Friday, August 29, 2008

Extra! Extra! Joe gets LOST!




…Or, how a “blind buy” at Best Buy opened Joe’s eyes!

Admit it. You’ve wanted me to “get LOST” for years. Now, with the help of two motivating factors, I’ve finally done it!

The first of those factors is my mother, Mary. My mother, when she wants to, can show a very “cool” streak! Not “cool” as in cold and unfeeling… but “cool” as in “Way Cool!”, for a lady of 81. It was she, in my younger days, who introduced me to the original TV series THE OUTER LIMITS, and was always there for things like TIME TUNNEL, VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, KOLCHAK THE NIGHT STALKER and the like.

Last summer (2007) she was staying with us while her house was being repaired (Don’t ask!) and enjoyed that year’s DVD release of LAND OF THE GIANTS very much! Even asking to see more!

So, back in 2004, when she told me of a show she enjoyed called LOST, I took notice.

I watch no modern TV, save sports, news, and a few animated favorites like THE SIMPSONS and FAMILY GUY. My preferences will always remain with the prime time series of the 1960s. And DVD sets scratch that particular itch, whenever it strikes!

Modern TV, particularly drama, requires you to watch it every week, and plays off episode-to-episode continuity, obsessively. My life does not allow for that sort of rigid adherence to a television schedule. There’s no way to be a casual viewer of any such series. Plus, there are the constant repeats slipped in throughout the season, very annoying pop-up ads, and end credits that are no longer designed for reading.

Still, I thought this COULD be a show that would interest me… certainly if my mother thought so. Yet, I never watched LOST, or knew very much about it.

This past week saw a 25 % off “TV-on-DVD” sale on all such product at Best Buy – my leading source for DVDs. I decided to try what DVD collectors call a “blind buy”. That is, a purchase (…Not an inconsiderable purchase, when speaking of a TV series season set! What if it sucks?) of something you’ve never seen before – and are trying strictly on impulse or word-of-mouth. That blind buy was LOST!

Well, Mom was right! LOST, for the first eight episodes I’ve watched on DVD, is utterly amazing! For me, it conjures up feelings of the earliest episodes of LOST IN SPACE and LAND OF THE GIANTS (when each was more concerned with basic survival) not to mention GILLIGAN’S ISLAND (though almost completely straight), and the general creepy weirdness of TWILIGHT ZONE, OUTER LIMITS and KOLCHAK.

A plane crashes on an unknown island. The living struggle for survival. We get to know them and their backstories via well-crafted flashbacks. There’s a monster out there in the dark forbidding jungle – and we still don’t know what it is eight shows in. VOYAGE or KOLCHAK would have dealt with that in 40 minutes or less.

There are the expected (and quite unexpected) conflicts between the principal cast members. There’s a mysterious stranger out there – or is it one of our party(?) – who may not want them to get off the island. And lots of other stuff that make the show addicting.

Hey, we even had the star character trapped in a cave-in! (…Shades of more than one LOST IN SPACE episode! The difference is his rescuer “kicked his own drug habit” during the rescue process. And he’s one of the “comedy-relief” characters, to boot! That’s modern TV, for you!)

There seems to be at least one gut-wrenching, surprise kicker in each episode – and anticipating those is half the fun. My mother was right yet again!

Oh, and Paul Dini from all the wonderful Warner Bros. animated series I love – BATMAN, SUPERMAN, FREAKAZOID!, etc. is both the story editor and a writer for LOST. That automatically gives the show “points” with me!

Anyone reading this, PLEASE DO NOT DISCUSS ANY PLOT DEVELOPMENTS FOR LOST. The shows I’m currently watching are from 2004! That’s four years ago this month for “The Outside World” – but it's all new and exciting for me. I’ve even MUTED sections of the episode commentary tracks that look as if they’re heading toward Spoiler-ville!

AGAIN… PLEASE NO SPOILERS OF ANY KIND!

It’s clear, at least to my way of thinking, that DVD is the absolute best way to watch ANY TV series – old or new. You watch it when YOU are able. You never miss an episode. You can choose when (or IF) repeats occur. No cuts. No ads. No pop-ups. YOU can “put the show on hiatus” and bring it back! And, you can finally read those damned end-credits! I could never have enjoyed LOST, as I now do, had I tried it on broadcast television.

Thanks, Best Buy, for the sale-nudge… and most of all, thanks Mom… for still knowing my tastes as well as you do!

1 comment:

Bruce said...

Joe, how wonderful and perhaps rare that you shared TV shows with your mom - not only recently but back in your "formative" days, so to speak.

As for LOST, I'm guessing that it's one of those shows, like 24, that's hard to get into unless you've been there from the start. I avoided it at the beginning because it sounded like a "serious" GILLIGAN'S ISLAND (and sorry, you know how I feel about that show!).

Now I regret not latching onto it (and 24). However, with the magic of DVDs - or iTunes - I can one day catch up - and get LOST! (sorry).

Cheers,

Bruce