Mar 22, 2012

Lost: When G.M.C. Aren't Enough to Complete the Story (Spoilers Abound)


I usually avoid writing a negative review. I don't like writing negative anything, but sometimes, it helps when we have an example of a thing - a negative thing - to show us what not to do. Such is the case with the television series, LOST.

This is a perfect example of when GMC (goal, motivation, and conflict) simply are not enough to complete a story. It's enough to carry the story, but in order to complete the story, there's another crucial element, without which, you do your reader, (or in the case of LOST, your viewer,) a real disservice. That crucial fourth ingredient? Resolution.


I was an avid LOST fan when the series began. I watched the show every week and applauded the writers who were able to create some of the most unique, inventive characters on television. Who did not fall in love with the character, Hurley? And bad-boy Sawyer - woo hoo! No one deserved a happy-ever-after more than Sayid. I do seem to be fixating on the male characters, but the female characters were equally rich: Kate, Juliet, and what about Libby?. And the villains - so multi-dimensional!

And each character had a common goal: get off the island; as well as their individual goals. Through their character's development we learned about each character's motivation. I will assume we are all graduate-level writers and that I need not cite examples.

Did I mention conflict? Holy Smoke Monsters, Batman! And Polar Bears, and Hostiles, and creepy weird magnetic forces, oh my! Yep, that's just about everything... until the Series Finale.

I have to admit, by the last season, I had given up on the series. There was just no way I could imagine that the writers were going to be able to write themselves out of the black hole they had created. After season 1, a non-writer friend suggested, "they're all in limbo." I poo-poo'ed the idea. The writers could not be so cruel. That's equitable to the Dallas television season opening in which it began with a character's startled awakening from a dream - a dream that was the entire previous season. WHAT? YOU CAN NOT WRAP WITH, "oh, by the way, it was all just a dream," or "psych - they're in pergatory/limbo" and not expect your readers/viewers to feel cheated! That didn't work in your 9th grade English class, and it doesn't work on television. Poorly done, LOST writers. So, here's your review. For goal(s) - 4 stars; characterization/motivation - 5 stars; conflict - 4 stars; Resolution - you should get minus 5 stars, (Ouch,) But I'll be generous and give you 1 star - for giving other writers a hinge pin on which to hang a lesson about the importance of story resolution and the importance of tying up loose ends. (Libby? What?)

Okay, I concede. There was ONE story in which "the whole thing was a dream premise," DID work - beautifully. The Bob Newhart Show - the one in which Bob Newhart runs a Vermont B&B. (Go back now, find it on Netflix and re-watch the series finale. Classic.)

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