Will Lost Be Found?

Will the producers of Lost end the show before we discover they are actually on Gilligan’s Island and the Others are the descendants of a tryst between the Skipper and Ginger? Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip... The answer, thankfully, may be yes.

Executive producer Carlton Cuse and his fellow writers and producers appear to understand that too much of a good thing can hurt a previously great show – using the very apt analogy of The X-Files. "That was a great show that probably ran two seasons too long," Cuse said earlier this week. "That is a cautionary tale for us." The X-Files did go on too long, dragging out the conspiracies until even Fox Mulder left the show and I started watching Alias instead – another show that overstayed its welcome.

When shows are created they are centered around a concept and a few characters and they might have a few story arcs planned out, but they don’t look too far into the future as they don’t know how long they will be on the air. If a show is lucky enough to strike a chord with an audience, the dynamic changes and the show is kept around for as long as possible. As The Simpson’s Troy McClure eloquently sums up: "Who knows what adventures they'll have between now and when the show becomes unprofitable?"

Which is exactly the point. The adventures and mysteries on Lost have become so open-ended as to appear unsolvable. I loved how the first season introduced more questions than it answered and got behind it again in season two. But now as the second half of season three approaches, I want some answers. It doesn’t need to be laid out in a neat little package, but it’s time for a little payback. Why and how are they there? How did they survive the crash? Where is there? Without knowing when the show may end, there is a disincentive for the writers to even begin to answer these questions, lest they have to extend the stay of the castaways about a few more seasons. With an end date in mind, the stories can be resolved in a satisfying manner and go out on top. How many shows have you watched that limped to the end and were cancelled before everything was wrapped up?

I was a huge fan of Arrested Development, but in a way, I’m glad it went out when it did, all guns blazing. It was fast and fierce and will now be fondly recalled for years to come. Ask Jerry Seinfeld about going out on top. I am also a huge Simpsons fan, but there is a part of me that wishes they’d hug up their pens a few years ago instead of limping along with half the laughs they used to get. It’s now just a good show whereas it used to be great.

The folks at Lost are heading in the right direction. Here’s hoping they are given the artistic freedom to follow through – and that the execs at Prison Break are listening.


  1. What worries me about Lost is that so far, well, this season has sucked--to blunt about it. It was far too much Jack, Kate, and Sawyer and not enough of the other castaways. I definitely would like to see some of our questions answered and I really don't want to see Lost go the same way that The X-Files and (IMHO) The Simpsons staying far too long after they've lost their steam.

  2. I have not given up hope on Lost, and I am looking forward to them getting back to the beach. I never would have thought I'd say it, but I want to know what's going on with Charlie.

    I think, with an end date in mind, the show's writers and creators will be able to tell the story the way they want to and on their own terms. It bodes well.