M.A.S.H., Twin Peaks, The Sopranos, Game of Thrones — there are some truly great pieces of television out there, and the underrated '00s nugget that is #Lost will surely be among them. Yes, it may have lost its way a little when caught up in time travel, Hurley being the one who wrote Star Wars, and something about sticking a cork in a hole, but at its peak, Lost was addictive television at its most bingeable.
We all remember the doomed passengers of Oceanic 815, crash landing on some Hawaiian island where nothing is quite what it seems. From the ability to walk, to a miracle cure for cancer, and even the odd polar bear, Lost was week after week of WTF and "you gotta be kidding me?" For those who managed to keep up with the constant twists and turns, it became a staple watch from 2004 to 2010 and the jewel in the ABC crown; however it seems that the studio bigwigs wanted to change one very important aspect of the show right from day one!
A Monster Of A Problem
The execs reportedly hated only one thing on the popular show, and no, unlike the rest of us, it wasn't the inclusion of Paolo and Nikki. While promoting the final season of his HBO show The Leftovers, Lost showrunner #DamonLindelof told CinemaBlend about the first pitch that he and #JJAbrams made to ABC and what they didn't like.
One of the biggest and longstanding mysteries across the seasons was the island's clickety-clack Smoke Monster. Lindelof revealed that it was the show's Big Bad that ABC wanted rid of:
"But the main area of concern was the idea that there was this monster on the island. In that meeting, present were Lloyd Braun and Susan Lyne, who were the co-presidents of ABC. Before I go on, let me just say, if Lloyd hadn't been the president of ABC, there'd be no Lost, because he believed in this thing from the word go. It was his idea to do a plane crash on an island show, et cetera. But I don't think he wanted the monster."
"So in this meeting, he says, 'I think this outline is dynamite, but I don't think that there should be a monster in the pilot. If you guys want to work your way up to some of that weird stuff, it's a conversation for another day. But definitely not in the pilot. It's too weird. We don't want to do a Twin Peaks.' I remember Lloyd very specifically saying, 'I don't want to do a Twin Peaks.'"
Certainly, the idea of the monster on the island took the show away from its believable roots as a plane crash survival, but in hindsight, a mythical monster that billows black is nothing compared to where the show actually ended up.
So, still believing in their idea, what did Lindelof do? Speaking to EW, he said that he bigged Lost up as the "new" Twin Peaks and spun Lloyd's insult as a compliment:
"And then J.J. jumped in and said some version of this: 'It's 2004. 'Twin Peaks' has been off the air for 13 years and you're still using it as a cautionary tale. But even if it is a cautionary tale, we should be so lucky if this show gets to be like Twin Peaks, because how many television shows get remembered the way 'Twin Peaks' is remembered? 'Twin Peaks' was amazing and maybe it didn't end well, but we can learn from its mistakes. We should be so lucky to be compared to 'Twin Peaks'! We should aspire to Twin Peaks!' And Lloyd said, 'OK, do your monster.'"
Smokey certainly did make itself known in the pilot episode and went on to be responsible for several character deaths, memorably killing Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje's Mr. Eko — he was actually killed off for a DUI. We always struggled to get a proper look at what the beast was until the final season reveal that the smoke monster was actually the incarnation of Titus Welliver's Man in Black. Lost was always great at keeping the mystery, but as the story unraveled toward the final season, it struggled to keep hold of its allure and the smoke monster twist was one hell of a letdown.
While #TwinPeaks is in the middle of a resurgence thanks to David Lynch's revival of the series some 27 years after it went off the air, rumors of a Lost remake have been rife since we left its maligned finale behind. In fact, the two shows share the same DNA of being lambasted for their controversial and sometimes confusing final episodes. Who know though, perhaps someday Lost will book a return ticket and crash land back on the island for more mysteries, more smoke monsters, and more head-hurting timeline f*ckery.
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