Lost the Loser?

Day three of the One Month of Daily Writing pledge and I’m already feeling it. This has become my own personal Lost button. Writing an article on here just pushes back the clock to 24:00:00. Does existence wink out if I fail to write? Will that strange woman I left at the altar in the flashback I had last week suddenly awaken and start looking for me? I hope not; she crazy. Maybe I’ll get ice cream and a good nap instead. Who doesn’t want that?

That reminds me: Lost watchers, is there still a button at all? Or was this replaced by a strange Englishman walking around the jungle in a tophat, or maybe a coconut tree that is strangely dropping coconuts made of waffles. I don’t mean to be as condescending as I sound, but let’s review facts here.

Q: What’s out in the jungle?
A: A hatch.

Q: Oh, well that’s kind of interesting, I guess. What’s in the hatch?
A: A button.

Q: A button? Hmm. Well, okay, they can do neat things, right? Maybe a really cool, kick ass button. What’s it do?
A: Prevents a really bright light and the hatch collapsing.

Keep in mind that I just summarized some 44 episodes. Sure, there’s some other details thrown in around there too. People argue, a church is or is not built, drugs, babies, and flashbacks flashbacks FLASHBACKS! If Lost is a four-star meal (and given my appreciation of four-star dining, it may well be), then those details are kind of like the little fig leaves and tulip-shaped radish garnishes; while nice, they aren’t really the point.

Why do I keep beating up on Lost week after week on this site? Because I WANT IT TO BE GOOD. This show started with what is perhaps one of the best pilots in the history of pilots, and I think the gap between that inspired beginning and every subsequent episode has widened considerably and continues to do so. I want to tune in every week again, to have that eery opening sound effect get my psyched like it used to. In short, I WANT TO BELIEVE.

Hope is on the way though. Last week, our favorite island drama was beaten in ratings by CBS’ crime drama Criminal Minds. “What,” you say, “CBS is airing an overly-serious episodic crime drama about an elite unit that solves crimes single-handedly, ending each episode with a confession?” I know, contain your shock.

Anyhoo, Minds scored 16.7 million viewers to Lost’s 16.1 million. Certainly not a crushing blow, but considering the show has been down in ratings about 25% from last season, this is making more than a few people nervous. There’s rumour that there could be a shakeup coming for this show. Maybe it’s J.J. Abrams actually showing up on the set of his darling program once in awhile; maybe it’s something else entirely. But in an interesting twist, the more we aren’t watching this show, the more likely it is to get better.

This theory isn’t entirely without precedent. The West Wing began hemorrhaging viewers between its fourth and fifth seasons, and the abysmal ratings that led to its cancellation also led to what some call its best season. However, for every Mission Impossible (whose falling TV ratings also turned the quality around, at least quality by that show’s standards) you can cite an X-Files or Buffy whose rating woes led to fairly terrible dramatic changes, but I still hold out hope. What else can be done?

So do us all a favor, and tune into Criminal Minds on Wednesday. I hear they have this one about a bunch of people trapped in a hole and they have to kill one and it’s a desperate race against time and …

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