Lost. It finished it's season last night. It, as per usual, answered some questions and asked others. It perplexed, complexed, and vexed viewers. And yet, boy is it fun to watch.
I can't think of another show on television which, even when they have a bad episode, is as engaging and interesting as Lost. Now, I do think they got away with a few underhanded things last night. For instance, not much happened in the first hour at all, and I think had they aired that episode by itself my disappointment would be more marked. They didn't though. It was only the first half of a two hour episode.
In actuality, I'd argue that much of this season was a letdown. It was fun, it was enjoyable, but it was a letdown from what we've seen in the past. To me the question of how the Oceanic Six got off the island, which is what the season focused on, wasn't as interesting as some of the past mysteries. Additionally, I don't think they needed as many episodes to tell that story as they used. I think it could have been done in half the time to greater effect. I wonder what would have happened if the writers' strike hadn't happened and they'd had even more episodes to tell the same story. It may have been quite troublesome.
That being said, we are left in an interesting place. The present-day story (as opposed to the past and future ones) has gotten the six of the island and we know what happens immediately following that. There's still a lot to fill in with regards to the Jeremy Bentham stuff and the whole timeline prior to Ben seeing Jack in the funeral home, and there's stuff to tell about what has happened on the island during the same timeframe, but will that be the main focus next season? Is next season a fill-in-the-gaps season? That's what this season was and one of the reasons I don't think it worked as well.
What I'm hoping is that next season actually runs the post-funeral home stuff as the “present-day” story and fills in the blanks in the timeline with the flashbacks. Of course, just because that's the direction I'd go in doesn't mean that's the direction the producers will choose to head. They'll probably come up with some whole new sort of craziness.
Lost reinvents itself every season, and that's led to good things and bad. It asks a lot of the audience, this reinvention. The loyal viewers out there surely have no problem, but the casual viewer, the one that tunes in for a couple of episodes every season might have a more difficult time. So much has happened from season one till now, and questions that were relevant to the audience a few years ago have been completely dropped, both by the producers and the viewers.
It says a lot about the show and the producers that they've managed to take the audience so far. I just wonder how much further we still have to go before we find out what's actually going on.