11/27/2010

For the entire run of Lost, executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have insisted that the mysteries of the show would be answered. They claimed that there was a master plan all along, and that they knew the five-year run and even the ending all the way back in 2004. Now that the show has ended, and the run has ended, let's imagine two scenarios...

In September 2004, executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse walked into the writer's room at Bad Robot Productions. They carried huge charts, graphs, and a stack of books.

Cuse started setting up the charts while Lindelof addressed the writers around the table. "Okay, so the pilot was a huge success, and we got the green-light for a full season of Lost. The basic idea is that this plane crashes on this mysterious island, and all sorts of weird things happen. You'll all be writing for the show, so you'll need to know the background. The details are in these show bibles, but here's a brief overview."

Lindelof turned to the charts that Cuse had set up on the whiteboard. He turned on a laser pointer and began highlighting the diagrams. "Okay, so in the first season, the survivors of the plane crash discover the island they crashed on isn't deserted. They run into a monster made of smoke, polar bears, and some other people on the island that they call 'The Others.' They also find a metal hatch that's been buried. Then they find out that the hatch is an underground research station, built by a scientific organization called the DHARMA Initiative. The DHARMA Initiative's been building research stations all over the island, and genetically engineering polar bears and sharks and birds. The hatch has a computer that they have to keep putting numbers into, otherwise it'll destroy the world. They also find out the plane crash was caused by an electromagnetic explosion, because the underground station exploded. Then in the third season, the survivors find out the Others have been living on the island for centuries. They killed and took over all this stuff from DHARMA, and they're trying to cure the condition that keeps them from having kids. The Others all follow this guy named Jacob. They later find out Jacob is an immortal being who’s trying to protect this light hidden in the center of the island. The light is the source of all life on Earth, and the island is the plug for it.

"So what happens in the last three seasons is that some of the survivors of the plane crash escape the island, but the ones who stay behind end up going backwards in time. When they do, they set off an atomic bomb to try to change history and keep themselves from ever being on the island in the first place. Oh, and they end up moving the island with this big wheel buried underground. Meanwhile, the ones who escaped the island come back to help the ones who were left behind. So there's two groups led by Jacob and his twin brother, who turns out to be the smoke monster in another form. He's evil and wants to escape the island, and fights with Jacob over the source of the island's power. There's also an alternate reality where the passengers were never on the island. In the end of that one, it turns out that they were all dead, and they're in purgatory. That's how the series ends. Any questions?"

All the writers raised their hands.

Cuse patted the cover of one of the foot-thick books. "Don't worry. It's a little complicated, but all the answers are all in here. Wait'll you get to the part about the guy with the fake arm."

OR

In September 2004, executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse walked into the writer's room at Bad Robot Productions. They carried some small notepads.

Cuse sat down while Lindelof addressed the writers around the table. "Okay, so the pilot was a huge success, and we got the green-light for a full season of Lost. Now, we want this show to keep the viewers guessing, so they tune in each week to find out what happens next. We need to put in all sorts of crazy stuff. We had a polar bear in the first episode, a weird monster that we never saw that made mechanical noises, some numbers, and one guy's dead father coming back to life. More of that would be good."

One writer raised his hand. "How about a ship in the middle of the island?"

"Love it," said Lindelof.

"Yeah," said another writer, "and we see the statue of a foot. Just the foot, nothing else. And it's only got four toes."

Lindelof nodded. "Good stuff. Keep it coming."

Another writer raised her hand. "But what happens down the road? Don't we have to explain all this stuff we come up with?"

Lindelof waved his hand. "Ah, don't worry about it. The audience won't care about the little things, just the big picture. And the show might not even last past a season or two. If it does, we'll come up with something."

Which scenario is more believable?

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