It’s hard to remember now, but it was only a decade ago that television itself seemed to have been reinvented by JJ Abrams “Lost”. It was, it seemed, a deep mystery that would, over the course of its seven seasons, give us amazing revelations, telling a complete and satisfying story. That, it turned out, was a lie. One that turned so fiercely against the creators they ended up accusing the fans of being too fixated on secrets and mysteries and released a short video on one of the DVDs that begrudgingly gave some of the answers that people had been craving for over half a decade
An article I read recently describes the core issues JJ Abrams’ films the following way:
The stories are literally designed to please in the moment… Not to last.
Not even within the movies themselves.
I am excited about this new series on some level. Visually the series is gorgeous. We’re getting the full theatrical treatment here, and you can really tell they’re throwing Game of Thrones levels of resources at this show right out of the gate.
But I’m also hedging from fully committing to it. That’s because I’m not sure I can trust this show. Yes, they’ve clearly done some work to make sure that the reality of it feels rich and deep. It also seems to have a healthy sense of appreciation and reverence for the source material. In that aspect, it reminds me of yet another early 2000s series that began strong, only to be a let down in the end: Battlestar Galactica.
Story-wise, it’s an interesting show so far. It’s clearly building up to something, although I think it’s already leaning a little too heavily on the “who is the real monster” tropes. That may work out fine. After all, metaphorical tales that reflect the nature of technology and humanity have been a part of pop storytelling since Frankenstein. In fact, we had a pretty fantastic version of that story in Ex Machina only a couple of years ago.
The main question I find myself asking as I venture into this new story is will the beats that are so enticing in the early episodes be something that can be maintained through a multi-year series without falling into predictable patterns? To put it another way, how far can the robot revolution go if it’s already begun in the first episode?
I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.