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Lost | The first mainstream phenomenon on TV

Posted on 19 March, 2020

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USA
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Produced and aired by ABC, Lost is the intertwined past, present, and future story of a group of plane crash survivors who land on a mysterious island and slowly try to find their way back home. In 2004 – on the verge of a new social media and streaming-dominated era – there were other popular shows, such as The Sopranos, The X-files, and Twin Peaks. However, thanks to its combination of subgenres, non-linear timeline, and complex characters – Lost became the first real mainstream phenomenon on TV.

In 2008 a group of fans created a Wiki fandom section in its honor. Lostpedia features more than 7.380 articles and several sections that explore all its inside elements like ‘Mysteries,’ ‘Cultural references,’ and ‘Literary techniques.’

The Chinese box structure

Part of this lucky fate is due to the show’s Chinese box structure, which has since then influenced many more choral TV shows (Dark, Sense8, and The Leftovers, among others). Ten years after airing a long-debated series finale, its creator Damon Lindelof tried to explain in an interview to Esquire why everyone was still talking about it. “When you talk about something like faith and science on a meta-level, it doesn’t matter what the show said. When the show ends, there are still all these questions that are going to exist. Is there always a scientific explanation for everything in the natural world? Is there a God? The show isn’t going to be able to answer that.”

Lost posits fundamental dualist questions about good and evil, presence and absence, life and death, and rationality and impulse. It reveals different sides of mankind in both complex and relatable ways. These features have granted the show an n.8 position on the top 100 Shows of all time list made by IGN. Lost became the first mainstream phenomenon on TV and a very successful example of philosophical entertainment.

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