Exactly 10 years ago, to the day, a little known TV series about the survivors of a plane crash was first aired on American network television channel ABC. This week, we are celebrating the show’s legacy here on TVEnthusiast. Check in throughout the week for various features related to the groundbreaking TV series that showed network television the power of ultra serialized genre bending television. LOST premiered on ABC on Wednesday September 22nd, 2004, day and date to the Oceanic 815 plane crash within the show, and the autumnal equinox that begins the Fall season. It premiered in 9th place with a Nielsen rating of 6.7, and 18.65 million viewers in the United States. LOST ran for 6 seasons, ending on Sunday, May 23rd with 13.57 million viewers in the United States for the finale, The End. The Pilot episode of LOST earned near universal acclaim from television critics, and the first season of the series earned an Emmy for Best Drama.
Oceanic Flight 815
LOST had the most expensive Pilot in TV history (at the time), mostly due to the cost of purchasing and deconstructing a plane, and then shipping the “wreckage” props to Hawaii. The plane used for the wreckage in the series was a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar. The plane itself is a Boeing 777 in LOST’s canon. After LOST debuted, several series have made reference to the flight and its fictitious airline. A reference was made in the NBC series Chuck to Oceanic flight 815 being shot down with a surface to air missile. Ads for the airline have appeared in the movie Daredevil, and TV series such as Once Upon a Time and Pushing Daisies.
4 8 15 16 23 42, the numbers from LOST have been dissected and studied by many foil hat wearing fans. The origin of the numbers came from JJ Abrams, who insisted that the show should have a series of mysterious digits. When screenwriter David Fury wrote Hurley’s flashback episode Numbers, he culled the numbers from existing aspects of the show. For example, Locke had been in a wheelchair for 4 years, the Oceanic flight number is 8-15, the french woman’s signal played for 16 years, and the departure gate for flight 815 was 23. 42 was added as a reference to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where 42 was the meaning of life. Since Hitchhiker, 42 has been a favorite number in science fiction, Agent Fox Mulder on the X Files lived in apartment #42, for example. After the episode Numbers aired, the numbers began popping up in everything; both in LOST, and in other TV shows, movies, games, and more. In the Hatch, the code to reset the clock was 4 8 15 16 23 42, and the amount of time the clock counted down was 108 minutes (the sum of the numbers). In 2011, 25,587 LOST fans played the numbers in the Mega Millions lottery draw. 4 of the 6 numbers (including the Mega Number) matched the draw, with each of the 25,587 players taking home $150. The numbers were eventually used on the show to represent the final 6 candidates to take over Jacob’s position as guardian of the Island.
LOST was filmed in Oahu, Hawaii, primarily on the island’s southern shore. In the series, the island is a mystical cork that houses the light of the world while imprisoning its malevolence. The Island can change its position in time and space. The DHARMA Initiative found the island in the 1960s and settled there in the 1970s before being wiped out in the purge in either 1987 or 1992. The first known era of civilization on the island were the Romans. Jacob and the Man in Black were the children of one of those settlers, the settlers were later wiped out by the Island’s protector. The bodies found in the cave during season 1 of LOST belonged to Jacob’s brother, the Man in Black, and their adoptive mother, the unnamed pre-Jacob guardian of the island.
The DHARMA Initiative
Department of Heuristics And Research on Material Applications, that is where the name DHARMA comes from. Founded in 1970 by Gerald and Karen DeGroot with funding from Alvar Hanso, the DHARMA Initiative sought to find an answer to The Valenzetti Equation’s prediction of the global extinction of the human race. Their struggles with the island’s hostile native inhabitants lead to their eventual demise. The word Dharma can be found in several eastern religions including Buddhism and Hinduism. In fact, the name itself means religion in Sanskrit. The Dharma symbol includes the 8 trigrams, an icon representing various planes of existence that has existed since 3000 BC in China. The Dharma Initiative has been referenced in the JJ Abrams movie Cloverfield, the Valve video game Half Life 2: Episode 2, and the NBC comedy series The Office (US version).
In 1867 Richard Alpert made it to the island as a slave on a ship called the Black Rock. Encountering the Man in Black, Richard is convinced that Jacob is the Devil, and that he must kill Jacob in order to be with his wife again. After an easily foiled attempt on Jacob’s life, Richard shares a bottle of wine and discusses philosophy with Jacob. Jacob wanted to bring people to the island and have them make the right choices without his intervention. Richard argued that if Jacob didn’t talk to the people he brought to the island, the Man in Black would. Jacob hired Richard as his representative, granting him immortality, making Richard the first Other. The others are always lead by an individual making their own choices with advice from Richard Alpert. The earliest known leader of the others was Charles Widmore, he was supplanted and exiled by Benjamin Linus, who lead the others until Locke was left the position by Ben. After Jacob’s death, the islands inhabitants answered directly to the island’s new, and less anti social guardians. At the end of the series that person was Hurley.
LOST is, perhaps, the most ambitious TV series of all time, a landmark serialized television program, and an important cultural milestone in the way we talk about and share television. Throughout the week we will be paying homage to the series with various featured articles. If this week of coverage inspires you to pick up the show, LOST can currently be seen on Netflix. Stay tuned to TVEnthusiast for more coverage of LOST, and all of your favorite shows. Tell us what you think about our content, as well as your own experiences with LOST in our comments.