Lost is Over...
Ahem. Let me begin.
Science fiction television writers, I understand that using religion in your work is compelling and new, and can even bring in new audiences. Perhaps you'll get a few thousand of the folks who bought the 'Left Behind' series of books about the Rapture? What a nice demographic.
Perhaps, as storytellers, you find the religious aspect of your shows -- and I'm not speaking specifically to characters with strong faith, but instead on your entire narrative arch of the plot ending in a religious tone or in the case of Lost, and the Battlestar Galactica, the religious crescendo. Maybe you're reacting to the world where ancient mysticism and regular church going isn't compatible with iPads and frozen chicken dinners? The mysterious world of witches and magic are bottled and packaged as Disney characters for toddlers, and we're out of touch with our ancient mythology. You see an opportunity to tap into these simple stories, and have found compelling ways to repackage them and sell advertising.
I mean, look how well it worked for Star Wars, Twin Peaks and X-Files? Star Wars is nothing more than a princess, a pirate, a wizard and a farm boy going up against the evil man in black, right? Good and evil. Man With A Thousand Faces! Too bad Joseph Campbell wasn't around to help Lucas write a compelling first three prequels, right?
Twin Peaks had the black and white lodges - pretty basic stuff there too, really. And X-files had the mysterious mythology that they would drag out and kick around in-between monster-of-the-week episodes, that dealt with urban legends and ancient mysticism... and UFO's are grouped in there too for good measure.
So Lost and Battlestar come after these highlights in science fiction, and exploit the mysticism storyline as well. It was just a bit TOO much and TOO blatant for yours truly.
Let me make one request. You keep religion out of my sci-fi, and I'll keep my science out of religion? Deal?
I won't ask how the velocity of David's sling could have possibly taken down Goliath - as there's no way it could have caused enough head trauma. I won't ask how Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt - was that figurative or literal? And what was the street value of that pillar of salt in antiquity? How about Jesus turning water into wine - was that an Ocean's 11, or Jesus's 13 kind of caper involving a hilarious Vaudevillian double switch? I'll just let those things slide as long as we never see a religious ending to shows with time-travel or space ships.
Not that I hated the ending last night - as they would have had to have plotted it out in advance. Battlestar, though, really was pulled out and thrown on the wall to see if it would stick. The first couple seasons were awesome, and the Jewish robots going after the heathen Zodiac worshiping people was great. There were analogies to the Iraq war, 9/11, religion - great stuff and mirroring our world and telling a morality tale = which I'll be the first to say is what makes great science fiction. But they should be left ambiguously, not literal.
But, that said, the best shows to tackle morality tales were the Twilight Zone and the original Star Trek. Automan, Manimal, and Man from Atlantis? Not so much.
And while answering questions, and finishing hanging story nuggets - the ending quietly ties up those threads by saying, did that one little red herring really have anything to do with how it ended, no - now quit obsessing, Nerd Fan. Okay, well, I don't have a choice -- but were you, as writers, being lazy or were you tossing around red herrings in case your ending didn't work? I don't care that you didn't explain what the Island was or what the glowing thing was, but then you kind of did... but my point was to KEEP it vague and not tell us the Force is midichlorians.
And you did do that, but not with the characters.
How would I have ended it? Glad you didn't ask -- but I'll tell you anyway. The alternate pocket universe gives the characters a choice. Go to the island and help Jacob -- or stay here in this world. The two shall converge and those of you who are dead, keep on keepin' on. Remember your choices and lives on the island, and live good lives. The show rebooted six times. There's no reason why these people couldn't have just rebooted again too. Those of you who want to stay and help out, that's your choice (the choice the man-in-black and Jacob never were given) and that's cool too.
Then it really is about fate vs choice -- which was a major theme throughout the show.
So Lost disappointed me. There was a very heavy religious 'Defending Your Life' ending to the entire program. How much was real? The island was, but the pocket alternate universe, not as much. Does it matter? Is it worth watching? Probably. Will I have fond memories of the show. Kind of, but I'm still going to always think that the ending was a cop-out.