Commentary on Movies and TV by Brian Holcomb

Friday, February 01, 2008

Lost in America

Whatever you do, don't push that reset button!!! Or if you are Damon Lindelof, J.J. Abrams, and Carlton Cuse, then by all means keep hitting it over and over! The RESET BUTTON TECHNIQUE is one of the most important tools of television writing and even more important when the series is in the form of a serial. Lost uses a minor version of this over and over, starting up mysteries only to have them reveal a new mystery within, like a chinese box, changing the nature of the drama. But this season's change is one of the biggest. Starting with last season's cliffhanger, they shifted the present tense of the drama completely, creating a new tension. Instead of having the scenes on the island play as present tense with flashbacks to the character's pasts, this season, the characters have already been rescued and are living at home. So this is the new present tense and the flashbacks are scenes on the island. The show's been flipped inside out and it's context reset. Very clever.