This is going to sound weird but I sometimes find myself thinking about the show Lost and wondering what the hell compelled me to keep watching it. (And what on earth is compelling me, right now to write a whole post about it.) If I think about it rationally, it was one of the worst shows ever aired, but apparently the writers were really awesome because they kept me (and millions of other people) coming back for more.
I recently realized that the main reason why I kept going back for more was because I kept hoping that sooner or later it would all start making sense to me, that somehow they would manage to tie it all together. Of course as the show progressed this seemed less and less likely, though the pull towards making sense of it became ever stronger. So I watched all the seasons, once, and the end result was something that was far-fetched and unlikely, mostly unlikeable, and definitely infuriating. When I think of Lost it generally pisses me off, to think of all the wasted hours, but the individual episodes were actually quite good, keeping me on the edge of my seat and all. Of course, the general feeling that all the writers, producers and directors where mostly doped up on crack remains. So I am letting it go. Because not all shows can be good, but the good ones stayed with me. The good ones where shows I watched over and over and over again, but of course “the good ones” is also very subjective.
So I’m burying my memories of Lost and my anger and disappointment towards it today by remembering some of my favorite shows, the ones that kept me coming back with happy feelings.
Friends – I remember slowly saving to buy all the season DVDs of Friends, slowly, one at a time from amazon uk, cause they weren’t out in Italy yet. I’d get my box set and sit at home for several nights just watching the entire season, and then I’d watch it again. It was hilarious, it made me happy and I still have fond memories of that time.
The X-files – my brother started watching the X-Files when they first came out in the US. I was already in Italy for University at that point and started watching it with him when I went home on holiday. I won’t lie, I thought it was a load of crap. My brother, then 15 or 16 thought it was all true and spent his days spouting conspiracy theories as teens are wont to do. Years later it finally comes out in Italy too and my roommate was really into it, so I started watching it again, and slowly a compulsion started. Unfortunately my roommate has since passed away (at 27 from a brain aneurism) but watching the X-files always makes me feel close to her. “The truth is out there” and I’m sure she knows what it is now.
Studio 60 on the sunset strip – I imagine most of you haven’t heard of it. It was one of the smartest, wittiest, most well written shows I’ve ever seen, which is probably why it was cancelled after only one season. If you have the chance, watch it, you’ll thank me.
The West Wing and Boston Legal – these are my go to “comfort shows”. I watch them when I need a mood lift, I’ve watched them both during both of my pregnancies, while breastfeeding my kids, after my Dad passed. I can’t explain it, but they distract me in a way that doesn’t leave me feeling dumb afterwards. They both have dialogues I actually want to follow, to me it always comes down to the writers, the use of words.
I watch other shows too, I like the mainstream popular ones like Grey’s Anatomy or Desperate Housewives or CSI, but those are my “switch my brain off” shows. Nothing wrong with that, of course, I’m not a TV snob, but the shows that really stayed with me throughout the years, the ones that I want to keep watching over and over are the ones where the writing matters.
This is why Lost pisses me off, the idea was so good, the execution was so bad. And now after this little venting post I hope to finally, definitively forget about Lost so I can concentrate on the really important stuff, like Modern Family and trying to figure out if Kitchen Confidential and The Big C are any good.
What are your favorite shows? What makes you keep going back for more? What’s important in a show, the writing, the action, the actors?