Most Expensive TV Pilot in History: LOST
If you’ve watched ABC in the last week then you’ve probably seen commercials for the final episode of LOST this Sunday. If you’re not a LOST fan then you’re probably sick of hearing about it. Frankly, if you’ve never seen the pilot episode, then bear with me for one minute while I tell you why I think you should at least watch that first episode.
I think that everyone likes a good story, that’s why we read books, follow the same TV show for years and lineup overnight for movies. We suspend our disbelief to live in a different world for a few hours, days or even years. We do this because we want to feel happy, inspired and surprised. Great stories make us smile, laugh and cry — LOST is no exception.
Rent the first season on DVD and at least watch the 2 hour pilot episode. At $11.5 million, it’s the most expensive TV pilot ever made and it’s worth every penny. In fact, that’s more money than it cost to make Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, and it’s a much better story too. But, it cost more than a lot of money, it cost Disney Chairman Lloyd Braun his job — they fired him for green-lighting such an expensive pilot. In hindsight, he made the right decision, LOST is one of the most successful shows ABC history.
The story of LOST draws from; makes subtle references to, and more than anything; pays homage to dozens of literary classics including: Alice in Wonderland, King Lear,Through the Looking Glass, Catch 22, The Fountainhead, A Tale of Two Cities, Of Mice and Men and dozens of others.
Just to put it into perspective, LOST is so rich with story that it has it’s own book. There is a character with a bit part in the pilot episode. That character (not the actor) is an author who wrote a book. There is no mention of the book in the show, other than its use as a prop in one scene, but you can buy the book on Amazon. Yes, it’s a real book that they wrote just for the show, the author listed is even the Character’s name on the show. As a viewer, you don’t need to read the book, but it’s apparently a pretty good book and it has a meaningful subtext if you’re a fan of the show.
LOST is filmed in Hawaii, which presents its own challenges. One reason the first episode was so expensive is because they bought a decommissioned Boeing 777 airplane to recreate the plane crash scene. Just the shipping on the plane alone cost $250,000. The crash scene was clearly visible to other planes landing at the nearby Honolulu airport. A plane crashed on the beach is not what you want to see from a plane that is about to land on a short runway that ends at the beach. So, airlines were advised to notify passengers they were looking at a TV set.
Many scenes in LOST are filmed in the same area as Jurassic Park. If you remember the magic you felt when you first saw that film, I think you’ll feel the same when you discover what’s great about LOST.
Broken Secrets | By: Chad Upton
Photo: ewen and donabel (cc)