Could LOST have been pitched to network television today?
The three main networks grasp on American entertainment has fallen by the wayside. Cable channels took over the edgy content market. Now streamers such as Netflix and Amazon are creating their own content on demand.
Would a concept show like LOST be able to be sold to any major distributor?
Let's check the initial reaction to a network programmer to the elements of the show:
It is about survivors of a high altitude airplane break up who fall to earth to land on an island.
Highly unlikely that survivors would survive such a mid-ocean crash.
It is about airplane survivors who wind up on a dangerous, unchartered island.
Probable. There have been many stories of shipwrecked survivors on unknown islands.
The survivors encounter hostile island natives.
Probable. There have been many stories of people finding dangerous tribes.
The survivors encounter a quasi-military industrial cult that begins to experiment on them.
Strange, but it could be feasible as much of the Pentagon R&D is under black ops.
The island has strange electro-magnetic properties which allow it to change time, disappear and time travel individuals off the island.
Though some elements may contain scientific speculative theory, impossible to accept time travel narrative as being true.
All the characters have secret and troubling back stories which slowly get revealed during the series.
Likely. Everybody has dark secrets or skeletons in their closets which they don't want other people to know about.
There are other characters who are immortal super beings who manipulate the main characters like pawns on a chess board.
The improbable fantasy element brings into question whether there is enough reality in the situation to allow the audience to suspend their disbelief to accept it as a possibility.
Near the end, the show splits into two different realms including a parallel universe or afterlife setting.
Confusing. Stories have a linear time line, but to put a second narrative concurrently with the unresolved story lines of the main plot is an unnecessary mess.
The main characters resolve their most pressing fear, anxiety, regrets in an afterlife reunion.
As most major religions believe in an afterlife, there is acceptance to that premise. Most viewers also want a happy ending to their favorite characters after a long journey during the series.
So it would be hard to imagine that any network or cable channel would invest in a large ensemble cast shooting a mixed message series at expensive remote locations when overall viewership is in decline.