I’m sitting on the couch, muscles bunched, even shivery, jaw tensely clenched, shoulders tight. Annoyed, our cat has abandoned my lap for calmer quarters.
Am I hearing bad news? Central heating on the fritz?
No. I’m watching the two-hour final season premiere of ABC’s “Lost.”
I’m so invested in this riveting, twisty story of “lost” people poignantly working through their redemptive arcs on a time-and-space hopping/reality-bending island, that my adrenaline is surging, electrifying me with excitement. After a long eight-month wait, I’m plunging back into the most gripping television storytelling I’ll ever experience.
My husband Richard doesn’t watch “Lost,” and having sequestered himself at our office computer, is oblivious while I undergo the Great Nerve Clench in the living room. When I tell him about it later, he thinks it’s hilarious and wonders if other local fans were as wacky as I.
I don’t know, as I have no one with whom to share my fervent “Lost” love. Instead, some excellent blogs regale me with fascinating discussion of theories, themes, mythology, allusions, quantum physics, characters and plotlines, including every “what the—-?” moment of this thrill-ride.
I’ve experienced such story magic before, with J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter.” All the years of mad speculation, especially the last two, were a blast. But near the final book’s release, I felt an emotional collision of anticipation and mourning. A tale that had absorbed, moved, challenged and entertained me for so long was ending, and I could never recapture my first experience of it. I have such feelings now about this last season of “Lost.”
But this isn’t surprising.
Fantasy or imaginative storytelling is an immersive experience. We identify with our heroes, their choices, struggles and sacrifices in their transformative journey and their triumph over evil. Such stories can have a powerful impact by offering an alternative lens through which we ponder good and evil, the intersection of faith and reason, our humanity, and what lies beyond our understanding. “Mythic story is a window to what J.R.R. Tolkien would call more permanent things,” says Travis Prinzi, author of “Harry Potter & Imagination: The Way Between Two Worlds.” “We step into a new world pointing to a greater reality, a heavenly or more magical realm than the one we see every day.”
“Lost,” with its ambiguity, character arcs, symbolism, mythology, time-looping and multifaceted reality, doesn’t disappoint. Like the stories of Tolkien, Lewis and Rowling, this otherworldly island interspersed with real-world flashes has gripped my imagination from the beginning. I enjoy pondering the intriguing questions and “greater reality” ideas that stretch my mind, heart and spirit as I wash dishes and run errands.
With the overlap of “Harry Potter” and “Lost,” I’ve enjoyed a remarkable run of superbly imaginative storytelling for eleven years that ends in May. What will I do with myself in June? My brain will probably implode like the Dharma Swan station.
“Lost” has enthralled me with some of the most geektastic storytelling of my life, and I’m going to miss getting regularly stunned with the unexpected. But until then, I’ll plunk down before our TV every Tuesday night, and be happily and tensely bedazzled, brain-twinked, and “lost” in “Lost.” Until the very last…