I don't watch that much TV. Not enough time, I guess. So, I have to be very choosy about which shows I devote my time to. There's VERONICA MARS, a witty, smartly-written show that's basically Phillip Marlowe as a college co-ed. There's FAMILY GUY. (Mike Henry, the voice of Herbert—my favorite character—used to be a copywriter at the agency I work at now.) There's HEROES. I suppose I have to watch that, with my background. My interest flagged in the middle of the season, but they came back with a killer final few episodes that have me hooked again. (Plus, I'm a fan of Ali Larter from the Final Destination films.) THE SOPRANOS. The last couple of seasons have been a bit of a disappointment, but I'm sticking around hoping that Tony, Chris-to-fuh and Pauly get theirs. And aside from an occasional episode of MY NAME IS EARL and my nightcap of ADULT SWIM, that's about it.
Except for LOST. This show was the reason we got the DVR and the big HDTV and the surround-sound system. (Well, that and the electronic penis-envy I was having over my friend Paul's 106-inch screen TV and his sub-woofer the size of a VW.) When they announced the show, my wife was pretty excited about it and couldn't wait. She's sort of my barometer for what shows will be good and which won't. Her job requires that she keep up with the goings-on in Hollywood and LOST was on her radar early. All I knew was that comics writer Paul Dini was going to be working on it so I decided to give it a shot.
Now we're hooked. It's the only show we make a point of seeing as it airs. Partly because we don't want anything spoiled for us by overzealous co-workers but mostly because each episode is an event. That's what I loved about MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL when it was on ABC. I didn't care who was playing, Al Michaels made every game feel like the Superbowl. I felt like I was watching every game with 20 million of my best friends. With LOST, I love the ensemble cast, all the characters, their backstories. I love that gasp at the end of every episode when the big shocking cliffhanger happens. I love the little tidbits they give us that recall some other tidbit from 20 episodes ago. I love that everybody talks about it "at the watercooler" the next day. I just love LOST.
That's why I got so mad at friends and co-workers who stopped watching the show because they weren't "getting answers." They wanted to know what was going on. Now, I can see not watching a show because it's not well-written or because it's boring or even because it's repetitive. But LOST is none of these things. Basically, these people quit watching because the writers were keeping the show...interesting? When my aforementioned friend Paul threatened to stop watching the show because they weren't telling us what was going on, I told him that if "they" did tell him what was going on, there would be no point in watching the show and he'd quit anyway. Wasn't it better to have something good to watch on TV for a change? Isn't the journey at least as important as the destination? I think I got through to him because he's still watching. And he's a smart guy. But he's also the guy that can't wait until Christmas to open his presents and ends up with nothing to look forward to on Christmas morning.
And there are millions more Americans like him out there. They just can't wait. And they've been leaving in droves. So now ABC has announced that we'll only get three more seasons of LOST...and short ones at that. And, so, because of typical American impatience, we'll have one less finely-crafted drama with good characterization like LOST and probably one more show like AMERICAN IDOL, GHOST WHISPERER or WHO WANTS TO MAKE A DEAL? Shows that offer us nothing new and let you check your brain at the door before watching.
Oh, well. At least that will be one less hour a week I spend in front of the tube.