I’m currently rewatching "Lost" with my wife on Netflix. The series that ran on ABC from 2004 to 2010 is considered one of the best television shows of all time, having garnered dozens of awards, with a still ever-fervent fan base.
Among the show’s many executive producers and writers were Damon Lindelof and J.J. Abrams, who riddled the show with pop culture references of all kinds, from books to music to films, as well as managed to mash up every television and movie genre possible into one show. It’s virtually impossible to label it into one category; there are elements of science fiction, mystery, action-adventure, drama, comedy and fantasy. If I’ve missed any, consider those to be in there, too.
The series is about the survivors of Oceanic Airlines Flight 815, which crashed, and their struggle to get off a mysterious island. The show starts off as a character-driven drama but evolves into a supernatural thriller with lots of explaining to do. Its main characters include Jack (the dude formerly known as Charlie from "Party of Five"), Sawyer, Kate, Hurley, and the mystical fan favorite, John Locke. Besides a seemingly endless list of characters to keep track of, including the island itself, there are also enigmas such as polar bears, a smoke monster, the "others" and time travel.
After six seasons, "Lost" has sealed itself into pop culture, with references to the show found in music, books, comics and pretty much everywhere online.
The series finale was one of the most hated and controversial ones in the history of television. Like so many shows before and after it ("The Sopranos," "MASH," "Newhart," "24"), the end had its share of controversy. Many fans loved it. Even more fans seem to have hated it. In fact, they still hate it. They despise it so much that it’s still argued about in current conversation. Why? Because many argue that it left a lot of questions unanswered. For a show that asked so many questions, that brought so many new themes and controversies and debates to light, it still managed to keep us guessing at the end. It still managed to leave us scratching our heads in puzzlement, wondering what in the hell happened. And it left us wanting more.
When a piece of pop culture touches us in such a profound way, whether through its characters, its memorable moments or its infuriating series finale, sometimes it’s hard for us to let go. Because whether we’d like to admit it or not, these things—these television shows, these movies, these songs and books and comics—have a much bigger impact on our lives than perhaps we realize. And, in one way or another, just like the smoke monster, the polar bear, the "others," the island and the surviving members of Oceanic Airlines Flight 815, it’s all connected.
And so begins my quest: Through a weekly column, I plan to discover pop culture’s forgotten and yet undiscovered impacts on my life. I plan to analyze what I learned from "The Smurfs" so many years ago as a child and what lessons I could possibly still carry with me from that show as a 36-year-old male. I plan to examine my love of comic books and why I feel the need to pass that love on to my small sons. And I want to meditate on why I grew up worshipping The Beatles and many other classic rock bands from the 1960s while largely ignoring the whole grunge explosion in the 1990s. And, in the process, my dear reader, perhaps you might learn something about yourself, too.
Charlie Moss writes about local history and popular culture, including music, movies and comics. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.