OK, “Lost” fans, today’s topic is one I never thought I’d have to address. Seems to me this puppy was put to bed three years ago, but as season 6 approaches, so does this topic. Damn zombie puppy topic.
The topic? The future of “Lost” after season 6. No, really. Despite all the hoopla about landing an end date to the show during season 3, and how that decision directly impacted the storytelling ever since, ABC/Dinsey suddenly seems insistent that the show will go on, not unlikel Celine Dion’s cold, black heart. Quoting from this Variety article on the matter:
“We’ve been talking about this for a couple of years now,” says ABC marketing exec VP Mike Benson. “We want to keep it alive but make sure we maintain the integrity of the franchise. We’re not about milking this thing for all that it is right now; it’s important to see this live for years to come.”
But “Lost” exec producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse won’t likely be a part of those plans. The duo have made it pretty clear that they have no intention to keep the show going after the finale, and would like their work to stand on its own once “Lost” slams the hatch door shut.
“People deserve an ending, and to promise a continuation of the story in any form in some way negates the finality in some way,” Lindelof says.
I’d quote someone besides Mike Benson and Damon Lindelof here in proving the ultimate point. Hey, Jacob, what’s your take on “Lost”?
“It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.”
Well put, O Weaver of the Ages. Since I’m having troubling rationally writing about this topic without going all “HULK SMASH!”, I’m going to try and make a few quick points here.
ABC can do whatever it wants, but that doesn’t mean fans have to accept it. The obvious parallel made by executives is the “Star Trek” franchise, pointing out that not only was “The Next Generation” eventually accepted, but J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof directly steered the reboot of the film series. But people are comparing apples and oranges here: “Star Trek” celebrates the infinite possibility of the universe; “Lost” celebrates a vast but finite mystery, choosing to focus specifically on the end of a millennial war as the timeframe for its story.
No Darlton, no “Lost.” You might argue that their reticence toward more stories in the “Lost” universe derives from personal vanity. I can’t really speak to that, having never met them. But all stories not deriving from their brain are essentially fanfic. At that point, you’re judging merely on the quality of the product, not its insight in the real deal “Lost” universe. Sure, someone might write a hella good novel in which Walt Lloyd, Aaron Littleton, Ji Yeon, and Charlie Hume ride around in a van solving mysteries in the near future. But I’m subscribing to the auteur theory when it comes to “Lost”: It doesn’t much matter who produces stories in this world after the Season 6 finale, since to me, that world closes forever in May. Ergo, said story doesn’t exist except as a reaction to that world, not part and parcel of it. Which leads me to my next point…
More isn’t always better. ABC/Disney seem to be trying to take a negative (the predetermined end date of a show that gives the network both credibility as well as income) and turn it into a positive (taking the show’s imminent scarcity and using that to drive up value of the property). In short: They want to treat “Lost” not unlike a rare coin, comic book, or stamp. They are banking on the show’s end driving up demand for more product, assuming fans will eat up anything with the “Lost” logo on the cover after the fact. The problem, of course, is that this business plan completely ignores the reason the show is still a critical and fan darling: IT HAS THE GUTS TO END. Which leads me to my last point…
More “Lost” = more of the same. Determining the end date instantly bracketed “Lost” off from every other piece of popular American television ever. You could argue that something like the original U.K. version of “The Office” used a finite number of episodes to excellent effect already, but really, “Lost” has no precedent here in the States. And that lack of precedent has set up certain psychological parameters in its fans. We’ve seen the goal in sight for years now, and have such taken a marathoner’s approach to reaching the finish line. Pulling that away means ABC=Lucy and we=Charlie Brown, and the promise of a story with a real beginning, middle, and end=the football.
In negotiating an end date for the show, I thought “Lost” and ABC/Disney had done the impossible: They chose art over commerce, choosing to focus on the way to tell the strongest story, not create the greatest profits. While it’s naïve to look at something like “Lost” purely on artistic terms devoid of the real-world economic concerns, it’s still disappointing to see the powers that be either 1) panicking as the show reaches its completion, or worse 2) pre-emptively taking advantage of audience withdrawal symptoms.
I can’t tell you whether on not to purchase any items that might come out of ABC’s plan to produce more “Lost” content after Season 6. Not my place to do so. You’re big boys and girls.
All I can tell you is this: while Damon and Carlton will get nothing but my utmost admiration for what they’ve managed to produce, ABC will get none of my hard-earned cash for anything they might produce without Darlton’s involvement.
What are your feelings about more “Lost” after Season 6? Leave them below!
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Photo credits: ABC