LOST to End in 2010
FEBRUARY 4, 2007: Only three days are left before "LOST" returns to ABC with a 2-hour event beginning Wednesday at 9 with a one-hour recap show followed by an all-new episode in the drama's new timeslot at 10pm. Meanwhile, the producers have reached a new deal with ABC which will keep the show on air for 3 more years.
Back in October, "LOST" opened its third season with a shocking and truly memorable teaser - The Others were exposed living in a cozy little village on the island and we learned that the Losties had interrupted their idyllic lifestyle.
Unfortunately, as the viewer expectations got heightened due to the announced three-month break in the middle of a split season, what ensued over the six-episode fall arc was rather disappointing for a number of fans and television critics.
The show's producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof decided to pick up the story of the show's central troika - Jack, Kate and Sawyer who were kidnapped by the Others in last May's stunning cliffhanger.
Simultaneously, they decided to shed some light on the mysterious Others introducing a very compelling character Juliet played by Elizabeth Mitchell who formed an unlikely bond with her captive Jack.
Unfortunately, that meant very little screen time for longtime favorites such as Charlie, Claire and Sayid. Also, one of the most beloved characters Mr. Eko had been killed off by the smoke monster in a spectacular and violent scene.
That left very few of the Tailies and many angry fans who did not understand why those characters were introduced in the first place since they had all, one by one, met their demise.
To make matters even worse, two new characters, Paulo and Nikki were introduced in the most brazen manner - they were supposed to have been among the Losties all along although we had never seen them before and the mini-season offered little reasoning for their introduction.
Finally, the producers were taken aback by the amount of focus that was placed on the six episodes that fans perceived as a mini-season, while they had conceived them as simply a part of the whole season.
For this reason, some fans may have been somewhat disappointed by the November 8 cliffhanger that ended with Jack's attempt to save Kate who had just consummated her passion for Sawyer.
There was a lot of talk last fall about a huge drop in the ratings for the island mystery drama. Critics lamented the show lost its way and the die-hard fans defended the show saying it was only the casual viewers who abandoned the show.
Despite the alleged drop from the same time a year ago, the fact of the matter is that the ratings for the six episodes that aired last fall (17,8 million) were over 10% higher than the second season average of 15,5 million viewers (that figure was affected by numerous reruns and lower viewing levels January-May when Lost faced American Idol).
The show will now air 24-style - 16 originals will be broadcast without interruptions and repeats straight through the end of May. The producers are promising the focus will once again be "beach-centric" (as of the second episode on February 14) and these episodes will be some of the best ever made.
ABC has realized airing LOST in a split season may not have been the best scheduling decision ever made and it is considering airing the drama next year January-May, non-stop, as it did with "Alias" two years ago.
They have also realized the increasing threat of CBS's strengthening "Criminal Minds" (which is getting special exposure with a special post-Super Bowl episode tonight) as well as the unstoppable "American Idol" by moving the show to a later timeslot at 10pm. But will the viewers follow?
Tomorrow, I'll take a look at the storylines that have developed so far this season, before we indulge in a huge number of spoilers that have become available while the cast and crew were filming new episodes during the show's hiatus.