US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Watch more TV

| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

I have to admit: I’m lost on Lost. I’ve seen one episode and was very confused. It seems, however, that I’ve been missing out on one of our culture’s foremost reflections on faith, science, and philosophy.

Lost is about people who are metaphorically lost, Diane Winston explained to Krista Tippett of National Public Radio’s Speaking of Faith. The University of Southern California professor of media and religion recently unpacked the religious themes in many of today’s best shows.

Battlestar Galatica addresses ethical themes of war and torture (and not in the same way as 24). Every episode of House has an ethical debate as well as a medical mystery. The Wire confronts the issues of race and class like no other show does.

Winston points out that the growing communities of fans who blog about episodes online has enabled shows to become more than just entertainment. Virtual communities are forming around the interpretation of stories shared on TV.

Even Entertainment Weekly is jumping in with analysis through summer courses at “EW University.” Last week “Doc Jensen” wrote about the themes and mysteries of Lost. His TV analysis interestingly echoes what religious scholar Karen Armstrong says about how humanity have understood religion over the ages. (Currently reading her forthcoming book. Here's more on the power of story.)

Watching TV is usually just a way of unwinding and relaxing for me (my current faves aren’t so deep: Chuck, The Office, and 30 Rock). Perhaps, however, I should rent the first season of Lost and see what insights I might be able to glean from it.

What are your favorite shows and what insights, spiritual or otherwise, do you take from them?