Days of Lost Future Past

Posted: February 8, 2010 in TV
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Remember when “Lost” was a about a group of plane crash survivors trying to get off an island? How quaint. In it’s fifth season, a core group of characters came unstuck in time, travelling back and forth between decades, and finally settling in the 70s, which they attempted to wipe from history by detonating a hydrogen bomb over a pocket of electromagnetic energy. Or perhaps they were still just trying to get off the island.

Either way, reality was ripped in two, and season six started with most of the major characters living double lives, literally as well as unwittingly. After eight months of expectation and heated debate, the Cady household watched the season premier, and I noticed that the teenagers were quite bemused. I was soaking up the paradox and they were scratching their heads, ironic since their synapses are supposed to be firing a lot more quickly than mine are these days. Whatever they had imagined they would see, “Lost” seemed to be going in a completely different direction. How typical.

Maybe you noticed something similar in your house, or maybe you were the one who roared, “first time travel, and now this?!”, to no one in particular. If “Lost” seems even more confusing and disorienting than ever, then maybe a few familiar frames of reference will help get you back to your comfort zone.

If fictional time travel has taught us anything, it’s that you don’t muck around with the past. The ramifications of such an action were explained by Doc Brown in “Back to the future Part II”, in which old Biff, in 2015, steals a sports almanac from 1985, then travels back to 1955 and gives the almanac to young Biff who proceeds to make a killing in gambling on sporting events to which he already has the results. As Doc Brown explained to Marty, using nothing more elaborate than a chalk board, this creates a divergence in the time stream starting in 1955, resulting in time branching off into a separate, parallel reality, in which Biff kills Marty’s father, marries his (Marty’s) mother, and owns Hill Valley. Simple, right?

Another example of the ramifications of mucking around with the past was demonstrated by the well known explorer and philosopher Homer Simpson. Some of you may remember his pioneering work in time-travel technology when he repaired a toaster in such a way that it allowed him to travel back millions of years, at least until the toast popped up. You may also recall that the seemingly insignificant act of swatting a fly resulted in Christian fundamentalist Flanders becoming the supreme leader of the world, or at least of America, which equates to the same thing in the mind of many Americans.

So you see, while “Lost may have upped the ante, there’s nothing here that hasn’t been touched on in other serious works of speculative fiction. If you still need help finding a comfort zone from which you can relax and enjoy the E ticket ride, try repeating this mantra:

“Lost” is only a TV programme.

It’s a great one, but it is only a TV programme.

  1. Lost is both shit, and amazing. I can’t stop watching it. It’s so ridiculously addictive and very well written.

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