Saturday, September 17, 2005

"It's All About Character, Character, Character"

So sayeth Damon Lindelof showrunner and executive producer of Lost in an interesting article about the show in today's online version of the NY Times (registration may be required to access the story, I'm not sure).

A few things struck me about the story. First, it's always good to be reminded of the plasticity of the plotting of weekly dramas. Even though the writers/creators often have a pretty clear idea of where the story is headed, the details are often up for grabs. The article notes the evolution of the relationships among Michael, Jin, and Sun as an example. The hostility between Michael and Jin and the hinted relationship between Michael and Sun were dropped as the writers became invested in Jin and Sun's complex relationship, as developed in their flashbacks. Even more revealing, the writers noticed that Harold Perrineau and Daniel Dae Kim had become good friends on set and leveraged that connection in the reconciliation of and growing respect between Michael and Jin. Fascinating. And evidence of the appropriate use of story in service of character rather than the other way around. Lost is really a great example of how keeping character first is vitally important, even in the midst of one of the best and most complex plots on TV.

Second, Damon Lindelof is only 32. Perhaps this little factoid jumps out at me a bit more as I approach another birthday, but that's darn impressive.

Third, Carlton Cuse and Lindelof intimate that they'd prefer to take up Stephen King's challenge in a recent column (upon which I commented here) and end the show according to the story, not the ratings. However, they admit that ABC is in the driver's seat on that decision.

Fourth, the uproar (aka, tempest in a teapot) over last season's hatch cliff-hanger is mentioned. It's odd, but I never once felt cheated by that. I thought the revelation of the "Others'" interest in Walt was a more interesting development and probably never expected to see down the hatch. As has been widely reported elsewhere, the NYT article also assures readers that the hatch plays a central part early in the second season and we'll get to know what's there. That's good enough for me.

Finally, I'm fascinated at how harshly Lindelof dissed the storytelling in the Matrix trilogy. It's accurate criticism. I'm just surprised.


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