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Postmodernism In Us Television Show Lost

2108 words - 8 pages

Postmodernism can be defined as a rejection of the idea that there are certain unequivocal truths or grand narratives (such as capitalism, faith or science) and as a belief that there are multiple ways of understanding anything, whether it be it culture, philosophy, art, literature, films, etc, or even television... Television reflects the mass-produced society we live in and certain shows exhibit many of the archetypes of postmodernism that have become prevalent in other art forms. Postmodernism can be useful for understanding contemporary television it can help us to relate to the ever-changing world we live in. Television shows like ABC’s Lost (ABC, 2004-2010) dabble in matters of intertextuality, questioning of grand narratives and, amongst others, a manipulation of time through use of flashbacks, flash-forwards and, uniquely to Lost, the flash-sideways.

The television show Lost displays many of the key traits found in postmodernism works. The show follows the lives of survivors of a plane crash on a mysterious island somewhere in the south pacific. There, they must negotiate an unknown monster, an unpredictable group of prior occupants, strange, other worldly inhabitants, polar bears and each other, as they attempt to survive and attract rescue. In this basic synopsis of show it is clear that the show incorporates a large degree of generic hybridity, from the show’s outset it has exhibited elements of science-fiction, mystery, drama and the action-adventure genre. This is even prevalent in the show’s advertising, the varying genres that show exhibits can be found in an early trailer for the show’s first season that originally aired on Channel 4 in 2005, directed by surrealist artist David LaChapelle. The trailer features the main characters, the pivotal survivors, cleverly paired as dancing partners as a form of fore shadowing the events which take place during the show. For example, the characters Boone and Claire are paired and in the show they represent the juxtaposing idea of life and death going hand-in-hand—in the show, Claire gives birth to her son just as Boone dies.

The technical codes used in the advert help to establish the extent of the programme’s generic hybridity. There is not a single long-shot camera angle throughout the piece; instead the trailer is made up of various medium shots and medium close-ups of the various characters. This is effective in telling the audience that Lost is very much positioned within the drama genre; that its primary focus is on its characters and their experiences as they interact as strangers, rather than on the island and its various mysteries. However, the advert is also effective as it is intentionally ambiguous with eerie use of non-diagetic sound. The background music, chosen to create part of the atmosphere of the piece and emphasize the mysterious and supernatural nature of the show is almost sinister; this peculiar tone that the music promotes is used to set the tone of the show, to...

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