Jun 14, 2007

Lost Going Cellular

Josh Holloway (Sawyer)

I had the good fortune of spending an hour of quality time on stage Wednesday morning with those charming Lost boys, exec producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, moderating a session at the big Promax conference of TV marketers and promoters. (We were on the Grand Ballroom stage of the New York Hilton immediately before the rousing keynote speech delivered by Bill Clinton, but I’d like to think all of those seats — several thousand, it looked to me — were filled for us.)

The producers remain tight-lipped about last month’s mind-blowing flash-forwarding finale and its implications for the next three seasons, and will remain so until they meet the fans and spill a few of the beans at Comic-Con in late July (maintaining a David Chase-like “radio silence” in the interim to let us debate it among ourselves). But they did assure the audience that, unlike the hotly debated Sopranos finale (which they loved), when the time comes in May 2010 for Lost to take its final bow, it won’t all end in a sudden ambiguous blackout.


Much of the discussion, given the audience on hand, focused on how being a show-runner these days has evolved from merely writing a great TV show to becoming a “brand manager,” overseeing all manner of outside-the-box marketing projects to keep the buzz going. It's an especially critical task now that Lost will be on such long breaks between seasons.

This fall, the new twist for Lost will be a series of “mobisodes,” mini-episodes available exclusively from Verizon, intended to drive traffic to the December release of the Season 3 DVD and keep interest in the show alive until the mother ship returns in February. Deals have been struck with the major cast members to appear in these mini-episodes, an important breakthrough since the producers know what a tease it would be if these video teasers were only focused on minor characters, or anonymous beach dwellers. (Cuse called those extras “socks,” as in sock puppets, a phrase I wasn’t acquainted with but which I found pretty funny.) They seem to have learned their lesson from the Nikki-Paulo debacle.

Cuse says the mini-mobisodes will be structured around a mystery theme, but more casual viewers (who’ve heretofore resisted the lure of the online “Lost Experience”) won’t have to worry that they’ll be left in the dark if they don’t indulge.

Even so, it’s going to be an excruciatingly long time to be left on hold between seasons.

Regarding the finale, about the only concession I got from the guys is that, like in my own mailbag, the most frequently asked question is why Jack referred several times in the flash-forward to his dad being alive. The simple answer (and the possible answer, I couldn’t quite tell from the way they were talking about it), of course, is that Jack was disoriented from all the pills and booze and just made a mistake. Or perhaps there’s more to it. (Isn't there always?) Just one more provocative mystery among the myriad others that will keep haunting us until February at least.


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