Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Is Lost The Best Written TV Show Ever?

I remember when I watched the pilot for this show. Someone slipped me an early screener. The promos hadn't even started yet. It was before all the hype, before all the buzz. All I knew was that it sounded like a cool concept. A plane crashes on an island and there are survivors. In no way was I prepared for what I watched. It was easily the best pilot episode for any show I had ever seen.

Michael Eisner, then calling the shots for Disney/ABC, famously said about Lost, a show he viciously opposed greenlighting, "Who's going to care? A bunch of people crash land on an island. Then what?" I'll tell you what, Michael: Flashbacks. The risky structure of flashing back to the character's previous lives, while simultaneously making every character on the island the protagonist, just wasn't done. And if you're going to put a show up against the best TV shows of all time, it has to have changed the game somehow. And there's no question that Lost changed the game. I will never forget watching the third episode in the series, Walkabout, in which John Locke's character was higlighted. To me, that's the best hour of television I've ever seen.

Now I won't pretend like the show didn't get "lost" at times. The third season was...err...umm...interesting? But just when you thought the show didn't have any more rabbits to pull out of its hat, it found its rhthym again and gave us some superb television. I don't know if I'd call Lost the best show ever written. But everything considering, I'd say it's somewhere in the conversation. Here we are on the eve of the final season, so I pose this question to you: Is Lost the best written TV show ever?

Script Link: Pilot episode