Monday, May 27, 2013

TV on DVD Review: Lost - Season 6

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Great characters get an emotionally satisfying end
Cons: But the viewers don't as too many questions are left unanswered
The Bottom Line:
Story didn't end
It just stopped.  As a result,
I'm unsatisfied

Little Resolution, Still Compelling

When I reviewed season 5 of Lost, I stated that how well the show runners of Lost answered the big questions of the show would ultimate determine how I felt about season 6 and the show overall.  The show finished airing in May and it is now August.  Honestly, I still don't know how I feel about things.

Before we go further, I will issue my standard spoiler warning.  I will be discussing season 6 assuming you have seen the previous 5 seasons of the show.  If you haven't and you don't want to know what happens, stop now.  I will try to spoil as little of season 6 as I can.

Season 6 finds all our characters on the Island in the same year again.  Ben Linus (Michael Emerson) has just killed Jacob much to the delight of the Smoke Monster who is masquerading as John Locke (Terry O'Quinn).  Jin (Daniel Dae Kim) and Sun (Yunjin Kim) are trying to find each other.  Sawyer (Josh Holloway) thinks he may have found a way to leave the island for good, something he is anxious to do now that Juliette (Elizabeth Mitchell) has died.  And in a dramatic change, it's actually Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) who thinks the survivors of Flight 815 might have a destiny on the island.

Meanwhile, we are also treated to the lives of our heroes in Los Angeles.  Yep, in the first few moments of the season, they start an alternative timeline in which Flight 815 didn't crash and no one landed on the island.  How our characters continue connecting in this alternative world and what their lives are like is actually quite interesting.

All this leads to an epic battle.  Who will win?

Or, maybe the bigger question is, what are the sides?  Much like the rest of the show, we are treated to one side of things and plenty of action and twists, but I never felt like we truly learned what any of it meant.  Yes, we got some answers.  The answers we get were interesting and logical in the world of Lost.

But there were way too many big questions left unanswered.  For me, the biggest questions remains, what is the island?  Related is, why is it so special?  You know, minor things like that.  I felt like they were dancing around those answers in the final few episodes, but they never really told us.

On the other hand, the characters were as compelling as always.  Love them or hate them (or sometimes love and hate them at the same time), I have really built a connection with these characters over the course of the six seasons the show was on the air.  I wanted them to live happily ever after, and I felt so much of what they were going through.  I left the final episode with a great sense of emotional closure even as my mind was screaming over all the questions that they never addressed.  They managed to bring back many of the former cast members, especially in the final episode, and I loved seeing them again.

And the acting is once again wonderful.  This cast can act.  The plot may call for them to do some pretty wacky things as the show digs further into a science fiction world, but I bought every minute of it.  The performances, more than anything else, had me glued to my TV week after week, shocked when the show ended already.

But here's the thing.  For a story to truly work, you need both good characters and good story.  While this show had great characters, the story was a mishmash of stuff that ultimately didn't resolve well.  When the producers negotiated an end date for the show with ABC, I expected them to wrap up storylines and give us a satisfying conclusion.  Instead, they just stopped telling a story and gave us an emotional resolution.  So this season turned out to be disappointing story wise but emotionally satisfying.

These sets have always included great extras, and season six is no exception.  In addition to the show, we get deleted scenes, bloopers, four audio commentaries and behind the scenes featurettes on creating the final season and examining the characters against definitions of being a hero.  Finally, there's a new 11 minute short story that explores life on the island after the end of the series.  And that's all I will say to avoid further spoilers.

And so there you have it.  I loved the ride that is Lost and enjoyed my time with the characters.  However, I feel like the storytellers got so wrapped up in those characters they forgot the need to wrap up the story with season 6.  As a result, I don't know if I need to go back and visit these friends in the future.

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