How Lost changed television forever!!

Long before the era of Breaking Bad & Game of Thrones, there was Lost. During its time, it was television’s most interesting & most talked about show. Even a decade after it’s end, many critics still call it one of the best TV series of all time winning multiple Emmies for best series, best episodes, best actors etc. But what made Lost such a pop-culture phenomenon?

It’s because Lost arrived in 2004 with the advent of internet. Created by Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse & J.J. Abrams who directed the pilot episode; it all began when a flight bound from Sydney to Los Angeles crashed on an uncharted island in South Pacific. Everyone thought it was a series about survival & getting rescued. But no, hell no. It was much more than that.

Lost boasted an ensemble cast. Right from the beginning it became a get go thanks to Abrams’s mystery box storytelling method. It followed a non-linear narrative. Each character was given various flashback scenes as we come to know about their past and how it all connects. It was remarkable in terms of detailing. It kept on asking questions. What is the island?? Why is it not on world map? What is that smoke monster thing? Why are some people hearing whispers in the forest?? What’s inside the hatch?? As the show went further more mysteries kept popping up………The magic numbers, a button to press every 108 minutes, The Dharma initiative, the original inhabitants of the island….& damn it….the island itself moved forward & backwards in time & space!!! The whole series was one giant riddle to solve. For one question answered, 10 more questions were raised.

The audience were hooked. Many fans started creating online forums to discuss theories after each episode. Also the interactions between audiences & the showrunners at the Comic-con or radio podcast livened up the series. The ratings of ABC channel on which the show aired skyrocketed. It kept on breaking barriers with interactive storytelling. It was a blend of action, adventure, sci-fi, supernatural mystery thriller. With all due to respect to HBO which had already revolutionised television with hard hitting dramas like The Sopranos, Deadwood, Six Feet Under etc., Lost not only re-defined sci-fi genre but also brought T.V. to mainstream.

But a series like this was never going to satisfy everyone. Many felt disappointed with the finale including me as some questions were still left unanswered. But the showrunners said it was never about the island. It was about the characters. From storytelling point of view it was bit of downfall, but from character development point of view it was emotionally satisfying & cathartic experience. It embraced the idea that the journey is superior than the destination itself. The mysteries kept on growing some were answered, some weren’t but what kept the show going was how a bunch of messy, flawed & complicated characters learnt to heal, grow, love & let go together.

The creative brilliance of Abrams & Lindelof left the fans confused, frustrated & rewarded them at the same time with those massive reveals. Fans knew that there cannot be anything like this. A series like this will be engrained in time forever. It not only changed the way we consume television but also changed Abrams & Lindelof career. Lindelof went on to create another hit series like The Leftovers, Watchmen while Abrams rejuvenated the Mission Impossible, Star Trek & Star Wars franchises. So next time you watch any good sci-fi show you can thank Lost.

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