Lost Is The Worst Thing To Happen To Sci-Fi Television

By Shanna Mathews-Mendez | Published

The American sci-fi drama series Lost, which premiered its first season in September 2004, almost twenty years ago, had incredible potential. Sadly, over the course of its six seasons, the show descended into madness, silliness, and ridiculous plotlines, making it the worst thing to happen to science fiction since… well… ever. 

J.J. Abrams Has Had Some Hits

star trek movie

J.J. Abrams has had a bright, brilliant career as a writer, director, and creator. He has brought us fantastic Star Trek films, worked on the Star Wars saga, and done spectacular work with shows like Fringe and Alias. He’s got a mind for interesting plots, great dialogue, and fascinating concepts. 

Lost Starts With Great Characters

So what happened with Lost? After all, it started out with a bang that had everyone’s attention. We come upon the aftermath of a plane crash and its survivors on an island. We meet Jack Shephard, played by Matthew Fox. He’s clearly a leader right from the start. A spinal surgeon, he’s quick-thinking and clear-headed, and people listen to him. 

An Ensemble Show

We also meet Sawyer, played by Josh Holloway, as the hotheaded, charismatic playboy who always finds himself at odds with Jack. Kate (Evangeline Lilly) is the criminal on the run from tragedy who becomes Jack’s love interest. Boone Carlyle (Ian Somerhalder) and Shannon Rutherford (Maggie Grace) are the lost stepbrother and sister. Michael Dawson (Harold Perrineau) is desperate to save his son, and the fabulous Hurley (Jorge Garcia) brings comic relief. These are but a handful of the interesting characters with rich backstories. 

The Moment When Things Started Going Wrong

In the first season of Lost, the survivors hope to be found, yet they know they must find a way to continue to make it on the island until that happens. Strange things start happening almost immediately. It’s a tropical island, and yet they encounter polar bears? There’s a “smoke monster” that seems to inhabit the interior spaces of the island, in the jungle, and kills the pilot(?).

So Many Flashbacks

Lost viewers also start as hopeful, investing in the core members on the island as we see them in the present and in flashbacks. The writing, in this respect, is good, and the mystery surrounding what’s happening on the island is intense, keeping us on the edges of our seats. As the Others enter the drama, people who have also been lost on the island, the drama is heightened. We have so many questions. 

But when the first season ended with the crew busting open the hatch they had been trying to get into for several episodes and left us on a cliffhanger that was the last time we would fall for the hijinks of Lost. Why? Because they came back with five more seasons of questions and few answers. 

There Was No Plan

Come to find out JJ Abrams had no idea what he was doing with Lost. He has revealed in interviews that the entire premise of the show, for six whole seasons, was one big “what if?” after another. What if there’s a bunker? What if there’s a ship? What if there’s a different timeline? What if Michael becomes a villain, we finally get rid of him, and then he comes back? What if the smoke monster is a man? What if there’s a temple? 

A Series Without A Plan

Perhaps worst of all, in Lost, what if they were dead all along? Come on! None of it ever made sense, and the writers never resolved their what-ifs, just keeping viewers increasingly frustrated. Were there moments of brilliance? Sure. The connections among the characters were great. But for a brilliant sci-fi mind like Abrams and his writer to just make it up as they went felt like an insult to sci-fi fans. 

Honestly, I was hesitant to trust J.J. Abrams again after finishing Lost. Fortunately, he has more than redeemed himself since then.