The ‘Lost’ Master Plan
LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) Those viewers who felt burned by the last few seasons of “The X-Files” and have wondered more than once what’s going on with “Alias” are probably the same ones who have been fighting the temptation to become too attached when it comes to “Lost.”
Watching the extras on the first season DVD set (available Tuesday, Sept. 6) does nothing to assuage these doubts. Jack (Matthew Fox) was slated to die in the first episode? Kate was supposed to be on a quest to find her husband who went to the bathroom right before the plane blew apart? If those stories were left at the wayside, what else could be in a state of flux? Does anyone know how the polar bears got there? How about the monsters? The Numbers? The Hatch? The Others?
According to executive producer Damon Lindelof, there’s no need to panic.
“The big questions we have the answers to, but we are running a race that has no finish line right now,” he says. “If they said, ‘We want you to do four seasons of the show,’ we would have sat down and planned out 88 episodes.”
In other words, while the destination is set the journey could take some detours. Still, there’s a limit.
“That’s what happened to Chris Carter,” Lindelof explains. “People look at that show and go, ‘I’m disappointed with the way “X-Files” ended,’ but they did 200 episodes.
“Chris Carter wanted to do four seasons and a movie, and the movie would have answered everything definitely. And Fox said, ‘Great, you can leave the show, but we own the show and we’re going to keep doing the show.’ And he said, ‘I’d rather run my own show into the ground then let somebody else do it.’
“I respect that.”
Respect for the compromises that the entertainment industry demands doesn’t mean that Lindelof and partners-in-crime JJ Abrams and Carlton Cuse are planning on dragging “Lost” out forever.
“We have an ending for the show: we know when it is, we know how many episodes it is,” Lindelof says, “but we have to talk to the Powers That Be — the people that pay for the show — in order to execute that.
“I think it would be very hard if we did our ending for anyone to come in to the show after and continue.”
Work out your own theories as to what such a conclusive ending could possibly entail.
Speaking of network involvement, what’s with the promos? During the first season viewers knew that one of the main characters was going to die, but the ABC marketing department jumped the gun after Boone (Ian Somerhalder) suffered a horrific accident and trumpted his death before the fact. Then, they helpfully cleaned up a deliberately garbled radio transmission.
“One of the things that is a constant fight in movies and television is not wanting to give away the show,” Lindelof, who doesn’t see the promos until they actually run, opines. “Marketing’s job is to get people to tune in and our job is to not give it away, and that sort of puts us at odds.”
Getting more involved for the start of the second season, Lindelof says that he and the show’s creative team worked closely with marketing to design the launch campaign, proclaiming the end result to be “very cool and very mysterious.” However, once they are back into what he refers to as the “strum and drang” of writing, editing and dealing with the production of the show on a weekly basis they will turn over the reins.
“Inherently, I have to respect what they do,” Lindelof continues, “and I put my frustration aside because the way that they market the show and sold the show, I’m so grateful. So every once and awhile they’ll do it in a way I don’t approve of, but at the end of the day lots of people are watching and that’s in no small part due to the fact that they built awareness.”
“Lost: Season One” will be released on DVD on Tuesday, Sept. 6. Season Two will premiere Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
Answers!!! Give me answers, damn you!!!!
The ‘Lost’ Master Plan