'Lost' Aftergasm: Beams of Light, Symbols of Faith

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer

You just have to stand in awe of what Lost has accomplished in its four-plus seasons of existence. Lost has paved the way for hyper-intelligent serialized TV, in ways unimaginable five years ago. Prior to Lost's success, was there ever anything like it on network television? A series completely and utterly serial in nature, no episode self-contained, featuring subtle call-backs to episodes all the way back to season one? Nothing this dense has ever existed on network TV, but even more than that, no show has ever trusted its audience more than Lost. In a world where most every form of media treats us like mental patients with massive head wounds, it's refreshing that Lost can air an episode like last night's. This is what struck me about “The Little Prince:� This was an episode that matter-of-factly intercut between two wildly different timelines as if they were happening concurrently, and felt no particular need to spell out the timelines to the audience. I understand that with the island folk being “unstuck in time,� the idea of timelines is more or less rendered moot, but still – it's cool stuff. The best part, however, was traveling to the night Aaron was born. When Locke saw the light in the sky, Lost fans immediately knew when the island was.

Think about that: one shot of that light in the sky, and the writers expected us to know that this was from season one, four years ago. And we did. We all got it. The Lost writers' (and, to perhaps an even greater extent, ABC's) respect for and faith in the viewers has created an obsessively loyal fan base, the likes of which has never existed before or since on television. There are bigger audiences sure, there may even be more more vocal audiences, but none as rabid as Lost's. A question, then: Is Lost a product of the times, a creation that could only exist in a time where fans can immediately go online after an episode, offer theories and insights, discuss the significance of different events, and attempt to puzzle out the mysteries of the island? Is the success of Lost predicated on the advent of TV on DVD, podcasts from its creators, and ABC's ability to offer Lost content in all sorts of different mediums. Had Lost premiered in 1995, would it have made it though one season?

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