I think my other half and I must be the only people in the world who never got on the Lost bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong – we intended to catch up this past summer. We added Season 1 to our Netflix queue, even trudged through the first 7 episodes. And were underwhelmed.
I have a high tolerance for ambiguity and mystery – I was a rabid fan of Battlestar Galactica (the new one), and there were plenty of WTF? moments in that show. But for whatever reason, Lost just lost me from the beginning.
I think part of it might have been the characters. After 7 episodes I still didn’t feel connected or invested in any of them. Interested and confused yes, but not exactly intrigued enough that I HAD to find out what was going to happen. And when Claire and Charlie got kidnapped by some mysterious person on the island, I should have been desperate to know what happened. Instead I turned off Netflix.
Maybe we weren’t in the right mood for Lost when we tried to watch it. Maybe you had to have the excitement of watching it unfold with a billion other viewers. But now that it’s over, and I’ve read the backlash about the final episode, I’m kind of glad I never got invested. Especially if it’s as bad as people are saying.
I think that’s a risk all authors and series run – you get your readers invested, you hook them in with a fantastic story or a big mystery. You keep people reading for 10, 20, 30 books. Or maybe only 3. And then how do you end it so that your readers are satisfied? Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series seems to be doing OK with its storyline, but I hear Laurel Hamilton’s Anita Blake series has gotten awful the further along it gets. What’s the difference? How does one succeed and the other “fail” (I put it in quotes, b/c as far as I can tell Hamilton’s series is still a best seller).
I read recently (I wish I could remember what blog!) that no matter if you plan on having 1 book or 10, you have to make each one feel like a standalone. You can have a larger plot reaching across the series (ala Harry Potter), or just one book after another with the same characters, but you have to give readers an answer, you have to wrap up at least one of the major hanging threads and let them feel like the story is complete. And even more important, that the resolution makes sense. It’s understandable and acceptable within the world building confines of the story.
So how about you Lost fans out there? What did you think of the series? The ending? Did it satisfy you or leave you hanging?
And more importantly, is it something we should try and pick up again? *grin*