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Lost: They Had A Plan (or, Not So Much)

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by Rob Helmerichs, Sep 20, 2013.

  1. Rob Helmerichs

    Rob Helmerichs I am Groot! TCF Club

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  2. Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey

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  3. wouldworker

    wouldworker _

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    "No - we're not gonna tell where that polar bear came from." They filmed the pilot before they had even decided what the show would be about or how any of its elements would fit into a broader story arc. The pilot was nothing more than a high-concept movie - "A plane crashes on an island and mysterious things happen to the survivors."
     
  4. Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey

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    I think the writers have back peddled on this a bit. I think they have now said they knew how it would end, but not how it would get there. At least I remember reading that somewhere.
     
  5. Fahtrim

    Fahtrim New Member

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    People won't let it go. Lost was a fun ride like a roller coaster, but it was just that a ride like a roller coaster. It didn't go anywhere, but was a lot of fun along the way.
     
  6. Rob Helmerichs

    Rob Helmerichs I am Groot! TCF Club

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    It turns out all they meant by that was the framing shots of Jack's eye. Nothing more.

    It just sounded a lot more...comprehensive than it actually was.

    And don't get me wrong...it was a great show, one of the best. It just had, for me, a profoundly unsatisfying ending, because, for me, it completely ignored a lot of the implicit promise of the show as it unfolded. Not to mention the pretty explicit promise of "We knew from the beginning how it was going to end."
     
  7. gweempose

    gweempose Active Member

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    It seems like the show wouldn't have been nearly as good if they had stuck to that original outline. Instead, you had a fluid story that was always evolving. I can see why some people are upset because the producers kept on insisting that the whole thing was mapped out from the beginning. It doesn't bother me, though. All that matters is the end product, and in my mind, Lost remains one of the greatest stories ever told on television.
     
  8. Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey

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    People won't let it go, in the same way that the original Star Trek is still talked about. It had a core, almost cult like following. It's a series ripe with mysteries that can be discussed over and over. And there was lots of controversy by fans on the ending. So yes, it's going to be one of those series that will probably be discussed for years.
     
  9. Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey

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    We definitely agree on this. If they took the last season in a different direction, I probably would have liked it better (although, in context to the whole season, the ending fit, but that last season just felt like a different show altogether.
     
  10. BradJW

    BradJW Well-Known Member

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    the thing I liked about Lost was that it wasn't a bunch of self-contained episodes. I liked the continuing storyline. There have been lots of shows since that told a long continuous story where is was important to watch every episode (Breaking Bad comes to mind; another would be DayBreak).
    Were there any shows before Lost that really didn't have self-contained episodes?

    Nowadays, those are the shows I seek out - the ones I prefer.
     
  11. Fofer

    Fofer XenForo Rocks! TCF Club

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    Have you watched "House of Cards" or "Orange is the New Black" on Netflix?

    I've heard that about these two. And specifically about how Netflix's development model (committing to and making the entire season at once) allows for this sort of patient, more elaborate, character-driven storytelling, as opposed the traditional "pilot" on "broadcast TV" model.

    "Six Feet Under" was another one I appreciated that seemed to follow a similar formula and pace. The first three seasons, and the last 5-6 episodes of the final season, offered some of my favorite televised drama.
     
  12. astrohip

    astrohip Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    Very interesting read. As JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof state, the vision, the plan, the architectural drawings, are only good until you start the building. Then reality rears its ugly face.

    I'm not going to debate the show. We've spent countless electrons on that. I will discuss this document versus the show.

    A few things they discuss:

    * The island is huge, and they never show the entire island from above. I believe they stuck with this.

    * There are layers of history. While our survivors may find something that dates back to WWII, they may also find something that dates back to ancient times. This also became integral to the story.

    * The Dharma concept was there from day zero.

    * The Others were there from day zero.

    * They intended to have all the survivors, except for the main 14, disappear within a few episodes. To who knows where?

    In the character summaries, not a single word about Locke being handicapped, or Hurley winning the lotto.

    * COCOONS? You gotta read this part for yourself (pg 23 of PDF). Let's be thankful it stayed on the page and not on the screen.

    One thing that strikes me is the flashbacks. They became an integral part of the show, yet are only briefly mentioned. In this briefing, they refer to "FLASHBACKS (as established in the Pilot)", and that's it. They say they can be a story device. They ended up being one of the defining features of the show.

    Clearly, between the Pilot (and this briefing), and the actual season being written, the writer's room fleshed out some serious conceptual futures. That led to the (arguably) greatest drama in the history of broadcast TV.
     
  13. gchance

    gchance 4 8 15 16 23 42

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    One of the earliest I can remember was Babylon 5, although the first season didn't have a whole lot of arc stuff. That first season was mostly standalone episodes for character development, and the arc started to wind up about 3/4 into the first season. In case of Babylon 5, the major arc WAS plotted ahead of time, and had to make course corrections as cast changes came about. It was a grand experiment that almost didn't work, what with cast changes and actually being cancelled in the 4th season when the arc was actually planned for 5.

    I do wonder though, how everyone would feel differently, had we not had the Internet. Think back to the 60s, 70s, 80s, the most anyone had was an occasional cast interview in TV Guide. I don't remember reading or hearing interviews from showrunners. Hell, we didn't even know the term. Would people feel differently about Lost, if all we had were the episodes to watch as they aired?

    Greg
     
  14. Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey

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    Reading about the characters, we had always heard that the original plan was to kill Jack off in the pilot. According to this document, that wasn't the case.
     
  15. murgatroyd

    murgatroyd Don't stop believin'

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    I disagree with your comment that the early seasons "didn't have a lot of arc stuff". There are plenty of events in the later seasons that connect back to events in the early seasons. You may not have recognized those things as "arc stuff" when you watched Season 1 or 2; nevertheless, the setup for the later events is there.

    With a show like Babylon 5, it doesn't make sense to divide what happens in episodes as "only character development" vs. "arc stuff (i.e. plot)"; the two are intertwined, as they are in other character-driven stories (e.g. George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire).
     
  16. javabird

    javabird Active Member

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    Good point - there were a lot of hoaxes that popped up during the airing of the show. I think I give this some credibility because of the source (Cory Doctorow).
     
  17. getreal

    getreal postcrastinator

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    Great question!
    I would say that the internet (and this forum specifically) added a LOT to my enjoyment of LOST. Easter eggs were pointed out, subtle details that might have been missed were discussed, and interesting theories were debated. This was all new to me back then, so it enhanced the whole viewing experience for me.
     
  18. wprager

    wprager Active Member

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    And just like a rollercoaster ride, after the last big drop there was a sudden stop, and a slow roll back to the starting position. In other words the ride was over way before you could get off.
     
  19. Rob Helmerichs

    Rob Helmerichs I am Groot! TCF Club

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    Yes, this is key. A lot of the stand-alone episodes don't stand so much alone on a second watching years later. For all his (many) flaws, JMS was brilliant at big-picture thinking, from the beginning. And having the experience of what JMS meant when he said things like "I knew how it ended from the beginning" gave Lindelof's statement a lot more weight than "Jack's eyes close."

    Lost was a great show. If it had been what it pretended to be for most of the middle seasons, it might have been the greatest show ever.
     
  20. gchance

    gchance 4 8 15 16 23 42

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    OK guys, I'll take it back... yes, there were a lot of arc things happening in the first season, but they were pretty small until Babylon Squared. Like the mention in every other episode of the Battle of the Line, and the hole in Sinclair's mind. THAT annoyed the hell out of me as it unfolded, but looking back later it was important.

    So now Damon Lindelof has something to say about that show bible.

    Greg
     

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