It started (although I didn't know it at the time) with Armageddon, a film from 1998 that sucked. It dealt with the subject of the earth being struck by a meteor, and it came out about 8 seconds after Deep Impact, which dealt with the same theme but was a much more interesting, sensitive, and well-thought-out film.
JJ Abrams was a writer on Armageddon, from there on he made the TV series Alias, which featured Jennifer Garner looking like she was trying to suck milk out of a diamond, and then he went on to make Lost.
The next slew of episodes has just hit UK television, and it sucks. Now, I know I'm saying nothing new here, but here's the thing:
THERE WILL BE NO ANSWERS, AND THERE WILL BE NO PAYOFF. EVER.
Thing is, I can PROVE THIS.
Series One of Lost was one of the most exciting things ever. We all watched, chewing our knuckles, wondering what it all meant, what GENIUS masterplan was at work, what MONUMENT of televisual EXCELLENCE was being built on these EXHILARATING foundations?
And the answer is none. None monument. In series one, we had to endure the unending flashbacks to the characters' lives before they crash landed on the island. We sat patiently through them for the 90 seconds of gratifying plot advancement each episode afforded.
And so it continued with Series Two. More mysteries! Lordy, it sure would be nice to have something explained, or some mystery revealed at some point, but gosh darn it, it's all so exciting!
Then JJ Abrams started making Cloverfield, and then we realised he was a fucking liar and a bullshit merchant and a substanceless piece of sucky fuck. Don't believe me? Click on this link and watch:
(Incidentally, don't let it put you off www.ted.com, which is one of my favourite websites)
And there it all is. Let me save you the precious minutes of humanity - I'll paraphrase his little talk. What he basically says is "I think it's way more exciting when you don't get to find out what's going on. And Macs are way cool."
Oh, SUPER. Well, sorry, but isn't that part of the contract between the creator and the audience? We agree to watch your film or TV show or read your book, and you promise to give us some kind of fucking payoff.
Around Cloverfield time, Lost started doing flash... forwards, instead of flashbacks. A fantastic move, that suddenly made the time on the island, formerly the exciting part, the boring part. And in fact, we all started not to care about any of it, because nobody was really telling us anything about anything anymore.
And this evening's episode, after a year's hiatus, is the most incomprehensible mess of bollocks I have ever seen. At any given time you don't know if you're watching a flashback, a flashforwards, a 'time-loop' on the island, or the delusions of Hurley, the mentally-disturbed fat guy, who must surely be on danger money for maintaining that weight for so many years. Dude, just looking at him makes me feel a little... Hurley.
The whole thing smacks of a play mounted by two six-year-olds who are frantically trying to raise the stakes as they sense the endgame of bedtime approaching:
"And, then, er, and then, a THING comes out of the trees and it's made of SMOKE!"
"No, come on JJ, it's bedtime, isn't it...?"
"No, and then... And THEN! They discover they are travelling in TIME!" (Starts bouncing on sofa.)
"Come on JJ... Teeth"
"But, no, and then, then, one of them's DEAD but he's not!" (Leaps off sofa.)
"Teeth and bed."
"No, TWO of them!" (Smashes into brand new DAB radio with iPod dock.)
"Right. That's it."
Getting into a mess is a piece of cake. Getting back out of it without losing your audience is the hard part. JJ Abrams, you SUCKY PIECE OF COCKING SHAFT.
Oh, and isn't it awful what's going on in the Middle East.