When Lost crash-landed on ABC in the fall of 2004, few expected it to run as long as it did, let alone make it past year one—creative team included. The pilot was rushed and the premise so whimsical and unsustainable—50 castaways survive a plane crash on a deserted island and have to learn to co-exist until rescue—that it seemed like sure-fire cancel bait.
Well, that rushed pilot went on to become one of TV's best debut episodes of all time, the season played out with the confidence and efficiency of a classic debut album, and on top of that, regularly averaged upwards of 16 million viewers a week. A masterful blend of action/adventure with mystery, and genuinely affecting characters made the show an instant hit. Simply put, its narrative fearlessness and execution was refreshing. But the unanimous praise was not built to last (does it ever?). As Lost's narrative went further and further down the rabbit hole and evolved from the relative simplicity of the first season, so too did it stray further from perfection.
Everyone has a different opinion about where Lost went off the rails. Some jumped ship during season three’s extended stay with the Others. Others felt like the show blew itself up quicker than a stick of Black Rock dynamite when it went full sci-fi by incorporating time travel during season five. Many stuck around to “The End,” only to feel gypped and betrayed when the Sideways world didn’t line up with their own predictions.
With Lost, it isn't so much a case of a great series making a few memorable mistakes, but instead a great series that endured so many fails, it forced audiences to consider just how many fuck-ups can one allow a show before it must be knocked down a few pegs in the history books.
Six seasons later, Lost is indisputably a classic TV series, one that changed its medium and its genre in several ways in both storytelling and programming. But in its wake, the debate over the show's deserving place in the TV pantheon still rages.
Executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, affectionately referred to by fans as "Darlton," may go down in history as TV's most harassed showrunners. They did their best to finish what they started and please as much of the audience as possible, but ultimately, they wrote the ending they wanted to make. We enjoyed the end. But the road there? Bumpy as hell. These are Lost's 25 Biggest Flaws.
Written by Frazier Tharpe (@The_SummerMan)