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Monday, January 15, 2007

How Long Will "Lost" Run?

“The reality is, they can produce a sixth or seventh or eighth season, but would anyone be watching? Because the show would be so miserable by that time,” Lindelof said, who was reminded by one reporter that ABC could continue making the show without the involvement of the show’s current creative team.

“We were surprised when we went to ABC and started having that conversation,” Lindelof said. “As opposed to them saying, ‘Fine, we’ll bring on new people,’ they said, ‘Well, when do you think it should end?’ And the conversations began.

“Obviously they want the show to go on as long as possible,” Lindelof added. “And all that we can say is, ‘There’s a show with us running it and there’s a show without us running it, and if you want the show with us running it, this is when we think it should end.’ And like negotiation, therein lies the rub. I think you’ll find, if you talk to [ABC entertainment president] Steve [McPherson], in Steve’s vernacular, he’s begun to embrace the idea that the show needs to end. Now the question becomes when.”
-- 'Lost' producers talk about setting an end date and much more [Chicago Tribune]

Course, there's a bit a puzzle knot here. They'll only want to keep the show alive if it keeps getting great ratings and saturating the show with filler to make it last as long as possible seems to be siphoning those ratings off to other shows. The 100 episode number is out there, for syndication purposes, sure. But after that it seems the best thing for both art and business is to keep the show simple, tight and potentially ... short.

In the last podcast the producers seemed to give a nod to the concerns of many fans and promised that the next three episodes will show us more about the island, DHARMA, and more. They seem to brush off concerns about the rating and remain unapologetic about the PaoloNikkiGate.

Here's one thing I flatly disagree with, however:

“Joss Whedon said something very funny when he and I were talking. He basically said, the critics and the fans always hate the season that you’re in, and wish that it was like the season that preceded it. And it’s true. The reality is, when we were in Season 2, everybody hated it, everybody hated Michelle Rodriguez, hated the tail section stories. Now we find ourselves in Season 3, and everybody’s hating it, and they wish it was more like Season 2.”

Funny, sure, just not that accurate. I'm sure it's partially true - but personally I wish Lost Season 2 was more like Lost Season 1 .... and Lost Season 3 was even more like Lost Season 1. Same went with Buffy - when the show started to go downhill (hint: the more Spike is in it, sadly enough) ... the more I wish for the show's stride of the second and third seasons.

I acknowledge that a creative process can't be mandated by mob opinion. Most efforts wouldn't get out of the gate that way. They don't survive well in a bubble, however.

Two of my favorite shows of all time - Sports Night and Firefly were both cut short. Sports Night got two seasons and Firefly ... well, heck, Firefly wasn't even properly released until it hit DVD. Thing is - some of the best material within Sports Night features the show's struggle with itself. It knows it's the slow horse in a fast horse race and it does all it can to keep up. Would we have gotten that conflict if Sorkin wasn't dealing with it himself against the networks?

Firefly easily had another two seasons to go ... and it would have been amazing. We rewatched Serenity over the holidays and while it's a great two hour swan song for the show ... nothing really tops just sitting back and watching the whole series. It's tightly intergrated enough that it comes off as an epic movie on its own ... just without an end.

Lost has a similar conflict ... the show against itself. We'll see in a month how well it deals with it.

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