Live Together, Die Together

Though I am firmly of the opinion that nothing is a “spoiler” once an episode has aired, if you feel differently and don’t want to know how LOST ended, this is not the post for you.

I can’t say I was there at the beginning. On September 22, 2004, I didn’t watch the premiere of LOST. I caught a few minutes while flipping channels, if memory serves, but was so disturbed by the plane crash scenes that I quickly moved on. It wasn’t until part way through the second season when I got hooked, watching the 40-ish hours of the show that then existed in a four-day orgy of DVD rentals and iTunes downloads. And once I was in, I was in.

I wasn’t there at the beginning, but I was there for “The End.”

And I can say, unequivocally, that I am glad I stuck it out to the end.

I know already from a brief scanning of the Internet that not everyone shares my opinion. Like most episodes of LOST, the finale opened as many doors as it closed, leaving many of the show’s myriad questions unanswered. Unlike many fans, however, this doesn’t bother me.

Over the course of the six seasons it was on the air, LOST tried to be a lot of things: a sci-fi adventure; a high-minded, philosophical conversation about faith versus reason; a quasi-religious allegory of good and evil; a rumination on redemption; a buddy comedy; a romance; and more. It was a lot to accomplish with one show, and it didn’t always succeed — hence the frustration felt by many fans. For me, though, it was nothing so much as a character study, and that’s the part I fell in love with. I wanted to know from week to week what happened to these people, and I wanted them to be… happy?

Happiness, of course, was the thing that mostly eluded them through the six years of the series — through characters ridiculous (Nikki & Paolo) and plots sublime (“Not Penny’s boat!”);  through every time-shifting, shooting-and-bombing-and-kidnapping, “live together, die alone” speechifying moment; and through every flash backwards, forwards, and sideways — their stories were of constant struggle, sadness… and yes, loss.

I was thus unprepared for the final episode of LOST. Until about the last 15 minutes I was on the edge of my seat, waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was certain that the gorgeous, joyous reunions between the couples who had lost one another along the way — Jin and Sun, James and Juliet, Claire and Charlie — were going to be negated by a final wave of sorrow.

But they were not. Instead, the sideways world was revealed to be a limbo they had created for themselves; a place for those who died first to wait for those who came later until finally they were all able move on, together. It turned that “live together, die alone” mantra of the early years of the show on its head. Death was not, in fact, alone.

I can spend the rest of forever with everyone else on the internet, contemplating the philosophy and considering plot holes, but I’m not sure I will. The finale, as it turned out, was exactly what I wanted: It  was emotionally satisfying.

The End.

10 on Tuesday: Favorite Television Shows

As per usual, I am grabbing my 10 on Tuesday topic from Hillary. This week, it’s favorite television shows. I wish I could pretend I don’t watch enough tv to have 1o faves, but that would be untrue. Sigh.

1. LOST – I’ve been hooked ever since my former officemate brought in a season one DVD part way through season two to lure me in. She’s not watching anymore, but I’m still in. Only a few more episodes to go and I’m not sure if I’m sad that it’s ending or excited to see how it all turns out.

2. Mad Men – Beautifully cast, designed, and costumed – and gorgeously written to show all the ugly behind the pretty. It makes me endlessly grateful to be modern, and I finish most episodes wanting to go hug a first-wave feminist for enduring untold bullshit so I don’t have to.

3. Glee – I was more of a theater geek than a show choir geek, but when it comes to this show, it’s a distinction without a difference. High school outsider + love of showtunes = Gleek!

4. Law & Order – I like all three, and rank them in the order that they appeared; original flavor is my favorite, SVU next (despite the pathologically creepy plotlines), and finally, Criminal Intent.

5. NCIS – Some time last summer, a bunch of my usual L&O reruns were replaced with back-to-back-to-back episodes of NCIS. I resisted for as long as I could, but eventually gave in. And despite the fact that it’s possibly the most inaccurate depiction of DC I’ve ever seen, I ended up hooked. What can I say? I clearly dig crime procedurals, and it’s funnier than most.

6. Criminal Minds – This show has some of the most grotesque, disturbing stories of any crime show on tv  – who thinks this stuff up? –  yet I can’t quite stop watching. Why? Two words: Shemar Moore. And yes, I realize that’s actually a name and not two words, but… whatever. Dude is hot.

7. In Plain Sight – My favorite thing about this show is that the heroine, Mary Shannon, is not a typically nice lady cop; she’s a total curmudgeon and occasionally a bit of an ass – and as such is more  “real” than any female television character I’ve seen before.

8. Bones – I hated David Boreanaz on Buffy, yet find him  – and his partner in crime-solving Emily Deschanel – entirely charming on Bones. It also has less nightmare-inducing storylines than SVU or Criminal Minds (the victim that got eaten by feral cats being a notable exception) and a slightly more accurate DC setting than NCIS.

9. What Not to Wear – A guilty pleasure, to be sure, and though I am occasionally put off by the faux-psychoanalysis Stacey & Clinton try to do on their guests, I do like their overall philosophy about fashion – that fit and age-appropriateness are paramount.

10. America’s Next Top Model – I have rarely seen an episode of this in real time, but there is nothing that will suck me into my couch on the weekend like an ANTM marathon. I can actually feel myself getting stupider while I watch, and yet… I can’t stop!

What are your faves?

Updated to add: A belated check of my RSS feeds this evening shows that sprite also made a list of faves today, and hers reminded me of a show I like but often miss because I can never remember when it’s on – Castle. So, there’s my honorable mention.