Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Manipulation or Good TV Drama?

Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that one of the few TV shows I follow with any regularity is Lost.

When last year's season came to an end, the fate of one of my favorite characters, Jin, was left up in the air (almost literally). Jin was on an exploded freighter, and under reasonable circumstances could not have survived ...

but Lost does not operate in the realm of the reasonable. And we've all seen enough TV to know, if the show's not reasonable, you can't count the character dead until you see the body.

After an eight-month hiatus, Lost returned last week with two new episodes. We saw what has been happening to the Oceanic 6. What's been happening to the survivors on the island. But no sign of Jin, dead or alive.

So, it seems we will have to wait longer to hear Jin's fate. Maybe we'll find out in tonight's episode. But somehow, I have a feeling this will get drug out for at least a couple more weeks.

I posted at the end of last season that I felt manipulated by these maneuvers. Am I wrong? Is this just good dramatic storytelling? Obviously, there have to be shifts in the story, big changes, surprises, unknowns, titilations to keep us guessing, keep us holding on to some level. I just felt like, intentionally holding one character off to the side, and telling the viewers, "We're not going to let you know whether he's dead or alive," for months and for multiple episodes, went too far. Especially since, they did this to Jin twice in season four.

What do you think?

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