The "Lost" school of television....

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Unspeaked, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. Unspeaked macrumors 68020

    Unspeaked

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    #1
    So three years ago, ABC scored a major hit with the mysterious tone and inter-wound plots of "Lost."

    After two years of being the breakout hit in this genre, last year the other networks responded with "Heroes" (NBC) and "Jericho" (CBS), which followed very similar formulas.

    Last season, I really viewed these three shows as three leaves on the same branch of the television tree; are there leaves I'm missing?

    I know several of this year's shows try and ride the wave: certainly "Journeyman." Anything else?

    I'm not just talking crazy, fantasy dramas - I'm talking shows that encourage fans to tie clues together via websites, that incorporate vast timelines that flashback between character's lives, that end on mini-cliffhangers each episode and giant cliff-hangers each season, that have underlying questions (Where's the island? Where did these powers come from? Who dropped the bomb?) that aren't answers for months, if not years, if ever, etc.
     
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #2
    Twin Peaks would be the trunk of this tree... the web wasn't so much of a factor then but there was plenty of other supporting merchandising and promotional material that played a similar role.

    In its two seasons, it changed the face of network television, not least of all bringing motion-picture production values to the small screen and the emphasis on the paranormal, surrealism and red herrings, combined with continuing drama overtones lifted from soaps and old movie serials. Wild Palms and the X-Files arrived not long after on its heels.
     
  3. Unspeaked thread starter macrumors 68020

    Unspeaked

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    #3
    I suppose it's appropriate that someone with the name "Blue Velvet" would bring up Twin Peaks ;)

    Yeah, you're certainly right about Twin Peaks being an early example of the genre. I was thinking of the recent wave of these types of series, though. If we were to go as far back as the 80s, we may as well go further and mention something like "The Prisoner," which could be considered the seed that was planted from which the Twin Peaks trunk grew...
     
  4. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #4
    But The Prisoner's episodes were generally self-contained. Most of them, you could watch in any order as there was no continuing drama aspect nor cliff-hangers at the end of each episode. It also had no supernatural overtones despite its incredibly paranoid cold-war setting, but the questions it raised about society and control were possibly more penetrating than more contemporary productions.

    I wouldn't know about more recent television; I don't own a TV. :D
     
  5. runningman macrumors regular

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    #5
    I think twin peaks was the basis of a new form of television where episodes continued to build off prior episodes and was impossible to pick up in the middle. However, the advent of the internet, the explosion of cell phones and text messaging, and email have allowed the multi dimensional immersion of an individual into the series while allowing others to be able to follow the series without doing this. It reminds me of the late 70s and 80s when we saw the large explosion of dungeon and dragons and people expanding beyond just playing at home and made it an interactive experience.
     
  6. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #6
    The Nine was a short-lived ABC series of the same type. It was the story of the aftermath of a bank robbery, and you gradually learned the backstories of the various characters.

    The show made it through a pilot and 8 more episodes, then it got the axe. Which makes the title kind of ironic!
     
  7. Unspeaked thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #7
    Yeah, I remember The Nine.

    Two other shows that occured to me are The 4400 and Reunion.

    I think Reunion was sacked pretty early (like The Nine) but The 4400 is going strong...
     
  8. MacNut macrumors Core

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    #8
    "24" fits into the genre of having story arcs every episode and a huge season plot.
     
  9. calculus Guest

    calculus

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    #9
    Well there hasn't been anything to beat Twin Peaks or The Prisoner so you aren't missing much...
     
  10. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

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    #10
    Sadly, 4400 has not yet been renewed for S5...it's still on the fence. Too bad, as they do a great job of leaving you hanging, and the action and red herrings come flying fast enough that you don't have time to stop and think how incredibly odd/out of whack the events are.
     
  11. rjphoto macrumors 6502a

    rjphoto

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    #11
    We might as well get rid of ours. No cable or satelite receiver. Just good ol' rabbit ears. (I know, Oh the humanity. Budget is tight right now, hence all the old Macs in the sig.)

    But we got hooked on Lost while on a trip and then found the DVD at the local library.

    We can't pick up ABC were we live, and no Broadband for iTunes for now.
     
  12. Much Ado macrumors 68000

    Much Ado

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    #12
    BSG is all one massive story.
     
  13. Unspeaked thread starter macrumors 68020

    Unspeaked

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    #13
    See, 24 and BSG feel more to me like traditional serials. Yes, they have cliffhangers, but they're not the kind of shows where you need to rearrange some minor character's last name to figure out who the killer is, or freeze frame scenes to put together next season's plot, or keep track of every 5th word someone says to piece together an entirely different dialogue.

    Lost (and Heroes and Jericho) have so much of this constant give and take with the audience. They're much more interactive than a 24, where there's a lot of suspense, but basically you sit back and watch and maybe guess a little but don't actively hunt things and try to decipher scenarios.
     
  14. echeck macrumors 68000

    echeck

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    #14
    :eek:

    My wife and I just got done watching all four seasons over a two-month period and we love it!

    It would be awful to have just begun watching it and then not have it renewed! I do wish they were full 20+ episode seasons instead of just the half seasons.

    We also watch Heroes and Lost, although last season we kind of started losing our Lost addiction. Hopefully season four is compelling enough to bring us back to the fold!

    So how is Jericho? I've always kind of been curious about it, but I've never checked it out. If I like Lost, Heroes, 4400, etc... do you think I would enjoy Jericho?

    EDIT: Oh, another show that my wife and I really enjoy is Eureka; it's on Sci-fi. It's not a cliffhanger show, but it's really good. The Season Two finale was last night. You should go check it out! :D
     
  15. Much Ado macrumors 68000

    Much Ado

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    #15
    Oh yes, 24 certainly is less 'involving', particularly given the somewhat tired old Jack-kicks-terrorist formula that they are now changing. BSG for me is more deep over the course of several series, however, and there are still plenty of mysteries and characters that need deeper exploring (the final five *cough*).

    It's refreshing that we have 'Lost' and the like, though, i take your point completely. People like to slag off 'TV these days' but there is plenty of pioneering going on as well.
     
  16. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #16
    It can be a tough road for these "Lost-type" shows because, by their nature, they have to omit a lot of facts, so they can fill them in as the show's plot evolves. The audience has more trouble getting to know the characters because we're not supposed to know all the facts yet. The shows can be rather confusing, especially if you don't start at the first episode of the first season, or if you miss episodes along the way.

    If the writers are good, the show can be great, but it takes an investment by the audience in thinking about what's happening, remembering characters and plot points, and watching regularly. Having to use your brain, unlike when you watch a sit-com, can be fun, but it's extra work. ABC put a huge marketing effort behind Lost to make sure people got hooked early, and it paid off. Not every show of this type gets that advantage.
     
  17. Unspeaked thread starter macrumors 68020

    Unspeaked

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    #17
    It's also hard to gain new viewers once the season started.

    I mean, if you miss the first episode or two, you're pretty much done (there's always iTunes, though).

    That's why a lot of them start with huge ratings the first week and then get gradually smaller and smaller...

    It's also a shame when they're cancelled, because people invest so much in them and then it's all for nothing - especially when they don't even finish the season and cancel them mid-run.

    I've been lucky as I've not gotten into any that have been cancelled prematurely, though it was really close with Jericho!
     
  18. runningman macrumors regular

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    #18
    I enjoyed the nine and am sorry that it's gone. Similar to Daybreak that was also short lived but similar story line that was short lived.
    I enjoy the 4400 also as it deals with some of the bigotry that we deal with at the present time.
    The other new show that I have enjoyed is Life and plan on watching pushing daisy because it reminds me a bit of 6 feet under when it first started with a little satire humor.
    The difference between these shows and lost and heroes is the multi media experience they have created. With Lost leaving clues all over the internet and heroes continuing back ground stories through samantha, the paper company and the graphic novels.
     
  19. Oneness macrumors regular

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    #19
    And I thought I was behind the times with my 1985 19" Bluescreen Mitsubishi that is running on rabbit ears.
    Good for you.
     
  20. JNB macrumors 604

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    #20
    Coronet Blue.

    And that's all I have to say about that.
     
  21. Black&Tan macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    For the most part, I've given up on the big networks and extended storyline programs. Not that I don't have the attention span, but the networks don't. I've been burned far too often to have faith in them. They also have a tendency to "dumb down" the programs to suit a larger audience. I started watching Jericho, but got frustrated with the miniscule tidbits of storyline, and then CBS started pre-empting and moving the show around. If a show doesn't pull in big numbers immediately, then it's cancelled, and replaced with crap like Kid Nation. But you can't build an audience without steady, new programming. ER was a show that annoyed the hell out of me. New episodes were few and far in between. Why should I be bothered to tune in every week, when more than 60% of the time they're rebroadcasts? Of course, this was before there were DVR's, when you watched every week anxious for something new. Now I can watch only the new episodes when I choose. Unfortunately (for NBC), I've lost interest at this point.

    What the networks don't appear to have the foresight to see is future syndication. With the glut of reality programs, there's very few actual dramas and comedies available for syndication. Two and a Half men is already in syndication even though the series is only 4-5 years old and still producing new episodes.
     
  22. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #22
    The way they've streeeeeeeeeeeetched out the schedule for the remaining Lost episodes makes me wonder if they'll be able to hold the attention of their fan base. They're trying to milk what's left for all it's worth by making it last as long as possible, but I think it's like leaving fresh produce uneaten for days and days so it won't run out. It may go bad or you may lose interest before you ever get to it.
     
  23. Unspeaked thread starter macrumors 68020

    Unspeaked

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    #23
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it doesn't seem to me like Lost is being stretched but rather the remaining seasons, rather than being shown in the topsy-turvy manner the past two seasons aired, are being condensed so they run straight through for several weeks and we avoid the type of on-one-week-off-the-next frustration that Black&Tan brought up earlier...

    The Lost/Heroes/Jericho hiatus last year was so unbearable (and almost killed Jericho, which never recovered from the ratings). I don't understand the point of these waits, and especially for shows as linear as these...
     
  24. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #24
    Showing them in sequence and avoiding the gaps in the schedule are nice improvements, but they are going to air only 16 Lost episodes over the 52 weeks in the year. Technically, they could show the remaining 48 episodes in a single year, but of course that's not realistic. However, airing them over 2 years would have been my choice. Instead, they are going to show 16 in 2008, 16 in 2009, and 16 in 2010 and that's what I meant by stretching it out.
     
  25. echeck macrumors 68000

    echeck

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    #25
    It's ridiculous that they're stretching the remaining episodes over three years. I'm with you in that they should have done it in two.

    I'm fairly certain that by the end of this upcoming season I will have lost all interest in the show. The third season was bad enough, at least up until the finale which I felt was pretty strong.

    I just don't think the writers have it in 'em anymore.

    On a side note, did anyone else catch the pilot for Pushing Daisies last night? It is absolutely hilarious! Very Tim Burton-esque with great writing and actors. I hope it lasts at least a few seasons, but I'm afraid it doesn't appeal to a large enough audience, and like Black&Tan said, if a show doesn't bring in a massive audience right away, it's done. Stupid.
     

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