Tuesday, October 3, 2017


When one looks fondly back at events during a lifetime, what stands out sometimes is the hardest thing to understand.

LOST. It was a show that ended the era of "must watch TV." There were no "binge viewing" services. There were no dark web pirated shows. Fans had to arrange their schedule to watch each weekly episode. You could record it for playback - - - to investigate the nuisances, hints, Easter eggs and theories.

LOST was an academic show. Fans went into chat rooms to discuss each episode. They began to post their own answers to the mysteries. The interaction between people after each show became more important than the show itself.

LOST was about building a community on a dangerous island. LOST fans built their own communities outside of the show because it was confusing, contradictory, fun, reckless, nerdy, nail biting and strange. The search for meaning when the show runners sought to do end runs around the truth was part of the show's charm (and down fall).

People researched to explain quantum physics to other fans. People investigated ancient Egyptian culture to translate the messages on the set props. People found meaning in the soundtrack song lyrics. The compelling back stories helped fuel speculation on what the characters would do on the island.

As weirder the story lines got, the more involved the fans got in the show. It was an addictive cycle of story, action, reaction and analysis. As one person's theory seemed to be vindicated, another tangent would make people's heads spin.

It was a roller coaster ride without rails.

Now, years after the last episode. Years after all the emotional autopsies. Years after the cast and writers said their final words. LOST continues to sit fondly in the memory banks of most viewers.

It is the legacy of the last grand network drama shows. Cable giants like HBO and start up streamers like Netflix have become the critic's darling content producers. But LOST would not be able to live in today's fractured digital landscape. Personal consumption of entertainment has become too personal. There is no longer a need to have a group watch and after-show discussion.  Most programs, including reality shows, are spoon-fed dribble lacking complex story telling.

LOST was a unique show with highs and lows, a rabid fan base, intelligent discussion and the atmosphere of college bull sessions in search of answers that really did not matter.