Saturday, November 12, 2005

Lost, Take Two

Okay, so we sat down to watch another episode of Lost, and I think I now understand why last night's episode didn't make any sense: What we saw was part one of the pilot! So, yeah, nothing happened by the end of last night's episode -- it was only half over!

We watched the second half of the pilot and the next episode ("Tabula Rasa," which translates roughly as "clean slate" -- appropriate given the content of the episode). It's still definitely not what McKee would call "archplot," a story that moves through time with the character's actions (and reactions) driving the conflict. Instead, so far we are seeing the conflict internally in the characters develop. Even when two characters are in conflict, they are still really battling against their natures. For example, Sayid and Sawyer get in a fist-fight over Sawyer's accusing Sayid of being a terrorist. Sayid isn't really fighting Sawyer, his struggle is internal over being a military officer -- but an officer on the losing side of a war.

McKee calls this "miniplot," a plot which reduces the story down to its bare essentials. Because this type of setting is so limited in the tools it has available to show change in the protagonist(s), it often is also "multiplot," and that certainly seems to be the case here. So, I think I understand what Lost is trying to do a little better now. I'm still not totally buying into it yet, but I am somewhat intrigued by the conflicts they've set up, I'm just not sure how they can keep the story going without resolving them -- and I'm not sure how the story can keep going if they don't. Still, it's an experiment I've never seen done on television before, so I applaud it. I'm not a big fan of miniplot, but I'm open minded enough to see if it hooks me. My wife loves it, even just the first half of the pilot dragged her in, so maybe my tastes are just a little too mundane. :)

If nothing else, looking at it as an exercise in story analysis will be well worth the price of admission!

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