We Have To Go Back: A decade after LOST took over television screens worldwide, fans from 15 countries around the world attended a gathering on the island of Oahu where it all began. Because they were such an integral part of the series, the faithful marked the anniversary by gathering in Hawaii for a reception, costume contest, location tours, Q&A with star Jorge Garcia (Hugo “Hurley” Reyes), and a charity auction of show memorabilia.
September 22, 2004: Stranded on an island that held many secrets, the 72 survivors of Oceanic flight 815 found that faith, destiny, and free will all culminated into opportunities for both corruption and redemption as they banded together in their struggle to get home. Over the course of six seasons, viewers were glued to their sets and LOST was the hot topic at every morning-after water cooler discussion and online alternate reality game (ARG).
The show was a complex, serialized story – intentionally ambiguous – that introduced us to a mythology woven through a large and shifting cast, many with a multi-layered back-story. And no matter where viewers stood on the divisive series finale (I watched in a theater filled with fans, and we all cried together when Jack Shephard’s eye closed), LOST remains a ratings juggernaut and a force to be reckoned with in the network television industry.
“… the memory of how absolutely incredible it was to be a Lost fan. The 121 hours of television that left so many of us jumping out of our seats, tossing out crazy-ass theories, shrieking and guessing and swooning and shrieking and guessing.” – Kristin Dos Santos
Each one of us was brought here for a reason: And with LOST 2014, 270 LOSTies from points near and far connected through this sophisticated storytelling and the characters they grew to love.
Characters like Jorge Garcia’s Hurley. He feels lucky to have landed the role that made him a household name; people still come up and say that they’re fans of the show and how much they like Hurley, or tell him stories about how the show affected their life.
What or who do you miss the most from your time on the show and why?
JG: In preparation for this event, I was looking at old pictures and things like that. There’s video of a bunch of us in the tent, and we’re singing Hank Williams songs. That kind of stuff is what I miss: the tent time. And the stupid things that would come up on a given day, or new games we would invent. When Matthew Fox (Jack) once belched in my face, and I told him what he just ate – and then it became a game of identifying what he would eat. The stupidity of it is really what I miss.
Actor Mark Pellegrino (Jacob), who was unable to attend the event but still kind enough to consent to an interview, was asked the same question.
MP: I miss my scenes with Jorge and our talks about the fine points of Indian food. I miss Josh [Holloway’s] humor; the one or two days we worked together he struck me as one of the funniest guys I’d ever met. I miss Nestor [Carbonell] who actually attended the Theatre Company I teach at. I miss Evangeline [Lilly] who was so free and kind and just plain good.
If you could change one thing about the LOST storyline, what would it be?
JG: Maybe if Libby was alive a little longer. They could maybe have that picnic. Maybe smooch again.
The LOST phenomenon had a major impact on the lives of many fans – from the way they think and feel to how they judge future programming. How has being a part of the show changed or affected your life (personally, professionally, or both)?
MP: It has been transformative for me both personally and professionally – not only because I forged relationships with people I am working happily with today, but also because it was the first time I got to work on a show over an extended period of time playing a good guy. I know there will be some argument about that because Jacob’s past turned out to be very mixed, but in his essence he was good. He was also mysterious and powerful … with messianic elements to him. I think those simple facts changed the way my profession perceived me and opened up a world of complex characters that had heretofore been closed.
Fans wanted to know if Jacob from LOST faced-off with Lucifer from Supernatural, who would win?
MP: Ha. Well, Lucifer of course. Cause that’s his thing.
Moving On: Would you ever consider doing a LOST spinoff or continuation of the story, or do you think it’s complete as is?
JG: I do think it’s complete, but I would consider it. But almost more exciting to me is to see, somewhere down the line, when they would reboot the show and see how someone else would take a derivative version of LOST and try to make it new. It’s like let’s see what your take on the notion would be. [Garcia has not heard rumor of this, he’s only speculating.]
Pellegrino agrees that the story is complete.
MP: I wouldn’t change a thing. I liked the way it ended … and when it ended. It certainly didn’t tie things up in a neat bow. It certainly left some questions unanswered. And, frankly, for some stories, that would be very annoying in the extreme. But I think this is part of what makes it an enduring work in the hearts and minds of the fans. I think the unknowns keep you coming back for more. The wondering keeps you connected to it and that’s a good thing.
LOST 2014 attendees were treated to an off-the-cuff Q&A session with Garcia, moderated by Cancer Gets LOST co-founder Jo Garfein.
Garfein says that for many dedicated viewers, LOST was far more than just a weekly television program; it was an experience. The online community was vast and international, it was a welcoming and safe place for fans to visit and share their theories, discuss the characters and themes, and really feel a part of something special. It still is. Ten years later, the LOST community is incredibly supportive and generous to one another.
“Any piece of literature or art moves from the possession of the author to the possession of the audience, and they’re allowed to have their own experience with it.” –Carlton Cuse
The show’s impact on pop culture became apparent when new shows popped up quickly after its debut, attempting to emulate the successful formula LOST had mastered. “But while the flashback technique may have been utilized well in some instances, the lack of cast chemistry and compelling characters on many of these shows seemed to be their downfall,” said Garfein. “LOST had that magical combination of creative storytelling and stellar casting, and those elements were brought to life vividly on screen.”
LOST 2014 organizers are already planning another event for 2020, likely to be held in Los Angeles. To join the party, please contact email@example.com.
Images: ABC, Michael Gillman Photography, Kristy Stevenson. This piece originally appeared in Geek magazine.
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