‘LOST’: What Comics Can Learn From the Creator-Driven Sci-Fi Epic
ABC’s six-season magical-realist “Lost” — largely spearheaded by showrunners and co-creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse — came to its end on Sunday night, bringing to a close an extended, complex time-traveling epic. Was it satisfying? Let’s be honest here: Much like “Battlestar Galactica,” I don’t think it was possible to craft a universally satisfying conclusion; I think it’s safe to say that many fans of the characters probably felt okay with the episode, while the puzzle-solvers are stymied.
What’s really remarkable about “Lost”, though, is that it ended at all. It wasn’t canceled, the showrunners didn’t leave, it didn’t switch lead characters or change direction — for better or for worse, it was a serialized story that was told from beginning to end by a distinct authorial voice, and that’s a lot more than you can say for the vast majority of network television even now.
That’s the thing about the ending, whether you liked it or not: It was the story’s ending. It wasn’t tacked on by executives, or quickly formulated due to a swiftly-announced cancellation, or the product of the show petering out after three executively-mandated showrunner changes to extend the show to twelve seasons. ABC let Lindelof and Cuse run with the idea and tell their story to the end, and this singularity of vision and message is why the fanbase was able to actually regrow its ranks in the final season while people kept catching up to see the story as a whole. “Lost” brought cable TV’s era of the auteur to network television, the idea of a finite, serialized, single story with a single voice that actually ends.
So how does this relate to comics?
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