"Where are we?"
Once upon a time this writer was positively addicted to LOST (2004-2010). Most of us self-respecting geeks were along with a whole lot of Others.
The six season series (121 episodes) peaked out in viewership at roughly 24 million in its second season, but still finished hanging on to an average 10 million viewers in its final two seasons. That's a solid and impressive run for a series that kept people talking and debating its story threads and where it was going while losing some disgruntled viewers to the seemingly maddening fusion of disparate events and endless questions.
Each new episode seemed to add more conundrums and compound our confusion. Some of us felt lost. LOST heaped mystery upon mystery sometimes at a seemingly breakneck pace leaving some, including myself, scratching their heads at times. It was always a question of just how far you the viewer were willing to follow into the rabbit hole.
The tale of forty-eight plane crash survivors from Oceanic Flight 815 landing upon a mysterious island had blogs a flutter, neighbors talking, water coolers bubbling and curiosity and deciphering of concepts and ideas a raging. Yes the Internet was and is filled with resources about the series. But it was discussion of each episode with each other on a personal, social level that transpired too. Case in point, my neighbors and I hashed out each week's episode at the bus stop. Since then our kids have grown up and watched the series themselves twice over for some. There is an allure to LOST as a story that seems to cross generational lines. It will be interesting to see if LOST has staying power over time. It does appear to have lasting qualities due to intelligently scripted television, spectacular and varied performers and sparkling direction.
The series concept led by ABC chairman Lloyd Braun, led to his untimely firing before LOST became a surprise hit. Unexpectedly its massive success for the company flourished in the hands of J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse (Colony, The Strain).
An extraordinarily beautiful and talented cast of castaways was selected. Gilligan's Island eat your heart out. It's actually difficult to pick one favorite as all are potentially fascinating and intriguing as people on one level or another. Great writers and directors steered the ship against some of the most stunning location shooting (Hawaii) ever committed to television and backed by a not so silent character partner in composer Michael Giacchino. LOST was born and thrived and influenced serialized television for the next phase of TV's evolution.
This writer never finished LOST, but it's always been on the back of my mind. Beginning with the Abrams-directed Pilot, the most expensive at the time (roughly 12.5 million dollars), I begin a look back at each of the series' episodes to right that aircraft.
Each entry will analyze the series highlights as I see them without getting too caught up in LOST's endless minutia and without digging too deeply into its mythology. Though its inevitable at times, there is still plenty already out there to explore those angles.
The goal here is to keep each episodic look at the series brief and fun. That's actually a challenge for me. If so inclined feel free to re-watch along with me and add comments befitting the episode actually under the microscope without offering future spoilers for anyone who may visit this sci-fi island.
While there are more than enough book and Internet sources out there to delve into the world of LOST, this observer wishes to merely reflect personally on each entry and have some fun doing so.
The first four seasons will be a refresher with the final two being brand new to me. This writer has avoided all contact with information regarding the end of LOST in the hopes of kicking back to watch the series start to finish. Binge-watching is far more effective in most TV cases. It works beautifully here with the densely packed LOST. Will I see this through to the end? Will frustration rear its ugly head again? I will do my best to chart the general success or disappointment with any given episode as we march into the unknown. My overall impression of LOST Season One is that it is a near perfect season of television.
Pilot (Part One and Two) are breathtakingly shot and beautifully filmed in Oahu, Hawaii. The sheer energy and scope of concept is something to behold. The cast jumps right into their roles. Looking back it's interesting to see how the actors on the series have aged only ever so slightly since its arrival a little more than a decade ago. The story itself is, ironically, timeless.
Highlight: The incredible use of sound to create terror for the unknown monster that inhabits the island. The mix of sound and rustling trees without presenting any kind of tangible visual of said monster itself is pure sci-fi terror and one of the great uses of sound in television. The imaginative use of sound is truly inspired and offers more than enough reason to warrant the response of Charlie's "Where are we?" This thing is also the one true element of science fiction in the opener. The application of this unknown thing genuinely establishes a supernatural component to the series out of the departure gate.
All of this and of course and the bloody evisceration of the Oceanic Flight 815's pilot creates for an unexpectedly grisly moment.
Additionally, the episode opens upon the eye of Jack and the use of the camera in the establishing shots of Jack in the jungle while moving to the crash site are wonderfully executed. The establishing eye shot would occur several times throughout Season One (Raised By Another is one example).
Hold onto your seats we're about to get LOST.
Flashback: Jack Shephard.
Guest: Greg Grunberg (Heroes).
Writer: Jeffrey Lieber (1st draft credit), J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof.
Director: J.J. Abrams.