HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 May 2010
It's a vast mass of mysteries, bizarre twists and supernatural occurrences -- and it's brilliant. "Lost: The Complete Seasons 1-5" has some bumps along its way (particularly in the second season), but it blossoms once it finds its footing, and starts working towards a brain-bending, epic clash between the forces of light and darkness. Think of it as "Swiss Family Robinson" by way of Stephen King.
A plane crashes on a remote tropical island, leaving a terrified band of survivors including a doctor named Jack (Matthew Fox), a spoiled brother and sister, a single dad and his strange son, an Iraqi ex-soldier, a Korean couple, chubby lottery winner, an escaped prisoner, a hostile con-man, a man cured of paralysis, and a junkie rocker.
Unfortunately, the island has countless perils that crop up as the survivors try to survive there, and strange people are hidden in its depths. What's more, the island has a history that stretches back countless years -- there are remnants of a powerful organization called Dharma, a collection of "Others" living in a luxurious modern village, a metal hatch with a button that MUST be pushed, and ancient statues and temples from ancient times.
The survivors do their best to keep alive and to fight back the Others, but they lose many of their number -- and when a small band of them do escape, they find that they have somehow disrupted the island's primal forces, and the fabric of time itself. But even when they fight their way back to the island, they find that not all is as it should be -- and in an effort to set things right once and for all, they must take the ultimate risk and set off a terrifying series of events...
Yes, it's a weird show -- "Lost" might make more sense if you're drunk or stoned, because it can swing wildly from the downright surreal to the mundane. But in the midst of shallow sitcoms and endless reality TV, it's refreshing to see a twisty-turny show like this one. J.J. Adams, best known for "Alias," outdoes his first hit TV show with something totally different -- not just from his past work, but from everything else on TV.
The gorgeous Hawaiian landscape is a contrast for such a dark storyline, although the writers do stumble occasionally (the first half of the second season is a total misfire). Adams never reveals everything, which keeps up the suspense, and he twines together dozens of mysteries -- the island's nature, its prior inhabitants, and its countless mysteries. Some mysteries have been answered, and some are left dangling for the sixth and final season -- and every time Adams unravels one puzzle, it just reveals a new one.
And "Lost" is truly an ensemble show -- every character gets to shine (including some we don't care about), and flashbacks (and flash-forwards) reveal what makes them tick. And some, like Jin, Sun and the haunted, smart-alecky Sawyer are evolved far beyond their original characterization.
Matthew Fox is given a lot of attention, and he is a good actor... even though the self-righteous Jack eventually gets kind of annoying. Fotunately, there's a brilliant supporting cast -- Dominic Monaghan, Jorge Garcia ("Dude, that was a Jedi moment!"), Terry O'Quinn, Evangeline Lilly, the brilliant Naveen Andrews and Josh Holloway, Yunjin Kim, Elizabeth Mitchell, Daniel Dae Kim. Two brilliant supporting roles are Michael Emerson as the creepy-eyed Other leader, and Henry Ian Cusick as the tormented ex-soldier/monk Desmond -- and there are a LOT of memorable supporting characters.
"Lost" is a well-written, well-acted show that brings a bit of mystery back into prime-time television. Creepy, funny, romantic, tragic and sometimes just weird -- and be prepared for the mother of all cliffhangers.