When ‘Lost’ premiered on ABC in September of 2004, I was not one of the 18.5 million U.S. viewers that made the show the most watched new drama in ten years. I didn’t see the next episode either, which revealed that Kate was actually the fugitive on the plane, and started hinting that John Locke might be a major character on the show. But by the time the third week’s episode aired, I had heard enough “water-cooler” chatter that I made myself watch the last half hour. When the big reveal came, that Locke was wheelchair-bound before the crash, running like a triathlete afterwards, I was hooked. I remember getting chill-bumps from that final scene, and wondering how I was going to see the first two episodes in an era years before Hulu. I don’t remember how, but I managed to find them somewhere.
I really miss ‘Lost’, and when I started listing some of the reasons why, John Locke is right at the top of them. Not just his character, but everything that the writers wanted John Locke to stand for – good, evil, acceptance, banishment, and almost any other human quality that is difficult to identify. We’ve since learned from countless interviews that the writers wanted Locke, and all of the characters, really, to be more like real humans – ambiguous, neither all good or all bad, neither a sexpot or a virgin, neither a brain or a dolt, but somewhere in between, just like us, and the people we know. That was an incredibly refreshing change, and I don’t know that any other show in the history of television can claim to have accomplished it the way ‘Lost’ did. They made those characters a part of my life in a way that I would never have thought possible – and I miss not being able to see them every week. And I miss John Locke in particular. In those first 30 minutes, Terry O’Quinn’s fantastic acting actually made me care about his character, and I decided he was worth getting to know better. It was a life-changing decision for me.
John Locke's Walkabout
I miss Jack Shepard, the hero, the guy that just had to fix any and everyone he came in contact with. He was bull-headed, and refused to think outside of the box, but he was the center of the show, and it would have been a tragic mistake had they killed him off in the pilot as they had originally planned. I miss Kate and her beautiful smile, who they made out to be a murderer, but was actually just a little girl who tried to save her mother and ended up paying for it the rest of her life. I really miss Sawyer, even though I despised him mid-way through the first season. I was convinced that he was the culprit for every bad thing that happened to the castaways, and then the writers turned the tables on me, making him the most sympathetic of the entire crew.
I miss Claire and Charlie, and their bittersweet sweet love story that played out like a Taylor Swift song. I even miss Shannon and Boone, whom you first though were a bickering couple surely about to divorce, but discovered they were just siblings arguing over attention. I understood Boone’s death, but not Shannon’s – they needed her good looks and petulant attitude for another two seasons.
I miss Rose and Bernard, who were throwaway characters that the fans demanded to see more of. And to think that they are still on the island! With Vincent! I miss him too! I dare you to watch their reunion in season two with a dry eye.
Rose and Bernard's Reunion
In 2004, would you have ever imagined that someone could invent a character from Iraq’s Republican Guard that you would have any sympathy for? I would laugh you out of the room, but that’s exactly what they did with Sayid. He was hard, and he turned really dark during the last season, but I still loved the character.
How could you not fall in love with Hurley, a big teddy bear who just wanted everyone to get along. Who would have though that he would be the savior? Lost didn’t have very many “sweet” scenes, but this is one of them, and a good place to send any friend who ever wondered what 'Lost' was about.
Hurley Explains Lost
I miss Sawyer’s nicknames. Hurley had the most – Lardo, Stay-Puff, Jabba, Deepdish, Jumbotron, Bigfoot to name a few. Kate’s were the sweetest – Freckles, Shortcake, Sheena, and Puddin. Locke’s were the deepest – Daniel Boone, Colonel Kurtz, Gimpy McCrutch and my favorite – Mr. Clean. The funniest were Ben’s – The Artist Formerly Known as Henry Gale, Captain Bunny Killer, Gizmo and Bug-Eyed Bastard. And then there were the randoms, which could make you spit your supper out laughing if you weren’t careful – Sun was Tokyo Rose, Aaron was Baby Huey, Ana Lucia was Rambina, Eko was Shaft, Frank Lapidus was Kenny Rogers and Libby was Moonbeam. There were so many that he has his own Wiki page.
I even miss Benjamin Linus, who has to be one of the most complicated characters ever created. Was he a villain, or was he a ‘good guy’, as he always claimed? Well, he had some good in him, but he sure had a lot of bad too. I think he was the most beaten man on TV, and I enjoyed every punch he took. And to think he was only hired for a three episode story.
Ben Showing Why He's the Boss
I miss the music as much as I miss any character. Michael Giacchino’s soundtrack affected me more than any music I’ve ever heard, and I didn’t even realize it until Entertainment Weekly pointed it out to me. When they finally get the raft to launch in season one’s finale, I couldn’t understand why it was such an emotional scene for me. But when I read Damon Lindelof’s description of the orchestra scoring the episode, with the show playing on a big screen and half of the orchestra in tears, I watched it again, and sure enough, the music is what brings it all together. Watch it again and see if you don’t agree:
I miss the questions my family would ask after watching an episode. There’s nothing that needs asking after ‘The Good Wife’, but it was certainly refreshing to be forced to put your laptop away for an hour of Lost and focus on the boob-tube. Lost was the first show that made me want to look at the chat-rooms the next day, to see what people much smarter than me had to theorize about the show. I miss having to review every episode for an Easter Egg that I missed the first time around, like the shark with a Dharma tattoo on it, or Hurley running through a room full of soccer players with the cursed numbers on their back.
And even though it’s fun now to download a show’s entire season and binge-watch it over a weekend, I miss the anticipation of next week’s episode, or next year’s, knowing that whether I liked it or not, there would be something about it that would make my jaw drop. Like the high I felt after the season three finale, where Jack and Kate were revealed to be in a flash-forward instead of a flash-back, and they were already saved from the plane crash! That was a lifejacket for any down moment I might have had over the next eight months.
First Flash Forward
And the heartbreak I felt after ‘The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham’, where we saw Locke killed, and we wondered how he could still be alive back on the beach.
Or the grand expectations I felt for the season six premier, wondering whether ‘The Incident’ had blown the castaways back to the start of their trip. The anticipation was almost unbearable, but it was a good unbearable, because deep down you knew that you were going to get paid, even if you had to wait a little while longer than you wanted.
I hope that a show will come along some day that will supplant ‘Lost” as the greatest ever on my list, but it will be a difficult task to say the least. I’ve watched ‘Mad Men’, which was the critics’ darling while Lost was dying down, and even though I agree that it’s a really good show, I just don’t see how anyone could think it’s better. I enjoyed ‘Breaking Bad’, but come on, you knew how it had to end by the middle of the second season. It was fun, but did you really care about Walter White as much as Jack Shepard? I keep looking for the next big thing, but I know I’m jaded, and it might not come along for me. I might have to be satisfied watching Lost over and over again, but that’s something I can live with.