Posted by: steveonfilm | January 22, 2009

I’m Somewhere Where I Don’t Know Where I Am

Last night was LOST’s season premier. The cat is now officially out of the bag. Time travel will be the core element of this season, or at least the first act of this season.

I’ve been okay with their “hints” at time travel so far. I mean, it was evident that it existed in some way, shape, or form in the cannon of the show. We’d seen examples of it. But it was never overtly stated.

That all changed last night. LOST officially went into time travel mode. They’ve started to lay the foundation for this over the last two seasons. Setting up the rules. The regulations. The most important of which is that you can’t change destiny. Time travel will not allow you to alter how things work. If someone is going to die, they are going to die. You might help them avoid one death, but they’ll just end up being killed by something else (i.e. Charlie). But you can’t change things in any meaningful way.

I’m on the fence on the whole time travel thing. I hope that it will work out, and the creators certainly seem to be taking a different approach to the subject matter, but if history shows us anything it’s that movies and TV shows that deal with time travel usually fall flat.

Sure, Back to the Future was cute. Quantum Leap was clever. But those are both exceptions. For every Quantum Leap there is a Time Cop. For each Back to the Future there’s a Returner. Time travel is tough business. And it’s smart to just avoid it.

But LOST jumped in full swing. So we’ll see where it goes. Since they’ve established the idea that you can’t change anything, I think they’ll avoid many of the biggest problems with time travel. And the fact that traveling through time is viewed as a BAD THING (hell, they show it can and will kill you) adds some interesting drama to the show.

All in all, a solid opening to the season. It set up the two main story lines nicely, the people on the island trying to stop moving through time, and the people off the island trying to get back. Time will tell if the show can deliver this season. But I got the feeling that these last two seasons are being written for the fans that have stuck with the show, in good times, and bad.




  1. I have never seen Lost. I wish I could share your enthusiasm. Everyone says its great, and everyone says it keeps you guessing, which is its hook. I will sit down and have a Lost Marathon one day and understand the hype, but I can’t as of yet say I get it. However, you have to wonder when a show has run out of storyline and relies on a time machine, well, it has to get you a little worried. However, I think the writers only have another season in their contracts and are moving on once this one is over, so perhaps they tried to stretch it a bit, and see what they could get away with. Either way, lemme know how it goes. I will cross my fingers for you 🙂

  2. Actually, LOST is a show that should have been just three seasons from the get go.

    They’ve known from the get go the start, the middle, and the end, and a few major beats along the road. However, without a definitive end date, they had to string out things between those major beats.

    That’s why seasons 2 and 3 were so bad. They didn’t know how to pace things, since they didn’t know how far off the end was going to be. When the creators finally came to terms with ABC it was a case of, “Look, we want to wrap this thing up. It’s fun, but it’s not the type of story you can just keep going on and on with. The longer we string this out the more people we’re going to lose along the way.”

    And that was that.

    I’m glad. Now I get can a show that ends the way it wants to. Without ding a slow death.

    Plus, buying six seasons on Blue-Ray is a lot cheaper than buying eight.

  3. Steve, reading your post is like flashbacks to when I first starting writing. I realize I know absolutely nothing about you, only by reading your posts do I recognise an element that haunted me, in the beginning. I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe you suffer from the same malady. “SELF-TRUST” was a real issue for me until I just simply let go, listened to my characters and let the story rip. I recognised that a first draft is a template to build on. It isn’t carved in stone. Rewrites and edits take care of details. Now, in eighteen hour writing sessions, I get the core exposed knowing whatever I’ve overlooked will be repaired later.
    For me I had to find the “flow” and go with it. I never stall at the middle as long as I have properly prepare myself in the research and know and understand my characters.

    I can gently suggest that you allow yourself room for error, side-step the over-cautious, forget what everyone else has done or is doing and create from your own being. Be true to you.

  4. Thanks for the advice Ron. I hear what you’re saying. I don’t run into HUGE issues once I start writing, it’s the preparations prior to the writing where I run into snags. Pacing. Events. Structure. Stuff like that….things that you only get better at with practice.

    One of my crutches is I try to force stuff. I force myself into a story instead of walking way and moving onto to something else. So instead of be constructive I just sit and stare at the screen, frustrated.

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