched the first two episodes in one sitting, and we were hooked. We went through the entire first season in about 10 days of viewing.

We watched all of the 2nd season as it aired, and while it was not as good as the first, it still held our attention. I got awfully tired of the hatch, and of Locke being so willing to push that damn button. While Season 1 set forward a cool mystery, Season 2 just seemed to add confusion. I got the feeling the writers, having hooked people on a nifty premise, just went nuts and threw in anything that tickled their fancy, figuring they'd tie it all up later - or maybe not. The season ended with a bang (literally) of a cliffhanger, with a ton of new questions to answer. And really, only one question was actually answered the entire season: What made the plane crash? And even that wasn't a real answer; we know the person who is sort of responsible (Desmond), but that's about it.

Before Lost picked up again this year with Season 3, I decided to preview another series, Heroes, that began on NBC this year. Like Lost, Heroes is a serial drama with science fiction underpinnings. Unlike Lost, however, I was intrigued by Heroes from the first episode, and both Frank and I have watched every episode without fail so far this year.

Also like Lost, Heroes is going along with the idea of a "mini-season" this year - back-to-back new episodes, then a break, then continuing back-to-back episodes. As of this writing, there have been 8 episodes of Heroes, and 6 of Lost. Heroes will end its miniseason in two weeks, and will pick up again in late February of 2007; Lost ended its miniseason last week, and will also pick up again in late February of next year. Am I looking forward to both equally? Nope.

I'm sorry to say that while my interest in Heroes has grown, my interest in Lost has declined. It has become painfully obvious in this 3rd season that there is no overall mystery behind Lost; like The X-Files, they're just making it up as they go along, and so far, they aren't doing a very good job of making it up. Six episodes in a row with our top 3 characters all locked up in cells. Jack, ostensibly the lead character, spent nearly the entire miniseason in the same cell. I actually wonder if Matthew Fox shot all his scenes in one week? It sure looked like it.

No questions of any merit have been answered. More "mysteries" have arisen. And frankly, it doesn't even make sense anymore. No one's actions seem even vaguely real. Let's recap some inanities of Season 3 of Lost to date:

  • Sun kills a woman and escapes, only to lose the boat to The Others. We never see the boat again, and we haven't seen Sun again either. Nor does anyone back at "our" camp seem to even be aware of what happened. In the mini-finale, Sayid makes no mention of it, or of anything that happened.
  • Why in hell didn't Ben just plain ask Jack to remove his tumor? He could've walked up to him the day after the crash, said "Hi, would you operate on me please?" and I'm sure Jack would've done it. How is locking a doctor in a cell and "breaking him" going to accomplish the goal of having surgery done?
  • What are Sawyer and Kate working on? Breaking rocks? Kate says they're working on "something big", but all I've seen is chain-gang make work, breaking some rocks apart. What possible good is that?
  • There is another island right next door? And "our" castaways never saw it? Desmond never saw it in his boat? Sayid never saw it in his treks? None of the tailies ever saw it? Come on. I've been to Hawaii many times, and it looks like Ben was looking over at Maui from either Molakai or Lanai. Those islands are visible for miles and miles along the coast. No one could possibly miss an island that close to "our" island.
  • Uh.... so why didn't Kate run away? And even if they are on another island... why would she sleep in Sawyer's cage all night long, just waiting to be captured again?
  • Why does every flashback now try to re-do every character? So apparently now Kate is a loving bride, instead of a cold hearted felon; Jack is a cuckolded spouse with an Oedipal complex; Sun is a pathological liar; Mr. Eko did not actually take over his brother's church after all (well, that one I can buy), and Locke apparently went through a pot-growing hippy phase? Huh???
  • Why wouldn't Sayid have immediately, the very first time, sorted through the machines in the 2nd hatch ("the Pearl"). In Season 1, he spent entire episodes struggling to make a working radio. Now, he just ignore roomfuls of technology?

In short, Lost is .... lost. It's jumped the shark, it's flown the coop, it's become like the last pathetic 2 seasons of The X-Files. I'm just not interested anymore, and I don't believe there is ever going to be an explanation for 90% of what has been shown. But my main gripe is that nothing any of the characters do makes sense anymore. No one asks questions, no one volunteers information, no one does anything at all that any real, normal, halfway-sensible person would do in the same circumstances. I don't care how depressed or "broken" I might feel, I'd sure as hell want some damn answers if I were them!

And I hate this new batch of Others. If the writers pull a switcheroo and make it so that these sadists really are "The Good Guys" (as they have said half a dozen times now), I'll drop this show forever. The tone of this show is becoming way too Republican for my tastes. Apparently, if you're ever in a mysterious situation, you should immediately resort to torture - no matter which side you're on. That appears to be the lesson of Lost. Well, they've lost me.

Heroes, on the other hand, is doing exactly what I had hoped Lost would've done. Questions and mysteries are set up - and explained a few episodes later. Characters act, for the most part, the way you or I would act if we were in the same situations. Here we are, eight episodes in, and we're already getting a framework for how everything fits together. I also understand from reading interviews with Tim Kring that he intends for this show to be self-contained within each season, sort of how 24 is done. He has also said - and it appears to be happening - that this show will not just pose mysteries and questions, but will actually answer them.

Since Heroes hasn't been around for as long as Lost, I'm not going to go into details. If you're not watching it, or if you haven't seen any episodes yet, buy them on iTunes or catch up with the season so far once they start re-running it in December. And remember:

Save the Cheerleader. Save the World.

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