Popular science fiction television show not ‘Lost’ on local audiences

Ryan Sheridan

Unless you’ve been living under a (Black) rock the past six years, you’ve probably had some encounter with the show “Lost.” The ABC sci-fi drama most recently entered the pop culture zeitgeist during the Super Bowl. In an ad for Bud Light, a cooler of beer washed ashore and incited a beach party much to the delight of the stranded castaways.

But for regular, diehard viewers of the show, known as “Losties,” watching and enjoying “Lost” requires more imagination than alcohol.

“I’ve actually figured out the plotline better than (my friends) have, only because I tried to think of the most ridiculous thing possible,” said senior English major Glenna Fitch. “If I am correct, it’s an interesting concept.”

Not since “The X-Files” have network audiences been so engaged in a TV show. The characters and mysteries on “Lost” are often draped with religious, literary and philosophical references, prompting fans to seek a deeper discussion on the Internet.

“The only weird ritual I have is going on Lostpedia.com the next day and reading everyone’s theories about the episode,” said graduate ecology student Kelly Barriball. “I also try to watch the entire previous season before a new season starts.”

In an age when reality shows have replaced the TV dramas of yesteryear, it’s ironic that the premise of “Lost,” which is about a group of stranded people on an island, mirrored “Survivor,” one of the early successful reality shows. The idea of having a scripted version of “Survivor” initially lead to the series’ approval by ABC.

But “Lost” is a phenomenon not only because of its complex storytelling, but also because of its ability to draw in large audiences. With an average audience of 12.1 million viewers for its season premiere, according to Entertainment Weekly, “Lost” will end its six-season run this spring. It was a decision made by the creators to honor the story arch of the show.

“We always envisioned ‘Lost’ as a show with a beginning, middle and end. By officially announcing exactly when that ending will be, the audience will now have the security of knowing that the story will play out as we’ve intended,” said executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse in an ABC press release.

For those few who have never seen “Lost,” Barriball offered her sales pitch: “I like the more philosophical ideas that the show addresses, like good vs. evil, destiny and fate.”

However, the show is not without its critics. The inclusion of mysterious Island powers, time travel and a polar bear showing up in the jungle led Fitch to stop watching in the middle of season three.

“It was frustrating and ridiculous,” she said.

With 15 episodes left until the end of “Lost,” its absence next season will leave a hole the size of the Hatch explosion in fans’ hearts.

With more free time in her TV schedule, Barriball plans on moving on to another show that drew comparisons to “Lost” during its run on Syfy.

“I do plan on starting ‘Battlestar Galactica’ for the first time,” she said. “(It’s) something I have avoided while ‘Lost’ has been on because I feel like that would be too much to handle at once.”

Contact features correspondent Ryan Sheridan at [email protected].