Monday, 28 May 2007

'Lost' & Chekhov's gun

The playwright Anton Chekhov once offered a pithy literary principle for anyone pulling together a plot. Said Anton, If a gun appears on the wall in the First Act, then it should go off the in Third.

In good drama, in other words, nothing should be unintentional. If you're not to have an audience that feels cheated when they leave the show, then questions asked of the audience in the First Act should be resolved by the Curtain.

Based on this principle, novelist Ed Cline compares my own favourite TV series The Prisoner with the series Lost, which on the face of it has many parallels. However ...

[See Ed Cline's 'Lost' and Clueless for the full story. Note that Ed "would caution the reader... about plot spoilers to follow, but there is no plot to spoil." ]


  1. Christ this is scary. I'm a fan of Lost, about the only TV series I do watch, and the underlying fear I have is that there is no point.

    One factoid that always stays with me is this: when they shot the pilot, the actor playing Locke did not know he could not walk before the crash. Which makes sense: from idea to the first shooting day was only 8 weeks. How could they put all the pieces together?

    The question is whether any pieces were put together beyond "there is a crash on an island which is odd".

    Another thing that gets me is all the games. Practically nobody tells the truth. Why not people? Without an obvious reason for deceiving, why deceive?

    And what is with not asking the obvious question of the Others: what the hell is this all about?


    Anyway, if they can come up with an explanation for the numbers, the monster, the polar bears, the experiments, the Others' need to kidnap, the hatches, and, in particular, all the coincidences between Losties in the flashbacks, I'll be surprised and impressed.

  2. I really liked the last, crazy, episodes of The Prisoner.

  3. I watch Lost, and will continue to do so. I refuse to believe that they will not start pulling all the threads together in the final series. A false hope, perhaps? I suppose I won't be too crushed if I am wrong; I have discovered a new favourite... 'Dexter.' If it shows in NZ, I insist everyone watch it.


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