Everytime a new show comes out where something “weird” happens at the beginning with no explanation, everyone tries to compare the show to Lost. Personally, I don’t care if it is better or worse, similar or different, whatever. I just care if the show works. The I-Land premiered this month on NetFlix and was immediately declared a Lost wannabe. Which would be hard to discount in most cases — a bunch of individuals stranded on an island? Heck, even the show itself jokes about the comparisons by suggesting maybe they survived a plane crash.
But for me, the real question is if the show works. The premise is ten people waking up on an island with amnesia — they have no memory of who they are or where they came from, or how they got to the island. The show focuses initially on the one woman waking up with her hand on a conch shell. Which she immediately uses to blow as a horn to attract attention. And that was strike one for me. She has NO idea who she is, where she is, but blowing a conch shell is the first thing she does? Really?
As the show progresses, you see that she’s not alone. Another woman comes from down the island and she too woke up with something nearby — a knife. A third person, a man, comes running down the beach. Now, just to be clear, both of these people were NOT within her line of sight down the beach when she started blowing the conch shell, she couldn’t see anyone. The camera pans and you find others down the beach slowly waking up, but you see that they all seem relatively evenly spaced and that they are all wearing relatively the same clothes. Dun dun dun.
Presumably they have all watched Survivor or even Lost maybe (!), but they start organizing themselves to make a plea for help in the sand, move some logs so they have somewhere to sit, etc. And the first woman extrapolates that if she woke up with a shell, and the other woman woke up with a knife, what did others have? They find all sorts of things — one at each site, including a first aid kit, etc. One woman finds a book called The Mysterious Island, and she basically throws it away. That was strike two for me.
As the episode moves on, there’s drama and conflict, fighting and assaults, a man gets attacked by a shark, blah blah blah. They find him on the beach the next morning, still alive but wounded, work to save him. Meanwhile, the two geekiest of the group have been huddling and doing math stuff. They measure how far apart all the bodies were and come to the conclusion they were all 39 steps apart. Dun dun dun. Furthermore, one of the geeks multiplies 39 by the number of people and then walks that distance to the end of the beach where they find a sign that says FIND YOUR WAY BACK. Mind blown, right?
No, not really. More like strike three for me. First, there’s no reason to do that math at all. Maybe doing a larger search grid around each of the ten sites or something, but multiplying them together to see where it all leads at the end? Hardly. If they had said they wanted to see if there was anything at increments of 39 AND they found something, I would have said “sure, why not”. But not a decision to specifically try the factor of the two. Second, however, much more important to me is that it was inconsistent with the opening. The people WEREN’T all 39 steps apart. Remember when she woke up? She couldn’t see ANYONE. And the two she did meet came running or walking from farther away — far enough she had to WAVE to them. Plus, a bunch of them were clustered together, no more than about 20 feet apart from each other. Certainly not 39 steps. While they at least acknowledge that there is a movie by that name, and then tell you that it isn’t related, they never explain that not everyone WAS that far away.
So let me get this straight. They want us to tune in to figure out the mystery and they can’t even get the basic logic right themselves? No reason to blow the conch shell, but she does; one of them finds a book called the Mysterious Island and she’s ON A MYSTERIOUS ISLAND, and she throws it away without looking at it or flagging for someone else; and they can’t even get the first clue’s explanation right. It was like the people who filmed the opening didn’t know where the script was going and thus didn’t set it up properly.
Sorry, but I’m out. And I’m sticking with my initial prediction of cancellation. I’m not even going to bother asking how nobody noticed they’re all relatively physically fit (no fatties among them), why there are two psychos in the group, or failing to wonder if one of them really still has their memory and is a plant of some sort. Nor am I even going to bother reviewing the basic acting talents on display.