Just to catch everyone up real quick, Lost was a vaguely fantasy drama that ran on ABC from 2004 to 2010. It featured a cast of roughly three dozen people, shifting timelines, a smoke monster, ‘the others,’ a hippy commune that didn’t really seem to get hippies, a really concerning lack of communication, a never ending series of poor decisions, JJ fucking Abrams fucking mystery box filled with (surprise, surprise) absolutely fucking nothing of substance, one of the best TV pilots, a really uneven six seasons, and easily the worst series finale I’ve personally seen. Granted, I haven’t watched Game of Thrones or Dexter, but the series finale of Lost managed to retroactively ruin the only thing the entire last season had going for it, so that has to count for fucking something.
I loved this show. I still love most of it. Back when physical media was a thing I owned five out of the six seasons on DVD and rewatched them regularly. I still think the fifth season finale is a far better ending than the actual ending, which can just fuck right off. I’ve never been so mad at a piece of media. No, wait. I’ve only ever been this mad at another piece of media once, and that was X-Men: Apocalypse because A, it was boring as sin, and B, how are you going to finally put Jubilee in a movie and then not let her use her fucking powers??
ANYway, I’m a big believer in remaking things that almost worked, and I really wish someone would get on remaking this show, because I think with a splash of paint and a couple hits with a baseball bat you could make something actually, fully good.
Also, spoilers, in case you care about a not-entirely-well regarded show that’s been off the air for a decade.
Get it the fuck off network television. This is true for everything. There’s too many restrictions to what you can do, and to what you have to do. Specifically, season length. Back when this show started, a typical network drama was ordered for around 22-24 episodes a season. They didn’t do half orders unless it was a mid-season replacement, so if you were running a show you had to come up with that much content, even if the story you were telling didn’t really call for it (I am 100% talking out of my ass on this, folks, do not quote me). The fact that the last three seasons were so short is a testament to how much power the creators of the show had at ABC, and how fast television was evolving in those years. So, if someone is going to wrench Lost from Disney’s hands, or – more realistically – if Disney remakes it and puts it on Disney+, the first thing they have to do is:
Tighten that shit up. No, wait, the real first thing they have to do is:
Plot out the whole fucking show. You heard me. No more of this ‘meander around a vague plot and hope we figure out something clever before we get to the end.’ It didn’t work the first time, it’s not going to work the next time, it’s never going to work any time so stop it. Stuff a bunch of writers in a room, lock the door, and don’t let them out until they can describe the finale to you. Once they have that done, you can:
Tighten that shit up. There was too many fucking people in this show, and not nearly enough of them mattered. A side effect of the meandering, because many of these characters ended up dead before their plot had any functional resolution, anyway. Off the top of my head, they could re-do this show and leave Shannon and Boone, Nikki and Paulo, and all of the fucking ‘tailies’ on the cutting room floor and not lose a step of momentum. Do you remember that literally all of the people from the tail section who survived were dead by the end of the season? Except Bernard. And I will fucking fight for Rose and Bernard.
So, cut down your characters to the core and then cut down the episodes. There are literal hours of filler that can be shaved away to make this show better, including a lot of the flashbacks. Not the entire idea of flashbacks (and flash-forwards, and flash-whateverthefucks), but some of them were just a little on the really stupid side.
Lean into the fantasy aspects of this show. Even back in the day when I was watching this I always got the sense that ABC wasn’t exactly comfortable with one of their biggest shows having such a fantasy bent. Which…what? You’re owned by Disney. Why are we pussy-footing around the idea of one guy seeing the future, another guy talking to the dead? Part of it might have just been the era. The 2000s, for the most part, was very much the era of taking fun stories with fantastical elements and coating them with that gray paint of reality (looking at you, Nolan’s Batman). Well, now we as a society are obviously over that, so let that freak flag fly. It’s a fucking tropical island that is inexplicably holding back a great evil that wants to destroy the world (for some reason) and also there’s a donkey wheel that can move it in time and also it can occasionally explode and knock planes out of the sky, and I for one am ready for all that to be the tip of the iceberg and not what’s left of the melting Arctic.
Change the entire last season, and make the flash-sideways actually flash-sideways. I hated 97% of the series finale, but the moment I hated the most was the moment I realized that the season long “flash-sideways” that were supposedly peering into an alternate dimension, were actually peering into the afterlife and everyone was dead and had been dead and every single minute we had spent in the sixth season watching these flash-sideways were actually meaningless because everyone was fucking dead and just because they didn’t know it right away and just because it was ‘only’ half of the last season doesn’t make it hurt any less these fucking people spent six god damned years telling everyone the island wasn’t purgatory but they still managed to shove purgatory in there some-fucking-how and thus told an entirely meaningless story because it’s purgatory and once they fucking realized that, everything they were feeling and struggling with just washes away in a heavenly fucking light and seriously, seriously, I will never stop being mad about this, not as long as I’m breathing, it’s such cheap storytelling and they did things to make it seem like it was an alternate reality, they fucking tricked us so we wouldn’t riot well jokes on them I’ve been rioting about this every fuCKING DAY IN MY HEART OF HEARTS CARLTON CUSE YOU ARE A HACK I HOPE YOU ALWAYS FORGET THE WORD YOU WANT JUST AS YOU ARE ABOUT TO TYPE IT.
Ugh. Never mind. I’ve changed my mind. Don’t ever remake this show. I need scotch.