But they're making it up as they go along! We'll never find out the answers! It'll go on forever!
Some really, truly, excellent news has emerged from the Television Critics Association this weekend, where Executive Producers of the fucking brilliant US drama Lost spilt the beans on some very interesting negotiations between themselves and the ABC network. And it could well become to stock answer to ANYONE who claims the show is going no where.
IGN's account is as good as any, so here be the juicy bits:
Q: When do you think Lost should end?
Lindelof: Personally speaking, from the word go, it always felt to me like somewhere in the neighborhood between 90 and a 100 episodes was going to be a version of Lost where we never had to do the bad scenes or the stall scenes and back off of the story we wanted to tell. We knew season one was going to be introductions, season two was going to be into the hatch, season three was going to be The Others. I don't want to tell you what season four is going to be, and then there was a wrap up season; a shortened version that would put you somewhere in the neighborhood of a 100 episodes. At the end of season four, we will have produced 93 hours of the show, and I imagine that would be very close to where it would end, I would think.
Well, as you know, a writer's wishes and what the network want are usually polar opposites. Especially in this case when the writer wants to end a show on a high and the network would clearly want to milk the show for all it was worth. Right? Well, maybe not...
Q: Would this be the first time network heads would let such a successful show end?
Lindelof: I guess they would. And the good news about a guy like [ABC President Steve McPherson] or a guy like [Touchstone Television President] Mark Pedowitz, is we all looked at each other at the beginning and said, 'By the grace of God will this show even survive for 13 episodes.' So Carlton and I are now able to sit down with them and say, 'Remember at the beginning when you were having us sit down and convince you that this thing could go on for years and years and years?' And we all agreed it couldn't? Well now, just because it's successful, doesn't mean that's changed.
I feel we were surprised when we went to ABC and started to have that conversation. Instead of saying, 'Fine, we'll bring in new people,' they said, "When do you think it should end?' And then the conversations began. Obviously they want the show to go for as long as possible. And all we can say is, 'There's a show with us running it and there's a show without us running it. If you want the show with us running it, this is when we think it should end.' And like any negotiation, therein lies the rub. But I think you'll find, if you talk to Steve, that he's become to embrace the idea that the show needs to end. And now the question becomes when.
So... the network actually seems as if it's responding positively to the writer's wishes to clearly define Lost's length. It's certainly big news, even though nothing is really set in stone and we'll most likely be waiting a good while for any official 'End Game' announcement. However, the important thing is we now know that these conversations are being had and that the network are actually coming round to the writer's point of view. It seems obvious to everyone apart from the people making the *real* money out a show that it's best for everyone if things don't drag on too long and finally that mindset could well be reaching the people who can actually make a difference. The X-Files is an oft cited example of a show that just kept going despite the fact that the real 'meat' of the show (i.e. Mulder and Scully's Excellent Adventures) had been abandoned and the overly confusing and bollocks 'truth' plot took a strangle hold on the show. No matter how good previous season may be, there's no getting away form the fact that a show went down the shitter in its later years. No one wants this to happen to Lost and we might just be getting our way.
I've always been of the opinion that the show's creators (Lindelof and Abrams) have known where they are going with the over arching plot of the show. I have always believed that they do not introduce elements into the show without knowing the payoff and I also believe they have a well crafted (but ultimately flexible) story all set, ready for a satisfying conclusion. The comments made by Lindelof and Cuse at the TCA have only reinforced these beliefs and the fact that the network looks set to fully support the creative integrity of the show makes me utterly delighted. Now, for the first time since Babylon 5, we have the opportunity to witness a beautifully crafted story arc and, more importantly, the writers have the opportunity to complete their pre-defined story and go about answering all those burning questions about the island, whilst at the same time giving the characters a conclusion they deserve, all without having to worry about being made to create more seasons.
Watch this show, everyone. Watch it.