Pssst. Lemme let you in on a little secret. Lost was never a good show.

In fact, I would argue that Lost wasn’t a TV show at all. It was a gimmick. A publicity stunt that got out of hand and took on a life of its own. If you look at the first season, none of those characters were well-drawn, three-dimensional people. They were roughly-sketched, incredibly obvious stereotypes used as an excuse to draw out the tiny, tiny amount of actual plot contained in the season 1 arc.

No one — no one — cared about those characters. All that kept audiences coming back was the gimmick. The frustration of trying to suss out exactly what the fuck the picture was from the tiny puzzle pieces you were given each week was the real thrust of the show.

Had you known then what you know now — that absolutely no answers at all would be forthcoming, and the puzzle was a Rothko — would you have stuck it out for six years?

See, for me, it’s easy. Until the beginning of February, I had never seen the show. However, when they announced the finale, and Rob Burnett & I were planning our podcast, I realized this was a good time to catch up.

Through the grace of Hulu and my long-handled spoon, I’ve done just that. And let me tell you that watching the show in one chunk really makes its myriad flaws stand out in sharp relief. It’s incredibly obvious that there was never a plan, never a cohesive plot. Just a desire to continually manipulate the audience.

This is what happens when you let writers off the tether. An origami-like structure just full of corners they can gleefully paint themselves into with no idea how they’re going to get out.

End result? “Uhhh… they were all dead…?”

*fart noise*

Remember three years ago, when Damon Lindelof swore the characters were neither dead nor in purgatory? Cuse and Abrams have both made the same assertion in public several times. All three are also on record swearing that when the conclusion came it would be real-world answers grounded in hard science.

Um, yeah, about that…

If you look, you can find convoluted defenses written by hardcore fans swearing that, while The End doesn’t answer many questions, it makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, they’re flat wrong. Taken as a whole, it is impossible to reconcile the run of the show into a cohesive story.

Seasons 1 & 2 — the best, in my opinion — play nice together. Season 3 is a tedious left turn, but works in tandem with some of what came before. Seasons 4 & 5 work together, but don’t relate effectively with anything else, and by Season 6 we’re truly in the Twilight Zone.

The new one. The one that sucked.

That isn’t to say the show hasn’t had some compelling moments. There have been plenty, but they’ve mostly been predicated upon the notion that they were clues to a riddle that was solvable. Discovering that it was a purely unfathomable, existential riddle along the lines of “Did you go to New York, or by bus?” is like taking a bite from a huge shit sandwich.

I’m sorry, but god/faith/religion is never an acceptable answer for any science-fiction show (for proof, see the new Battlestar Galactica), and at its core, once upon a time, that’s what Lost was. Now, it’s nothing but the ultimate fulfillment of its own title.

The writers? Lost. The plot? Lost. Integrity? Structure? My interest? Lost, Lost, Lost.

And the harcore audience? Wow, they really Lost. They Lost big time.

Not since Patrick Duffy stepped out of the shower has network T.V. posted such an Epic Fail. Had J.J. Abrams any self respect, that too would be… well, you know.

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