The Five Types of Lost Fans

Lost is a character study. But it's also an action show. And its involves some pretty hardcore science-fiction elements. And we can't forget about the romance. In short, it's a lot of things. Because Lost attacks drama from so many of these angles, it has attracted very different audiences. Audiences that, if our hypotheses are correct, can be grouped into five categories.

To help explain the audiences, I've asked for the help of Jo Garfein, freelance writer and author of the excellent Lost fan site Get Lost with Jopinionated (definitely check it out!). She helped organize a big fan bash in Hawaii for the Season 6 premiere, and weighed in here on four of the following five categories.

Note: I love Lost fans, each and every one of you. We're just having fun here.

The Super Hardcore

The poster children for the stereotypical Lost fan, these guys take obsession to the next level. While you and I brag about having watched the entire series twice, these hardcore fans have just wrapped up their fourteenth viewing (yes, even "Stranger in a Strange Land"). They've completed all the Lost ARG Web games, paused the action and taken detailed notes every time Daniel Faraday opens his notebook, and would follow Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse off a cliff. If you encounter one in a hallway, avoid eye contact unless you're willing to risk listening to a "Vincent is the Smoke Monster" theory for the next three hours.
They're also watching: Battlestar Galactica (for the eighth time), Fringe (to relax and give their minds a break)
Identifying signs: General twitchiness, has worn a Dharma Initiative costume the last four Halloweens.
Jo's take: "There are far worse hobbies to have than expressing great fervor for an intelligent television series! Lost fans tend to be quite passionate and have a very vocal, visible presence online; they have created an amazing community that is admirably supportive and interactive."

The Skaters, Jaters, etc.

Who will Kate get it on with? Who cares? These guys. They don't mind that Kate has turned a deadly plane crash into her own selfish dating game, they just want to see her end up in the arms of Jack (Jaters) or Sawyer (Skaters) because it's her "destiny." Even though the very fabric of our existence is about to explode, they care more about who is locking lips with who. And it isn't just "Jaters" and "Skaters." What about Juliet and Sawyer (Julawyers)? Libby and Hurley (Hurbys)? Juliet, Kate, Ben, and Sawyer (Jubekawyers)? What about the crime-against-nature orgy of "Sawlietackurlayidsunsmokeincents"? If you ever get stranded on an island with one of these types, go ahead and push them in front of a charging polar bear.
They're also watching: Grey's Anatomy, Jennifer Aniston movies
Identifying signs: Cries during Hallmark ads, owns lots of cats.
Jo's take: "It is completely valid for 'shippers to be invested in and enjoy Lost for the romantic aspects of the show. However, I am far more interested in Jin and Sun's marriage than who Kate winds up with, and individual histories and flashbacks resonate on a much deeper level with me than love triangles and quadrangles."

The Catching-Up-on-DVD Set

These guys were turned on to the show well after it began airing, and spent many weekends on the couch in a disgusting heap catching up via Lost marathons on DVD. Not only do they overload their brains and miss key details due to their cram sessions, but they love to talk about where they are in the show with those who are up-to-date. This only leads to awkward one-sided talks about who this Henry Gale guy really is. Please, catch up or shut up.
They're also watching: The Wire (currently on Season 2 ... wow, it IS as good as people say!)
Identifying signs: Just got an e-mail account, recently upgraded old 23" CRT TV to a 32" CRT TV.
Jo's take: "I love introducing Lost to friends and family for the first time, and have accrued more than enough recruiting points over the years to earn a Dharma badge. I am constantly loaning out my DVDs, and am so amused by their initial confusion, reaction to shocking moments and myriad questions that I refuse to answer until they've caught up. Having just completed a five-season re-watch myself, I recognize the little details that have both captured their attention and caused them frustration."

The Angry Lost Fans

Highly devoted through Season 1, still fans during Season 2, and near-absentees during Season 3, these picky people have had it up to HERE! with Lost. The endless questions, the lack of answers! Who do those producers think they are!? They'll still begrudgingly tune into the show now, but only to remind themselves how right they were to not watch the show in the first place and give them ammunition to tell you why you are an idiot for still watching the show. And don't even get them started on time travel or parallel realities, because it will give them a stroke.
They're also watching: Nothing, because they're too busy complaining and whining on message boards.
Identifying signs: Inability to wait until Christmas or other seasonal holidays to open their presents, high blood pressure.
Jo's take: "It seems that those who abandoned Lost did so in Season 5 when time travel became a major factor. It is disappointing but not altogether surprising, given the level of commitment that Lost requires. While I cannot fathom giving up on a show after several years, seasons, and emotional connections to characters, I tell those who do that they should return to the series on DVD in the future. Curiosity and enthusiastic fan feedback will lure them back into Lost's clutches after the series ends this year."

The Eternally Confused and Faithful

These fans, which appear to be a middle-of-the-road majority, freely admit that they are confused by what's going on—but they don't care. Loyal to the program and filled with faith that everything will come around eventually, they don't mind that the show's questions are answered with more questions, because "OMG did you see that last cliffhanger?" These are fans who simply take the show for what it is: quality television entertainment. No conspiracy theories, no real annoying habits, just fans of good moving pictures. Come to think of it, they're pretty boring.
They're also watching: Standard television programming. They also leave the house sometimes, as they have a normal life.
Identifying signs: 2.3 children, average behavior.

For the record, I am definitely a hybrid of "Hardcore" and "Eternally Confused and Faithful." Which type of Lost fan are you?

Follow writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom