Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lost in Science Fiction!

I have been shamelessly, perpetually, brutally and insanely addicted to certain series and sitcoms that come too late on Indian TV, yet are available on my desktop before you can blink and say "finale"! And the list has been long - Friends, Desperate Housewives, Sex and the City (oh for shame!), The Big Bang Theory, 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother, Modern Family, Make It or Break It, The Simpsons, Family Guy... I watch EVERYTHING, like a maniac, sometimes 10 episodes at one go! Yet I have tried to rationalize my very mundane addiction as limited to soaps about your daily bits and pieces... nothing over the top, nothing your average viewer would fail to like and love with some practice. But all hell broke loose when a friend suggested I watch Lost.

Frankly, I did catch a glimpse of one of its brilliant ads on TV, and did not feel myself inclined to watch a disaster series! Disaster movies are OK, two hours of adrenalin rush at the most, and then some rumination. But a series about death and destruction? NO SIR! But it had ONLY 6 seasons! I was coaxed into getting my hands on the first season, and I was cautious, procuring only 2 episodes till I was sure I could sit through the ordeal. And then I watched the pilot, and then I was doomed! Doomed for the next fortnight, and doomed for good!

Honestly, I have seen too many pilots of too many series, but none I remember as vividly as this one! Well maybe Friends, but anyway! There was something sexy about the whole thing. A bunch of oh-so-attractive people caught in a death trap island after a supposed-to-be-fatal air crash! Bizarre, yet romantic in its own unique way...I have always been able to wring out drops of heartache-inducing romanticism amidst adversity, but this was way beyond that - this was a romantic thriller, where you had too many questions, too many people, and distinct directions toward the answers. At one point I wondered whether the magically mixed crowd (in ethnicity AND temperament) was going to provide the tried-and-tested method of multiple points of view. To some extent it did, but then again, it was nothing different from your normal disaster flick with a few secrets and mysteries! WHAT, then would make viewers sit through six seasons worth of 45 minute episodes with the same bunch of people in the same damn place? Weirdly, I never asked this question as I glided through the seasons in a daze. The critical questions come to mind when you are done with it... and you wonder what the unique formula within the common formula is.

In a desperate attempt to discover the reasons behind its charm, one may talk about the fascinating visual effects, and not in vain. The views were fantastic - the beaches were a treat, the fashion was impeccable (never mind the SOS-status, good clothes always win), the action sequences added major oomph (for people like me who love their firearms, human arms, and strong men and women), and the supernatural effects were the best that you can do on TV! Having said all that, I feel that there have been many forgettable action-supernatural thrillers that escape one's mind in minutes. Lost, therefore had something more, or something less, which made it transcend its strangely unbelievable storyline.

For someone who watches stuff without a preliminary skimming of Wikipedia, the first three seasons of Lost would seem to be a very thrilling yet normal narrative, and the process of falling in love will begin. The advantage with a host of attractive (physically and figuratively) characters is that every viewer will get someone to fantasize about and support. I personally fell in love with the hottest man and the strongest woman, but never mind! With each episode, a little bit would be revealed about each character, and curiosity mixed with hormones would keep you going, sometimes half a season a day! To make things better, new characters and storylines would be conveniently added at regular intervals, so there would be NO scope of delving into the depths of boredom and low TRP! It is pure genius I tell you! And it has got everything - evil genius, good Samaritan, selfish crook, old fool, helpful junkie, sexy felon, cute soldier with sad story, hot bad boy, helpless pregnant lady, conservative lovers, sex, attraction, jealousy, murder, infidelity, scientific experiments, YOU NAME IT!

Finally when you are helplessly hooked, the episodes suddenly do a back-flip and turn fantastic, and I MEAN fantastic! It is like a normal disaster narrative suddenly gone completely sci-fi! Agreed that this may be disappointing for the low-tech, low-imagination section of the audience, who may find the shift from survival-of-the-fittest to time-travel a little difficult to follow/swallow, but I guess sci-fi was the plan to begin with! Like every amateur critic, I cannot breathe until I can find something negative, which could have been remedied, and the last leg of the series provided me with the scope of exercising my critical voice and index finger. While the juxtaposition of black and white, and the co-existence or death of both was a great theme to work on, I felt that some of the supernatural aspects were forced... just for the heck of it, or maybe to roll out the dough into some more episodes. The cut scenes from a possible alternative reality were admiringly thought-provoking, but the repeated attempts at escape and the same circumstances of survival and death made it look hackneyed at best towards the end. And the grand finale could not match up to the pilot... it wasn't even close. It seemed to be a mere closure of the events in the ONLY possible way that was available to the creators of this promising saga. Despite this, however, one is compelled to watch it till the end, driven by the love I was talking about. Attachment with the characters/story is unavoidable, and that is what counts amidst the cocktail of sheer brilliance with the occasional drag!

So, a whirlwind of six seasons later, I sit, utterly satisfied and happy. Lost is one of the rare series that give you a sense of completion when it ends - you do not want a Season 7, or a Lost:The Movie, but you feel completely satisfied and at peace with your experience, with almost all questions answered and some left to your imagination. Finally, another cool thing about it is, you seldom forget a few specific scenes that had made you fall hopelessly for the series, and you can always go back to it time and again. ME? I could watch the pilot again!... and also the scene where the raft leaves... and the ones with my hot boy!... Why don't you give it a try and make a list of yours? ;)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Before I Turn to Stone...

Love causes no tears to come
Over the storm of my iris,
Which takes in dark light.
“Don't cry for your love, cry tears of joy”?
But I only see beyond the happy blur...
I see you – my last resort
As I slowly turn to stone,
Your flesh the last live thing
Before I die on my own...
“I’ll never be alone”?

Don’t walk as life crumbles to dust
Run! Run fast!
Run to me! My cold body pleads
Are you running away instead?
I cannot move an inch,
Yet you think I glide!

“You’re alive”, you said?
Yet my room is draped in walls,
Into which I shall blend, unmoving.
My love’s vaporizing
Does it reach you and make you warm?
You sent a song…
Turn yourself to me, now!
Touch me out of this trance...
Run to me, my cold soul pleads,
Before I turn to stone...
Don’t let us be on our own.

( Quotes are from "Cradled in Love" - PoTF )