Folks, changing the name of The Practice and hiring Captain Kirk, does not a fresh show make, and if "The Alphabet Network" wasn't careful, soon the only ground-breaking show left on their schedule would have been "This Week with George Stephanopoulos"!
But in the fall of 2004 not one, but two shows have debuted to the remarkable mix of good ratings and critical acclaim. Both Alias-chief J.J. Abrams's Lost and I-Can't-Believe-It's-A-Soap Desperate Housewives have proven that dying ABC isn't dead yet and still has a few hat tricks to pull! Calling Lost and Desperate Housewives the two best shows on ABC right now would be a back handed compliment at best... I mean, what's the competition? Jimmy Kimmel Live? Extreme Makeover: Home Edition? Freakin' Wife Swap?
"Pilot" Part One begins in the aftermath of a deadly Plane Crash on a desert Island somewhere between Australia and the USA... we think. From the first few minutes, Matthew Fox's Jack is defaulted into the role of the De Facto leader, being the only M.D. on the plane. He drafts Evangeline Lilly's Kate and Jorge Garcia's Hurley as impromptu nurses while the rest of the ultra-varied crowd begins to slowly settle in and calm down.
It's a relative calm, though, because what could have been a Dramatic Five-Finger-Discount of Survivor or Castaway takes on a few hundred twists worthy of a lemon grove next to a chamomile farm! To begin with, it's clear that every survivor (and some of the dead) have more secrets than Victoria. What's more, the island itself seems to be full of surprises, from an unseen and all-consuming monster(!) to the occasional impossible animal (Polar Bears on a tropical island, anyone?), to the ominous suggestion that there might be more survivors, to the concept that this might not even be an "Island" at all, to the repeating distress message that Naveen Andrews' Sayid finds, implying that... there is no rescue coming.
All these things combine to push Lost much further into the realm of an adult Lord of the Flies than a grinning Swiss Family Robinson. Writer/ Director/ Creator J.J. Abrams is forming this show, slowly, into something that might never get old if handled right. In Lost you don't see what's about to eat the cast, and that makes for a very scary sight... what you don't know sure can hurt you, what you can't see makes you scream.
But can he keep this momentum going? Can this show maintain its Five Star territory? Let's face it, if Abrams and the rest at the show's helm do it right, we've got another The X-Files (albeit a Location-Limited one), if they do it wrong... Gilligan's Planet! There's a razor's edge to walk on this show, more than most considering the obvious restrictions such a show has to offer! Audiences should stay tuned to see what Locke (Terry O'Quinn) is hiding in that bald head of his. They should be intrigued by the oppressive(?) and complex relationship of the Kims, and interested in the growing dynamic of the smaller groups around. Charlie's drug addiction, Sayid's experience, Jack's tenuous grasp on his stability, Kate's Past and Sawyer's present are all nail biters. This show can only work, though, if the hand isn't tipped too soon, and the audience feels compelled to visit the island each week so as not to miss something good! In this day and age the need for instant gratification could hobble a great (and greatly paced) show but fast!
Considering the Pedigree, I'd put up Vegas Odds in favor of Lost working, if not always grabbing Monster Ratings. Take a look at that other Bad Robot Produced show: Alias is essentially, at core, an American Female James Bond capable of getting old at the drop of a hat, right? On paper it may seem that way, but every season of Alias has managed to be better than the one before and it's managed to re-invent itself over-and over. Luckily, like Buffy before it, Alias' changes have actually made sense and never feel like an arbitrary decision made by some Suit.
Will Lost be so lucky? Does luck have anything to do with it? Well, this is ABC, and their track record with dubious decisions is nearly legendary. But with the best all-around cast in television, and a hand of 52 cards that J.J. Abrams is only showing a peek a week, this show has the potential to continue to be groovier than a Louisiana Highway after a long, long rain!
And after a long, long rain at ABC, the sun might just be coming out a little over a small suburban street and a lot over a scorched Desert Island, miles off of an airline's course. Let's play those cards, right, kiddies! Five full Stars out of Five for the first (two-part) Episode of Lost! It's rare for a show to shine this brightly this soon, and much of the praise is lauded because of the potential to continue, displayed here. To coin a bad pun... J.J., don't Lose this one! See you in the next reel!
Want to find more Reviews?
Click here or GET LOST!
|What's New?||Alphabetical Listing of Reviews!||SearchThisSite:||Advertise With Us!||About...||Lynx Links:||F*A*Q|