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How the Strengths and Flaws of Lost Changed Television

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There is so much good television on right now. I am constantly hearing about new series that I should be watching. The range of entertainment has never been wider. Fantasy, sci-fi, horror, drama, whatever you want, you can find it and find it in good quality. As the options expand and the base quality continues to rise, it gets harder and harder to catch up on series that you may have previously missed, and inevitably some shows get lost in the shuffle.

Which is an apt way to describe my fear for Lost. I fear that Lost will get lost in the shuffle.

Not immediately, of course, as few shows currently draw such vitriolic opinions. Lost is still gripping our pop culture today whether through homage or insult; sometimes the hero and sometimes the punch line. I once told a buddy whom I had watched the series live with that my friend had started Lost and his only response was, “She’ll be disappointed.”

It’s a common emotion to have regarding Lost as a show: disappointment. I myself was disappointed by Lost in many ways, both on my initial watch during its original airing and on my recent rewatch. The show makes many mistakes in its run, but we cannot discount the impacts that it had on television and the culture surrounding it, and not in spite of these mistakes, but because of them.

The immediate impact of Lost is obvious. High concept shows exploded out in the years following its release (Flashforward, Heroes, Fringe). Production values went up. HD became standard. Exotic and beautifully shot locations became more prevalent. Acting talent skyrocketed, with major actors coming to television. Flashbacks and flashforwards, heck messing with time in general, became commonly seen on mainstream television (How to Get Away With Murder). And casts grew wider and more diverse. A lot of what made Lost stand out is less spectacular in retrospect because it popularized or made these aspects commonplace, with many shows surpassing it in some of these areas.

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Lost/ABC

That fact, along with the obvious mistakes Lost commits, makes watching it in hindsight a little less impressive. Not tiny issues, either, such as missed character beats or a few forgettable episodes. These are episodes and moments so bad that they are unforgettable. Pacing issues so horrendous that the network finally caved to the writers and gave them an end date. And then there is the finale.

The biggest “mistake” of the show that fans and nonfans point to is the finale. I’m not going to reiterate here what can be found being discussed in 4,815,162,342 places on the internet today, but I will talk about who is discussing it.

Lost revealed a type of fan that has pervaded the medium ever since. Discussion about a show had never before reached the levels of discussion when Lost was airing. How could it have? The internet was just beginning as a platform for social media, and Lost was the first show of the internet age to be so conducive to internet chatter.

Due to the unprecedented nature of Lost as the most discussed television show ever, the amount of investment viewers put into the series went well beyond the 44 minutes they dedicated to watching each week. And with investment comes a feeling of ownership. Viewers felt Lost owed them a good ending. Before 2010, most shows dwindled out of existence after years of decline in quality or were unceremoniously canceled before having the chance to grow. Endings for these kinds of shows were often accepted as “good enough,” or a “decent way to wrap up the series.” But when Lost came around, a shift took place from, “I sure hope this ending is good,” to, “This ending better live up to my expectations or I will declare the last six years of watching this show a waste of my life.”

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Lost/ABC – Photo by Mario Perez

The fans that were disappointed by the ending have carried that with them ever since. When Breaking Bad came to its finish in 2013, three years after the Lost finale, there was an army of fans who tweeted out about how Breaking Bad’s finale is “how you do an ending,” jabbing at Lost and its coolly received send off. They were vocal enough that Damon Lindelof (a writer and creator of Lost) wrote a column about the continued consequences of his finale. I think a lot of these fans felt that the shows were on even ground, and therefore it was fair to say how Breaking Bad outdid Lost.  They were not on even ground. Lost had to go first into the raving depths of the people of the internet and try to satisfy everyone. It was uncharted territory, and regardless of whether or not you think the finale was good or bad, it charted the map for other series to follow. Breaking Bad got to learn from Lost’s mistakes, so I sure HOPE it was better. It has no excuse not to be. (Sidenote – “The End” > “Felina.”)

Not only was Lost the first to dive into the “owed finale” age, but it also carried the disadvantage of being set up by a somewhat shaky foundation. With the amount of storylines that had to be created to extend the series and the number of mysteries that were set up, there was no easy way for the ending to pay all of that off. Being given an end date for a series was a privilege the Lost writers had to fight for. Subsequent series such as Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones were created with no intention to last forever. They may not have had the ending planned or decided years in advance, but they also didn’t have to spin their wheels for multiple seasons stretching out a story and then be forced to wrap up all those improvised storylines with the originally intended ones. They could successfully build to a single climax because they were planned to tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Yet the Lost writers had this to say back in 2004, “We’re in the dark ourselves in terms of how quickly to unfold the mythology. We don’t know if the show will go for four years or six years. The best way we deal with it is to not look too long term.”

So the wheels spun. On-the-fly storylines and mysteries were thrown in, and the show got messy. Yet the failure of Lost’s middling middle seasons paved the way for networks to start allowing shows to plan an ending.

So let it be known how much of this golden age of television has been brought to us by Lost’s inadequacies. Meandering storylines have been cut down with shorter episode orders, which are much more common today, and even shows with longer episode counts have learned how to pace their seasons better in the wake of Lost’s horrific Season 3 pacing. Mystery shows have a better balance of questions and answers. Some studios are more willing to allow creators to have some leeway. Series are created with the intention of an ending, and NOT to go on forever.

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Lost/ABC

Lost is also influencing the industry in ways that we can’t even consider, even in shows bearing almost no resemblance to it. Lost proved that a massive, 10 million plus count audience would watch something with a large cast of characters, subtitles, a ridiculously complex mythology, and ongoing serialization with multiple timelines that demanded complete attention, and that these audiences wouldn’t just tolerate but encourage these ideas and create discussion and interest. The influence of Lost isn’t just in what creators take from it, or the lessons they’ve learned; it is a subconscious effect that has pervaded the industry since its airing. Broader, genre-bending ideas have become more appealing to both audiences and studios. It raised the bar for production value on television, for directors and actors, and for the scope of projects put into production. No studio head today is saying, “Oh, I’m going to throw millions of dollars at this fantasy dragon show because Lost had a high budget and it was successful.” They say, “I’m going to throw millions of dollars at this fantasy dragon show because it’s a good idea.” But would they really think it was a good idea if millions of people didn’t tune in to watch shenanigans on a magic island for six years?

Yes, I am implying that Game of Thrones owes part of its success to Lost. Does anyone really believe Game of Thrones would have aired in the 90’s? What changed?

There were fantasy shows and sci-fi shows well before Lost. Lost very obviously takes ideas from these shows and series. But Game of Thrones level epics? Genre-bending shows like Westworld? I wish Firefly would have aired after Lost did because I believe it would have not just found a greater audience, but Fox would have been more willing to give it a chance and let the episodes air in the proper order.

Even currently, shows like Manifest are drawing close comparisons to Lost, not just for its airplane disaster premise, but for the interlocking mysteries, characters being drawn together by a greater force, and even recurrent numbers. Less similar shows, like The Good Place, draw from Lost’s sense of mystery and flashbacks. Wrecked is a parody of it. We could go on.

Lost can be a punch line today. It’s mocked for its finale, its sometimes grating characterization, and its plethora of unanswered questions (but come on almost everything was answered). But do we mock the Wright brothers for only getting a few feet off the ground on their first attempt? Especially when there were moments where that flight absolutely soared. When Lost is at its best, there is still nothing like it.

So for future generations, when and if they watch Lost, I hope they realize they are witnessing one of the first flights into the golden age of television. I hope they know that in all likelihood their current favorite show owes at least something to Lost. And I hope that they don’t dismiss the show based on its missteps. After all, Lost took the biggest steps into the new age of television and left a permanent footprint on the industry, even if those prints have since been covered by the many series since that have followed in its wake.

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Editorials

Tiger King: Did Carole Baskin Kill Her Husband Don Lewis or Did Something Else Happen?

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Did Carole Baskin Kill Her Husband Don Lewis?

If you’ve gotten to episode 4 of Netflix’s eccentric new docu-series,Tiger King, you know all about animal rights activist Carole Baskin and the claims that Joe Exotic latched onto that she killed her husband nearly 20 years ago.

The investigation went unsolved for 20 years as there was absolutely no trace of  Jack Donald “Don” Lewis.

Despite her enemies and Don’s family pointing fingers at Carole, who has also become one of the most meme-able people from the series, Carole maintained her innocence. She denied all the wacky claims that she fed him to the lions (don’t put it past her), put him through a meat grinder (seriously, Netflix has a thing with meat grinders! Please see: YOU), or that she threw him to the bottom of the septic tank.

Look, they’re all plausible guesses and Carole did have plenty of motive considering Don wanted to leave her, he was scared of her, and he wanted to expand the sanctuary to Costa Rica, which is something she didn’t want. She also wrote multiple diary entries indicating that she wanted to escape or find a way out of this marriage, so it’s likely she resorted to extreme measures.

Then, there’s the fact that she laughs every time she’s questioned, which could be a nervous tick to cover up her lies. The evidence was enough to convince everyone on the Internet that Carole is guilty of murder.

And clearly,  Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister has been watching the true-crime docu-series during this coronavirus-forced quarantine and believes someone might know something that could possibly make a break in this cold case.

Chronister announced that he was looking for new leads as he re-launches the 1997 investigation to see if maybe the police missed something.

However, upon watching this, there is a huge possibility that Don wanted to disappear and leave without a trace.

The day after he was never heard from again, police found his van at a private airport, but they said there were no flights recorded and his lawyer confirmed that none of the several planes Don could never make it to Costa Rica without stopping for gas at least four times.  But this could have been what Don wanted everyone to believe!

Think about it, how hard could it be for a millionaire to disappear?

No one knew how much Don was truly worth because they said he would “hide” his money and gold bars (GOLD BARS). Therefore, it’s plausible that he had money buried that no one knew about here or in Costa Rica where he wanted to live and allegedly had a girlfriend (or multiple).

Best and Funniest Tweets About Netflix’s True-Crime Documentary ‘Tiger King’

There were other hints that Don was planning to fake his own death and get out of town including his comment to one of his associates about “if he could pull this off” it would be the legendary and the fact that he made sure to get his will in order.

My theory, which is purely based off of me sitting on my couch and hoping to solve a longtime murder mystery, is that Don planned his escape to Costa Rica with all the money he hid, hoped his disappearance would raise questions and incriminate Carole, and leave his family with the rest of his money.

Of course, that didn’t happen because as the Netflix documentary pointed out, Carole and her father got to the will and changed it so that she got everything including the 69-acre wildlife Big Cat sanctuary they ran together.

We can only hope the recently revisited investigation can bring up new evidence and finally give Lewis’ family some peace of mind.

Do you have any working theories? Share them with us in the comments!

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This Is Us

5 Possible Theories About Who Madison’s Doctor and His Daughter Sadie Could Be on ‘This Is Us’

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Who Are Dr. Mason and Sadie on This Is Us

Okay, so you watched the season 4 finale of This Is Us and found yourself thinking, “who is the doctor and his daughter, Sadie.”

Honestly, same.

The episode spent so much time and attention on the doctor’s backstory, before we even knew that he was Madison’s obstetrician, and introduced his daughter.

Related: Why Is Nicky By Rebecca’s Side on the ‘This Is Us’ Season 4 Finale? This Theory Might Explain It

Some may say that there’s nothing to it, it was just a way to introduce a character, but avid watchers of This Is Us know that’s absolutely false.

There has to be some bigger meaning and connection that simply hasn’t been revealed yet. Plus, they wouldn’t give us so much insight into Sadie being a horse-whisperer unless it was relevant.

Check them some of favorite theories about who Dr. Mason might be below and let us know if you have any ideas:

Theory #1: It’s Dr. Katowsky’s Son/Grandchild/ Relative

It cannot be a coincidence that Dr. K was heavily featured in this episode talking about his own loss of a child, right?

There’s a huge probability that Madison’s OB-GYN, Dr. Mason, is Dr. K’s son aka the child that he and his wife had after the first miscarriage. *a fan pointed out that child was a daughter, but Dr. K had other children. Someone pointed out that those children would be older and that he once mentioned having grandchildren, so it’s possible Dr. Mason is related in some way. 

The doc seemed to have a knack for giving some really great advice just like Dr. K. He told Madison not to write off Kevin before she even talked to him and told him about the pregnancy, which led to Kevin being “all in” with the twins. There may be proof of this Dr. K and Mason are related because in the very first scene he tells Sadie that her horse is “is just a lemon.” And we know Dr. K loved his lemon metaphor.

Theory #2: Someone Like Dr. K

Considering Dr. Mason gave great advice just like Dr. K, many fans believe he’s going to be a huge part of Kevin and Madison’s pregnancy journey. He might be the one that they turn to for advice, guidance, and assurance just like Kevin’s parents did with Dr. K after he delivered Kevin and Kate. It would be a sweet way of bringing things full-circle. And hey, this still allows the Dr. Mason to be Dr. K’s son. Dr. Mason might be Kevin and Madison’s person.

Who Are Dr. Mason and Sadie on This Is Us

Credit: NBC/ This Is Us

Theory #3: Dr. Mason is Kyle

Okay, this theory is kind of wild and if This Is Us was a thriller drama/ telenovela rather than an inspirational, heartwarming family drama, we might consider it to be true, but sadly, we don’t think it is. That being said, we’re including it because it’s fun to imagine “what if.”

What if Dr. K was so desperate for a son that he stole one of Rebecca and Jack’s children instead. Imagine if Kyle never died but was taken and raised to be Dr. Mason, who reunites with his biological family, the Pearsons, years later by sheer coincidence when Madison walks into his office pregnant with Kevin’s twins. Again, if This Is Us was that kind of show, which it isn’t, this would be an incredible plot twist.

However, Dr. Mason seems older than Kevin, Randall, and Kate, plus, I wouldn’t want anything to tarnish the sweet, innocent Dr. K, who is a gem in this world.

Theory 4: Sadie Needed to Give the Doc Advice

Maybe Sadie and Dr. Mason were only necessary so she could give her dad that he then gave Madison about Kevin: “Little early to give up on him, don’t you think? You haven’t even give him a chance to be himself yet.” Sadie is a horse and Kevin whisperer.

Theory #5: He’s Madison Future Husband 

Madison knows she’s not Kevin’s great love story, and she’s fine with it. Maybe through all of this, she falls in love with the doc and Sadie becomes her step-daughter. There’s no confirmation that Madison becomes Kevin’s wife simply because she’s carrying his children, so it’s entirely possible they both move on while being connected by their twins.

 

Showrunner Dave Fogel told Deadline that Dr. Mason will 100% become instrumental next season: “The doctor becomes an important character next season to Kevin – he’s having twins with a virtual stranger, not a normal birth experience. It’s no coincidence he was introduced in the same episode that Dr. K returned.”

That has to confirm Theory #1, right?

Read the This Is Us Season 4 finale review right here!

What are your favorite working theories?

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Stranger Things

13 Best Government Conspiracy Shows to Watch During Your Self-Quarantine

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Must watch government conspiracy shows

Feeling a little restless and bored at home during your self-quarantine? It’s understandable. You didn’t expect to be living and working from home a month or so.

While you’re doing your part to flatten the curve and help prevent the spread of coronavirus, if you don’t have something to keep you occupied, your mind begins to wander just a little bit.

That’s honestly the only explanation I can think of for all the conspiracy theories I’ve been reading. While there’s absolutely no basis to them, it made me think that maybe there’s something there entertainment wise– people are craving a specific genre of television to help them through this tough time.

So, I’ve put together a list of shows surrounding government conspiracies that you might enjoy while you are cooped up inside.

Manifest (two seasons – currently airing)

Manifest is a mystery inside of a riddle that focuses on the return of Flight 828 five years after its initial disappearance. The plane’s re-emergence shocks everyone because they assumed their loved ones were dead. As the passengers begin looking for the truth, they stumble upon a government conspiracy that’s dangerous and frightening.

 

Emergence (one season so far)

Manifest made way for Emergence, a drama about a small-town cop who takes in a young girl at the site of a mysterious plane crash. The young girl begins exhibiting certain supernatural powers, and as high-ranking officials develop an interest in the girl, Jo realizes she’s entangled in a mystery larger than she ever imagined.

 

Stranger Things (preparing for season 4)

When Will Byers goes missing, three best friends in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana begin their search for him along with his mother and police chief Hopper. The investigation leads them to unraveling a series of supernatural mysteries that lead to secret government experiments with an alternate universe.

 

God Friended Me (two seasons – currently airing)

Not all government conspiracy’s have to be dark and dangerous, sometimes, they’re feel-good shows! Miles is friended by the “God Account,” a mysterious account on Facebook that allows him to help people in need. Miles and his friends try to figure out who is behind the all-knowing account, and the possibility of a government entity is high up on that list.

 

The Bodyguard (one season)

The British police thriller follows Police Sergeant David Budd, who is a war veteran suffering from PTSD. He currently works for the  Royalty and Specialist Protection Branch of London’s Metropolitan Police Service and is assigned as security for Homeland Secretary, Julia Montague, who is rather controversial in the political landscape. It keeps you guessing until the very end over who did what and who knew what.

 

The Passage (one season)

The series, based on a trilogy of the same name, focuses on Project Noah, a secret medical facility where scientists test dangerous viruses that could potentially be a cure-all. However, there’s a chance they could potentially wipe out the whole human race if they get into the wrong hands (this might be a little too on the nose). A federal agent grows to love a young girl who becomes a test subject and attempts to protect her at all costs… even human destruction.

Quantico

Alex Parrish is the one of the top recruits at Quantico, a training facility for only the best and brightest, but she’s being set up of masterminding the deadliest attack on U.S soil since 9/11 — a bombing at Grand Central. Can she solve the conspiracy and clear her name before its too late?

Timeless

What’s better than a show that combines time traveling to relevant, pivotal, and iconic moments in history with a government conspiracy? Timeless is an adventure series that places you in the middle fo all the actions as Lucy, a historian, Wyatt, a soldier, and Rufus, a scientist, get recruited to thwart a nefarious government institution that wants to change the world as we know it.

Prison Break (5 seasons)

Michael Scofield’s brother, Lincoln Burrows, is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and put on Death row. Michael holds up a bank to get arrested and begins his elaborate plan of breaking them both out, which eventually leads into the reason he was framed and yeah, you guessed it, it’s an intricate political conspiracy that’s really messy.

24 (9 seasons)

Jack Bauer, Director of Field Ops for the Counter-Terrorist Unit of Los Angeles,  thwarts assassination attempts,  torture, traitors, and nuclear attacks, while hoping to save his nation from ultimate disaster.

 

Designated Survivor (3 seasons)

In a similar vein and also starring Kiefer Sutherland, low-level cabinet member Tom Kirkman ascends to the role of President of the United States after a devastating attack on the night of the State of the Union blows up the Capitol and kills the President and most of the top-reigning officials. Soon, it’s revealed that Kirkman wasn’t the designated survivor on accident as a government conspiracy unfolds.

 

The Event (one season)

Sean Walker, a seemingly regular man, begins to look into the mysterious disappearance of his fiancee and exposes one of the biggest cover-ups in American history.

Extant (2 seasons)

After a year in space, Molly Watts (our girl Halle Berry) returns to Earth and reconnects with her husband, a gifted scientist, and her son, Ethan, who has skills and powers that make him incredibly special. However, she begins to realize something isn’t just right and the conspiracy that unfolds threatens her career and family. The thrilling drama hails from Steven Spielberg, so even if it’s slightly overcomplicated, you know it’s bound to be an adventure.

There’s likely plenty of other shows… which ones would you add to the list? Share them with us in the comments or on Twitter @CraveYouTV!

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