When “Lost” ended last year, I, along with millions of other people around the world, felt like a significant part of my life was gone. It wasn’t just the hour a week I spent watching the award-winning sci-fi drama. It was the sometimes ridiculous obsession I had with the show, the hours thinking and talking about it with my roommate, the connections with the characters that felt so real I honestly missed them when they were gone. Yes, I realize that I sound a little pathetic right now, but that is what Lost did to me; it took me away from reality and mesmerized me every week for 6 years (well, 2…thank God for Hulu).
Needless to say, after Lost was over, all the Losties of the world had to find a replacement show to fill that void. Being a Hulu addict, I already had a list of candidates; “Flashforward” was my first attempt, but despite a fascinating idea for a show and movie-quality production, the characters were bland, and the story couldn’t last past the first season. Next I tried “V”, and though it was not cancelled and was entertaining to watch, the story was pretty predictable (usually the case with remakes, for some reason) and it just didn’t capture my attention like Lost did. I even tried going into different genres, starting up on shows like “Chuck”, “Glee”, and “Lie to Me”. Though they are all superb, they were too different from Lost to be adequate replacements. I wanted a suspenseful, philosophical, character-driven show, like Flashforward and V tried to be but couldn’t.
That’s when I saw the trailer for NBC’s new show, “The Event”. An assassination plot. A secret government facility. A mysterious kidnapping. Snapshots of seemingly random characters that come together and play a part in this monumental “event”. Finally, this could be the show I was looking for. This could fill the void left by Lost. Based on the first two episodes, though, I am not optimistic about the show’s future. Like Flashforward, the Event focuses on one, for lack of a better term, event, that is revealed in the pilot, and the rest of the show attempts to explain its origins, purpose, people responsible for it, and so on. But also like Flashforward, the Event does not allow the audience to connect with its characters. It relies on twist endings and overly-dramatized dialogue to draw in viewers, but leaves them stranded when it switches scenes before we can get to know more about who these people are and why they believe and act like they do. I’m not asking for a detailed biography of every character, but for scenes that make me care about these people. Jumping off a cliff to save a stranger and defending the rights of prisoners are both valiant acts, but not exceptionally unique for protagonists of a dramatic television show.
Though Lost’s last few seasons were filled with more than enough suspense, drama, twists, and supernatural events, many forget that it simply began with one doctor trying to help the survivors of a plane crash on a (semi)deserted island. We were not drawn into Lost because we wanted to know why there was a polar bear on the island or what the mysterious monster was (though those questions kept the show interesting enough for six seasons), but because we were fascinated by the concept of a group of strangers being trapped on an island together, trying to survive without killing each other. We did not learn anything concrete about the main characters in the pilot of Lost, but we were given a snapshot of each, and in this short period of time we became attached to them. The problem with shows like Flashforward, V, and the Event is that they try to draw in viewers by putting too much action, suspense, and mystery in the pilot, but run out of steam half way through the first season. They should learn from Lost and start with a simple yet interesting concept and characters that we want to learn more about, then move on to the sci-fi/mystery/suspense later. I love unanswered questions as much as the next guy (I am a philosophy major after all), but I was a fan of Lost not for the questions, but for the characters. If the Event can slow down and give me a reason to care about these people and what they’re doing, then I will be satisfied. Until then, I’ll just have to keep searching for my next “Lost”.