Was the first season better?

In the comments of another post here at The Lost Blog, one of our regular readers who goes by the nickname “frenchy_florims” asked why the seconds season of Lost wasn’t as popular as the first one.

First we need to clarify things a bit, while it’s true that Lost season 1 was very popular and the second season lost some of the viewers who followed the show during the first season, a recent survey showed that Lost is the second most popular TV show in the world, following only CSI:Miami (which in my opinion is the worst of the three CSI shows). Lost is still a very popular show.

But why hasn’t the second season been as well received as the first one was?

One of the reasons may have been that viewers got tired of the irregular dates when new episodes aired. When people turned on the TV to watch a new episode of Lost they where disappointed to see a repeat of an old episode which they had already seen. It wouldn’t surprise me if this frustration made many fans stop watch Lost since they couldn’t keep track of when a new episode was due to air.

The new solution

Due to massive critique by fans, ABC and the Lost producers have tried to fix this problem for the upcoming season 3. The new solution is two blocks of new episodes, first a block consisting of 6 or 7 new episodes (one per week) starting October 4th with “A Tale of Two Cities”.

When this first “mini season” ends, the new series Day Break will take Lost’s place for 13 weeks. In February Lost will come back strong with new episodes (likely 16 or 17) every week all the way through season finale.

Season 2 was different

Another possible explanation for the second season’s lower ratings is the fact that Lost has changed a lot. During season 1 Lost was a bit mysterious but it wasn’t really science-fiction. It was a show about people who crashed on an island and tried to survive there. Then all this “mythology” with the Others, hatches, and smoke monsters was introduced to us. Some liked these things and kept on enjoying the show, others didn’t like it and preferred watching “regular shows” where “regular” but dramatic things happen (Desperate Housewives, Gray’s Anatomy and so on) instead.

The thing people have to understand is that Lost is a very complex show and it will not be everyone’s cup of tea. Some fans will love what they see and keep watching, some will not because the show goes beyond what’s expected to explore human nature and the many questions we may face in various situations of our lives.

Personally I was a bit disappointed by season 2 at one time because I believed that the writers had taken a bigger bite of the apple than they could handle, but I kept on watching and Lost hasn’t ceased to fascinate me. The mythology and the mysterious story behind the island and the characters is the core of the show. I just hope that the executives don’t forget this in the pursuit to make the upcoming season brighter and more adventure orientated, because if they do, they might loose those of us who really like Lost.

What is your take? Was the second season not as good as the first one?

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9 Responses to Was the first season better?

  1. smacky says:

    My problem with the second season was characters changing personalities. In 60 days, Locke went from island mystic to crying in the jungle. Michael went from begging his mother to take Walt to killing people and leading friends into a trap to get him back.

    I also didn’t care for the habit of “Finish a character’s backstory, kill the character.” Boone, fine, but why his sister? Just because we know the character’s story, Shannon no longer has anything to offer to the story of what’s happening on the island? And why kill Libby, if you’re only going to show that she’s tied to a number of characters’ histories? Fine, she had to die before Desmond returned otherwise he’d recognize her. So? Is she tied into Dharma as well? (I also don’t buy the spin that Ana Lucia’s death was planned from the start. I think they saw she had no chemistry with Jack and wrote her out.) And what about that ARMY that Jack and Ana Lucia were organizing? When it all came down it was a small group with Michael, three people on a boat, and none of the other 40+ survivors! Dropped plot thread!

    Finally, the promos (which I don’t really blame the show writers for) were often misleading in the second season. Remember the hype of “Find out what happens when the timer reaches zero and the button isn’t pushed!” Well, you still have time to enter the numbers and the timer will simply reset anyway. Great.

    Finally, I had a problem with no one sharing ANY information with each other. Some mistrust is normal, but the main characters can’t sit down and compare notes once a week or something?
    That coupled with the other suvivors (the background people) showing absolutely no curiosity about anything, no motivation to explore the rest of the island, and it gets unbelievable. They couldn’t be bothered to create the SOS. They only get excited about Dharma food drops. Even Sayid quit exploring the island after meeting crazy French lady in the first season.

    There was still a lot to love about the season: The introduction of Eko, the fake Henry Gale, the exploration of the other hatches. I watched every episode, and I enjoyed it very much. I have high hopes for the next season. I just have to give the edge to the first season.

  2. Steve says:

    I agree with Smaky about Ana Lucia. She didn’t ahev the chemistry, but It’s not like she had many scenes where chemistry woudl be an issue. I think she was written off because she was trouble.

    The whole missing army thing is kind of dumb.

    Locke going from jungle mystic to blabbering button pushing ninny was a let down. Locke was so cool, I hope he turns it around.

    Eko alone made season 2 worth watching, but then he turned to a button pusher too. What’s with that?

    Michaels story didn’t make sense either. Sure he wants to protect his kid, but murdering people to get it done? Doesn’t make much sense.

    Season 2 was as good as Season 1, but it is different. How good would it have been if it was the same as season 1? How many nicknames does Sawyer have saved up? He would have run out by episode 4.

    The only thing I wish is that the season was in 3 7 episode packs instead of this 7 episodes, 3 months off, then the rest. But it’s better than last year when the network just tried to wring the ad dollars out of us by pushing re-runs. By far the worst crime comitted last year was the network taking advatage of the fans.

  3. Cecilia says:

    I think the show is just suffering from “2nd-seasonism” like many other shows… especially since it has a complex plot. I know several people who loved it, but feel like they missed a few episodes and stopped watching because they want to see them in order, since it’s the kind of storyline you can only follow if you watch each one. So they are waiting for the show to come out on DVD.

  4. Castaway03 says:

    As a whole, Season Two did not disappoint me. Key word: as a whole. I thought that the premiere was great. I enjoyed Orientation. But that whole first stretch was, well… boring. Then the second half of the season hit, and I enjoyed that. Besides Fire + Water, I enjoyed the entire second half of the season, especially the last 6 or so episodes.

    The reason why I enjoyed the second half is because the writers were giving us something. Things were revealed, and things happened. Take the 23rd Psalm: Eko goes face-to-face with the monster, and we learn that he was related to the plane.

    For me, a LOST episode is great if: things happen that intrigue me and make me think, and if I learn something new about the mythology or the characters.

  5. froggirl says:

    I don’t think any season was clearly better than the other. They each had their good and better episodes.

    I think as a whole the characters actions were believable considering the great strain and sitiuation they are in. People do extreme things in extreme circumstance.

    I think it will be great to have so many weeks uninterupted. But I worry that people will stop watching if they miss an episode–because when will they be able to catch a repeat to catch up?

    Oh, and BTW, I cannot STAND CSI:Miami. 🙂

  6. Michelle says:

    Season two didn’t work as well as season two did because the writers stopped having important things happen to characters other than the flashback character. In season one, huge things happened to, say, Locke, in Jin’s flashback episode. (No idea if this is true, just an example.) But in season two, if it was Locke’s flashback, no other characters existed, or if they did, it was all peripheral. That made for some really boring episodes, but it got a lot better towards the end of the season. I wholeheartedly believe season three will be as good as season one was.

  7. jonno says:

    The second season is always going to much harder to make rewarding for the viewers, especially when Lost is bordering on becoming quite the franchise. The writers have to develop the characters, as they’re no longer new acquaintances, and they have to elaborate on the scenario – it’s logic. Otherwise the story just wouldn’t move along.

    Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the second season: Eko’s pretty much the greatest character on television, the “Henry Gale” episodes made for some great arguments with me and my housemates, and I loved the mythology of the island (and how they didn’t just let Desmond sail away). I enjoyed seeing the change of personalities, especially Michael’s – he already loved his son by the end of season one, and would do anything to get him back then. Making him a murderer wasn’t really that much of a jump.

    That said, I hated Locke’s character arc. It seemed pretty unnecessary, considering he starts and ends up in the same place. Ana Lucia was just a character set up to be killed off, and how long will Hurley mope around for?

    Franz Ferdinand made a second album that’s pretty awesome, but also way different from the first. To make progress the writers had to take risks and change things around, and see which directions work. I enjoyed it, but beauty’s in the eye of the beholder.

  8. frenchy_florims says:

    Thanks for this very interesting post Andreas !

    I would like to say that there is a difference between people who just “watch” the show, and people who are really big fans like us going over the web for instance to get some news, or to talk about it.

    So in my mind, the second season may be more complex to follow and that could explain why it was less watched than season one.
    I don’t know if I am the only one, but I preferred the second season because this was more scheming, there were real “twists” that can be fully enjoyed if you are “hooked”… a bite more like the “24” style.

    I can say that in Europe (except in England because they speak English), a season of a great popular show like Lost is broadcasted in a very short period of time (2months), so there is no problem of interruption with the unfolding of the show.
    Yet, the audience rate of Lost dropped by 10% but it remains a good success (6million in France viewers and we are a small country).

    My point is that in (continental) Europe people always end to get in the muddle when it requires too much attention to understand everything.
    For instance, people were crazy about season 1 and 2 of 24, and after it just became “common”, the DVD’s are one good gift for XMas, but it has no more “huge” success on TV.

    On the opposite, the CSI shows are always successful because you don’t need to see the previous episodes to understand just one episode, but it has no success for DVDs.

    In a nutshell, as for me the second season was better than the first one, whatever the slight audience decrease.
    The most important thing is that Lost still makes a lot of money to go on. As they sell a lot of DVDs (that I buy, I don’t have enough space on my computer to record all the episodes ! and it’s quite cheap), as they keep being on the top five of the best shows over the world, all the members can be proud of the second season.

    Of course, if the third season could be as good and the audience rate could go up, that’s all I wish.

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