Note: This post contains no spoilers for “Lost”.
My friend Ken * has been a fan of “Lost” since the beginning. Every Thursday morning after a new episode, he would come to work, sit down, and start out to tell me about the cool things on the show, and then realize that I don’t watch teevee. He would then proceed to pity me and belittle me, because “Lost” was not just some dumb sitcom. It was special.
I resisted watching the show for several reasons. First, probably just because of my contrarian nature – if it was popular, how could the show be any good? I did relent once during the first season, figuring if someone cool like Ken liked it, maybe it had some redeeming qualities. However, the show I ended up watching, while interesting character-heavy drama, didn’t have enough of the “Lost” mythology to project its appeal to me, and I stopped watching. I remember Ken’s disappointment the next day. “Yeah,” he admitted, “that wasn’t the best first episode to watch.”
Then, as Season Two approached, Ken began obsessing even more, joining online forums and discussing the show. I was a bit more intrigued, and when Ken bought the Season One DVD set and offerred to let me borrow it, I relented once again.
So for a couple of weeks I made my way through the DVDs, and I got a little more hooked. The mythology of the show was interesting, but more interesting to me was the characters. Seeing their backgrounds in flashbacks, compared with their current actions on the island, and watching as they developed the characters over the course of a season made me glad to have been there when all this long-form television got started. “Babylon 5”, “The X-Files”, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”… I’ve done this before. I like the greater depth one gets for characters and situations when they’re not resolved and wrapped up neatly in 60 minutes (42 if you subtract commercials). Ken hadn’t ever gotten into those previous shows (he was off serving his country in the Air Force during most of the 90s) so I saw why “Lost” would feel so new and fresh to him.
And, honestly, the writing on the show was very good. I liked it.
So much so that, weekend after last, when I was done with the Season One DVDs, with the prospect of new episodes being aired, I did something that, until this point, I had never done before: I spent money at the iTunes Music Store. I bought the first two episodes of Season Two for “Lost”. It was the weekend, and I knew that several others I worked with were sufficiently geeky to both watch “Lost” and save it in some digital form, so I could probably find the other episodes for free… but, what the hell, I have a 5th Generation iPod capable of playing video **, so why not?
I bought and watched those two episodes, asked around at work the next Monday, waited another day, didn’t hear back, and that night splurged and bought the rest of the season. Total of 12 episodes so far.
It worked pretty well, although they take up quite a bit of space and I’ll be sure to remove them when I’m done. The screen on my iPod is actually slightly larger than my actual teevee set when I hold it at a comfortable viewing distance. Y’know… visually. So I’m not losing much by watching “Lost” on my device. Plus, it’s good to know that one more capability of my gadget is being actually used.
And using the iTMS is also good. But there was one episode that wouldn’t download. The 7th episode of the season. I kept getting my favorite ironical computer-type-error, the “unknown error”, after the little progress bar crept its way across the screen the entire way. Argh.
And I couldn’t watch these episodes out of order. That’s just not right.
I figured that in this instance, since I’ve been all legal ‘n’ stuff and paid for the privelege of viewing it, that I could justify finding a quasi-legal copy on the internets. And I did, eventually, find one, even one that had already been pre-formatted for my iPod. And it took fourteen hours to download via BitTorrent. Glacially slow. I started it at night, and by the time I had to leave for work in the morning, it hadn’t finished.
While waiting for the quasi-legal copy to download, though, I fired off an angry email to Apple about their failure to satisfy my need for instant gratification. I outlined all the things I’d tried and carefully provided the text of their irritatingly-vague error message and asked them to fix it.
I was losing valuable time – a new episode was coming soon, and I had to catch up. I still had 6 episodes to watch and less and less time to do it. The following day after work, I got home and found that both the legal download worked, and the quasi-legal download had (finally!) finished. Argh. More frustration, but no time for that. I had “Lost” to watch.
Yeah. I’ll admit it. I’ve become hooked on the show. Ken was right. It is the coolest. Ken also likes being the superior one who has already hashed out much speculation and observations about the island and the people on it… but that’s OK.
In the meantime, I got an email from Apple, apologizing for my inconvenience, and explaining that they are crediting me the cost of that download and giving me 5 free downloads at the iTMS. Yay! Now I can enter their “Billionth Song Download” contest without spending any money!
When I win, all my friends get iPods. Just sayin’.
* Yes, I’m linking to his site even though he hasn’t updated since September just because I can and because I’m trying to shame him into updating again.
** I know I haven’t blobbed about upgrading my older one but it’s an embarassing story involving me dropping my old one, the one with the Radiohead lyric on the back, into the toilet so you can understand my reticence. Just go with me, here.