Posted: 11 Oct 2004
Three and a half weeks ago, a new show premiered on ABC called Lost. You may have even heard of it. OK, I'm kidding myself. I found myself more psyched for this show than a lot of things, at times surprisingly. I've wondered if I'm trying to fill that space left by Buffy and Angel, and that may be part of it, but there's more.
I think what solidified it for me was the quick bit in the ad of the tail of the plane breaking off in mid-air. It looked good. Well, I mean, as good as the tail of a plane snapping off over the ocean can be. The two-episode pilot is rumored to have cost upwards of $10 million, including shipping pieces of a jumbo jet over to Hawaii (where it's filmed) to be junked and burned for wreckage.
Honestly, though, I don't think this show is getting the attention it deserves. Of course, this week, it has to contend with the ALCS, the NLCS, and the third and final Presidential debate. I like to put it in a little bubble in my mind and pretend that it'll last. Eh, maybe it just will.
I'm getting ahead of myself, here, though.
In the event you haven't heard much about it, the premise is fairly straightforward. A passenger plane, en route from Sydney to Los Angeles, loses radio signal over the Pacific Ocean. It turn back to head to Fiji and land, and on the way encounters major turbulence. The plane breaks apart and crashes on what at this point we believe is a remote island, stranding a cast of fourteen major characters and a dozen or two extras.
To top it off, though, their first night on the beach is disrupted by something large and mysterious rummaging around the jungle, knocking over trees and alternately screeching and groaning, a little reminiscent (to me, at least) of The Quest. As such, you've got a wide array of characters -- some stereotypes and some fresh takes on those stereotypes -- as well as a mystery bordering on sci-fi.
I've been pleasantly surprised by the characters thus far, actually. I hadn't expected much, to be honest. The lead role, Jack, is actually one of the least interesting. This may stem from a rumor I heard that the character was slated to die in the pilot, but actor Matthew Fox's reading for the part encouraged the writers to edit him not only back in, but as the brooding hero/star. His obvious choice for love interest, Kate, was recently revealed to be a convict transported by a Marshall at the time of the crash, an interesting twist. She's also pretty smokin', which helps the show a bit. There's an affable "big guy," Hurley, who's ever-helpful in both labor and in contributing a comparatively laid-back, relaxed atmosphere. The first clash between characters was a Middle Eastern dude, Sayid, and a typecast hick jackass, Sawyer, accusing each other of terrorism and ignorance. That seems to have blown over after last week's happenings.
One small twist was a conversation between Sayid and Hurley, talking about the Gulf War, in which Hurley asked what unit Sayid was in:
Hurley: "My cousin was in the 101st Airborne. You?"
Sayid: (pause) "Republican Guard."
Little things like that, here and there, go miles to give the characters more depth and give the overall show a nicer touch.
There're some sinister characters, too. Though, admittedly, ones previously thought to be sinister turned out to be pretty OK, and vice-versa. We just don't know at this point, which is half the excitement.
The other half, of course, is speculating on what the hell's in the jungle. At this point, we've seen some things and odd happenings, but I'd rather not give away more than I have at this point. One thing's for sure, as confirmed, it's not a dinosaur. That was my biggest concern, actually.
What's more, where the hell are they? The pilot was able to tell them they were 1,000 miles off-course and everybody'd be looking in the wrong place, but no one seems to know where, exactly, they could be. In just three episodes so far, we've learned quite a bit about the island, but learned that there's ten times as much we don't know. Therein lies the sustainability of the show -- the writers need to keep that hook for as long as possible -- that "Mulder and Scully are gonna start making out any second now" tension -- while they keep viewers coming back with character development and small plotlines.
Obviously, it can't go forever. Or even for more than a season or two (without injecting some serious changes), but in the meantime, I highly suggest tracking down the first three episodes and not missing it on Wednesdays on ABC. Also be sure to check out a pretty damn good fan site at www.lost-tv.com.