Special Requests: Lost Edition

Image used under a Creative Commons license courtesy of Barbara.Doduk. I could get Lost in those eyes…

So, in the special request thread last week, Oskar asked what I think of Lost, among other currently running television shows. I’m not sure this answer is going to make him particularly happy, but it gives me an excuse to talk about something else I’ve been mulling over, so I’m going to dive into the subject anyway.Basically, I gave Lost a very sincere try. I watched most of the first two seasons with a friend a couple of years ago, and while I initially found both the Island and the main character’s mysteries intriguing, I got irritated and bored fairly quickly, and I haven’t bothered to follow the show since. I understand why people are interested in the show: between issues of faith, morality, pocket universes, time travel, resurrection, the competing abs of the male main characters and the tank tops of the ladies, there’s something there for pretty much anyone. I don’t in principle object to submitting myself to art that demands patience and commitment. But I also think that art has to be extraordinarily well-constructed for me to step off that cliff. And with Lost, I felt manipulated, rather than charmed. There were inventions upon inventions to keep things going, myriad continuity errors, the abstractions and mysteriousness became purposes into themselves. All of which may have been worth it if I’d found a deep and abiding hook in one of the characters, but I found most of them, with the exception of Hurley and sometimes Sayid, unlikeable. It wasn’t enough to sustain not just my interest but my affection. Plus, those bastards let Shannon live longer than Boone! Which is hardly my main beef with Lost, but provides a great transition into talking about the relative awesomeness of Ian Somerhalder. He kind of won me over in this scene from Lost in the switched from sarcastic and doubtful to positively freakin’ possessed:

I haven’t watched The Vampire Diaries yet, though it’s on my list, if only because of his participation in it. But Somerhalder has a rather particular, and I think valuable, talent: despite being as good-looking as he is, he manages to be quite effectively frightening, and not just in the “oh, he’s a bad boy” sense. Take this episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit he filmed with Frank Langella, in which he plays a spree killer. Obviously, Langella is the guest talent in the episode, but Somerhalder is really deeply creepy in it:


It’s a nice bit of acting. Not that many people manage to really be demons with angel’s faces. Even the two main Monster Boyfriends on Buffy were always a little bit too human to be genuinely horrifying. I kind of think Somerhalder could pull it off if he wants to. He probably won’t: there’s more money in being the nice guy, and if he develops a sense of humor, he might be able to pick up some of the roles James Marsden’s been getting recently as Marsden ages out of them. But I sort of feel like that would be a loss.