It’s hard to believe that Lost has been off the air for almost eight years now. I remember that night in May 2010 like it was yesterday. I remember the people I watched it with, I remember texting certain friends that weren’t watching with me, and I even remember the girl I debated at a bar that night after the show ended. (Years later, I’m still having similar debates. The finale was amazing and answered everything I needed answered.) I remember laughing to myself thinking that showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse ended the series in a way that ensured it would never be resurrected. Naturally, the rumors that Disney, ABC’s parent company, would want to bring the series back at some point started in no time. I loved Lost; despite its flaws (early Season 3, I’m looking at you) I consider the show to be a masterpiece and to have ended on the highest of possible notes. Why run the risk of ruining something so good? Well, show business is a business after all and artistic achievement is more often than not an afterthought. So with the recent news that Carlton Cuse has signed a new four year deal with ABC for…something…and ABC’s feeble attempts to end the speculation that the show is coming back, it’s time to realize that the return of Lost is at least a possibility. Here today I would like to examine a few things that I would like to see and not like to see if, in fact, the show does come back.
The cast has to be completely all new: Yes, as much as we loved our heroes from the original series, a reboot must be completely made up with new faces with their own unique personal struggles and tragedies that bring them to the Island. The temptation to do cutesy cameos has to be avoided. The original cast concluded their stories. There’s no emotional turmoil left with them that would be required to keep them on the Island in ghost form. To bring anyone back cheapens what we saw before and says that this new series can’t stand on its own. There are exceptions though. The first is Walt. One of the first season’s greatest mysteries, Walt faded into the background over time due to the actor hitting puberty quicker than expected and growing at a rate that didn’t gel with the story. In a special feature from the final season’s boxset, Walt was shown going back to the Island with Hurley where he belonged. Walt’s story was far from wrapped up and he could easily be used in a “Jacob” like role if the series did continue. Exception number two would be Walt’s father, Michael. Last seen as a ghost on the Island, Michael was stuck there to pay for the things he had done. A Michael and Walt reunion on the Island would be more than ok in my book. The final exception is Hurley, simply due to the fact that he was the heart and soul of the original series and was the chosen one to take care of the Island at the end of the series. Yes, he moved on with the rest of the survivors in the end but storyline leeway could be given to include him or at least mentions of him.
A small dose of fan service: One of the things I loved about Lost was the show’s refusal to answer the questions they didn’t feel they had to. If it didn’t impact any of our main characters, it likely didn’t get answered. A new series with all new characters presents an interesting situation though. Some of these new characters could be written to need to solve certain mysteries from before. By no means do I want all of the loose ends from before tied up but one or two nice payoffs from the original series could provide a nice mythological tie between the original and reboot and be a nice reward for fans of both. Who did build the statue and why after all?
Flashbacks: The rotating character of the week getting flashbacks to their life pre-Island was crucial to developing characters with a cast so large. It helped provide dramatic structure to the weekly episodes as we the audience were often able to understand a character’s motivations for what they were doing on the Island while the other characters on the show were left wondering why. I’m not a person who longs for nostalgia – all you have to do is read my work on Twin Peaks to see that—but if a Lost reboot doesn’t have the flashback structure complete with sound effect, it’s going to put the reboot in a difficult position in terms of character development and connection to the original series.
An end date: Anyone who knows the history of Lost knows that the first half of the show’s third season majorly dropped in quality because the showrunners found themselves in a position where they now had to stretch out their storylines due to not knowing how long the show would last. In a historic move, Executive Producers Lindelof and Cuse went to the network and presented them the now infamous “Jack’s tattoo episode” and said that’s what the show will be from now on unless they were given an end date for the series so they could properly plan. They agreed to 3 additional seasons, all shortened from the standard network 22 episode seasons at the time to a more “cable like” model of 14-16 episode seasons. The quality of the show instantly improved and the rest was history. The lesson: a story like Lost has to be told in a pre-defined amount of time. It has to have a clear cut beginning, middle and end. Television as a whole has started to move towards that direction since Lost, with the exception of more procedural style dramas and that’s a good thing. For a Lost reboot to work, there can’t be time for Nikki and Paulo or locking main characters in cages. It has to be storytelling at the pace of the later seasons with the heroes (and villains) journeys always progressing. After all, Lost is a show about winding up on a mysterious Island where you can either confront your inner demons or die. No filler, please.
I still don’t know how I feel about the idea of a potential Lost reboot. If it does happen, of course, I will watch and see. Damon Lindelof has made it clear he won’t be a part of any potential reboot but as I said earlier in the article, Carlton Cuse is under contract to ABC now. Lost gave us mythology, mystery, a brilliant study of people and their emotions, cultural and spiritual issues and so much more. Could a reboot approach any of those achievements? That remains to be seen.
Reboot or no reboot no, here at 25YL we plan to start diving into the specifics of what made Lost such a groundbreaking show. Be on the lookout for future articles on the series that had us repeating “4,8,15,16,23,42”, had us questioning the connectivity of all humans in this large world of ours and that once told us that “We have to go back!”
Will we? We’ll find out. Until next time, Namaste and Good Luck.