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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.

Lost_Exodus

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.”

Lost_Exodus

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.

Lost_TheIncident

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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Lost/ABC


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‘Schitt’s Creek’ Launching in National Syndication Following Emmys Sweep

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Schitt's Creek to Be Available for National Broadcast Syndication

The small town of Schitt’s Creek is going nationwide! 

After sweeping the Emmys on Sunday, September 20, the half-hour sitcom is coming to a TV near you. 

You’ll be able to watch the fan-favorite comedy anywhere as it’s being launched into national syndication across U.S broadcast markets starting on September 28, per the press release from Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury, who owns the domestic broadcast rights. 

Prior to Sunday’s show, the Pop TV original had zero Emmy’s, but now, it’s being referred to as a nine-time Emmy Award-winning comedy. Talk about bragging rights. 

During the 2020 virtual show, it won all seven of the major comedy categories and became the first to win all four comedy-acting categories in one year. 

QUIZ: Which ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Character Are You?

The cast includes Emmy Award winners Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Daniel Levy, Annie Murphy and Chris Elliott. Rounding out the cast are Emily Hampshire, Jennifer Robertson, Noah Reid, Sarah Levy, Karen Robinson, Dustin Milligan, John Hemphill, Rizwan Manji, and Tim Rozon.

Schitt’s Creek centers on an outrageously wealthy video store magnate, Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy); his former soap-star wife Moira (Catherine O’Hara); and their two adult children – the self-described black sheep of the family David (Daniel Levy) and career socialite Alexis (Annie Murphy). When the family suddenly find themselves broke, they have no choice but to move to Schitt’s Creek, a small-town Johnny once bought as a joke. Forced to live out of a motel, with their pampered lives a memory, they struggle to find jobs and relationships and, most importantly, figure out what it means to be a family in the loveable town they’ve reluctantly come to call home. 

Debmar-Mercury Co-Presidents Ira Bernstein and Mort Marcus, commented, “What begins as a fish-out-of-water story quickly develops into a nuanced love letter to family, delivered with warmth, humanity and perfect comedic timing. With a gifted cast and whip-smart writing, it’s easy to see why ‘Schitt’s Creek’ appeals to Emmy voters, critics and viewers, and has built a loyal and passionate fan base. We are excited to bring the Emmy Award-winning series to broadcast television stations and introduce the iconic Rose family to a new audience.”

Previously, Schitt’s Creek was available for streaming on Netflix.

The sixth and final season will be available on the platform starting Wednesday, October 7. 


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The Best Halloween Episodes From the 90s and Early 00s to Watch Right Now

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Best Halloween Episodes from the 90s and Early 00s

Halloween is a time for shrieks, thrills, and Halloween-themed episodes.

But what’s better (and spookier) than 90s Halloween fun? Absolutely nothing.

So, we’ve put together a list of spooktacular throwback episodes to kick off your fall celebrations!

Get your witches brew, candy corn, and pumpkin pie ready and get to viewing. And maybe don’t look under the bed… BOO!

Boy Meets World

“He said what all killers say. He wants to come here. He wants to kill us. He wants us to wait right here.”– Eric Matthews.    

 Boy Meets World basically defines our childhood. When the gang finds themselves all alone during detention, weird things begin happening. 

Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Sabrina the Teenage Witch had plenty of Halloween episodes that were SO good, we had trouble picking just one favorite so we opted for season 3’s “Good Will Haunting” in which Hilda and Zelda attend their Aunt Beulah’s Halloween party at an asylum. Back at home, Sabrina’s party is terrorized by a talking doll from the Other Realm.

 

Friends

Streaming Friends episodes is a favorite past time. No episode is as classic as “The One With the Halloween Party” when Monica throws a Halloween party!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy was one of the most iconic shows of the 90s, but the best Halloween episode featured all of the characters turning into real-life versions of their costumes was terrifyingly fantastic. Dust off those DVD collections and sink your teeth into this episode… pun intended.

 

How I Met Your Mother

One word- slutty pumpkin. Yes, this How I Met Your Mother Halloween installment has everything you’d watch from a classic Halloween episode including a Halloween costume party and Ted longing for his lost love. 

Home Improvement

 Jonathan Taylor Thomas was everyone’s first crush. This Home Improvement episode “The Haunting of Taylor House” found Tim and Jill building a haunted house for Brad’s party.

Smart Guy

“Diary of a Mad Schoolgirl” isn’t technically a Halloween episode, but it sure has the elements as TJ explains Lizzie Borden to his classmate and Mo reads a girl’s diary to find out she’s super obsessed with him and wants to take him to the cemetery to meet her dead grandmother. Yikes. 

That 70s Show

The crew visits their abandoned and burned-down grammar school, which may just be haunted.
 

Lizzie McGuire

Poor Kate believes that a prop for a horror movie has turned her friends into zombies!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM ALL OF US AT CRAVEYOUTV! 

Happy watching.


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Pretty Little Liars

We Don’t Need a ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Reboot

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Pretty Little Liars Farewell, My Lovely

Pretty Little Liars, which premiered in 2010 on ABC Family (now Freeform), took fans on a rollercoaster ride. The twists and turns were so dramatic and exaggerated, halfway through the show’s 7 season run, many fans began to taper off. 

Dedicated fans, however, stuck it out despite the fact that the show was rapidly going off the rails. Why? Because they desperately needed to know the identity of “A,” and later, “AD,” once and for all. 

And the glorious day came on June 27, 2017. As we sat huddled up in front of our TV screens, we were filled with a mix of emotions ranging from confused, misled, and finally, relieved.

“Relief” is a strange emotion to feel when a show ends. Most fans tend to feel a sadness wash over them when the curtain falls, but with PLLthe finale was a sign that the madness was officially over. 

The journey with the liars is one we’ll never forget, but let’s face it – most fans are not clamoring for more, especially not a mere three years after the finale. Heck, some of us are still trying to piece that ending together in a way that makes any rational sense. 

We’re living in a time where reboots are hailed by TV executives as a sound and sure-fire idea. There’s plenty of examples of success: Dynasty, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Charmed, and Roswell, New Mexico. Even revivals that have honed a place in society with shows like The Conners and Fuller House both leading the pack. 

Pretty Little Liars PlAytime

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS – “PlAytime” – After Noel Kahn’s abrupt death, the Liars try putting their lives back together again in “Playtime,” the first of the final ten episodes of Freeform’s hit original series “Pretty Little Liars,” airing TUESDAY, APRIL 18 (8:00 – 9:02 p.m. EDT). Fans can catch up on where the Liars left off with an all-day marathon of season seven starting at 11:00 a.m. EDT and running up to the one-hour spring premiere at 8:00 p.m. EDT. (Freeform/Eric McCandless)
SHAY MITCHELL, LUCY HALE, TROIAN BELLISARIO

But the one thing that these reboots have in common is that the original shows aired a decade or more ago. The key to a successful reboot is nostalgia; they aim to hook the original fans while also appealing to a brand new generation. 

Reboots may either reimagine a familiar story with a modern spin and new characters or reunite fans with characters years later a la catching up with friends years after college. 

It’s obvious that PLL does not fall into the category of a show that warrants a reboot. Not yet, at least. There’s no sound argument when one could argue that enough time has passed to try to take a stab at this overly complex teen mystery drama once again.

One of my biggest gripes with the PLL reboot, which was officially announced as an HBO Max original, is that it doesn’t center around the original liars. 

I’m firm in my belief that had it not been for the popularity, relatability, and dynamic of Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson, Troian Belissario, Sasha Pieterse and Shay Mitchell, the show wouldn’t have found a cult-like following or lasted as long as it did. The ladies made the show worth watching and managed to sell us on every single outrageous storyline. 

Many of us stuck with the series because of our love for the liars. But the reboot, billed as “set miles away from Rosewood” in a new town, with a new set of characters, strips the very identity of PLL. 

How can you have a show without any involvement from Aria, Emily, Hannah, Spencer, and Alison? They are the pretty little liars. There is no show without them. No one is interested in watching a new generations of teens get tormented by threatening cyber-stalker who knows too much about their life, which was fun to watch partially because it paralleled the rise of technology and the fears surrounding privacy that came along with the emergence of social media.

Even if the ladies considered (and I use that term loosely — they are over here working on their careers and expanding their families, after all) returning for a reboot, not enough time has passed for a proper reunion. 

There’s been talk of a potential movie sequel involving the original liars, and truthfully, that’s an idea fans of the original could get behind. It would be a one-time thing, it wouldn’t overstay its welcome or feel forced, and it would hopefully gives fans the follow-up they’ve been dying for. 

Earlier this year, Hale said she wouldn’t “rule anything out” but ultimately, they’d “need a little more time to pass.”

“I feel like we would get more out of it if we were, like, 10 years down the road,” she explained to Entertainment Tonight, adding that she’s protective of the show. Hale worked with Roberto Roberto Aguierre-Sacasa on the short-lived Katy Keene, so I’m truly curious to see what she thinks about this upcoming reboot. Note: none of those involved with the original have weighed in or commented yet.  

Honestly, much of the pushback that I’ve seen about this rumored reboot is for that very reason — fans, even the ones who thought the finale came out of left-field and was a total dumpster fire — are also super protective of it. We don’t want anything or anyone to taint the show’s legacy. 

We also cannot ignore there’s the fact that PLL’s Marlene King attempted her own reboot of sorts shortly after the series concluded and even centered the storyline around two familiar faces, Alison DiLaurentis (Pieterse) and Mona Vaderwaal (Janel Parish), to drum up support and interest from the core fandom. That didn’t work.

PLL: Perfectionists lasted a whole ten episodes before Freeform pulled the plug leaving any fans that submitted themselves to yet another A-like mystery in the dark. It’s a shame the series wasn’t give a real chance because it had potential if it stayed true to the books and veered away from trying to make it so much like it’s predecessor. In this case, a complete overhaul could’ve worked if done right. 

And it’s probably better if I don’t mention Ravesnwood, the second PLL spinoff that centered around Caleb Rivers (Tyler Blackburn), which saw a lot of people seeing dead people in the neighboring town. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the show’s ten-episode run, but it’s yet another example of the franchise trying to reinvent the wheel and failing miserably. 

If King couldn’t make these shows work while PLL was at its height, maybe it’s because the audience needed to take a break from the world of A?

Which brings me to my next point… Roberto Aguierre-Sacasa. You may not know the name, but if you love teen dramas, you’re familiar with his work. He’s the brains behind The CW’s successful and oftentimes disturbing teen thriller Riverdale.

One fan on Reddit noted that “PLL walked so Riverdale could run,” and let’s be honest, plenty of fans (and critics) have called the show a hot mess. However, that’s what we’ve come to love about Riverdale; it’s wacky, weird, and only tolerable when you suspend all disbelief.

He’s also proven himself in the reboot-realm with Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. CAOS is an entirely different ballgame; it’s a dark twist on the 90s sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch that pulls much of its inspiration from the Archie comics. It offers up an entirely new world featuring new takes on some beloved characters. Not to mention Sabrina wrapped its run in 1996 meaning enough time has passed; the world was ready for the Spellman’s once again. 

As I mentioned, CAOS is ending with its upcoming season while Aguierre-Sacasa’s other series, Katy Keene, was cancelled after just a season at The CW. 

I’m not questioning Aguierre-Sacasa’s qualifications — I’m a fan of his shows — but I don’t think jumping into and revamping a still-fresh franchise is necessary right now.

Apparently, neither does Twitter. One person commented that he should “stick to one show and make that good.” I’d prefer HBO Max gave Katy Keene another try rather than investing into this PLL reboot. 

The reboot seems to be hoping to capitalize on the the original fandom (the brief teaser features the same imagery as the original right down to the logo), but the fandom has opposed a reboot from the start. And they’ll be further alienated with the reboot’s description of a “horror-tinged, coming-of-rage” version.

Aguierre-Sacasa’s strength lies within creating shows permeated with twisted mysteries that have a campy, horror vibe, which is tonally different than the psychological mind games we’ve come to expect from PLL

There’s room for another teen thriller, obviously, but maybe it would be best to leave the franchise alone and call the show, which is shaping up to be its own entity anyway, something else entirely? “Original Sin” minus the “Pretty Little Liars” would have given the series a fresh-slate without any comparisons.

Here’s the show’s description so you can decide for yourself: “Twenty years ago, a series of tragic events almost ripped the blue-collar town of Millwood apart. Now, in the present day, a group of disparate teen girls — a brand-new set of Little Liars — find themselves tormented by an unknown Assailant and made to pay for the secret sin their parents committed two decades ago. as well as their own.”

I’ll watch merely out of curiosity and because I’ve made television my job, but man, I haven’t even had time to miss PLL yet. 

If you really need to feel the PLL-void in your life, the best thing to do is just stream the original episodes, because I think we can all agree that some things are better off left alone… at least until enough time has passed to revisit them through a new lens.


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