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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Q. Will we get any clarification about the numbers this season?
Damon: Carlton might want to punch me for actually going on record and saying this, but I think that that question will never, ever be answered. I couldn't possibly imagine [how we would answer that question]. We will see more ramifications of the numbers and more usage of the numbers, but it boggles my mind when people ask me, "What do the numbers mean?"
TV Guide interview
Uh oh.

If you don't know, then you're cheating.

I mean, by the time we were done writing Charlie Jade, we knew.

We're just not telling.


This sounds like Chris Carter and the X-files all over again. I've given up on the show this year for many reason (most John Rogers listed in a very funny post on his site).

I hate when you don't play fair with the viewers.


By Blogger John Donald Carlucci, at 9:24 PM  

One moment they say it's all planned and the next we get this.

Boogles the mind.

Oh, BTW, is Charlie Jade getting a Second Season?

By Blogger RKBentley, at 9:54 PM  

The next episode is Ana-Lucia, the next is Kate based, but the third is Island based..i.e. we flash back to see how the Island,hatch,and numbers came into exsistence.

By Blogger CharlieDontSurf, at 12:55 AM  

That's great. Unfortunately, we won't be getting the island flashback ep till 2006...

By Blogger RKBentley, at 7:48 AM  

Yeah, Alex, I call bullshit. I think this is why TV writers talking about mythology is just going to be a bad thing. No matter what stand you take: we know where we're going, we're making it up as we go along -- the general public will never understand how both of those absolutist principles don't apply.

On Charlie Jade, there was stuff that we knew that we were writing toward, stuff that we knew but we knew would remain myserious until when or if there was a second season.

But the third category was the "could be this-es." -- There was a whole bunch of stuff where there was no consensus of what it actually was because neither the audience nor we needed to know the answer at that point. There were visions of what that stuff could be, but it certainly wasn't set in stone -- nor were those visions particularly unified.

The disconnect comes from an audience expectation that an arc show like LOST must necessarily have EVERY DETAIL PLOTTED way ahead of time, rather than a framework that's filled in as inspiration strikes.

It amazes me that JMS has floated this canard all these years that he knew exactly how his B5 story was going to unfold -- which you can believe only if you accept that he knew he was going to lose a key cast member at the end of season one, another at the end of season four, and face cancellation a couple of times. Poppycock. Knowing the general drift of a narrative is not the same as having two books in a vault somewhere explaining every detail.

it's like saying that JK Rowling knew every detail of every book when she published Philospher's Stone. She may know the high points of what happens to Harry Potter -- she may even know the last image of the seventh book -- but writing an ongoing series in either medium is not stenography. It's as ridiculous as saying that John Lennon and Paul McCartney knew how A Day in the Life would end when they were scratching out And I Love Her.

The problem with the nitpickers is that they're looking for an airtight universe where every detail fits together completely neatly and logically. You know, like our understanding of the Fossil Record...whoops...wait, no...cosmolog...nope, that doesn't work either...well, quantum ph...damnit.

The only people who come up with any story with no holes are schizophrenics -- because everything means something.

There's a difference between shaggy, messy, ongoing storytelling with things that are red herrings and a story where the tiller doesn't have his hand on the rudder. X Files is definitely a good example in this category. Carter's on record as saying that he didn't expect it to go so long, and had only an imperfect understanding of where it would all go. That showed, because along the way they reversed course and contradicted themselves...the most notable example I can think of being Mulder's sister. In that case they did actually tell you that something significant happened -- it was the origin story of the character, only to step that back near the end. That was pulling the rug.

LOST, on the other hand, has not contradicted itself as its thrown out its further layers. And in season two, yup, they're still in the phase of laying on mysteries.

I'm sure that the numbers will figure -- and that they will have some explanation...but an explanation that fits every occurrence and permutation? I'm not sure I even want to see the world that that represents.

I always wonder -- the people who demand the airtight explanations from their narrative fictions -- what kind of lives do these people lead? Fiction already ties up loose ends better than life. An explanation that suits everything? Well, if a smart bastard like Einstein couldn't find it to explain the universe, I think holding TV or novel writers to that standard is a bit silly.

By Blogger DMc, at 12:44 PM  

I think it's okay if you change your mind what something is. But I think it's b.s. when the writers make something up and they have no idea what it is and further, no plan to ever explain.

It is just faithless to invest so much in those numbers if they don't have at least a plan A.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 1:08 PM  

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