Lost (TV series)

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Television


Lost third season poster.
Genre Drama, Adventure, Mystery, Thriller
Picture format 480i ( SDTV)
720p ( HDTV)
Running time 42 mins. (approx)
Creator(s) Jeffrey Lieber
J.J. Abrams
Damon Lindelof
Starring See Cast and characters below
Country of origin United States United States
Original channel American Broadcasting Company
Original run September 22, 2004–present
No. of episodes 53 (as of November 8, 2006) ( List of episodes)
Official website
IMDb profile
TV.com summary

Lost is an American serial drama television series that follows the lives of a group of plane crash survivors (and their pasts via flashbacks) on a mysterious tropical island, somewhere in the South Pacific. The show was created by Jeffrey Lieber, J. J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof (who has since become the show's head writer), and is filmed primarily on location in Hawaii. The pilot episode was first broadcast on September 22, 2004. Since then, two seasons have aired and a third began on October 4, 2006. The show is produced by Touchstone Television, Bad Robot Productions and Grass Skirt Productions and airs on the ABC Network in the U.S. Its incidental music is composed by Michael Giacchino. The current executive producers are J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, Jack Bender, Jeff Pinkner and Bryan Burk. Because of its large ensemble cast and the cost of filming in Hawaii, the series is one of the most expensive on television.

A critical and popular success, Lost garnered an average of 15.5 million viewers per episode on ABC during its first year, and won numerous industry awards including the Emmy Award for outstanding drama series in 2005 and best American import at the British Television Awards also in 2005

Reflecting its devoted fan base, the show has become a staple of popular culture with references to the story and its elements appearing in other television shows, commercials, comic books, humor magazines and song lyrics. The show's fictional universe has also been explored through tie-in novels, board and video games, and an alternate reality game, The Lost Experience.



The series began development in January 2004, when Lloyd Braun, head of ABC at the time, ordered an initial script based on his concept of a cross between the movie Cast Away and the popular reality show Survivor. Unhappy with the result and a subsequent re-write, Braun contacted J.J. Abrams, creator of the TV series Alias, to write a new pilot script. Although initially hesitant, Abrams warmed to it, and eventually collaborated with Damon Lindelof to create the series' style and characters. The development of the show was constrained by tight deadlines, as it had been commissioned late in the 2004 season's development cycle. Despite the short schedule, the creative team remained flexible enough to modify or create characters to fit actors they wished to cast.

Lost's two-part pilot episode was the most expensive in the network's history, reportedly costing between US$10 and US$14 million, compared to the average cost of an hour-long pilot in 2005 of US$4 million. The show, which debuted on September 22, 2004, became one of the biggest critical and commercial successes of the 2004 television season. Along with fellow new series Desperate Housewives, Lost helped to reverse the flagging fortunes of ABC. Yet, before it had even aired, Lloyd Braun was fired by executives at ABC's parent company, Disney, because he had greenlighted such an expensive and risky project.

Episode format

Episodes have a distinct structure: following a recap of events relevant to the upcoming narrative, each show begins with a cold open. At a dramatic juncture, the screen cuts to black and the title graphic, slightly out-of-focus, glides towards the viewer accompanied by an ominous, discordant sound. The opening credits generally appear over the scenes that immediately follow. While there is a progressive story arc, each episode relates events concurrently with pre-island flashbacks centered on a particular character. The majority of episodes end with a suspenseful twist or cliffhanger, revealed just seconds before a smash cut to black and the title graphic. Others, following a plot resolution, will finish with a reflective closing scene that precedes a simple fade out. Shortly afterwards, a preview of out-of-sequence clips from the next episode is shown.


Lost features incidental music composed by Michael Giacchino, whose score is primarily orchestral and incorporates several recurring themes for events and characters. The score is performed by the Hollywood Studio Symphony Orchestra. In the official Lost Podcast, Michael Giacchino revealed that he achieved some of the sounds for the score using unusual instruments, such as striking suspended pieces of the plane's fuselage.

On March 21, 2006, the record label Varèse Sarabande released the original television soundtrack for Lost's first season. The soundtrack included select full-length versions of the most popular themes of the season and the main title which was composed by series creator J.J. Abrams. Varèse Sarabande released a soundtrack featuring music from the second season of Lost on October 3, 2006.

Pop culture songs have been used sparingly in the series, given the mainly orchestral score. When such songs are featured, they usually originate from a diegetic source, meaning that they are usually generated by an action of one of the characters. Examples are the various songs played on Hurley's portable CD player throughout the first season or the use of the record player (which included Cass Elliot's " Make Your Own Kind of Music") in the second season premiere.

In some international broadcasts, alternate music is utilized. For instance, in the Japanese broadcast of Lost, Season 1's theme song is "Here I am" by Chemistry and Season 2's theme song is " losin'" by Yuna Ito.

Filming locations

Lost is filmed (35mm) almost entirely on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The original island scenes for the pilot were filmed at Mokulē'ia Beach, near the northwest tip of the island. Later beach scenes take place in secluded spots of the famous North Shore. Cave scenes in the first season were filmed on a sound stage built at a Xerox parts warehouse, which had been empty since an employee mass shooting took place there in 1999. The soundstage and production offices have since moved to the Hawaii Film Office-operated Hawaii Film Studio, at which the sets depicting Season 2's "Hatch" and Season 3's "Hydra station" interiors were built. Various urban areas in and around Honolulu are used as stand-ins for locations around the world, including Los Angeles, New York, Iowa, South Korea, Iraq, Nigeria, England, and Australia. For example, scenes set in a Sydney airport were filmed at the Hawaii Convention Centre, while a World War II-era bunker was used as an Iraqi Republican Guard installation.

Numerous writers have taken to journeying to Hawaii to find the locations in which episodes are set. In March 2005, one Los Angeles Times columnist described how he sneaked onto the set during filming on one such trip, which has led to other travel writers following in his tracks. Extensive archives of filming locations are tracked at About.com as well as in a repository at Lostvirtualtour.com.

Online distribution

In addition to traditional terrestrial and satellite broadcasting, Lost has been at the forefront of new television distribution methods. It was one of the first series issued through Apple's iTunes Store service for playback on an iPod or within the iTunes software. Since October 2005, new episodes, without commercials, have been available for download the day after they air on ABC.

In April 2006, Disney announced that Lost would be available for free online in streaming format, with advertising, on ABC's website, as part of a two-month experiment of future distribution strategies. The trial, which ran from May to June 2006, caused a stir among network affiliates who were afraid of being cut out of advertising revenue. The streaming of Lost episodes direct from ABC's website was only available to viewers in the United States due to international licensing agreements.

The UK's Channel 4 has also allowed access to the series online. Both parts of "Pilot" were available to watch for free, and other episodes cost GB£0.99 each. Season two installments are made available two weeks after their Channel 4 debut, and the episodes expire after several months. Due to licensing agreements, the service is only accessible in the UK. Channel 4 have now teamed up with NTL & Telewest's On Demand function which allows the viewer to watch shows at any time. Select episodes from Season One and Season two are available to view for 24 hour rental for £0.99 although the list of episodes is not complete.

As of third quarter, 2006, France's TF1 has allowed online access to the French version of season two; episodes cost 1.99. Each episode is issued online just after being broadcast.

Cast and characters

The current season features sixteen regular speaking roles, making it the second largest cast in American primetime television behind Desperate Housewives. While a large cast makes Lost more expensive to produce, the show's writers benefit from more flexibility in story decisions. According to series executive producer Bryan Burk, "You can have more interactions between characters and create more diverse characters, more back stories, more love triangles."

The initial season had fourteen major speaking roles with each actor getting star billing. Naveen Andrews portrayed former Iraqi Republican guard Sayid Jarrah. Emilie de Ravin played the pregnant Australian Claire Littleton. Matthew Fox acted as the troubled surgeon and main character Jack Shephard. Jorge Garcia portrayed Hugo "Hurley" Reyes, an unlucky lotto winner. Maggie Grace played Shannon Rutherford, a former dance teacher. Josh Holloway acted as con man James "Sawyer" Ford. Yunjin Kim played Sun-Hwa Kwon, the daughter of a powerful Korean businessman, with Daniel Dae Kim as her husband Jin-Soo Kwon. Evangeline Lilly portrayed fugitive Kate Austen. Dominic Monaghan acted as an ex-rock star drug addict Charlie Pace. Terry O'Quinn played the mysterious John Locke. Harold Perrineau portrayed construction worker Michael Dawson, while child star Malcolm David Kelley acted as his young son, Walt Lloyd. Ian Somerhalder played Boone Carlyle, chief operating officer of his mother's wedding business and step brother of Shannon.

During the first two seasons, some characters were written out to make room for new characters with new stories. Boone Carlyle was the first major character to be written out in season one. Malcolm David Kelley became a guest star after the events of the first season's finale, making rare appearances throughout season two. Maggie Grace's departure six episodes into season two made way for newcomers Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Catholic priest and former Nigerian criminal Eko, Michelle Rodriguez as airport security guard and former police officer Ana Lucia Cortez, and Cynthia Watros portraying the purported clinical psychologist Libby. Ana Lucia and Libby were written out of the series toward the end of season two, as was Michael.

In season three, Henry Ian Cusick received star billing as former Scottish soldier Desmond David Hume, as did Michael Emerson in the role of Benjamin Linus (formerly known as Henry Gale), the leader of the " Others." In addition, three new actors joined the regular cast: Elizabeth Mitchell, as Juliet, Kiele Sanchez who plays Nikki, and Rodrigo Santoro, who plays Paulo. With these additions, however, Mr. Eko was written out early in the season.

Numerous supporting characters have been given expansive and recurring appearances in the progressive storyline. In the second season, Rose Henderson played by L. Scott Caldwell and tail section survivor Bernard Nadler played by Sam Anderson, were featured in a flashback episode after being reunited. Mira Furlan as Danielle Rousseau, the shipwrecked Frenchwoman appeared throughout seasons one and two. Two of the " Others", William Mapother as Ethan Rom and M.C. Gainey as Tom have been shown in both flashbacks and the ongoing story. Similarly, Jack's father, Christian Shephard, portrayed by John Terry, has appeared in multiple flashbacks, of more than one main character. Also appearing in characters flashbacks and being revealed as one of the surviving tailies is Kimberley Joseph as Cindy.

Season synopses

Season 1

Season 1 began airing in the United States on September 22, 2004 and featured 24 episodes. A plane crash strands the surviving passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 on a seemingly deserted tropical island, forcing the group of strangers to work together to stay alive. However, their survival is threatened by mysterious entities including polar bears, an unseen creature that roams the jungle, and the island's malevolent inhabitants known as the "Others". They encounter a Frenchwoman who was shipwrecked on the island over sixteen years earlier and find a mysterious metal hatch buried in the ground. An attempt is made to leave the island on a raft.

Season 2

Season 2 began airing in the United States and Canada on September 21, 2005 and featured 23 episodes. Most of the story, which continues 45 days after the crash, focuses on the main conflict between the survivors and the Others, with the continued clash between faith and science being thematic in certain episodes. While some mysteries are resolved, new questions are raised. New characters are introduced, including the tail-section survivors and other island inhabitants. More island mythologies and insights into the survivors' pasts are divulged. The hatch is explored and the existence of The DHARMA Initiative and its benefactor, The Hanso Foundation, are revealed. As the truth about the mysterious Others begins to unfold, one of the crash survivors betrays the other castaways, and the cause of the plane crash is revealed.

Season 3

Season 3 began airing in the United States and Canada on October 4, 2006 and will feature 22 episodes delivered in two blocks: an initial autumn arc of six episodes and a second run of sixteen consecutive episodes beginning on February 7, 2007. In the UK Sky's Sky One - rather than Channel 4 - is now showing Lost. The first block went on air on November 19, 2006.. In Ireland RTE began showing the first block on October 31, 2006. Episodes from Season 3 are also available in streaming video from http://dynamic.abc.go.com/streaming/landing.


In parallel to its character development, episodes of Lost include a number of mysterious elements which have been ascribed to science fiction or supernatural phenomena. The creators of the series refer to these as part of the mythology of the series, and they form the basis of rampant fan speculation.

Among the show's mythological elements is a "monster" which appears to roam the island; a mysterious group of inhabitants whom the survivors refer to as "The Others"; an organization called the "DHARMA Initiative" which has placed several research stations on the island; a sequence of numbers which have made frequent appearances in the lives of the characters, in both the past and present; and personal connections between the characters, of which they are often unaware.

Thematic motifs

There are several recurring thematic motifs on Lost, which generally have no direct impact on the story itself, but expand the show's literary and philosophical subtext. These elements include frequent appearances of the colors black and white, which reflect the dualism within characters and situations; eyes, which often appear in close-up at the start of episodes; dysfunctional family situations, as portrayed in the lives of nearly all the main characters; references to numerous works of literature, including mentions and discussions of particular novels. There are also many allusions to philosophy, demonstrated most clearly in the distinct naming of certain characters after famous historical thinkers, such as John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and David Hume.

Discredited theories

At the heart of the series is a complex and cryptic storyline which spawns numerous unresolved questions. Encouraged by Lost's writers and stars, who often interact with fans online, viewers and TV critics alike have taken to rampant theorization in an attempt to unravel the mysteries. Theories mainly concern the nature of the island, the origins of the "monster" and the "Others", the meaning of the numbers, and the reasons for both the crash and the survival of some passengers.

Several of the more common fan theories have been discussed and rejected by the show's creators, the most common being that the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 are dead or in purgatory. This was specifically denied by J.J. Abrams and was also proven to be wrong by the second season's finale. The makers of the show have also discredited the theory that the survivors will experience, or have experienced, time travel, which was dismissed by Damon Lindelof. Likewise, speculation that spaceships or aliens influence the events on the island, or that everything seen is a fictional reality taking place in someone's mind, has also been rejected by Lindelof.

Carlton Cuse dismissed the theory that the island is a reality TV show and the castaways unwitting housemates and Damon Lindelof discredited the theory that the "monster" is a nanobot cloud similar to the one featured in Michael Crichton's novel Prey.



USA TV Ratings

The pilot episode garnered 18.6 million viewers, easily winning its 9/8central timeslot, and giving ABC its strongest ratings since 2000 when Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? initially aired — beaten only the following month by the premiere of Desperate Housewives. According to Variety, "ABC sure could use a breakout drama success, as it hasn't had a real hit since The Practice. Lost represents the network's best start for a drama with eighteen to forty-nine year olds since Once and Again in 1999, and in total viewers since Murder One in 1995."

Based on its strong opening, Reuters dubbed it a "hit drama" noting that "the show appeared to have benefited from an all-out marketing blitz that included radio spots, special screenings and ABC's first billboard advertising campaign in five years." After four episodes aired, ABC announced Lost had been picked up for a full season order.

For its first season, Lost averaged 16 million viewers, ranking 14th in viewership among prime-time shows, and 15th among the eighteen to forty-nine year old demographic. Its second season fared equally well: again, Lost ranked 14th in viewership, with an average of 15.5 million viewers. However, it improved its rating with eighteen to forty-nine year olds, ranking 8th. The second season premiere was even stronger than the first, pulling in over 23 million viewers and setting a series record.However the third season premiere saw a drop in its ratings; averaging 18.8 million viewers.

World TV Ratings

A survey of twenty countries by Informa Telecoms and Media in 2006 concluded that Lost was the second most viewed TV show in the world, next to CSI: Miami.


Capping its successful first season, Lost won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series and J. J. Abrams was awarded an Emmy in September 2005 for his work as the director of the pilot. In January 2006, it won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Drama. Lost won the 2005 Writers Guild of America award for outstanding achievement in writing for a dramatic television series, and the 2005 Screen Actors Guild Award for best ensemble cast.

Fandom and popular culture

As with most cult television shows, Lost has generated a dedicated and thriving international fan community. Lost fans, sometimes dubbed Lostaways or Losties, have gathered at Comic-Con International and conventions organized by ABC, but have also been active in developing a large number of fan websites and forums dedicated to the program and its related incarnations. Such as websites like: TheTailSection.com. Because of the show's elaborate mythology, its fansites have focused on speculation and theorizing about the island's mysteries, as well as on more typical fan activities such as producing fan fiction and videos, compiling episode transcripts, shipping characters, and collecting memorabilia.

Anticipating fan interest and trying to keep its audience engrossed, ABC embarked on various cross-media endeavors, often using new media. Fans of Lost have been able to explore ABC-produced tie-in websites, tie-in novels, an official forum sponsored by the creative team behind Lost ("The Fuselage"), " mobisodes", podcasts by the producers, an official magazine, and an alternate reality game (ARG) " The Lost Experience." An official fanclub was launched in the summer of 2005 through Creation Entertainment.

Due to the show's popularity, references to the series and elements from its story have appeared in parody and popular culture usage. These include appearances on television, such as on the series Veronica Mars, Will & Grace, Bo Selecta, My Wife And Kids and The Office; as well as on the cartoons Family Guy, American Dad, South Park, and Venture Brothers; and even on a commercial for KFC Hawaii. Comic books, such as Catwoman and The Thing, daily strips Monty and Over the Hedge, web comics Piled Higher and Deeper and Penny Arcade, and humor magazine Mad have all incorporated Lost references. Similarly, rock bands Moneen, Senses Fail, and Gatsbys American Dream have published songs whose themes and titles were derived from the series.

DVD releases

Lost: The Complete First Season was released as a widescreen seven-disc Region 1 DVD box set in the USA on September 6, 2005, two weeks before the premiere of the second season. It was distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment.

In addition to all the episodes that had aired, it included several DVD extras such as episode commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage and making-of features as well as deleted scenes, deleted flashback scenarios and a blooper reel.

The same set was released on November 30, 2005 in Region 4, and on January 16, 2006 in Region 2. The latter was titled Lost: The Complete First Series. As has become standard for Region 2, the series was first released split into two parts: the first twelve episodes of series 1 were available as a widescreen four-disc Region 2 DVD box set on October 31, 2005, while the remaining thirteen episodes of series 1 were released on January 16, 2006. The DVD features available on Region 1 release were likewise split over the two box sets.

The second season was released as a widescreen seven-disc Region 1 DVD box set in the USA on September 5, 2006 and on Region 2 DVD on October 2, 2006, retitled as Lost: The Complete Second Series. Each of these releases also contained DVD extras, including Behind the Scenes Footage, deleted scenes and a "Lost Connections" chart, which shows how all of the characters on the island are inter-connected with each other.

Again, the series was initially delivered in two sets for Region 2: the first twelve episodes were released as a widescreen four-disc DVD box set on July 17, 2006. The remaining episodes of series 2 were released as a four-disc DVD box set on October 2, 2006. The set was released in Region 4 on October 4, 2006.

Both Seasons 1 and 2 of Lost have sold successfully on DVD. The Season 1 boxset entered the DVD sales chart at number two in September 2005, and the Season 2 boxset entered the DVD sales chart at the number one position in its first week of release in September 2006, believed to be the second TV-DVD ever to enter the chart at the top spot. First day DVD sales for Lost Season 2 are thought to have been as high as 500,000 copies sold.

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