This year, 2014, marks the tenth anniversary of ABC’s science fiction series, Lost. The event celebrating the event was back in March, although the premiere episode actually aired on September 22nd. Even though the show only ended four years ago, it still feels strange to think that ten years have passed since that initial showing. I can’t think of a single show since that has come close to matching the build up and hype of Lost. Not even Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or the more recent Gotham have come close. From the get-go, Lost was enigmatic and drew in viewers because no one knew what to expect.
Coming from me, this maybe doesn’t mean a lot. I’ve made my love of Lost quite clear. But while I will admit to some bias, generally I’m also with the majority in that I thought the afterlife ending was a lame finish. Unlike some viewers, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it ruined the whole show but it was disappointing. The audience expected more from the minds of Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, Maybe we wanted too much from the two main writers and were simply setting ourselves up for disappointment. We’ll never know if it could have been done better…
Or maybe we will. In an interview back in April, Cuse stated
“I think it’s likely that at some point, ABC will want to reboot Lost because it’s a valuable franchise, and there will be some young, bright writer or writers who will come up with a great idea that the network responds to, and that’ll be great.”
So it is entirely possible that ABC will do something with the rights to Lost and expand the franchise with a different set of writers. Of course, this isn’t even news. First off, this was about seven months ago and secondly, Cuse is not privy to the ABC boardroom meetings. Cuse’s words simply highlight the possibility not a certainty that any sort of reboot or remake or continuation is in the works. ABC might never try do anything more with Lost, happy to let it remain as a creatively exciting period of television history.
What makes this worth talking about isn’t the ‘what if’ potential. It is entertaining to speculate how Lost might flourish under the direction of an established industry pro, such as Darren Arkonfosky or Joss Whedon. It would be equally interesting to compare the 2004 show to modern series that employ similar themes and tropes, such as The CW’s The 100 or the 2013 adaptation of the Stephen King book of the same name, Under the Dome. What makes this worth talking about is that future generations won’t even care.
The thought struck me when I thought about modern remakes and new visions of old franchises. Consider Dallas, Beverly Hills 90210 and Hawaii Five-O which have all seen revivals in recent years. Those shows were incredibly popular in their generation, with Dallas especially being consider one of the most watched shows of the Eighties. The revived serieses of those shows all have their own followings and fans but it would difficult to argue that they are as popular as the originals. Fans of the originals probably don’t even watch the revived versions, seeing them too dissimilar. It’s not that Dallas, 90210 and Hawaii Five-0 aren’t good shows, they just don’t appeal to the generation that grew up with the originals.
That’s what really got me thinking. If ABC waits 20 or 30 years to remake or revive Lost, my children will watch that show having no familiarity with the original. And that Lost will appeal to that generation so much that it will seem alien to me, a viewer of the original that grew up watching to know what was in the hatch and who Jacob was. I don’t begrudge that. I understand that ABC have to market their shows to the current generation and a modern demographic, whatever that might be in the 2020’s and 2030’s. But it is odd to imagine that a new vision of Lost will be so far removed from anything that I know or can even expect.
This isn’t me panning the reboot before it even has a chance. Revived shows have all the potential in the world to become great in their own right. Take Doctor Who for example. Despite it’s flaws and people’s complaints, Doctor Who continues to consistently draw ratings and within the past few years has expanded and created a strong foothold in America. Another example is Battlestar Galactica. While the original 1978 show only ran for one season due to expense, lawsuits and competing network schedules, the remade series ran for five seasons and spawned two spin offs. With the right people behind it, any kind of recreation of Lost has every right to do well.
At the time I was intrigued by the possibility of expanding Lost into a franchise. Why wouldn’t I be? Lost and Breaking Bad were two of the biggest shows of the 2000’s that challenged television norms and really just excelled from a creative standpoint. There were issues with both shows because I don’t think any television programme is perfect, certainly not for everyone, but for what they were, they were amazing. And the prospect of that continuing was just as enticing.
Having thought about it though, I’m not excited by a remake as much anymore. Maybe ABC will surprise viewers with a remake in the next five years and that might be cool but if a remake does happen I think it will be further down the line. And it won’t be for me, it’ll be for the new generation of television audiences and what appeals to them as a culture won’t be what appealed to us. Again, this is pure speculation. Perhaps those six years are all we get of Lost. And I’m content with that.