1/04/2011. Contributed by Sue Davies
pub: ECW Press. 319 page softcover. Price: $12.99 (US); $14.95 (US); $17.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-55022-951-6.
check out websites: www.ecwpress.comand www.turnaround-uk.com
If you are in denial then ‘Finding Lost’ is for you. It is one of the many that seek to interpret just what the TV series ‘Lost’ was all about. The final book of the series, this is a complete examination of the minutiae of every episode of the final season and follows on with the same format as its stable-mates. Its features are recognisable as similar to every other unauthorised guide that there has been for a cult TV series.
The book does the analyses and nit-picking so that you don’t have to picking up the visual, verbal and the rest of the suitcase full of clues you might have missed first time round. It attaches meaning to everything and makes every signpost stand out. If textual analysis hadn’t been born it would have been invented for ‘Lost’.
Indeed ‘Lost’ is probably one of the most self-conscious series to date where everything that can be done to load up meaning has been done, just to please the fans who stuck with it. Movies might reference other movies but ‘Lost’ now references itself in a spinning display of self-awareness. ‘Lost’ is the fluff in the belly-button that the civilised world wants to pick at and this book will help them do it. The virtue or stain of ‘Lost’ is this tendency to look inwards. The mirrors the cast constantly gaze into also show us up as a two-dimensional reflection. It’s hard to get any meaning from it when it has been wrung out to such an extent. The obvious one is we should stop looking inwards and get away from the television for a while.
To add to this one of the complaints about the ending of ‘Lost’ was that it was too easy to read but this came from a viewing public who were constantly being drip-fed clues and that was never going to be rocket science at the end. These guides are fun but add a depth that might be giving the series more weight than it deserves.
There is no room for our own vision of what ‘Lost’ is about when everything is set out on the page but that’s not to say this guide isn’t an intriguing and frustrating document. Once you have read it you might feel that you at least have got some more mileage out of the show or have your own conclusions altered.
If anything this guide proves that finally the writers and producers had their own limitations and were never going to end the show to everyone’s satisfaction. No one likes an ending even if that is what they have been moving towards. Whilst demanding answers they also like to maintain some mystery. If everything is in black and white there is nothing to colour in with our imagination
What the book does is try to explain how and why things happen and what they mean. Often, when reading through this book, it really shows up how the writers jump through hoops after they have set up certain characters in order to bring them into the fold at the ‘spiritual’ ending. I agree that the ending is not completely satisfactory but that’s what you’ve got, live with it. Some of us had to cope with the ending of ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ and the whole of season 7. I mean, really.
There are great leaps of logic to be made or ignored if you want all this to tie itself up into a neat bundle. It doesn’t work but it is an interesting exercise is now this kind of show works as it tries to entertain, challenge and hold onto some kind of internal logic. Wrapping a show up is harder than keeping it going after all.
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