Lost (TV series)

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This article is about the drama series. For other uses, see Lost (disambiguation).

Template:Infobox television Lost is an American drama/adventure television series surrounding the survivors of a plane crash on a mysterious tropical island in the South Pacific.




Lost was developed by ABC television after former studio executive Lloyd Braun pitched an idea about how civilised survivors of a plane crash would cope when stranded on a remote and uninhabited island to series' creator J.J. Abrams in January 2004. Abrams collaborated with Damon Lindelof to create the show and the pair are largely responsible for the program's unique style and characters. The shows' producers were under a very tight deadline as Lost had been comissioned comparitively late for the season it was due to run in but the creative team remained flexible and had such faith in their cast that they were not afraid to modify or create certain characters to fit in actors they wished to cast rather than vice versa as is often the norm.

While Lost's pilot episode was criticised for being the most expensive pilot episode in television history the show became one of the biggest critical and commercial successes of the 2004 television season and, along with fellow new series Desperate Housewives, helped to reverse the flagging fortunes of broadcaster ABC which had to a large extent been floundering in comparison with it's rivals. In September 2005, Lost won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series and Abrams was awarded an Emmy for his work as director of the pilot.

The series tracks two major themes. The primary focus of the show is how the forty-eight survivors of the crash cope with living together on a strange island. The show also focuses upon how the choices the fourteen main characters make on the island are influenced by choices they have made in the past.

In most episodes the show focuses upon the actions of a specific character and includes flashbacks from that character's past, which provides an insight into that character's backstory and motivations. During the first season the flashbacks revealed why each character was on the doomed flight but in the second delved further into the history of particular characters and revealed more of their pasts. There are exceptions to this formulaic character-based structure however for example in the pilot and during the season one finale episodes there were flashbacks from several characters and the depiction of action on the island involved a much more general approach, similarly during "The Other 48 Days" episode in series 2 the flashbacks focused on the backstory of flight 815's tail section survivors and did not feature any action prior to the departure of the flight.

The show is produced by Bad Robot Production and Touchstone Television and the music is composed by Michael Giacchino.

Season synopses

Season one: 2004-2005

Main article: Episodes of Lost (Season 1)

A plane crash strands the surviving passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 on a seemingly deserted tropical island, forcing the group of strangers to work together to stay alive. However, their survival may also ultimately depend on unraveling the mysteries of the island, including the contents of a hatch buried in the ground, the origins of an enormous creature that roams the jungle, and the motives of the unknown "Others" who may also inhabit the island.

Season two: 2005-2006

Main article: Episodes of Lost (Season 2)

Season two began airing September 21, 2005. Several new characters appear in the new season, including Ana-Lucia Cortez, Libby, and the mysterious Mr. Eko. This season begins 44 days after the crash and also introduces The Dharma Initiative and its benefactor, The Hanso Foundation, which may be responsible for some or all of the strange occurrences on the island.

Story elements

There are several recurring story elements on Lost, which drive central plot points and the development of the survivors as they try to live on the island.

Story themes

Dichotomy of faiths

The Dichotomy of faiths is a philosophical motif within Lost that is very prominent as of late, and also reflects the theoretical cause of the plane's crash. The conflict between John Locke and Jack Shephard was defined in season 1, and encapsulated in the season 2 episode "Man of Science, Man of Faith." Both Jack and Locke exhibit different views on life itself, in deviations of existentialism. As a doctor, Jack believes everything, including what happens on the island, can be logically and scientifically explained. Locke holds an unbound faith in fate and destiny, believing that they are being tested by impalpable forces that require no tangible explanation. From this original dichotomy, there has developed a second contrast, this time between Locke and Mr. Eko who, as opposed to possessing a general faith in fate, holds a religious faith in God. Both Locke and Eko believe that things happen for a reason. However, they believe the source and reasons for these occurrences to be quite different.


Most of the major characters have fathers who are or were either absent, reluctant, or destructive. Thus far, the father issues of Locke, Jack, Sawyer, Walt, and Kate have been the most well explored, with Locke in particular being the victim of a wretched betrayal in "Deus Ex Machina". These characters are not alone, however: Aaron was abandoned by his father (Claire's boyfriend Thomas), Claire's past with her father has been alluded to, Shannon's father is dead, Hurley's father is absent (although he does talk about "Fishing with his old man" in "Walkabout"), and Sun's father is a particularly destructive force. In contrast to this prevalence of father issues, the only main character whose father seems to have been a positive force is Jin's: It was Jin's shame at his father's poverty that led him to tell Sun and others that his father was dead. Additionally, though previously absent, Michael is working diligently at being a good father to Walt. Up until now, there has been little to no mention of the fathers of Boone, Sayid, or Charlie.

In season two, it is revealed that Shannon was at odds with her stepmother over the money left behind by her father. Ana Lucia, the first new cast member of the season, is portrayed as being in conflict with her mother, who works in the LAPD and whose professional seniority provides a situation comparable to Jack and his father. In the flashbacks, Ana Lucia was pregnant when shot; and losing her future child influences her actions on the island. Kate's initial crime is shown to be the murder of her stepfather upon learning that he was her biological father. As well, it is Kate's mother who subsequently informs the police that Kate was the one who killed Wayne, her father.


Many of the characters are in one way or another finding redemption and second chances as a result of being on the island. Locke is the first character to do so, when he discovers that he has mysteriously regained use of his legs and brings back food to the survivors; after this, Locke begins to lead many of the other characters towards their own personal redemption: he gathers water for the other survivors, a move which helps encourage Jack to become the de facto leader of the group; he helps Charlie kick his heroin habit; he encourages Sawyer to face his past misdeeds involving an incident that transpired before Sawyer left Australia; he helps Boone let go of his relationship with Shannon; he finds Walt's lost dog and allows Michael to take credit, and then later helps Michael bond with/save Walt when Walt is attacked by a polar bear; and his philosophizing to Shannon encourages her to pursue a relationship with Sayid. In the season 1 finale, Sawyer is heard uncharacteristically singing Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" as he sets sail to find help.

This can also refer to the title, giving it a double meaning of people being 'lost' or 'adrift' in life, but finding themselves and getting a chance to make things right on the island.

Symbols and motifs

Black and white

The colors black and white, which traditionally reflect good or positive forces versus evil or negative forces, have been featured a number of times, often brought together, particularly in regard to John Locke.

  • In "Pilot", Locke shows Walt a black and a white backgammon piece and says, "Two players, two sides — one is light, one is dark." Backgammon is played on the island at various points.
  • In "House of the Rising Sun", Jack finds a pouch on a pair of mummified corpses, nicknamed "Adam and Eve" by the survivors, containing one white stone and one black stone, which he then hides from Locke.
  • In the opening sequence of "Raised by Another", Claire has a nightmare in which Locke has one black eyeball and one white eyeball, and the cards he uses for playing are black-and-white.
  • The Dharma Initiative logo is black-and-white.
  • The frames of Sawyer's glasses are fused from two separate pairs: one white, the other black.
  • In the final scene of "Collision," Jack and Ana Lucia are facing each other, with Jack wearing a white shirt and Ana Lucia wearing a black shirt.
  • Rose, a survivor from the mid-section of the plane, is black, while her husband, Bernard, who survived in the tail section, is white.
  • The show's most spiritual characters, Locke and Eko, are white and black respectively, and will develop a "seminal mystical relationship."
  • The black horse that Kate sees on the island stands in stark contrast to the white polar bear


The number sequence 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 is a recurring and significant story element. This string of numbers was broadcast from the Island's radio transmitter, and it was this message that drew Rousseau's expedition to the island. Although she later changed the message after the deaths of her team, the numbers had also been heard by others, eventually making their way to Hurley, who used them to win the lottery. However, after his win, a series of misfortunes began to happen to those around Hurley, leading him to believe the numbers are cursed. His search for answers led him to Australia and, through the crash, to the island itself, where he ultimately discovers the numbers engraved on the hatch. Inside the bunker, the same numbers appear on the occupant's medicine bottles, and make up a code that must be entered into the computer. The sum of these six numbers, 108, has also become significant in connection to the Dharma Initiative. This number appears on a mural inside the Initiative's Station Three, and the full sequence of numbers must be entered into the computer every 108 minutes. These numbers also frequently appear individually throughout the lives of the survivors, both before and after the crash.

Character names

The nature of the show is often personified through the names of characters on the show, in particular through the resemblence between the names of characters and famous philosophers or scientists. While the characters themselves often hold similar ideals to their eponyms, on the whole, the theories of the philosphers bear a distinct relationship to the themes and motifs of the show.

  • John Locke and Danielle Rousseau are both named for famous social contract philosophers who dealt with the relationship between nature and civilization. Locke shares his name with English philosopher John Locke, who believed that in a natural state, all men had equal rights to punish transgressors; to ensure fair judgment for all, governments were formed to better administrate the laws. He believed all men were born with a tabula rasa or blank slate (also the name of an episode in Season 1). The tabula rasa theory claims humans are born without any innate knowledge or experience, and their identity is a product of their decisions and choices in life.
  • Danielle Rousseau is named for the Franco-Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who argued that man is born weak and ignorant, but virtuous nonetheless. Only after man develops society does he become wicked. His theory of the Noble Savage hypothesized that a child raised in the wilderness independent of human society and culture would be an objectively superior person with regards to a universal set of ethics.
  • Locke's father, Anthony Cooper, was named for Lord Anthony Ashley-Cooper, the real-world John Locke's political mentor and patron.
  • Boone Carlyle shares his name with Thomas Carlyle, a philosopher who spoke of the organization and structure of society and their leaders, who he proclaimed were inevitably flawed.

Literary references

Literary works are frequently displayed or referenced within Lost:


Many episodes of Lost have opened with a closeup shot on a character's eye, in most cases the character whose flashbacks would be featured in that episode.

The Dharma Initiative logos

The Dharma Initiative logos resemble the Taoist symbol known as the Bagua, and also the borders have associations with the trigrams of the Chinese philosophy I-Ching. This logo is prevalent across the island, appearing in the bunkers and most of their contents as well as on the tail of the shark that circles Michael and Sawyer in "Adrift".

Fan speculation

Lost's mythology is as complex as that of other shows of a similar nature, such as The X-Files, Twin Peaks, and Babylon 5. This complexity, and the unresolved questions it spawns, have led to rampant speculation and theorizing among fans, mainly concerning the nature of the island, the origins of the "security system" and the Others, the meaning of the numbers and the reasons for both the crash and the survival of some passengers. Several of the more common fan theories have been discussed and dismissed by the producers, including:

Cast and characters

Main article: Characters of Lost

Lost in other media

In addition to the television series, the characters and setting of Lost have appeared in the following official tie-ins:

  • A diary by a survivor was incorporated into the official ABC web site for the show.
  • The interactive back-stories of several characters are included in Lost Untold, a section on the Channel 4 Lost website.
  • The book, Lost: Endangered Species by Cathy Hapka was released in 2005. Another tie-in novel by Hapka, Lost: Secret Identity, is scheduled for release in January, 2006 and a third, Lost: Signs of Life by Frank Thompson, will be released in March, 2006.
  • In early 2006, Verizon Wireless will distribute the Lost Video Diaries to its subscribers. Each video diary will run several minutes and cover events not seen in the television episodes.
  • Hyperion Books will be publishing a metafictional book entitled Bad Twin, written by fictional author Gary Troup who was a passenger of Oceanic Flight 815.


Note: Awards won are not listed under nominations.



  • Best Television Series - Drama (2005)
  • Best Director of a Television Series - Drama, Pilot Part 1 & 2 J.J. Abrams (2005)
  • Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series - April Webster, Mandy Sherman, Alyssa Weisberg, Veronica Collins (2005)
  • Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series - Mary Jo Markey (2005)
  • Outstanding Music Composition for a Series - Michael Giacchino (2005)
  • Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series - Pilot: Kevin Blank, Mitch Suskin, et al. (2005)



Golden Globes:

  • Best Television Series - Drama (2005)
  • Best Television Series - Drama (2006)
  • Best Actor in a Television Series - Drama Matthew Fox (2006)
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series - Drama Naveen Andrews (2006)

Writers Guild of America:

  • Outstanding Acheivement in Writing - Dramatic Series (2005)


The book DisneyWar briefly covers some aspects the conception and production of Lost. According to DisneyWar, Michael Eisner, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company at the time, disliked the concept for the show. Lloyd Braun boldly procedeed with the production of the show but was later fired. In an interview with James B. Stewart, Eisner said a week after the Lost debut, "Lost is terrible. The pilot was two hours; it was broken into two one-hour episodes. Then the show goes off a cliff. There's no more plane crash! Who cares about these people on a desert island?"

See also

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations by or about:

Official tie-in sites
Production related sites
Network sites

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