Somewhere in the fall, I started a semi-regularly updated internal countdown to the premiere of Season 5 of Lost, only the best show going on television right now.

Actually, I can’t say that with any authority at all, because I don’t watch most shows on television.  But it is, in my mind, the best show that I watch, which is really all I’m able to judge on.

Unlike uncontroversially great shows like The Wire, I can’t really tell you why I love Lost so much.  It is, by turns, brilliant in its depth and complexity, maddening for those very same traits, fascinating for its discussions of questions like ‘how would people respond if they woke up on a time-traveling tropic island?’ and frustrating in the way that no normal person would be nearly as accepting of the concept of a time-traveling island as the cast members are.

Mostly, I call it trivia porn.  For people who just love learning facts, and making associations, the show is perfect.  It’s deep, complex, and completely enthralling in the way it can solve one mystery while presenting three new ones.

Anyhow, that’s all prelude to the fact that Season 5 premiered with a 3-hour extravagansa Wednesday night – first, there was an hourlong ‘getting caught up’ piece with two of the producers, then a two-hour premiere.

I like the general gist of this guy’s thoughts about foreshadowing, and how each season, the first few minutes serve as a sort of primer for the main themes that will be investigated throughout the year. Not exactly a hard prediction to say that ‘time travel’ is going to be the primary theme this year.  In a way, this will serve as a convenient plot device, as, even if Faraday is right, and you can’t change something that’s already happened (an idea we saw when Desmond couldn’t save Charlie from dying…or did he?), you can still use time travel to paper over some pretty gaping plot holes.  We’ll see if they try to take the cheap way out in any of the larger mysteries.

I generally like the idea of an ever-changing series of threats that the crash survivors still on the island will have to navigate before they can stop the island from time-hopping.  If nothing else, this should help them solve some mysteries.  I predict that they will meet the pirates of The Black Rock at some point during the season, and important information will be garnered from them.  Similarly, perhaps a young Rousseau will be of some assistance.

More interesting is the question of who the hell the Others are.  Have they always been on the island?  I still maintain that the island is more than just a physical object, even a very special one – it has some sort of metaphysical status, like Purgatory, which means that its original residents are angels, or demons, or something of the sort, which would explain the lack of aging, and also their possible immunity from the time-travelling effects.

Last season, we saw Charles Widmore tell Ben that the island was always his – is he somehow related to the Dharma initiative?  I think he’s going to be a fallen angel of some sort, someone who was part of the island, and laid an invalid claim to it, and so was kicked out, and is now trying to get back.

Otherwise, it does seem likely the Hurley is going to do something pretty crazy to keep from heading back to the island, like spilling his beans to the cops, which will get Widmore’s people, particularly the black man who was in charge of getting the boat staffed, and who we’ve seen both at Locke’s rehab facility and Hurley’s insane asylum, after him much more openly than they have done so far.

Faraday is obviously going to be key, not just in explaining what’s going on, but also in driving the action, as evidenced by his presence, somehow, at the building of the Orchid station.  His age would seem to indicate that he was there as present-day Daniel, time-traveling, rather than actually being there in the past, but its unclear what his purpose there might be.

Mostly, I’m just happy to have my trivia porn back again.  Here’s to a season of further mysteries!


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