We have to go back. As attentive LOST fans know, the position of LOST show-runners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse on a spinoff was that it was not a matter of if, but when. You could say that the conclusion to their chapter left enormous gulfs in our understanding of what put everything in motion to begin with, The Island itself, almost as if they were leaving that massive mystery for another generation of writers to explore. The truth is, when LOST came to an end it wrapped up the stories of all those who were affected by the island. A common complaint being that it turned out to be Jacob and Man in Black’s story, but in reality they fit into the core of characters who were transformed by the island. Everything that happened in LOST can be traced back causally to a single starting point that does not, in closer examination, explain anything about what The Island does or what its potential power and influence could result in with an entirely different set of characters. In other words, Lindelof and Cuse left behind an island with unlimited possibilities for new stories completely independent of the Jacob/Oceanic 815 Skein.
So why bring it back now? Well for starters, my plan wouldn’t be to bring it back now but to begin an extended development process, probably in secret, where an invitation only group of interested industry geeks would have the opportunity to pitch their take on resuscitating The Island with a brand new group of characters. The whole process could be consulted over by well known story analysts like Christopher Vogler, whose Writer’s Journey theories draw heavily on the work of Joseph Campbell, and Robert McKee, whose book Story and related seminars are considered career foundation materials for contemporary writers looking to get a grasp on story dynamics. Remember LOST was not something that was conceived in the typical way a series is developed, so the sequel must have an equally unprecedented development process.
Yes, but why? Why bring it back? We love it as it was. There are several good reasons to bring back LOST, not the least of which is the complete lack of contemporary story-lines that can achieve the audience-lock that seasons one and two maintained. People debate a lot of reasons that LOST achieved that bond with audiences, personally I think in the area of sub-text it was the story we needed at that time. The world was struggling with the still fresh horrors of 9/11, and here we had a story where a plane crash resulted in the coming together of a mini-society that featured well balanced international and racial mindsets. It was a mirror. The fantasy was just fantasy, yet it played against broader human issues like faith, reason, diplomacy, all through the lens of great philosophers. LOST was an effective mix of the human condition and the humankind condition, extrapolated to degrees that made us all reflect on our positions as handlers of destiny or subjects of fate.
So seriously. Why bring it back now? I have no concerns on whether there are enough talented writers, directors, and actors out there to create a respectable offshoot of LOST. There are. Anyone who has spent time in Wirter’s Clubs knows there are probably more talented un-employed writers in small-towns across the country then there are working in Hollywood. So the concern for me where bringing LOST back isn’t on whether it can be done, it’s whether ABC and Disney will approach the task with the care and attention needed to ensure the new serious maintains the level of greatness that spawned the franchise to begin with.
We should bring back LOST because when it was at its best it forced people, especially Americans, to observe how when placed in adverse conditions, the petty things that separate us in society would dissolve. LOST proved to us that trust can be hard won, but ultimately it must eventually be given over for the better of the good. LOST showed us that a debate between faith and science didn’t mean that important work shouldn’t be done. Right now, with the election in the rear-view mirror, we need a fantasy like LOST that speaks to our division and provides us with an outlet where it is okay to think that your most likely enemy could be your greatest friend, and that while the unknown might be dark, cold, scary, and, of course, rainy, it sometimes hides a light.
We need LOST because we are in a time where Drama plot-lines are dominated by dark introspective tests of morality, and we need a story where mankind is battling out against that downward spiral instead of being left to wonder if there was any possible way things could have ended differently.
I suppose Once Upon a Time fills that void for now, but I ask you: am a little nuts thinking that LOST, the raw formula, could not only be a force for good, but also for great entertainment? As I read Donald Trump’s Twitter this morning I see we are a people in need of some healing, and Story Telling used to be an important part of how we worked things out in emerging civilizations. LOST is the only thing I can think of in recent years that seems to have had that fact tucked away in its heart. That’s why I want it back in times like these. Can you blame me?