Lost, Battlestar Galactica, and trusting the producers

Watching Lost last night, after the initial euphoria died down, I realize – I don’t trust these people. I love the show a ton, I really do, but there’s something about Lost that makes me feel like the producers are used car salesmen trying to rush me through a shiny showroom so I won’t notice how flimsy and cheap all the merchandise is.

Faraday says ‘we have to to the hatch,’ Sawyer etc follows him, the forward motion of it carries us through to the next act, Sawyer gets to scowl and be shirtless and say ‘you better tell me what’s going on,’ etc, but when they get to the hatch… nothing. Faraday does not learn anything he didn’t already know, there’s no supplies to be found, and it’s only as a major incidental afterthought that Faraday tries to confront Desmond. The whole thing was just a narrative tool to create some drama, and did not develop naturally out of the story and the characters.

I don’t mind being tricked, or sucker-punched, or shocked, or heartbroken, or spending a long time scratching my head going “wha????!?” …… as long as I trust that the writers & producers are treating me with respect and assuming I’m smart enough to scrutinize every little thing. I watch Lost for the big picture story, and the questions it raises about the meaning of life and identity, and the dilemmas each character faces, and even the characters themselves, although I generally think they’re ridiculous and unappealing. But watching the premiere of season five right after the premiere of BSG’s season 4.5 brought into stark relief the reasons I trust the BSG folks so much more. Even when Galactica sucker-punches me, it makes perfect sense. When the fifth cylon was revealed, it came out of left field in a way no one had ever imagined, but I trusted that the producers were going to make it all make perfect sense.

I’ve never felt like the creative team behind LOST had any endgame in mind, and that their overall goal has always been to keep the show going for as long as possible by making sh*t as complicated as possible, raising more questions than can ever be answered. BSG is so tight that it’s hard to find a wasted word, let alone a wasted episode or character or big-picture question.

Then again, it’s probably unfair for me to compare any show to BSG. There’s simply nothing else on television that comes close.

Posted on: January 22, 2009, by : Sam J. M.
File under: Blog