Tagged: lost

Cast Away

Lindelof, on the other hand? He describes his response to those huge premiere ratings as “Terror, depression, anxiety, anxiety attacks. I’m not exaggerating. Everybody who was around me at the time knows I pretty much wanted to die, and knowing that wasn’t going to happen unless I took matters into my hands, I just wanted to quit. But there was literally no one to quit to.”

— This excerpt from “The Revolution Was Televised,” the new book from Alan Sepinwall, looks at the oft-discussed origins of “Lost.” Most of this isn’t new, but it’s still interesting to hear how the show came together (though the series did obviously end as a massive, grating disappointment, story-wise).

Brad Bird might direct Damon Lindelof’s mysterious Disney script, which he wrote with a pro-“Lost” journalist

Human stress headache Damon Lindelof snagged a big deal last year to write a script for Disney. Because Lindelof operates by the J.J. Abrams code of “mysteriousness for the sake of mysteriousness, and also marketing,” we don’t know anything about this movie. We know it’s called “1952” — at least that is the title right now — and we know Disney hopes it will be a big tentpole movie for them.

Now Brad Bird has gone and signed up to direct the movie, balancing out Lindelof’s raging Lindelof-ness with his sterling track record. Bird’s involvement gives me hope for this movie. The man behind “The Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille” made his live-action debut with last year’s thrilling “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” proving that he can make essentially anything excellent. The only hitch here is that Bird also has a couple of other projects he’s working on, like his movie about the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. Disney wants this thing in production next year, so we will have to see what happens as development progresses.

Meanwhile, an interesting name appeared in the Toldja! Gazette story about Bird signing on to this movie: Jeff Jensen, Lindelof’s co-writer. Is this the same Jeff Jensen who writes for Entertainment Weekly — the very same Jensen who wrote glowingly about Lindelof’s “Lost” for so many years? Apparently yes, yes it is! (EW announced this last summer, but I didn’t see it at the time.) “The duo’s relationship began after ‘Lost’ ended in May 2010,” EW assures us. That still left plenty of opportunity for fun conflicts of interest.

EW says that per company policy (the magazine is published by Time Inc. and owned by Time Warner) Jensen can still write about movies and TV, he just can’t write about anything Disney related. Obviously EW is far from a bastion of journalistic integrity — take their shamelessness in pandering to “Twilight” fans, to offer one prominent example — and this is also something they have to deal with when they write about Warner Bros. movies, TV shows and the like.

But this is still interesting! Jensen wrote glowingly overwrought raves about “Lost” for years. A few months after the controversial/bad series finale (which he liked), he got Lindelof and Carlton Cuse to discuss the episode and fan reactions. This was a mere 10 months before it was announced that he was working with Lindelof on the “1952” script. He also wrote two more glowing, ponderously wordy missives about “Lost” a year after the finale aired; he did not seem to make any mention of his collaboration with Lindelof, despite this being mere weeks before the “1952” deal was announced. It seems likely that he knew he was working with Lindelof when he sat down with them a few months after the finale aired; he also had to know he was about to receive a big payday from Disney when he revisited the show a year after the finale.

So when, exactly, did his relationship with Lindelof turn into a business partnership? Was this something they discussed during the years Jensen was covering the show for a major magazine? This isn’t a huge deal in the big scheme of things; again, nobody goes to EW for incisive, honest commentary, and anybody reading Jensen’s “Lost” stuff knew he revered the show and wasn’t too critical. But what if he had a major critique late in the show’s run and he opted not to share it? What if knowing they might work together changed how he covered the show? What if he knew offending Lindelof meant potentially not working together later? What if his opinion of the finale was skewed by this, consciously or not? And what about in the weeks and months after the finale aired, where he and Lindelof were working on a script (Lindelof would go on to sign a seven-figure deal to write and produce it; no mention is made of Jensen’s compensation) while Jensen continued to defend “Lost” and received access to the show’s creators?

These are questions we can expect the journalists at Entertainment Weekly to tackle any day now, right?

Damon Lindelof has some Damon Lindelof-y things to say about “The Killing”

Damon Lindelof is the co-creator of “Lost.” He has also done other things, but all he would like you to know is that he created “Lost” and cannot shut his goddamn mouth about that. I know what you’re thinking: Mark, if you had co-created “Lost,” wouldn’t you talk about it all the time? And the answer is probably, but I would also hopefully talk about the show in terms of lessons learned and overall experiences and artistic goals, rather than repeatedly whining because people didn’t like my finale. Which is what Damon Lindelof does seemingly every chance he gets.

(Damon Lindelof is also the kind of guy who will go to an event in Anaheim in March dressed like this — wearing a knit beanie! — because we all know how unseasonably cold it can be inside convention centers in southern California in March.)

His latest opportunity to talk about himself and the “Lost” finale? A guest column for the Hollywood Reporter defending “The Killing,” which was the Internet’s least favorite series after it failed to answer the central question of the show in the finale. (More accurately, it failed to answer that question with a last-second fakeout, and it was also dull and pointless, so there were really a lot of things wrong with it besides that season-ending failure.) I’m amazed he didn’t write this for Slate. Anyway, this sort of thing just demands the Fire Joe Morgan treatment so we can deal with his column point by point: Continue reading

Damon Lindelof wants to remind you that yep, he’s still the worst

Damon Lindelof co-created and ran “Lost,” a television show that lots of people used to like. The series ended last year (poorly) and you can bet it’ll be largely forgotten in another five or six years, because unlike “The Sopranos” and shows of that class, “Lost” ultimately wound up being a grand but failed experiment, though of course some poor souls will still roam the planet wondering why they wasted six years of their lives on the thing.

Anyway, Damon Lindelof co-created the show! And during a recent speech in New York, he admitted things that everyone already knew (that they made stuff up as they went along*, which was blatantly evident, and also confirmed by David Fury years ago) and revealed a few new tidbits (he tried to quit several times, he claims).

Someone ran with the “Hey, the guy from ‘Lost’ admitted they made stuff up as they went along” and Lindelof got snippy, taking to Twitter to share this garbage:

I particularly like the snippy joke about those “Lost” imitators that flamed out, because it’s hilarious that those shows failed miserably whereas “Lost” succeeded**. That’s just so witty! So that is your latest Damon Lindelof update: Still the worst.

* – I don’t particularly care that they made stuff up as they went along. For one thing: Duh. But that’s also the nature of television, where you can spend forever and a day on a pilot, make countless tweaks and changes along the way, and still not know if it’s making it to air, and even if it does make it to air you’re not sure if it will last for a week or a month or 12 seasons, and even then you’re not sure which stories will resonate with the audience or which cast members will decide to bail after two years or something. Planning every little thing in advance isn’t a necessity.

The annoying thing about this aspect of “Lost” wasn’t that they made it up as they went along. It was the fact that (1) They didn’t actually resolve all of the stories and mysteries, (2) The show’s creators claimed, over the years, to have it all planned out, to know what it all meant and promised that it would all be resolved and (3) Even now, Lindelof is still complaining that fans wanted to have input while also wanting them to have the whole thing sketched out, which is dumb because only a very small minority of fans actually wanted to dictate the storytelling process. Sure, some fans would have loved it if they predicted what the numbers meant or something. But most fans just wanted to watch a smart and comprehensible show. They didn’t think they were writing the thing. The fact that some “Lost” fans were very vocal about this or that over the years does not mean the show’s creators had to actually listen to it and assume that this vocal minority spoke for the majority. Did David Chase write A.J. out of “The Sopranos” because he was the worst? Of course not. Most fans understand that this is how television works. Now, Lindelof and his cohort, Carlton Cuse, were perhaps more fan-accessible than most show runners — because they seemed to be in love with the media attention and seemingly gave 30 interviews a day, leaving scant time to come up with a proper ending for the show — and on some things (i.e. Nikki and Paolo, minor characters introduced at the moment many fans were abandoning the show) they listend to the public outcry. That doesn’t mean the fans are responsible for Lindelof and Cuse’s inability to properly finish the show without whining about how all the audience kept offering their own thoughts and theories.

** – Of course, the main reason “Lost” even got onto the airwaves the way it did was because of J.J. Abrams, an established screenwriter and television producer known and respected for “Alias.” Abrams directed the pilot and gave the whole thing a cachet it wouldn’t have had if it was just “From the mind behind ‘Crossing Jordan'” or something.

Looking Back On The “Lost” Finale

A lengthy digression about “Lost,” television premieres and finales, “The Sopranos,” the entirety of “Lost” and reconsidering “The End” a year later. Again, it’s long, so ye be warned.

It’s been a year since the final episode of “Lost” aired. At the time, fans were incredibly divided, and it felt like nearly everybody who had an opinion had a vehement one. They either adored it or they utterly abhorred it, and while plenty of people probably had mixed emotions, as is often the case they weren’t the loudest voices. Personally, I enjoyed parts of the episode, didn’t love other parts and my feelings on the finale mostly informed and actualized my feelings w/r/t the series as a whole: It didn’t pan out.

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George R.R. Martin forced to discuss “Lost” and make more intelligent points about the show’s “terrible ending”

By the time we reached the finale, I was still hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. I still think ‘Lost’ told a terrific story… a terrific story with a terrible ending.

— That’s George R.R. Martin, author of “A Game of Thrones,” forced yet again to discuss “Lost” because he made an (astute) comment about that show’s ending and that show’s co-creator took offense. You’ve got to hand it to Martin: Even though this provoked a minor hubbub (because Damon Lindelof is as thin-skinned as they come and loves any media attention, apparently), and even though he’s out promoting “Game of Thrones” and talking to a lot of TV reporters and they are all still obsessed with anything “Lost,” he still says he only has “the most cursory awareness of these recent storms on the Internet.” He is actually very diplomatic about the whole thing, and discusses the problem with finales on television and in general. Also: In the quote above, Martin yet again makes an empirically correct statement, so he has that going for him.

New Cultural Idioms: “Do a ‘Lost'”

“Do a ‘Lost'”
Refers to the fear that a long-running and popular story, or series of stories, will end poorly and therefore fail to satisfy the audience by self-destructing down the stretch and rendering the preceding narrative a colossal waste of time. Alt: “Pull a ‘Lost.'”
— Coined by fantasy writer George R. R. Martin, author of “A Game of Ice and Fire.”

I think we’re all good with this verbiage, yes? I mean, the “Lost” finale seems to be the preeminent modern pop cultural example of failing to stick the landing. You could make arguments for other, comprable pieces of culture, like “The Sopranos” or “The X-Files,” but they wouldn’t hold the same weight. “The Sopranos” ended ambiguously, rather than failing to justify the years of audience participation; “The X-Files” is a closer example, but that show simply puttered out and eventually collapsed in on itself like a dying star (and it was that show’s decline that was often cited as an example for why “Lost” had a set end date, thus allowing them to properly wrap up their story without puttering on for too long). So, yes, whenever a TV show (or similar series of novels, or comic book, or other piece of ongoing narrative storytelling) sets up countless threads and mysteries and promises resolution but utterly fails to provide anything resembling proper or sensible closure, that will now and for the foreseeable future be known as “pulling a ‘Lost’.”

(To “pull a Lindelof” should be added to the lexicon as well. It refers to the reflexive and public defensiveness that only comes when someone insults you or your work in such an on-the-nose fashion that you try to argue, and you seek solace in the comfort of people who aren’t fiction writer George R.R. Martin, but in reality you make clear the fact that he touched a nerve by being 100 percent accurate. “Pulling a Lindelof” can also refer to tweeting relentlessly about an issue, drawing even more attention to it, followed by giving interviews about your tweets, which all winds up perpetuating the notion that you are actually just addicted to publicity and attention rather than creating substantive art.)

“Lost” numbers pop up in real lottery and win a lot of people some cash

Hey, it turns out “Lost” wasn’t such a complete and utter waste of time after all. More than 26,000 people won $150 apiece in the lottery by playing the cursed numbers from “Lost” (remember: 4, 8, 15, 15, 23 and 42? They were the lotto numbers that Hurley used, as well as a recurring theme in the show that went absolutely nowhere, like everything else on the damn show).

Four of the six numbers selected in Tuesday night’s lotto drawing matched the “Lost” numbers (the winning numbers: 4, 8, 15, 25, 47 and 42). Damon Lindelof tweeted the news with the hashtag “#THATSSORAVEN,” which is humorous enough. So for those 26,000 people, “Lost” made them $150 bucks. For everybody else, sorry, you still wasted six years of your life and it went nowhere.

Check Out The Balls On This Guy: Damon Lindelof Edition

Apparently Damon Lindelof was not content with the “Lost” finale being the worst thing he wrote this year, so he crapped out this absolutely abominable review of the new “Harry Potter” for The Daily Newsbeast or whatever it’ll be called.

Seriously, you need to read the whole thing, if only to appreciate the sheer grandeur of Lindelof’s hubris. Apparently working with folks like J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott has given him some sort of delusions about his past successes. The guy who cashed checks for writing episodes of “Crossing Jordan” and “Nash Bridges” (and, yes, co-ran “Lost”), not to mention the show’s abysmal time waster of a final season, not to mention the particular egregiousness of the finale, which was apparently produced with the logic that it’s much more expensive to actually fly to each fan’s house and punch them in the brain rather than just trying to send that message out via the television, had the absolutely astonishing cojones to write this. Go, read (if you’ve seen the movie, obviously); I’ll wait right here.

I know, right? I particularly enjoyed his complaints that not a lot happened in the movie (I KNOW, hold that thought), he wrote this:

All of that should have happened in the first half-hour of the movie.

They should not have split the book into two halves. Order of the Phoenix had more pages and they did just fine with that one.

I felt dirty. I felt… taken advantage of. I know, I know, people in glass houses—but, still!

No. No “but, still!”. “But, still!” is not an argument you get to make if you are a highly-compensated writer. “But, still” does not accurately and adequately respond to the criticism he hints at but does not address: That somebody who created a show where nothing happened for long stretches, and things finally took place spaced out over multiple weeks and months and years that could have easily been condensed, and it seems like they took story-plotting lessons from somebody who had recently suffered a head injury and kept forgetting what they were talking about, does not have a single leg to stand on to complain about feeling taken advantage of when another filmmaker/storyteller/writer/producer/etc. does not tell their story in a crisp and prompt way. “But, still” is for a child who knows they are wrong and wants to get away with it anyway, which is probably the most accurate read of the damn thing (i.e. the closest we will ever get to Lindelof, or anyone associated with the show, finally admitting that when your entire show is oriented around big questions overarching plots, and when said show crashes and burns at the close instead of properly resolving them, your show was pretty much a failure, or at least an ambitious misfire, or at the very least the ending was not particularly good or worthy of what came before).

And there’s this. He finally “gets” how “Lost” fans could watch the show but complain about certain things.

And so I sincerely and genuinely apologize to all those whom I have stripped of their “Lost” fandom just for complaining about the stuff you didn’t like. It doesn’t make you any less a fan.

Hang on a good goddamned second here. Am I the only one who didn’t know that? I watched “Lost” from premiere to finale and complained about it almost every step of the way, and I had no idea that Lindelof stripped me of my fandom for my complaints. Did you know producers of television shows could do that? I didn’t either! But apparently he can, because the only other reasonable explanation for this statement is that he is an egomaniac with no actual concept of how the world works outside of his bubble of friends and associates and critical praise, and that’s just crazy talk, because none of his media tours or relentless self-promotion ever gave that indication at all.

But yes! Apparently if you complained about “Lost,” you stopped being a fan, which actually makes no goddamn sense when you think about it, because every single “Lost” fan ever had complained about the show at one point or another. Every fan. Ever. I have not met every “Lost” fan ever, nor will I ever meet every “Lost” fan ever, but I can guarantee you every single one of them had at least one complaint about the show over the course of its run, because for all of its positives and enjoyable episodes it was in many ways an aggravating and dispiriting serialized show to watch, not only but largely because you watched it with the assumption that It Was Going Somewhere and the hope, however dim, that They Knew What They Were Doing, and this resulted in prolonged stretches of wheel-spinning, catastrophically unrealistic dialogue, maddeningly lame “references” and an inability to properly gauge whether or not the show was any good because the show was, from start to finish, about the plot (despite their repeated protestations to the contrary), and it was impossible to truly know if you were enjoying the show because of this inherent uncertainty, to say nothing of all of the times the show wasted minutes and hours and weeks of our lives with callous indifference. And that, of course, says nothing about the six-year self-mythologizing media tour embarked upon by Mssrs. Cuse and Lindelof, wherein they reminded you, in no uncertain terms, that they had a plan, that they cared about pleasing the fans, that they would do anything to keep your attention and they generally acted like giant wads that were accepted by the fans because they (the fans) assumed they (the creators) knew what the holy hell they were doing and the show couldn’t possibly be a six year waste of time. (Spoiler alert: It was. It totally, truly was.) So my apologies to all those people who wanted to watch “Lost” over the past six years but were disheartened to learn that you couldn’t find episodes on TV or online because Damon Lindelof, the auteur behind “Nash Goddamn Bridges,” had revoked your fandom.

Anyway, the entire thing is actually not a review. It’s really a personal essay about how Damon Lindelof is super-awesome because he co-created “Lost,” and how he is just like J.K. Rowling (but call her Jo!) in that they created things people love, and how he found the movie disappointing but that made him realize he could get over being such a big baby about “Lost” fans complaining about his show’s crap attempts at anything resembling satisfactory resolution. He includes maybe two paragraphs of an actual review. The real point is that he, Damon Lindelof, finally understands what it’s like to be one of You People.

The worst part is that we will never experience the joy of seeing Lindelof fail on his own, because he will sign up for projects where he will be insulated by stronger filmmakers who can make changes (the “Alien” prequel) or surrounded by talent that will also make tweaks (“Cowboys and Aliens,” “Star Trek”), keeping us from watching as he understands what it’s like to put yourself out there and disappoint people and then find out hey, maybe it’s not the fault of the fans for not “getting” your genius.

Wait, scratch that. The worst part is that Damon Lindelof, who wrote the “Lost” finale and crapped out this truly magnificent piece of condescension, is a millionaire, and he gets to Tweet smug references to his own work without any sense of self-awareness. But it’s okay! Because he will always get to hang his hat on “Crossing Jordan.”