Lost took a break when their ratings were still doing well, at the end of 2006. But then they announced they would be bringing back the show February 7, for 16 fresh episodes. The last thing we saw was Kate and Sawyer making their escape because Jack had leveraged it by promising to operate on…nevermind. What’s the point? The show has jumped the shark. Almost everything that was good about it has been replaced by everything that’s now bad about it.
I never really understood what was going on on the show, but that was the great thing about it. It held our attention because it was flooded with mystery. The hatch, the love triangle, the drug-addicted musician, the pregnancy and subsequent birth. It wasn’t until “The Others” revealed themselves that the show started to slowly tank.
The ratings have taken a nosedive, which has websites, journalists and fans wondering if this is the beginning of the end. There are other reasons being given for the ratings dip. The show changed its time slot to Wednesdays at 10pm so as not to conflict with American Idol. Some of the show’s fan websites were complaining about the storylines being confusing and dropping off into obscurity. Making matters worse, Fox’s 24 came roaring back with strong ratings and water-cooler buzz, making Lost seem almost lightweight by comparison.
ABC has announced that the show added about four million new viewers to that 10 p.m. timeslot and that they took an overall hit in ratings but that they still appealed to the 18 to 24-year-olds, the target demographic with all of the buying power.
But those of us who have been watching the show since the very first episode know that something is not quite right since the show returned from its long break. It was never a show that needed much explanation of what was going on. We all knew they were making it up as they went along and that there was no logical end in sight. What held us there were the compelling characters and their back-stories. At its best, Lost was a story about people put on an island to help them deal with the haunting stuff in their past. Once they brought “The Others” into it, once “The Others” revealed themselves, the show officially jumped the shark. “The Others” just aren’t as compelling as the original cast.
Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Josh Holloway, Naveen Andrews, Terry O’Quinn, Dominic Monaghan – the old cast, the old stories – will keep viewers tuned in. We weren’t there so much because of the secrets. We came back because we liked the people. How’s that for low tech?
Hopefully the writers and producers will get a clue and return Lost to its original luster. The only way to do that is to get rid of “The Others” once and for all. Have them pack into a boat and flee the island. We can then escape, as we like to do every week, back with the people we cared about in the first place.
In the meantime, fans of the show will have to slog through what they have in store for the next season, anyway. Either the show will end with a whimper or they will get back all that they set up in the first place. As a loyal fan, I will stick with the show for a few more episodes, just to make sure it really is as bad as it has been. If it continues this way, it goes off my TIVO record list.
Lost airs Wednesday nights, 10 p.m. on ABC.