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February 16 2010

Lost's Final Season = Buffy Season 7. Movieline's article "6 Ways the Final Season of Lost is Just Like the Final Season of Buffy" highlights some striking similarities. Spoilers for the recently aired episodes of Lost's final season.

Locke/Flocke's whole plotline is kinda reminding me of the Cordy/Jasmine plotline from Angel S4.
I definitely thought about the First when it was revealed about Smokey, although the Andrew/Ben connection didn't occur to me.

Anyway, for me Buffy >> Jack. I know, I know, Buffy was "unlikable" in season seven, but I never stopped liking her even for a moment. I barely ever started liking Jack.
this is great- thanks for posting!
All we need is Nathan Fillion to show up in the Lost Final season.

Still waiting for a possible flashback with Sawyer and Kate's husband...(Nathan Fillion)
Now I can't help watching scenes without comparing the plot the First Evil and Season 7. It's very strange.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-02-17 06:46 ]
Is this up-to-date with the latest episode? The Substitute? I'm a UK-follower so as much as this article seems interesting, I don't wanna be spoiled.
Hmmm someone would probably get their eye poked.
I'm with you William, I never liked Jack.
But, how is Ben, Glory?
Still waiting for a possible flashback with Sawyer and Kate's husband...(Nathan Fillion)

Oh I would watch that
@Jaymii - Nope, no spoilers for 'The Substitute' (which is one of the best episodes Lost has ever done, BTW.) I don't think it even spoils 'What Kate Does', so you're fine.
One big difference between the two would seem to be that nearly all the loopy plot contrivances on Lost represent attempts to solve plot problems, rather than deepen the thematic content of the show. BtVS S7 was a bit of a mess but its messiness stemmed in large part from the writers' decision to blow up the premise of the show (and admit outright that Buffy herself was always only an inspiration for future badass women, not a solution to everyone's problems). Near as I can tell, Lost jumped from broad-brush metaphors to self-perpetuating self-referential plot nonsense right at the start of Season Two (remember the endless 'Should we keep pushing the button?' talk?) and never looked back. There's a 0% chance that the Lost finale will possess anything like the depth or unexpectedly complexity of 'Chosen.'

There's also the small matter of Lost featuring, in its six-year run, not a single believable or human female character...but let's not kick the bastards while they're down, eh?
Sun, Juliet, and Penny say hi waxbanks.
MattManic, thanks!

I quite enjoyed reading it, some parts seemed like a stretch but an article like this can never not stretch and it drew some nice parallels and was a fun read. Lost has always been intelligent show in its own way, it doesn't rely on intelligence from our own world in the way that Buffy and Battlestar do - it made up a world and let people dig deeper into, which is just as great, IMO.
Nice article. I might call a few points differently, though.

Ilana and her team of never-seen-before-but-obviously-hooked-to-power are probably more "potentials" than Giles stand-in. Although, come to think of it ("the substitute" spoiler follows:) .

A sharp-witted Blonde is introduced playing for the other side, finds herself trapped in a reality she hadn't planned on, but defects to our good guys, where she becomes deeply beloved, but dies heroicly in the final battle, never getting to have her wedding...Juliet as Anya?

A handsome man with a secret recent past as a slayer of baddies, believed fatally gut-shot, but after a quick bus-ride, appears to be doing much better...Sayid as Principal Wood?

Of course, Hurley has also basically always been Xander, though he lost his Anya in Season 3. And Frank seems to be making a good play to be our Clem.
Agreed WilliamTheB... I'm rewatching S7 right now and it still gets under my skin when they kick her out of her own house.

And I read somewhere Jack was never supposed to make it past the first episode.
waxbanks said:
"One big difference between the two would seem to be that nearly all the loopy plot contrivances on Lost represent attempts to solve plot problems, rather than deepen the thematic content of the show."

Guess the show's like a painting, we all look at it and see something different.

In the Lost writers' favor, after they asked for and received the go-ahead from ABC in mid-Season 3 to definitely end the series at Season 6, they claim to have known exactly where they were going (actually they've talked about how the ending/direction came into focus more toward the end of Season 2, but as a viewer I credit late Season 3 and all of Season 4 with renewing my faint hope that the series wouldn't become The X-Files in terms of mythology murkiness and backstepping on plot points). If you're comparing to Buffy...sorry, I love Buffy, but Joss has never indicated that he knew where the show was headed as early as Season 2. He was more a season-by-season planner (but at least he had a plan, a lot of showrunners don't even know where their individual seasons are headed), with the odd bit of forshadowing (Dawn hinted at near the end of Season 3, shows up in 5...there may've been other things planned). True, it's all hearsay on Cuse and Lindelof's parts until we get to see how it ends and judge for ourselves whether they were successful in their stated intent, but I think they've done a pretty good job at meeting expectations and surprising us occasionally. Season 6 is shaping up well so far, IMO (was a little unsure during the premiere, but the second and third episodes--especially last night's--have me feeling reassured).

"There's a 0% chance that the Lost finale will possess anything like the depth or unexpectedly complexity of 'Chosen.'"

Psychic, are you ? The population of clairvoyants here at Whedonesque grows ever stronger.

Re: Lost's women
What MattManic said. 'Specially Juliet. Wish Penny had gotten/would get more screentime, Sonya Walger has been phenomenal in other stuff (haven't see Flashforward) and she's done well with the few scenes she's received in this series. Claire ain't so bad, I always liked her. She just needs to get more to do than be all "My bay-beeee!". It looks like Season 6 will allow her to do both simultaneously, heh.

A lot of the guest women have rocked as well. Locke's girlfriend Helen, played by Katey Segal, as a prime example. She was about as real and as believable-regular-woman-of-the-Western-working-class-world as it got.

[ edited by Kris on 2010-02-17 20:59 ]
My favorite quote from the comment section on that site: "Well, to me the main difference is that every episode of the last season of Lost doesn't make me want to stab myself repeatedly in the face."

Kris, all evidence to the contrary. While Joss didn't plan the show in minute detail for every season, he had the big moments lined up seasons in advance. Counting down from 5-3-0 anyone...

Why do all these show comparisons always boil down to which ones better? I guess it's inevitable internet circuity of the dialogue.
I disagree with the point about Buffy being unlikeable in s7. Sure, she was a bit on the bossy side but I felt so bad for her when she was thrown out of the Summers house.

Refrigeratorelf, I read that too. Jack was meant to die and Kate was supposed to become the leader or something?
I love Buffy, I like Lost. The difference is, I'm into Lost for the mythology, not the characters (with the possible exception of Locke. Buffy gave me a lot of fun mythology to chew on, but at the end of the day it was my intense, irrational love for the characters that made me stick it out. (Which is probably why I'm slightly miffed at the Buffy/Jack comparison)
Emmie, I know, I mentioned in my post that Dawn had been alluded to in Season 3 (the numbers/clock thing in Faith and Buffy's shared dream, as you said). Some things were planned, sure, but I dunno if Joss was all J. Michael Straczynski/Babylon 5 with his series-planning (neither were the Lost writers, originally. And like Joss, they may have known by Season 2/3 about their big moments, but figured out the steps and details to get to those big moments along the way--I don't expect TV writers to have things mapped out exactly so far in advance, especially when it's a team or writers running a series).

I hope my post didn't come off as a which-is-better post. I was defending Lost a bit, but definitely not saying that it's better than Buffy. Although depending on how things go, Lost may be poised to have a better overall final season than Buffy's final season, possibly, IMO. But a better finish will not automatically make it a better show, overall. They're different beasts and I've enjoyed them differently. Buffy definitely got more emotional reactions out of me, but Lost has had its share. Anyway, I'm not going there right now, comparing the two shows' qualities and faults.

didifallasleep said:
My favorite quote from the comment section on that site: "Well, to me the main difference is that every episode of the last season of Lost doesn't make me want to stab myself repeatedly in the face."

Yeah, just a bit of hyperbole there, IMO. There were some great eps in Buffy Season 7, just way less than in previous seasons. And um, it's kinda strange of that poster to make that comment when only four episodes of Lost Season 6 have aired so far. It's early days yet, for that sweeping a comparison between both shows' final season. If they'd added a "so far", I'd be more on board with it, except I was perfectly fine with Buffy Season 7 up through "Conversations with Dead People". It's the large bulk of the middle and most of the end (minus "Chosen", "The Killer in Me", and a few scenes here and there) that disappointed hugely. But I don't wanna beat on it too much anymore because certain things in the Season 8 comics have alleviated my disappointment with what Buffy received as its final TV season, so as long as that wraps up well, I'll probably be a happy Buffy fan in the end.

[ edited by Kris on 2010-02-17 22:40 ]

[ edited by Kris on 2010-02-17 22:41 ]
Here goes my very first Whedonesque post. I've read the rules and promise to behave. Hi everyone!

Good compilation of the similarities, though I totally disagree with the second one - I loved Buffy in season 7 more than ever before and am still boiling inside at the "mutiny", and I actually like Jack more now that he is just another screw-up and not the big fat hero he was presented as in the beginning.

But to me, the big difference between Lost and Buffy (and all other Joss shows troughout Dollhouse and including Serenity as the final season of Firefly) in their final seasons is plot vs. characters dilemma.

I lost all emotional attachment to the Lost characters long time ago. I still enjoy the show very much, but if any or all of the characters drop dead in the next episode, I won't mind as long as the writers keep entertaining me with plot tricks.

With the Jossverse shows, when I watch a new (sob) episode I am so engrossed in the lives of the characters on the emotional level, I barely notice the plot, and have no problem dismissing inconsistencies as flobotnum (sp?). And if I had my way, nobody would ever die, and everything would be like in Giles' speech at the end of Lie to Me. Which of course would make for a lame ass of a story, so thank you, Joss for giving me what I need and not what I want.
Personally jack has always been my favorite character on Lost and I also always liked Buffy too, I don't see why people don't like Jack more
Site designers who disable the Back button should have meteors fall on their heads.
Wax, on your blog it seems even you liked Sun and Juliet. The latter is dead and the former has been a cipher for a while (maybe since the season four finale), so, er, yeah, but I disagree that it's never happened. (Kate is on-and-off. Shannon and Claire are pretty shallowly considered.)

As to other popular women: I don't find Penny particularly complex, though I don't see that as a problem. Same to an extent with Danielle who remained a bit too mysterious to be considered three-dimensional--though that isn't really a failure either. Neither of them got front-and-centre focus. I'd say killing Danielle off before her character gained real depth was a bad move.

Oh and refrigeratorelf, I just wanted to throw a wrench in our agreement ;), by mentioning that I also liked and sympathized with the Scoobies in the season, even in "Empty Places" (which I think could have been better done, but hey). Communication breakdown: both Buffy and the Scoobs could have done a much better job but I loved them all. I'm expansive/idiotic that way. :) (And I do want to defend Buffy season seven, which was a bit of a disaster plot-wise and was all over the map in terms of focus but had so many lovely character moments, grace notes, entire episodes. Just great.)

Re: Alpert, I feel similarly about the emotional resonance thing. Probably the only characters whose deaths would actually hit me are James and Hugo--Juliet actually was another one, oddly. And I would be tremendously sorry to see Ben go, because I love watching Emerson, but not for any real emotional connection. I read some TV critics talking about absolutely needing Desmond, Penny and Charlie to come out all right, and...well, I guess I sympathize with feeling that strongly for those characters, but while I like Desmond okay I simply don't.
[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2010-02-18 03:01 ]

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2010-02-18 03:30 ]
just gonna throw in my meager 2 cents based on the comments here since I haven't seen lost since season 2 when they killed off Libby (who I thought was a great female character btw.)

personally, I was all for buffy being kicked out of her home. Yes, I did think that it was a drastic move, and rather unnecessary, but at that point I thought it was high time that some of the characters expressed thoughts that I, myself, had been having all along - specifically anya's in regard to buffy's status as a chosen one and buffy's beligerent and unbending attitude.

also, buffy's seventh season was amazing near as I could tell up to (or possibly including) bring on the night. And amongst those eps were some of my favorites of the series, including selfless and conversations with dead people. Lost is a great show in it's own right, but I agree with whomever said that the characters themselves do not draw you in. Aside from a few, perhaps hurley and sun, and even sawyer, the rest seem to be there to move the plot forward and create love triangles no one cares about (ana lucia, anyone? Even though I loved michelle rodriguez.)
WilliamTheB said:
"I'd say killing Danielle off before her character gained real depth was a bad move."

It was a horrible move, but it was pretty much actor-dictated (I suppose they could've just had her disappear into the jungle or make it to the Temple like Ben wanted her, Alex, and Karl to do in Season 4 when the Freighter mercenaries were on their way. the whole Karl/Alex/Rousseau/Ben storyline seems like it was aborted--we definitely lost of chunk of the story to the strike, even though they tacked on those missing episodes to Seasons 5 and 6 to make them a bit longer--but at least the death of Alex gave us an excellent Ben scene in "The Shape of Things to Come"). Mira Furlan wasn't interested in flying to Hawaii every season anymore for infrequent cameos. It may've been partially dictated by the strike too, maybe Furlan was just like "fuck it, I've had enough of the messed up North American film business" (who can blame her, after the B5 uncertainty in the `90s). Judging by her credits post-Lost, it looks like she's gone back to being "the Julia Roberts of the Croatian film industry", as one fan put it, aside from one guest spot on NCIS. Guess she just wanted to work more near home and in her native language again.

At least they filled in the blanks when Jin flashed to her and her French science team's time on the island, albeit with a different actor (not sure how they could've pulled it off with Mira in the role. She's hot, but she doesn't look 20-something. Without a movie-sized budget to perform Curious Case of Benjamin Button-style de-aging on her, it wouldn't have worked to have her in that role for the late 1980s scenes). Presumably, in the Alternate timeline, Rousseau is fine and maybe even still with Robert (the dark-haired French stud on her science team who fathered Alex--also the last infected person she shot on the island).
I don't think the author was referring to Buffy being unlikeable to the audience. In the context of what he wrote I think he's referring to how the other characters felt towards her. And, um, I know the general consensus towards S7 but for me personally it has become the season I enjoy most revisiting. I was surprised by that myself at first. but it seems like each time I watch it my opinion of it goes higher. The article is clearly meant to be humorous, but it makes a strong enough case that I'm now wondering if some of the similiarities are purposeful, sorta a shout out to Buffy. Drew and David were both involved with Lost for quite a while after all.
David Fury was only involved in Season 1 of Lost and Drew Goddard was part of the writing/exec-producing crew in Seasons 3 and 4, but hasn't been involved since, as far as I know. Aside from Fury crafting a beautiful introductory Locke ep (I'm also a big fan of "Solitary", the first Sayid focal ep, which also introduces Rousseau in person) and Drew writing two or three good-to-great ones himself, I'm not sure they had much of a role in injecting Buffy-similar storytelling into the show. It's Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof's baby and, if they're worth anything as writers, I would hope they're attempting to make the final season of Lost its own thing, regardless of how huge Buffy fans they may be (are they ? I don't follow their interviews very often, but it wouldn't surprise me, as half of the TV writers who put themselves out there for tons of fan and media exposure seem to be Whedon fans of some sort).
Kris, as far as I know, Damon and Carlton are just big Stephen King nerds, and i'm pretty sure half the cast of Deadwood has been on LOST at some point too. If they were Buffy fans, I imagine Sawyer would have at least thrown a few Buffy related wisecracks, haha.
Heh, yeah I've noticed all the Deadwood folks popping up, it's been pretty cool. Juliet's sister Rachel, the cancer survivor who was trying to conceive, was played by the woman who was Calamity Jane on Deadwood...a reoccurring con of Sawyer's, also the mother of his daughter, was played by the actor who was Joanie Stubbs/the higher class hooker who started her own brothel...Trixie was a random Other who Sun killed on Desmond's boat, which set off Danny Picket--her husband--who ended up being killed by Juliet in Season 3 to allow Sawyer, Kate, and Karl to escape. The Man In Black/Jacob's Nemesis was a regular during Season 3 of Deadwood.

There've probably been others.
Sol Star this season FTW.

And Elizabeth Sarnoff, who wrote on Deadwood, is on the writing staff.

Kris: I suppose I should give credit for the fact of actor issues. I do feel less annoyed about Alex than about Rousseau, since the former was quite often defined in terms of Ben and her mother, whereas Danielle had been her own character forever. The time travel in season five answers plot questions but doesn't really deepen her character for me. I will say that Lost hasn't dealt with character death very well, in general; Locke's (now seemingly permanent) one is an exception, as is Charlie's. But while, e.g., Joss often kills characters and in ways that don't give them heroic ends, their deaths seldom feel like an afterthought or writing necessity the way, to me, Shannon, Anna-Lucia, Libby, Eko, and Rousseau felt to me.
This bothered me "Here are six ways the two shows’ last arcs dovetail, mimic, and flat-out pilfer from each other:"

How can Buffy pilfer when it happened way before? So if anything, it's all Lost doing the pilfering...if you even agree with any of these points.
"If you say to somebody who’s watched all five years [of Lost], 'What was your favorite season of the show?' ..You’ll get different answers. That’s the way I was [i.e., debating which season was best] as a Buffy fan." - Damon Lindelof

As above Lindelof mentioned he was a Buffy fan during an interesting three-part interview where he and Cuse discuss the endings to big television series (see
Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). They also seem to be big fans of BSG, the Shield, and the Sopranos.
Regarding what waxbanks said above, I'm probably not the person you go to for a fair and balanced perspective on Lost but here goes my attempt to do so anyway. I've been obsessed with the show since it began and now having seen all but the current season several times over I can honestly say that anyone who can't see the complexity and brilliance of the show for what it is just hasn't paid enough attention.

I won't pretend that every episode was perfect or that every storyline or character was exactly what the writers had planned. Real life often forced plot changes that most likely would not have occured otherwise. Being forced to initially work without a fixed end point and the fact that actors don't always make the best choices behind the wheel being two obvious issues. Even so, the core of the story is what matters and that is rock solid. Trust someone who has been paying very close attention.

Going back to the 'fair and balanced' thing, I don't expect everyone in the world to love Lost. It's not a show that is going to be the average viewer's cup of tea due to the fact it requires far more patience and attention than most things you might see on television. That has been proven by the massive drop-off in viewership over the years as only the most addicted Lost fans stick with the increasingly difficult to follow story arcs. All I will say is that unless you have been willing to stick with it and pay sufficient attention then you are in no place to comment on the show's quality or suggest that it is nothing but nonsense because I can assure you, it's not. I'm looking forward to the final episodes more than I can remember anticipating any show's conclusion before, Buffy included.
On the intellectual level I agree, DarkeWyld, that Lost is a complex and brilliant story, and I had no problem sticking with it, and it kept me interested through it's run. I love long complex stories that require my patience and reward me in the end, but I prefer to be rewarded on the emotional level, and for that the show lost me somewhere mid third season. The story arcs are brilliant, but I just don't care for any of the characters. I am just watching to find out how it ends. I am very engaged while I am watching an episode, but once it ends, I am completely okay to wait for the next installment. While with Buffy, and most recently Dollhouse, I would be biting my nails for the whole week fretting about how the latest events would affect the characters I love so much.

It's not that it makes Lost less brilliant, or that I don't get it, or that it's not my kind of a show, it just didn't replace the void left by Dollhouse.
Something that made me love Lost more became apparent during my rewatch, instead I focused on the characters over the mythology. I had the mythology sorted out in my head so I watched the character journeys and I do think it succeeds on that level hugely as well. It really depends on where you head is at during the show. I'm invested in the characters, perhaps more-so, than the mythos now. Lost is an Eureka! moment show and that's part of its fun and charm, and although I used to moan about the characters for just being pawns for the story, I sometimes disagree with that now. Sawyer's current state wouldn't be as heart-wrenching as it is if it wasn't for me being invested in that character. If I wasn't invested, I'd probably dismiss it all as filler. And I'm sure a lot of people do because its easy to watch just for the mythos but I dislike people denying only one (mythos or character) is there - just because that is the side of the show you've focused on.

I do have to say, though - as heart-wrenched as I have been with certain moments with Lost, they don't compare to the sadness (and gratefulness) I feel when I'm watching something by Joss. It was last year now, but my God, Belonging done it to me (and still does!). Heart = Broken.
All fair points, Alpert, although to be clear I didn't have any problem at all with what you said in your original post further up the thread. The emotional connection you have or don't have with a given show is, naturally, a subjective thing and in that respect nobody, least of all myself, can say you are incorrect. Personally I care very much for several of the characters (Locke and Ben in particular) and it is their individual stories within the larger mythology that has drawn me in to the extent that I am now such a fan of the show. The central Island arc absolutely fascinates me but it has always been the lives of the Losties that really kept me hooked. I certainly wouldn't suggest however that if you no longer have that same emotional connection it means that you don't get the show. In fact speaking from personal experience it might almost be beneficial to watch Lost without a personal attachment to a given character. I know most of my theories regarding the outcome are tainted by my desire to have Locke back among the living by the final episode, one way or another. It's gonna happen, believe me! ;)
Thanks for the link, Dalton. I remember when a fan questioned them about not being nominated for a best drama emmy during Season 2, they said that while it was a bummer, they were completely shocked that BSG didn't get a nomination.

I remember earlier seasons were often compared to Twin Peaks. While there were no red rooms, there were some pretty weird blurs between reality and dreams. Locke and Eko were known to have some pretty weird dreams.

And with the way this flash-sideways business seems to be working(and blending in with the original timeline), I can see the season getting a lot more Lynch-ian or Donnie Darko-esque, than Joss-like.

Of course, Room 23 could turn out to be the Attic. Not that that's bad or anything. :P
In fact speaking from personal experience it might almost be beneficial to watch Lost without a personal attachment to a given character. I know most of my theories regarding the outcome are tainted by my desire to have Locke back among the living by the final episode, one way or another.

Yeah, I see what you are saying, DarkeWyld, but for me it's where it gets into "the chicken and the egg" territory. To have a theory I need to want to think about a show once the episode has ended. And in order to want that I need to be emotionally invested in the characters.

The best analogy of my experience watching Lost vs. watching any of Joss' shows would be looking at some people riding a roller coaster vs. riding one myself. Well, I am too chicken to go on a roller coaster, so I get my thrills through TV. I want my heart pounding, I want a knot in my stomach, I want to be a puddle on the floor at the end of an episode, and the pure brilliance of the story is not enough for that. I can enjoy and admire Lost, but I can't love it, and I want love.

Mostly, I am just mourning the demise of Dollhouse and am looking for something else to get my heart broken. And if you are thinking "masochistic much", you are totally right.
It's funny that you use Dollhouse as your example of a show that gave you that emotional attachment, Alpert. In many ways Dollhouse was for me what Lost is for you. I really enjoyed the show and would have loved it to have had the run it deserved but if I'm honest it was the story rather than the characters that I was enjoying. By the second half of season two I was starting to develop more of a connection to the cast (and I have to say that I thought the acting from all the main cast was superb so it had nothing to do with my not liking the people behind the roles) but not nearly to the extent that the Lost guys have drawn me in. With Buffy, Angel and Firefly it was an entirely different story but with Dollhouse the emotional level was lost on me, if you'll pardon the pun.

Even so, I'm absolutely with you on mourning Dollhouse's demise. At least Lost will end having had the chance to tell it's story the way it was intended. A pity that Dollhouse didn't have the same good fortune.
I have a pretty big emotional connection with Sayid, and Locke *sigh* and Hurley and... well, quite a few of the characters, actually. Yes, the show twists your brain around in ways the brain was probably not supposed to twist, but it does some pretty good heart twisting too.
Totally get what you are saying about liking the actors but not connecting to the characters, DarkeWyld, and it's exactly what is happening for me with Lost. Watching the last two episodes I caught myself more than once thinking "wow, Josh Holloway is rocking this scene", while with Dollhouse it would be something like "Dr. Saunders is acting weird ... It's getting creepier and creepier by the second ... Run, Bennett! Aaaaa! Poor Topher ..."

It used to be like that for me with Lost, but somewhere between "Sun gets an ultrasound", "Claire catches a bird", and "Kate can't decide between Jack and Sawyer and is making a mildly retarded face again", I just stopped caring. I'd probably still be very upset if Hugo died, but a) I don't want to be made to care at such a high price; and b) I think (hope) that even Lindelof and Cuse are not evil enough to kill him.

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