I have a strange relationship with pop culture in that I hardly ever seem to follow something when it’s currently being released. I’ll generally get into it years after it’s already ended and the majority of discussion and fandom has dried up and moved onto something else. In a way this has an advantage as there’s plenty of fan content waiting for me, but it also has the disadvantage of feeling like a fandom of 1.
That’s what’s happening to me with Lost right now. Despite being one of the most watched and acclaimed shows ever, I only started watching it a few weeks ago. This wasn’t by choice, mind you. The show was so heavily promoted when it aired in 2004 that I was planning on watching it. But on the night the pilot aired in the UK, my family was going out somewhere so I only caught the first few minutes. Since this was before streaming services, I couldn’t exactly watch it when I got home like I would today. And since the show is so continuity heavy and plot driven, I couldn’t exactly jump in part way through either (and I did try). So, I ended up not watching a staple of modern pop culture for 18 years. I don’t want to be a ‘back in my day’ type of person, but I think a lot of people younger than my own generation don’t realise how lucky they are to live in an age of streaming and watching things whenever you want to.
But now I have started watching the show, I can understand the hype and see what I’ve been missing all these years. It’s incredibly addicting not only to follow the supernatural mystery, but also to see the character relationships develop and find out how they’re going to survive together.
In retrospect, I can now see that certain aspects of the show haven’t aged particularly well, or are a reflection of the time the show was made. And I’m not just talking about the special effects for the polar bear, which must have been bad even by 2004 standards. Sawyer represents the ‘troubled bad boy’ archtype which while still around today, has evolved somewhat from just being an arsehole for no particular reason. Some of the relationships seem to exist purely on the basis of having a man and a woman interacting on a 2000s show. And the less said about the love triangle the better. In a way, it does provide an eye-opening look into how media and representation has changed for the better in the space of 18 years.
The disadvantage of only getting into things super late is that it not only makes it easy to accidently stumble upon spoilers, I can find them without even needing to look. The show has been around for so long by now that many of the big twists are already common knowledge, even to people who have never watched the show. Plus, as engaged as I am with the show, I have heard more than a few rumours that it doesn’t stay this good for the entire run and the supernatural elements get super weird. I’m going into it aware that I could be setting myself up for disappointment.
Even so, I’m still excited to continue watching the show for the characters I’m growing to love so I can finally decide for myself if I agree with the popular opinion. One advantage of getting into things late is that I don’t have to wait for it to finish.