Watching this makes me literary, right?

Best television show ever? I'll fight you over that.

I’m an absolute huge fan of Lost (so much of a fan it required two adjectives), and unless you’re living under a rock, you probably know that the sixth and final season started a few weeks ago. I won’t go into how depressed I am that the show is going to end, or how upset I am that they switched it to Tuesday nights while I’m in class (the nerve of ABC, not checking my class schedule).

While Lost has its roots firmly in science fiction (as the producers said, a non-genre answer to all the questions wouldn’t be satisfying), it also has a tendency of throwing little bits of awesomeness to the literary crowd. Namely, the show has featured all sorts of books, sometimes as just tiny details, sometimes as works that affected characters lives. One character, Desmond, talks about how his love for Dickens and names his sailboat Our Mutual Friend. Two antagonistic characters quote Of Mice and Men at each other. The conman character reads everything he can get his hands on and a fight erupts over Watership Down. There’s a nod to Carroll with an episode title. There are more, but others before me have already done lists of the works featured.

So on the one hand, we have something self-labeled as sci-fi. On the other, with reference to a wide range of books, making the (well developed) characters feel like they’re actually in our world, like they might actually exist (or maybe that last is my wishful thinking). Genre vs. literature wars aside, I love this show, and completely want to believe that watching it, in someway, makes me literary. Maybe once I graduate I’ll read my way through the Lost reading guide.

5 Comments

  • Asa Maria says:

    Anytime I feel like watching TV or go to a movie and feel bad because I should be writing, I tell myself I’m researching story structure. That’s one of the brilliant things about being a writer–everything is research. I just hope IRS understands that when it comes to my tax filing this year.

    • Kathryn Houghton Kathryn says:

      I’m now wondering how I never thought of that excuse myself!

    • TJ Fuller says:

      I’ve found that great television makes me want to write, but doesn’t help me. I think it configures my brain with the wrong medium. You can totally see it in young writers, that they’re trying to tell a story like a movie is told to them – maybe the visuals are too cliche or the dialogue is too expository. I can’t quite put my finger on it yet, but I’ve felt it.

  • Sam Ligon Sam Ligon says:

    I now call every coiffed and vacant looking young woman I see on the screen as I skate through the channels a Kardashian. I don’t know who the actual Kardashians are, but I kind of know what they look like. And I know that they have a show on tv, and assume that they’re kind of stupid. Feeling superior to the Kardashians and wrongly identifying Kardashians in split second glimpses on the screen makes me feel literary and irritates my children. I eat ice cream and flip through the channels: Kardashian. Kardashian. Kardashian. Kind of like the end of The Wasteland — Shantih shantih shantih. If Eliot were still alive, I’d probably have to recommend this edit.

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