Friday, April 27, 2007

If Lost were like 24


I'll be honest, I used to love 24. I watched the second season religiously, taping it with a VCR if I was going to miss it, and re-hashing each episode with friends afterward. I had a few gripes with the way it was going, but for the most part I really enjoyed it. It was my first real taste of addictive serialized television. When the 3rd season started, I was super excited and waited with anticipation for the season to begin. I watched the few first weeks, and then I just quit watching. I’m not 100% sure why, but I think some of the gripes I had became more pronounced or the cumulative effect of the things I didn’t like continuing over a long period finally got to me.

Currently, I am a big fan of Lost (and Heroes), and despite not having a lot of patience for filler episodes, I’m guessing I’ll see this one through to the bitter end (or the zombie season, whichever comes first). This season, perhaps not so much lately, there’ve been some complaints about the direction of the show and some of the decisions they’ve made, and I agree with some of them to an extent. But I was thinking the other day that thankfully Lost isn’t directed the way 24 is, and thought of giving some examples of the way Lost would have gone if it was run like 24.

1) The survivors would have fought and defeated the Others, tamed the smoke monster, made it off the island and back to Sydney mid-way through season One, and would now be fighting aliens.

24 burns through plot lines before they ever have a chance to develop. Lost has kind of the opposite problem where we heard that Walt was special a couple years back and maybe by Season 6 we’ll hear why, assuming they even remember to address it.

2) Charlie would have killed approximately 75 Others by now.

By Desmond’s count, Charlie’s killed more of them they have of him. If this were 24, Charlie would have reacted to being strung up in a tree, not just by killing Ethan before we could get any answers of out him, but he would have crossed the island and unloaded clip after clip into random no-name Others.

Side note: Who is actually physically larger, Kiefer Sutherland or Dominic Monaghan? IMDB lists ex-hobbit Monaghan at 5’ 7”, while burly Jack Bauer comes in at a decidedly unthreatening 5’ 9½”. Any time some whose age isn’t counted in months includes ½ inches in their height, you know they’re lying.

3) The survivors would have had 6 leaders by now, each one in turn, turning out to be working for the Others.

Pretty much every season, whoever is running CTU turns out to be in cahoots with the bad guys. You’d think they have worked out a better background check process by now.

4) There would be a side plot where Claire and Kate fight over who gets to date Hurley.

I tried to come up with a set of Lost characters to mirror this scenario, but as far as I can tell only pretty women are allowed on the island. Maybe it’s one of its mysterious properties. On an episode of 24 this season, two male CTU employees were cat-fighting over Chloe, network television’s least attractive romantic female lead. Meanwhile, a much more attractive new hire at CTU goes unnoticed. All I know of all the things that don’t make sense on CTU, men fighting over Chloe ranks right near the top.

5) Every season the Survivors would manage to defeat the Smoke Monster and the Others, only to find out in the next season that there is yet another batch of Others on a different part of the island and that there are yet more Smoke Monsters.

Do terrorist have any tactics that don’t involve nuclear explosions?

6) The President – or one of his staff – would be behind it all.

I don't have a problem with conspiracy theories involving high-level government officials, but is anyone else capable of masterminding a nuclear explosion who doesn't work at the White House?

7) Jack, Kate, and Sawyer would have escaped back to the beach in the first segment of the first episode of Season Three.

I realize that they are now all back at the beach as Season Three comes to a close, but had this happened on 24, the first few minutes of the new season would have involved Jack, Kate, and Sawyer easily escaping as the Others simply left them unattended at the dock with bags on their heads. By far my biggest gripe with 24 was that there was always no-way-out cliffhangers every week that were resolved way to simply in the first moments of the next episode. The plane with Jack and Nina in it is shot down by missiles? No problem, our main characters survive without a scratch and only people we’ve never met die.

Prison Break took this to a whole new level, throwing in outlandish cliffhangers and their resultant resolutions at nearly every commercial break. Prison guard found your escape hole? No worries, when we return you’ll find out that actually one of our escapees is standing right behind him with a shovel.

8) Charlie could never have gotten high and Paulo would have had nothing to do.

Why? Because on 24, no one ever uses the bathroom. :)


Chip Chief said...

If 24 were more like Lost, each 60 minute episode would only account for 1 real-time minute. The other 59 minutes would be the characters thought processes and memories. Oh, and sometimes sequential episodes would be the same minutes, just from another character's point of view.

j said...