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If Broadcast TV Is to Survive, All is "Lost"
January 22, 2009  | By David Bianculli

Tuning in to the two-hour season premiere of ABC's Lost, I did something I haven't done with a commercial broadcast TV drama all year. I stopped everything else I was doing, leaned forward excitedly, and watched.

If broadcast television has a future, the future is Lost. And shows like it...


lost-09-locke.jpgPrograms to care about, to savor, to ponder afterward. This is what broadcast TV has to give us, if it is going to continue to matter. News, sports, live events, sure -- but unless it presents and nurtures some of the best television out there, why should people watch?

With Lost, the show itself has been vanishing and reappearing like the island itself. Here one day, gone the next -- for eight months. But when it came back, it was with such assurance, pace and imagination, it was not only a treat, and a joy. It was a relief.

The two-hour season premiere is being repeated by ABC Saturday night, preceded by a repeat of the one-hour clip show that explains and repeats some, but not all, of the series' complex story lines. Together, the two programs gobble up all of Saturday's prime time, just as they did Wednesday's.


That's two nights out of seven in which Hurley and Kate and Locke and Jack and the rest represent ABC. You can't ask for anything more, or for anything better, from ABC. Kate, three years after escaping from the island, looks less rugged. Locke, three years later, looks dead -- but not in flashbacks.


And for Hurley to pull a last-second about-face that derails the best-laid plans of mice and Ben, that's so Hurley... and yet so surprising. Who's doing the right thing here? That's one of the key questions regarding this series. But for ABC, doing the right thing means doing just what it's doing: supporting Lost to the very end, with an end we all know is coming.

You can give ABC credit for developing Pushing Daisies, but also have to blame ABC for jettisoning it. With Lost, there's no blame to go around, just praise, and thanks.

TV Worth Watching -- Lost may as well be our broadcast TV poster boy. Can't wait for next week...




Elisa said:

Since last year, I'm really interested in both the on-island and off-island storylines. They offer the cast opportunities to work together that were impossible in the previous flashback structure. It's great that those 3 seasons of development gave us characters with complex backstories, but even better that the audience can see them play off each other rather than guest characters of the day (remember Bai Ling?). Full steam ahead!

Comment posted on January 22, 2009 11:00 AM

Carina said:

As I watched last night I thought essentially the same thing: THIS is how TV can be.

Lost is the perfect example of what will keep me tuning in to prime time TV, in some sort of vain hope that I'll find a gem to watch. If the networks make programming that engages our attention, that simply can't be missed as it airs--including the accompanying commercials--(instead of replay/skipping later on our DVRs,) they will keep their audience. We WANT good TV.

Dear ABC,
I noticed BMW commercials, Glad commercials, and of course the Mercedes commercials. All of that because you aired a program that I wanted to see.

Comment posted on January 22, 2009 11:55 AM

Curtis said:

With Lost you almost have to have the commercial breaks to absorb what's happening - we've been watching since the beginning and have the first two dvd sets - and we talk about the storylines. But the commercials are still on. Hey! Didn't the producers originally claim that it wasn't going to be a time travel story? Keep up the good work.

Comment posted on January 22, 2009 1:20 PM

Shanna Schreck said:

I was up until 12 midnight watching Lost and my exhaustion today is worth it. Dynamic, interesting, thought provoking and exciting are only a few of the words to describe what I watched last night. I love, love, love the puzzle aspect of the whole series. It forces you to think outside the box and watch the screen with an intensity that only a high action video game demands. (I wonder, does the frontal lobe light up when we watch Lost?)

The mysterious happenings are so fabulous! I love the idea of time travel and the meta-physical concepts they play with. I feel like my imagination is brought to life.


Comment posted on January 22, 2009 1:32 PM

Sarah said:

so so true. I have been watching Lost since the beginning and still enjoy every episode, when it finally appears on my screen. This time was as good as any. The person I watch it with was a little confused but I love it especielly the time milnipilations.

I too want scripted broadcast TV to go on and agree it can as long as we can find and KEEP the best shows.

Comment posted on January 23, 2009 12:08 AM

Sanjose me said:

I am crazy with these series. How awesome can the plan of every single episode be? LOst surprises me everytime and I can't get enough of it.

Comment posted on October 16, 2011 8:12 AM
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