Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Invasion and Lost

It's a great shame that ABC decided to cancel Invasion, especially after that cliffhanger conclusion. By showing the two shows consecutively the network had banked that the people that liked Lost would take to its new little brother, but it didn't work out that way.

When Lost first kicked-off in the UK I gave up after part three (actually at the end of the first night's showing on C4/E4). The first hour was paced like a feature film, but then suddenly all the braking-techniques were deployed at once, and I feared an endless rolling out of pointless flashbacks.

Invasion on the other hand seemed to have much more likeable (and attractive) characters in all the lead roles. Perhaps that was the problem - they had to bring on some deranged Brit towards the end of the series to give audiences a clear sense of who the bad guys were. The idea of creating real ambiguity in the ontological issue of human vs alien nature actually required a bit more moral ambiguity from all those nice folks down in the Everglades. (Would these hybrids have voted for Bush or Gore? They mostly behaved like Bush voters towards the end.)

According to the New Scientist this week an IED is not just something in the dead sheep parked next to your Humvee, it's also an "intermittent explosive disorder", to which more that 7% of Americans are prone according to new research by the Harvard Medical School. This explains much about the character interaction on the island in Lost...though it's that Australian girl Claire that you really want to slap into her senses!

The characters in Lost each have a recurring flaw. Sawyer is duplicitous, Sayid tortures people, Ana Lucia has Hispanic anger-management issues, Jack is, as my friend Katy puts it, a wet cabbage. Lock was my personal favourite for a long time but, at the stage I have now reached (Episode 17 of Series 2) has turned into a kind of neurotic Big Brother housemate down in that hatch, squabbling over the washing up rota with the aforementioned sodden vegetable. So Mr Eko has had to assume the mantle of purveyor of esoteric jungle wisdom to the group. However, it does look like episode 18 will finally reveal how Lock got into that wheelchair though.

Importantly, you get the impression with Lost that they sat down at the outset and worked out the overall synopsis of the story and the main character biographies before they started shooting series one. While both series are soapish in conception, Invasion appeared to have a few of the short-term structural aberrations and exasperating dead-ends familiar from the worst sort of telenovela. Lost is far more even in its fits and spurts!

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