I tuned into the first season of LOST with everyone else who saw the promos and believed the hype that the tale about a plane crash on a deserted island was going to be the next big thing in appointment viewing television (at a time when appointment viewing television was next to non-existent). I tuned out about four or five episodes later. This was back in 2004, obviously, and when news spread around Hollywood that the season would be ending in 2010, I decided to tune back in for the end. Needless to say, I had missed a lot!
Being that I'm just a casual observer-- someone who is watching because of it's importance in the world of pop culture and not because I really connect with the material-- I did not watch the premiere "live" last night as it aired on ABC. No, instead, I was probably the only person in my industry who chose to stick with NBC's The Biggest Loser instead. I watched both hours of the premiere this morning instead, on Hulu, commercial-free.
I debated throughout the day if I should post my thoughts on the premiere, considering I can't quite call myself a fan. I realized very quickly in watching the first half of the two-part premiere that the only "flash sideways" I care about is the one in which the plane never crashes. After all, I am not particularly invested in some of the characters we see on the island because they were introduced during seasons I never saw. But more than that, it is the only one I consider even slightly realistic. And I have always wondered what would happen to these people if they finally had to face the problems that plagued them when they first "landed" on the island.
The reason I stopped watching LOST mid-season one was because I felt like the writers weren't giving us enough backstory on the characters to really care about all of them as people. It was clear from the start they were all damaged, and their demons could have made them really unique and interesting, but instead the show was spending much more time focusing on creating mysteries around each one rather than giving answers about each one.
In this flash sideways, though, it looks like the characters will finally have to answer for the things they did, even if in a slightly alternate universe and way. Blowing up the island in 1977 definitely caused some changes-- the largest of which being that the island is submerged and Oceanic 815 never crashed. However, other, smaller, more subtle changes seem like they will be creeping out slowly but surely over the course of the next few episodes. Boone already explained Shannon's absence from the flight, but Desmond's presence on it was a surprise to most fans. Hurley hasn't had bad luck befall him yet; Sun and Jin aren't married; Kate killed some random guy instead of her father; Jack saved Charlie from ODing in the bathroom. But at their core, all of the characters are the same and therefore have the same fundamental problems: Sun and Jin still have tension between them, and she still pretended she didn't understand English in order to avoid helping him. Kate is still wanted for murder. Jack is still trying to save everyone, even when they don't really want saving, thereby making things worse...
Being marooned on the island caused its own set of problems, but more than that, it allowed all of these characters a chance to ignore their 'real world' ones. They weren't offered redemption on that island because they never truly faced their flaws. Will they now? I certainly hope so or I will tune out again long before the May 23 series finale!