I have seen two new episodes of Lost

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Doc Jensen, Alan Sepinwall et al have already posted vague, positive assessments of the first two episodes of Lost's fifth season. Now that we at Alive finally got our technical difficulties sorted out, I too have viewed the eps, and I can add my voice to the chorus of approval.

I am obligated not to spill any beans about these episodes, which premiere two weeks from tonight on ABC. But I can tell you that the show remains unapologetically high-concept, and people who have a problem with the time travel element that has been gradually seeping into the storyline over the past couple seasons are not going to like where this is going.

I, for one, am on board. I was highly skeptical when time travel was introduced into the Lost narrative, but these episodes only confirm what I have been thinking for a while now: Time travel is an acceptable route to take as long as you're creative about it. Heroes abuses the conceit and suffers dearly for it. Characters come and go through time on a regular basis and alter the future, Back to the Future/Terminator style. For Heroes, time travel is a deus ex machina, a lazy escape route for poor storytelling.

On the other hand, Lost has woven time travel deeply into the fabric of its story, and there's nothing straightforward about the way the show has dipped into those waters before. Desmond's mental time-hopping travails recall Slaughterhouse-Five, but that well hasn't been dipped into nearly as frequently as the more straightforward "go back and change the future" meme. And that time force field around the island that causes people to arrive at different times depending on what bearing they take? Brilliant!

Season five's time tricks are just as unusual, and they've got me excited to see how the next fifteen hours play out. Of course, there's lots of the action, adventure and human drama that has made Lost so appealing to people outside the sci-fi/fantasy set. Folks who aren't up to date on the story will probably be a little, um, lost, but anyone who likes quality TV should find something to like here.