TV go home

There was an article in the Guardian the other day about the TV series 24, which was about my favourite TV show until Lost came along (a little more on that later). The 24 piece, written by Slavoj Zizek, excited me because for a long time I’ve thought that the show was worthy of serious discussion, and also because of the splendid headline that kicked off the article:

The depraved heroes of 24 are the Himmlers of Hollywood

Fairly unambiguous statement. The author is basically right that 24 has gone from being an action-thriller show about terrorism to an apologia for the Bush administration’s torture policies. The fourth series (where practically every episode characters get shot, beaten up, zapped with tazers and have their fingers broken – by the good guys – all in the name of extracting information) hit a low point for me when a civil rights group called “Amnesty Global” (no intentional resemblance at all, natch) block CTU from torturing a terrorist, dispatching a shifty-looking lawyer to argue his case. It was at that point that I realised it wasn’t the kind of show I could watch for fun anymore.

Lost, on the other hand, started out brilliantly and just got better and better over the course of the first series, which has just finished on British terrestrial TV. Its main point of appeal for me (apart from the great acting, plotlines, sets, music and photography) is that unlike other shows with a mystery, that get less interesting the more is revealed, Lost’s creators simply pile on more mysteries, enigmas and downright wigged-out stuff, making it more interesting as you get deeper. Things like spotting the characters crossing each others’ paths before they get on the plane, working out whether they’re telling the truth, and of course the ever-present sequence of numbers, make the series an absolute joy and something that gives you more entertainment for time invested than anything else on TV at the moment.

A piece in the Guardian by Lucy Mangan on the series’ many unanswered questions was pretty entertaining, but I was brought up short when Korean character Sun was described as “the pampered daughter of a Korean gangster living in Australia”. In fact, anyone who watched the episodes exploring Sun and Jin’s pasts (in particular the masterful Episode 17 “In Translation”) will know that they live in Korea, and Jin was in Australia to deliver watches to his father-in-law’s “associates”. Tut tut, Ms. Mangan. That’s a rookie error. Hate to see it.

This is how I can tell that I’m a litte too into Lost.


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