Lost vs. Twin Peaks - A Comparison

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FauxOwl
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Re: Lost vs. Twin Peaks - A Comparison

Postby FauxOwl » Fri Sep 25, 2015 1:32 pm

Opinions about film, television, and pretty much any art is, always has been and always will be subjective. I'm not sure what the point is in getting upset or insulting people (Ajax Rules implying there must be some maturity deficiency afoot if people like Lost) over a difference of opinion. Personally I loved Lost while it was on... my involvement in the show at it's peak was as strong as it's ever been for Twin Peaks. The difference is, when it was over, I've never had much inclination for going back and revisiting it. The David Lynch moments of Twin Peaks on the other hand have had an enduring quality that has had me revisiting it many times, and likely to revisit again even if there wasn't a revival coming out.

And I was, like others, disappointing by the ending. It's just an opinion and it's not a right or wrong thing. I get that the series was really about the characters, but that's also why the series was disappointing... I'd be interested in seeing an analysis that defended the arc of Sayid in the final season if what happened to him was driven by character development.

I also think the arguments that the mythology and mysteries of the show didn't add up to much are legitimate. Yes, there was ultimately a spiritual core which dictated the way the finale unfolded, but the mythology and mystery were absolutely a major factor in the show and the reason it was so popular (people would not have watched a show about Jack for six seasons if it took place in the suburbs and the stories revolved around his angst). And there were plenty of times when the need to enhance the mystery trumped character development... take the previously noted example of Sayid in the final season.

The showrunners of Lost BTW noted the influence of Twin Peaks many times, and one of them said it the early demise served as a cautionary tale (I want to say this was specifically referring to the murder mystery and solving it early, after which the popularity of the show tanked). I sometimes think they may have taken the cautionary lessons they learned from Twin Peaks too far, going too far in the opposite direction of trying to squeeze too much out of mysteries that didn't have much substance at the heart of it.

That all being said, I still loved the show... it's high moments are some of the finest moments I've ever had watching television (specifically I loved the great Season 3 finale and the season 4 episode "The Constant").
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axemblue4
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Re: Lost vs. Twin Peaks - A Comparison

Postby axemblue4 » Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:12 pm

Interestingly enough, Sayid is always an example that comes to my mind of character development and thematic interplay taking precedence over mythology. Even before Season 6 aired, it was clear to me the direction his character arc was taking. His moral struggle was key to his character arc since Season 1, and by Season 4, he was clearly transitioning down a darker and murderous path, first starting with working as a killer for Ben, then trying to murder a child. I went into Season 6 fully expecting his arc to further descend to the next level.

The sickness as a piece of mythology had been sort of obsolete since Season 3, with the reveal of the Others being a civilized and healthy community. By Season 5, the change of the sickness' origin to being Monster-related seemed to me to just be done for the sake of tying up an iconic early series mystery, even though the show's overall direction had evolved to a point of this mystery's declined relevance. It was pretty clear at least to me that the sickness was like a lot of the mythologies in Season 6 in how they were intertwined with character arcs and themes in such a way so as to underscore them.
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Re: Lost vs. Twin Peaks - A Comparison

Postby Jerry Horne » Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:17 pm

They are both brilliant shows in very different ways. Judging LOST after only five episodes is a mistake in my opinion.
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Re: Lost vs. Twin Peaks - A Comparison

Postby TwinPeaksFanatic » Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:56 pm

I agree Fauxowl, the critics of Lost are legit. Despite how much one reaches to connect the dots, there will always be elements that don't add up. Season 6 felt like a lot of gimmicks. I think people are hard on Lost because it was given the opportunity by ABC to write its own end, so expectations were high. Maybe the writers cracked under pressure? Who knows.
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Re: Lost vs. Twin Peaks - A Comparison

Postby Ajax Rules » Fri Sep 25, 2015 11:13 pm

Jerry Horne wrote:They are both brilliant shows in very different ways. Judging LOST after only five episodes is a mistake in my opinion.


Of course, I can't say anything about the plot development, the structure of the show or the philosophy behind it after seeing just five episodes.

What I do know, for sure, is that the typecasting is very Hollywood/cliche, and the acting in the first couple of episodes is so stereotypical, stupid and uninteresting that Lost could never qualify for being a brilliant show. A show that supposed to attract a big audience (including high school kids and people with no understanding whatsoever of high culture cannot be anything else than a compromise for people with artistic ambitions)

(Unless you're saying that you agree with my appraisal of episode 1-5, but that later episodes are much better. Usually you hear that the show was brilliant in the beginning, but went down the hill later on).
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Jonah
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Re: Lost vs. Twin Peaks - A Comparison

Postby Jonah » Sat Sep 26, 2015 7:54 am

TwinPeaksFanatic wrote:I agree Fauxowl, the critics of Lost are legit. Despite how much one reaches to connect the dots, there will always be elements that don't add up. Season 6 felt like a lot of gimmicks. I think people are hard on Lost because it was given the opportunity by ABC to write its own end, so expectations were high. Maybe the writers cracked under pressure? Who knows.


I think that is a very insightful point, TwinPeaksFanatic. They really could have done whatever they wanted to do - which is so rare to have that element of complete control with a mainstream show.

And axemblue24, you really do make some great points too. I know I sound hard on LOST in my previous posts - but I am just honestly giving my opinions, not saying "it is this way" or "it is that way". The great thing about TV shows like this are how all our views can be thrown into the pot.

For me, I mostly adored LOST for those first 5 years, but I always had some form of lingering disappointment with its narrative and creative choices, and something about Season 6 really soured it for me, though I never panned it online, and actually haven't discussed it at all much until this topic came up here. It's not that my "questions" weren't answered. That's too simplistic. If anything, I would have preferred more ambiguity (such as with the whispers, etc.) but I just felt a sort of critical failing with it from a writing and creative standpoint, then it just fell apart, and that whole last season was just difficult for me to appreciate or enjoy.

I consider Season 2 and Season 3 (even those first few "slow" episodes so many people complained about at the time) to be some of the finest TV of the last decade, and I found Season 4 and Season 5 - while very different in tone - to be cracking, edge-of-your-seat entertainment. I just wish it would have taken a different route after Season 5. Something about that entire last season - not just the flash sideways - felt sort of rushed and off to me. Having said all that, I will always remember the show fondly for its explorations of existential and spiritual themes, and for its often poignant characters and cracking genre and mystery/sci-fi ideas.
Actually, now that some time has passed, I like "The full blossom of the evening".
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Re: Lost vs. Twin Peaks - A Comparison

Postby hanksdomino » Sat Sep 26, 2015 7:24 pm

I can see where 'Lost' might have been influenced a little by TP but they're two way different shows. In fact, in one way they're total opposites, in fact. TP was a show driven to the cusp of ruin by network meddling, while Lost was given nothing but leeway during its very popular run. The finales were wildly different too. TP ended with disturbing and haunting cliffhanger we still ponder to this day. Lost ended with the characters hugging in a boring generic church.

Too bad ABC didn't hire Lynch to salvage season six of Lost. While none of the season six episodes featured anything as bad as, say, the TP Evelyn stuff or the Little Nicky subplot, a few times they came pretty damn close. That stupid temple, Sayid's accent suddenly disappearing, the huge lighthouse no one noticed before, Locke suddenly being a completely different character, those "hey we don't know how to end this but HEY LOOK JIN SPEAKS FLUENT ENGLISH AND OMG BEN WORKS IN A SCHOOL!!!!" sideways flashes, Jacob, MIB, corks, jugs, pools of light, yeah, one could say those things were "better" than Ben Horne reenacting the Civil War or Lana seducing everyone but honestly, by how much? And please, I "got" the ending, I just thought it kind of sucked.
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LostInTheMovies
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Re: Lost vs. Twin Peaks - A Comparison

Postby LostInTheMovies » Sat Sep 26, 2015 8:58 pm

hanksdomino wrote:I can see where 'Lost' might have been influenced a little by TP but they're two way different shows. In fact, in one way they're total opposites, in fact. TP was a show driven to the cusp of ruin by network meddling, while Lost was given nothing but leeway during its very popular run. The finales were wildly different too. TP ended with disturbing and haunting cliffhanger we still ponder to this day. Lost ended with the characters hugging in a boring generic church.


"generic" - this to me sums up the problem with Lost and why I would have trouble comparing it to Twin Peaks. Just to be clear, I'm not criticizing the narrative or especially the resolution because I didn't experience big chunks of the former (and can't remember a great deal of what I did experience), and didn't experience the latter at all. I watched Lost pretty regularly up to the season where they were time-travelling and then somehow drifted away and missed the last season. The story of how I missed the finale is actually kind of funny...I planned to watch it but went on ABC's website to view the "Previously On Lost" clip to catch me up to speed. As I watched the video I had a funny feeling...and sure enough, ABC had updated the "Previously" clip to be a 1-minute summary of the finale episode itself!! I still don't understand the thought process behind this but it bummed me out and I never ended up watching the actual episode. Despite all the complaints I've also heard from people I respect that it's really good, so one of these days...

Back to my original point, though. I did watch Lost for a long time and grew frustrated with the show's use of shorthand and tropes. One thing that distinguishes Twin Peaks, especially the Lynch episodes is the specificity: you feel like you are living in that exact moment as you watch, in that exact place. It's the opposite of bland. But in Lost, despite the clever packaging, there was a very TV-ish feel that the places and people you saw were drawn from some library of "types" with the edges sanded off so they could be presented and digested easily. This extended most obviously to the locations and side characters both on the island and especially in flashbacks. The idea always seemed to be on the page more than in the delivery: this was very much television as a writer's and not a director's medium. Maybe this is a criticism of TV in general, rather than Lost - I am in general much more a movie buff than a TV buff although I'm growing more and more interested in the latter medium - but at any rate I felt it came to contaminate more important features of the show too.

At first I found the central characters compelling but eventually the performances slid into a grabbag of gestures and expressions that bordered on self-parody. Jack, Kate, and Sawyer each had a "look" that the editors would cut to in close-up with that rumbling sound whenever they wanted to cut to commercial or flashback; if you watched the show you know the looks I'm talking about: slightly dazed wide-eyed "what am I gonna do now" Jack, Kate grimacing with her jaw locked, head down, eyes glancing up, Sawyer peeved and petulant, wounded but aggressive in his gaze. I half-jokingly began to wonder if they were using the same exact shots every time.

Maybe it isn't fair to ask for more subtlety on the part of the show, but I found its narrative conceits and devices so interesting that the artlessness of its well-executed but yes, "generic" direction frustrated me. It seemed like the show was so fixated on the conceptual that it couldn't achieve true depth with its themes. This is a very TV problem, where the pressures of weekly entertainment risk crowding out a weightier texture and atmosphere.

Hopefully I don't piss off a bunch of people with this comment haha. It's been so long since I watched Lost, and I missed so much of the last stretch, that I didn't plan to participate in the thread but reading some of the observations spurred this so here we are.
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N. Needleman
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Re: Lost vs. Twin Peaks - A Comparison

Postby N. Needleman » Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:19 pm

Oh, God, do I know what you're talking about.
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Jonah
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Re: Lost vs. Twin Peaks - A Comparison

Postby Jonah » Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:21 pm

Here's a link to the Grillo-Marxuach article/document that was mentioned earlier in the thread, basically a fascinating account of working on the first two years of LOST from one of its then writers. They had such a juggling act trying to convince the brass they were going to keep the show to basic survival tropes and sneak in sci-fi and mythological elements, I really respect how they pulled it off. This doesn't change my opinion on Season 6 or my overall less than favourable views on what I consider to be a series of final cop-outs, and creative blindspots, however, and I think LostintheMovies made some great points about standard TV tropes and those cutaway shots too.

Here's the link. This is a very long piece but really fascinating reading - well-written, insightful, and entertaining. http://okbjgm.weebly.com/lost

(And here's a much shorter version that distills and takes out a few of the choice bits: http://blogs.indiewire.com/criticwire/you-cant-kill-the-white-guy-javier-grillo-marxuachs-epic-history-of-lost-20150324- though I recommend reading the whole thing.)
Actually, now that some time has passed, I like "The full blossom of the evening".
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N. Needleman
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Re: Lost vs. Twin Peaks - A Comparison

Postby N. Needleman » Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:28 pm

Yeah, that piece didn't change my opinion on the show, but I did admire their dedication and it made me realize that many of the writers at the show wanted much more. I just don't know where the circuit failed between all that creativity and the final execution. (Or maybe I'm the one failing.)

I just felt the show had big creativity behind it, processed onto network TV in the most generic way, which is what turned me off from the beginning. It felt like the TV minds who knew how to crank out long-running youth/action drama (Felicity, Alias) trying to make The Prisoner, and ultimately making successful sausage - it had love triangles, sappy music, sad backstories, lots of tantalizing hints - but not anything that really coalesced or challenged me based on its actual premise. It hit all its audience quadrants with the above-mentioned components, and was very skillfully designed that way, but if you stepped back and looked at the bigger design, I found nothing. It was a widget. It was, I felt, the illusion of depth via viral marketing and various signifers and symbols, which became JJ Abrams and Bad Robot's trademarks. They named characters after philosophers and great minds and people would Google the names and ooh and aah, but few of the characters amounted to much for me.
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Jonah
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Re: Lost vs. Twin Peaks - A Comparison

Postby Jonah » Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:37 pm

N. Needleman wrote: They named characters after philosophers and great minds and people would Google the names and ooh and aah, but few of the characters amounted to much for me.


I have to, alas, agree, at this point, though I might have tried to defend them more during the original run. Now, I'm mixed on the characters. I quite liked some of them - very much, in fact - but I always felt less enthused about the characters than about the mysteries and the concepts. For me, at times, many of the characters felt like stock characters - or stock-like - though I did appreciate their existential malaise much of the time during the original run. I was intrigued also by the narrative - especially when the flashbacks became flashforwards - but at times this was tiring.

However, I suppose the characters never enraptured me the way the on-island plots did - so when they turned around and said "it's all about the characters" it felt off. As a viewer, I spent most of my time (even between episodes and seasons) intrigued by the mysteries and the concepts, and narratively they all fell short, over and over again, sometimes in a very cheesy, rudimentary, and downright lazy-feeling way towards the end. And the on-the-nose way this began to work its way into the show became very off-putting to me (such as in the penultimate episode "Across the Sea" where they actually have a character say THIS line: " every question you ask will only lead to more questions" - I mean, it's meta and all, but it's also pretty insulting to viewers who had at this point invested 6 years in this show). So, yeah, I definitely have a real love-loathe feeling on LOST all these years later, whereas Twin Peaks is a show that has never fallen short for me, even though I recognise its awful, lazy moments (I'm looking at you mid-season 2 stretch).
Actually, now that some time has passed, I like "The full blossom of the evening".
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Re: Lost vs. Twin Peaks - A Comparison

Postby TwinPeaksFanatic » Sun Sep 27, 2015 7:37 am

While I admit that it was a stretch to compare Lost and Twin Peaks, I think there are a lot of lessons to be learned. Both shows shared a similar mystique and amassed an extremely loyal following. I decided to write a post about Lost for it's anniversary because I loved the show, but also because when you look online for usergroups, forums, Facebook groups etc, there isn't nearly as much fan fair for Lost as I thought there would be. In fact one group on FB titled "Lost, because we got it" struck me as funny. It seemed despite during the endless conversations while it was on the air and the writer's broad strokes ending, most people stopped talking about Lost. Perhaps that's the downside of the ending that was chosen for Lost. Most groups seem to lean toward suggesting that people just didn't "get" it. For folks like myself, who felt the ending was weak and season 6 on a whole disappointed, we just gave up the conversation.

Where as in Twin Peaks, like hanksdomino pointed out, we still want to talk about it. I agree with Lostinthemovies too. Lost did have a generic feel at the end. Also like Needleman & Jonah said, the endless references to philosophers, authors, etc. made the audience think there was something to be garnered from those clues, but there wasn't. The writer's of Lost have admitted that all the literary references won't really enlightened the audience as to the meaning of Lost, so why did they include so much of it? It's kinda of like they teased their audience just for the sake of creating hype. This is why I feel so strongly that Lost did need that "ah ha" moment. The writer's did everything they could to make their audience believe that moment was coming and then they didn't have the balls to deliver it.

As a Lynch fan, I don't look for literal meaning in everything when it comes to his movies or Twin Peaks. There is a heavy mythology in Twin Peaks that is loads of fun to analyze, but personally I've always felt my way through Twin Peaks. I discovered it as a kid so the heaviness of the storyline didn't click with me when it originally aired. I just liked the mystery, the sadness, the visuals and the characters. As I got older and rewatched it, that's when I started to see the clever mythos woven within. With Lost I was older when it aired so from the beginning my mind was engaged in trying to understand the mystery. The character's did have some cliche' elements to them, so for me the island's mystery was the most intriguing.

One thing I've learned is that I will not watch new Twin Peaks like I did Lost. I will temper my expectations and try to return to a time when I could simply enjoy a show for the way it makes me feel. Of course I'll be writing about it and likely analyzing much of it, but I sincerely hope I can take the ride without expecting too much. It's possible Lynch/Frost could take Twin Peaks in a direction no one will see coming. I also think there will be a fair share of lookie loos who tune in for the hype of it and then bash it when they don't connect with it.

Regardless both Lost and Twin Peaks are televisions shows that, in my opinion, broke the mold. What was so good about Lost will always be good, even if I didn't get the payoff I was hoping for.

Also thanks to everyone who has been commenting on this thread, it's been a lot of fun whether we agree or not! :D
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Jonah
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Re: Lost vs. Twin Peaks - A Comparison

Postby Jonah » Sun Sep 27, 2015 8:12 am

Here's another interesting tidbit. I haven't looked up LOST in a very long time, but I came across this last night after reading the Javier Grillo-Marxuach document.

It's a sort of abject "apology" or "leave me alone" statement from Damon Lindelof on the "LOST" finale. Some interesting thoughts here - and some very interesting, if mostly negative comments, when you scroll down to the end of the article. A lot of the "you didn't get it" vs. "we got it, but it sucks" commentary here. I feel for Lindelof here, though I also didn't like the "people thinking they were dead the whole time" comment, which seems a bit snarky or purposefully inflammatory given that at this point I don't think anyone genuinely thought the criticism was in any way related to a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the last season, but rather disappointment with its narrative failings.

http://screenrant.com/damon-lindelof-breaking-bad-lost-finale/

Partial Lindelof quote taken from above:

“I’m sick of myself for continuing to beat this particular drum, so I can’t imagine how sick of it you are. If it’s unpleasant and exhausting for me to keep defending the Lost finale, aren’t you getting tired of hating it? And so … I, like Walter White, want out. To be free. And to grant you the same.

“I’d like to make a pact, you and me. And here’s your part: You acknowledge that I know how you feel about the ending of ‘Lost.’ I got it. I heard you. I will think about your dissatisfaction always and forever. It will stay with me until I lie there on my back dying, camera pulling slowly upward whether it be a solitary dog or an entire SWAT team that comes to my side as I breathe my last breath.

“And here’s my part: I will finally stop talking about it. I’m not doing this because I feel entitled or above it — I’m doing it because I accept that I will not change hearts nor minds. I will not convince you they weren’t dead the whole time, nor resent you for believing they were despite my infinite declarations otherwise.”


And a key quote from the comments section in response:

internsofshield

Was on board with Lindelof’s “apology” until his preachy remark about “people thinking they were dead all along” – at this moment i realized that Lindelof still thinks that the hate he is getting is because people didn’t get the ending.

We got it.
We hated it.
No misunderstanding.


And here's another quoted comment I found online. This is very blunt and a bit sarcastic, but I think it's got merit. I wouldn't put it quite like this myself. Though I have to admit I do mostly agree with this view. (Taken from comments section of http://mentalfloss.com/article/62494/10-fascinating-new-revelations-about-making-lost):

The finale was just pure genius. Create a whole season long red herring, and then explain that red herring in the finale episode.
Leave the rest of the series and mythology unexplained since it was all made up as things went and being unplanned could not be tied up in any meaningful sense from the start.
Dramatically it was fun enough but intellectually it failed miserably.


Actually, now that some time has passed, I like "The full blossom of the evening".
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LostInTheMovies
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Re: Lost vs. Twin Peaks - A Comparison

Postby LostInTheMovies » Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:25 am

One thing I'll say in defense of Lost's long-term reputation is that at the same point in its own trajectory (5 years after the finale) hardly anyone was talking about Twin Peaks either. But maybe the following, while smaller, was more devoted? I mean is there anything similar to Wrapped in Plastic now (in internet form of course) where Lost loyalists congregate? Or are the hardcore fans more bitter & dispersed after the Lost finale than they were after the TP finale & FWWM (which certainly weren't very popular at the time although my trip through the Usenet archives revealed, to my surprise, that the majority of core fans - at least in that venue - seemed to like it).

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