Friday, November 7, 2008


Last night I got to the third season episodes of Lost where Jack's doing surgery on Ben and he threatens to let him bleed to death if the Others don't let Sawyer and Kate go, and they were pretty awesome because I genuinely had no idea what was going to happen.

Then I was poking around the internet about them and I noticed that their original airdates were, first, November 8, 2006, and second, February 7, 2007. As broadcast, there was a three-month hiatus between the cliffhanger and the resolution.

I'm watching the show on DVD from Netflix, so my equivalent to hiatuses is the two or three days between when I watch one disc and mail it back and when the next disc arrives. I've thought about the difference in experience between watching a show as it airs and watching it more quickly on DVD before (as I've said many times, TV on DVD is, bar none, the best invention of the new millennium). The difference is vast, and I find that DVD viewing is almost always better--which is odd, considering that it's so entirely separated from the intended experience. What I've never thought about, though, is the entirely different structure DVD-through-Netflix viewing gives cliffhangers.

The two episodes in question were the third and fourth of four episodes on the same disc. I watched the cliffhanger and immediately watched the resolution, and then went on hiatus. I'm now anxiously awaiting the moment I'll find out what direction the story will go in next, rather than the moment I'll find out how this segment of the story turns out. Which in some ways is more exciting.

Anyway, I don't have any conclusions to draw about this. I just always find it interesting to think about the ways different forms of storytelling force us to take in the story differently--all in one go or broken up, at a pace we set ourselves or at one enforced by the medium, and so forth. These to me are the greatest differences between different narrative media, more important than whether the story is printed on paper or viewed on a screen or is text only, image and sound only, image and text only, or whatever. Sometime I need to do a more thorough investigation of this.

No comments: