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TV Series Review

Why are we here? Is there an intelligent force controlling our destiny? How am I connected to others in the grand scheme of things?

Rarely does a network TV series ponder such existential issues. But on the Emmy-winning drama Lost, those questions haunt every castaway who survived the crash of Oceanic Air flight 815—not to mention the legion of young fans that tuned in each week before scurrying to share theories about the show's latest developments on social networking sites.

Lost ended its six-season run May 23, 2010. But, like its characters, the show lives on in a strange netherworld—that of Hulu and DVD and video-on-demand. Which means for years into the future, new viewers will wrestle with the questions and concepts Lost raises—theories, mythologies and parables told within the confines of this mysterious island populated by polar bears, a freaky smoke monster and a group of people called the Others.

The place's peculiar magic undulates, flames and flickers. It makes it possible for the lame to walk, the dead to visit the living and for entire geographic regions to travel through space and time. Lost's ever-changing cadre of characters—Jack, Kate, Locke, Sawyer, Sayid, Jin, Sun and Hurley have remained at the core—forges its way into the future (and the past and a flexible sideways reality), sometimes coming to terms with the pain they brought with them (guilt, sin, unresolved family issues), sometimes succumbing to it. A few find themselves in the midst of an interesting paradox: It can take getting lost to find what you're really looking for.

This stuff can be seriously confusing, if you haven't noticed. It's not for either the faint of heart or the sporadic viewer. And while the brain-blowing blending of sci-fi and spirituality keeps fans riveted even after the finale, the theological touchstones often feel off-center. At some junctures, Lost can almost seem like a Christian parable, populated by people of "faith" (who often bear the same names as biblical characters or Christian philosophers) and steeped in ruminations on good and evil, destiny and free will, sin and salvation. At others, we see hints of various isms, from Gnosticism to humanism to occultism, parading underneath a ruined statue that once represented an ancient Egyptian goddess. Episodes have incongruously featured, among other things, depictions of the staunch faith of a martyred African priest and the heretical assertion by one influential character that Jesus' baptism by John was orchestrated to absolve Christ of His "sins."

And there's nary a decoder ring in sight to sort it all out.

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Lost: 5232010
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Matthew Fox as Jack Shephard; Evangeline Lilly as Kate Austen; Josh Holloway as James 'Sawyer' Ford; Terry O'Quinn as John Locke; Naveen Andrews as Sayid Jarrah; Jorge Garcia as Hugo 'Hurley' Reyes






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