Eight years ago today, Lost aired its series premiere. I still remember watching it with strange fascination that turned into distaste. I didn’t like the first hour of Lost’s pilot; it was too much oh-there’s-a-monster-in-the-jungle for me. Unfortunately, the second hour aired the next week, and I didn’t tune in.
Yet here I am, eight years later, recollecting this anniversary with fondness. Several weeks after the airing, a friend told me where the show had gone, explaining that it had, you know, depth. So I started to watch it again – and was hooked. I had the pleasure of watching the show in real time for the rest of its run and caught up on the episodes that I had missed. Like with the Harry Potter series, it felt like a communal experience; fans would watch each episode and then discuss it. As frustrating as the long breaks were, they allowed us to gather our thoughts and come up with crazy theories.
I still care about Lost. I’ll defend it against the naysayers. I’ll try to “explain” the ending to those who thought it wasn’t good. But I’m not here today to discuss the ending; after all, today is the anniversary of its premiere, so let’s discuss the journey.
Watching Lost was always an experience. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that watching the show was almost like reading a good novel: if you really wanted to understand it, you had to dig into it. Fans rewatched episodes and key scenes and read critical reviews and analytical blog posts about the show.
Lost was so profound – and profoundly gripping – because it functioned not only on an intellectual level but also on a human level. Lost is the only TV show or movie that has ever caused me to really cry. I won’t divulge which scene did this to me for fear of spoilers, but was I in a state during the commercial break after it aired.
During the years that Lost aired, I had the immense privilege of attending a few events related to the series. I was one of the lucky 1,800 fans who got tickets to Lost Live: The Final Celebration, during which we were treated to a special concert, cast appearances, and an advance screening of the penultimate episode. I had previously had the marvelous opportunity to meet Elizabeth Mitchell, who played my favorite character, Juliet.
Without a doubt, Lost became something more than just a television program. Lost came to mean several things. Lost means laughing each time I see 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, or 42. Lost means that the phrase “You got any milk?” will never sound the same again. Lost means telling friends how great the show is – even giving them full series recaps. Lost means becoming a shipper. Lost means smiling every time I heard someone say, “Dude.” And so on.
With that, I’d like to wish Lost a very happy eighth anniversary! Eight years on, and we still care. That’s quite a feat.