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ABC (ended 2010)

Boing Boing broke a document purported to be a "writers' guide" for Lost:

Who wrote this thing, Joe Isuzu?

A fascinating, if somewhat confusing document, considering all that came after. Fortunately, the good folks over at /Film were able to obtain some details and background from none other than Damon Lindelof:

Lindelof explained exclusively to /Film that during production of the pilot, a team of writers was tasked with coming up with ideas for the long run of the show, proving it had longevity. After nine weeks of hard work, this document was the result. And it worked. ABC picked up the show, which never would have happened without this document. However, once those writers got to writing the actual series, many of these ideas got thrown away.

I hope the ABC execs at least got a fish biscuit.


Better to beg forgiveness than ask permission, eh? Especially if you are creating a hugely successful show. Then you're not begging forgiveness so much as collecting acclaim.

But what if the gamble hadn't paid off, and they were forced to hew to this document as their guide? "And in this patch of jungle, our characters will begin to build their own 'mini' sets," says the guide. "Call it a primitive 'Melrose Place.'" Yikes.

However, most of this document is spot-on. A couple of choice quotes:

Our mandate is to give LOST the same treatment as a Michael Crichton novel. Every time we introduce an element of the fantastic, we approach it from a real place.
Now that they mention it, I do see a Michael Crichton influence. There's a sense of wonder that is grounded in reality. (That may be why the final explanation of the monster perturbed me so.)

What makes this new brand of storytelling so exciting is that the desert island concept seems so conducive to it. Nothing on the island is easy -- every task an almost Herculean struggle. Audiences won't tune in to find that our character have built an elaborate tree house -- we'll watch them build it.
Indeed! The raft and Locke's trebuchet in season one, Hugo's Dharma van in season 3 -- it was always a joy to watch the Losties doing things. Building stuff. Oh yeah -- Eko's church! And the external struggle always mirrored what the characters were going through. Great stuff.

Really, reading through this, it seems the only ideas they threw away are treating it as self-contained rather than serialized, and that whole "Melrose Place" thing. The bones of the series are definitely here. Absolutely worth a read, if you're a fan of the show.

Although even the most dedicated fans will have a hard time forgiving that last line.

Hopefully, we can all get LOST together.
Ugh.
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