In this writer’s opinion, Lost is one of the greatest TV shows of all-time. That’s a hard stance on a show that many found mercurial, especially considering the finale which garnered the ability to change a fan’s stance on the entirety of the program. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Damon Lindelof — one of the show runners for Lost — was asked about the highest point and lowest point of his career. Both pertained to Lost.
When speaking of the highest point in his resume, Lindelof pointed to the time between the first and second seasons of the Emmy-winning ABC show.
“The show was in the zeitgeist,” he told EW, “and there was that strange feeling of being in a restaurant and people at the next table are talking about what they thought was in The Hatch, and then it culminated in us winning the drama series Emmy.”
Many detractors of the show claim that the writers merely made up the narratives as they went along, caring neither for continuity or the answering of the many mysteries that were presented. While Lindelof didn’t approach those topics, he did comment on the monumental task of writing such an ambitious show by himself: J.J. Abrams was off working on Mission Impossible III, and Carlton Cuse had yet to start working on the show. Lindelof told EW that the pressure of creating such a project almost proved too much to handle.
I had an idea in my head that we were going to make 13 episodes of a cult show. I was going to try to make the episodes as good as possible and then we would be canceled. Suddenly it became a phenomenon, and that did not feel good. The ratings were massive and the critical response to the show and the audience response was overwhelmingly positive, and those things made me feel more and more upset and isolated and stressed out.
Lindelof explained even further how devastating a time it was:
[ABC] was just like: ‘You have 12 weeks to generate two hours of material — Go.’ Not 12 weeks to write it, but 12 weeks to write it and make it and edit it, all of it. So once it was done and it existed and it turned out well did I start to become victim to my own insecurities. So that was an incredibly dark time, and nothing that I’ve ever experienced emotionally has come close.
It’s easy to imagine just how in-over-his-head Lindelof must have felt when he was running a show as dense as Lost when he had never ran a show before. It’s ironic, though, that as divisive as Lost was among audiences, both the high and low points of Damon’s career focused on that project.