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February 11, 2008
‘Lost’ Returns; Now
Will J.J. Abrams Make the Return He’s Promised?
“Lost” is back. Finally.
Since its incredibly entertaining season finale last May, ABC announced
that there would be three more seasons of “Lost,” with 22 episodes per
season. They also announced that Season Four would begin at the end of
January, which was good because it meant they would have a new episode
every week once it started, but bad because it meant I would be in
“Lost” withdrawal for a really long time.
was worse for my wife, who had to listen to me saying for seven months:
“‘Lost’ is only __ and a half months away. Aren’t you excited?” Granted, I was trying to be annoying, but I was also
legitimately excited about the announcement that the show’s creators had
a definitive plan. This was good because it gave the writers a license
to structure the series. It’s like saying “I need the skyscraper to be
120 stories high,” as opposed to, “I want that thing as high as you can
build her, now get to it.”
It’s easier to make something with an ending in sight. “The Sopranos”
went out on a high, as did “Sex and the City,” John Elway, “Seinfeld”
and Wayne Gretzky. The same can’t be said for “Alias,” “The OC,” Ricky
Henderson, “Arrested Development” and Richard Nixon. I’m just really
glad my favorite show has decided to give its writers a legitimate
chance to go out on top.
course, there’s still the problem of staying power. Three seasons of
prime time TV is no gimme.
It’s hard to believe it was almost a pregnancy ago when I proclaimed my
affection for the best show in television,
but in case you’re not sure why so many of us are rather obsessed with
this Thursday night drama, take a look back at
I neglected to mention is that J.J. Abrams, the show’s creator, has an
incredible knack for high-intensity, fast-paced drama. He also created
“Alias,” of which I was a huge fan for about three seasons, until it
seemed to lose its focus. For what it’s worth, Entertainment Weekly
declared Abrams the 29th smartest person in Hollywood. Of
course, you might not want to put too much stock in the list,
considering that Will Ferrell came in at number 17. (Don’t get me wrong.
The guy’s hilarious, and you have to be really smart to be funny, unless
your name is Bill Clinton, but come on). Those who failed to make
the list – and thus failed to beat out Will Ferrell – include Daniel-Day
Lewis, Alexander Payne, Quentin Tarantino, and Michael Mann. I guess no
list is perfect. The point is that J.J. Abrams is a clever guy, and he’s
pledged to be more involved with the final three seasons than he was
with Seasons Two and Three, which sagged a bit. This ought to mean that
“Lost” will keep its momentum past its third season, unlike “Alias”,
which lacked staying power.
is this: What made Season One so great was the way in which the
characters were revealed for their true selves, and proceeded to change.
But when the show began to sag, people started to complain about the
show being too confusing. And instead of sticking to the philosophy of
the first season, which worked exceptionally despite being as mysterious
and inexplicable as ever, the writers seemed to respond to the people
and have been over-explaining the show ever since. There’s been too much
plot, and not enough people. The question is, can the characters
continue to change, or will the show somehow have to come up with
interesting plot twists for another 64 episodes? We can only hope for
In one of
my favorite movies, “Adaptation,” Brian Cox, who plays a screenwriting
coach, states: “Your characters must change, and the change must come
from them.” I think this is great advice for any storyteller. Other
strategies have worked, but not a great many. The most important task of
the plot itself is to believably take the characters from a point of
conflict to a point of enlightenment, (or to a point of despair, which
can be equally compelling). For example, there have been a lot of
entertaining James Bond films, but none as rich as “Casino Royale,” in
which we actually get to witness Bond’s development. Perhaps what Brian
Cox should have said was, “Your characters must change, or involve
themselves in numerous high-speed chases and cheap relationships with
I hope and
expect Abrams, officially the 29th smartest guy in show biz,
will continue to mold “Lost’s” wonderful body of characters in front of
the backdrop of the mysterious island. Otherwise, I’ll have to find
something else to do with my time on Thursday nights between February
and June, which I’d really rather not do.
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