When the juggernaut that was Lost finally came to an end, many fans were left unfulfilled by the conclusion. Unfulfilled has unfortunately become a running trend with popular television series - The Sopranos serving as the most poignant example.
To that end, Lost producer Damon Lindelof has gained a new perspective on why fans might have been disappointed - by experiencing his own frustration with one of his favorite franchises, Harry Potter.
For anyone interested in Lindelof's feelings about Harry Potter, but wishing to avoid spoilers for Lost, please skip ahead - past the image of Hermione.
SPOILERS FOR LOST
The revelation that the flash sideways were actually the manifestation of a symbolic “place” that the characters created in order to “pass over” together served to divide the rabid fan base, as many were angered with the simplistic, yet endearing, finale. The Lost fans emotionally driven responses served to result in many labeling their years spent watching as a waste of time.
Before the finale, we brought you a final statement that Lindelof had made, which was released after the final episode aired. In it, Lindelof reflected on their intentions with the finale and made a point to say that they hoped the “feeling of saying goodbye to the show – of the show not being around anymore – was actually literally perfectly paralleling what we were showing you on the screen.”
To conclude what many thought would be Lindelof’s only statement regarding the Lost finale (both Lindelof and Carlton Cuse had said they wouldn’t talk about the series for many years), he noted. “If you had an experience anything like that, then it was mission accomplished. If you didn’t, we blew it and I apologize.”
Unfortunately, after the finale aired and the resulting backlash ensued, both Lindelof and Cuse had a change of heart and have since openly spoke about the series in many venues. The notion that fans were angered and upset with finale didn’t sit well the two storytellers. The feeling between Lindelof and Cuse was that anyone angry about the Lost finale were not, in fact, true fans of the series.
END OF LOST SPOILERS
Fortunately, with the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Lindelof gained a new perspective.
Tasked with reviewing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 for The Daily Beast, Lindelof should have been in heaven. Having been an enormous fan of the Harry Potter franchise, all Lindelof had to do was revel in the magical world and wonderful storytelling that the series is known for. Unfortunately, that is not what happened.
Lindelof left his screening of the film feeling much of what the boisterous Lost fans felt after watching the finale. After trying to convince himself that he actually liked the film throughout the majority of his review, Lindelof eventually digressed and apologized for inappropriately categorizing those fans that were unhappy with Lost’s conclusion.
"They should not have split the book into two halves. Order of the Phoenix had more pages and they did just fine with that one.
I felt dirty. I felt… taken advantage of. I know, I know, people in glass houses—but, still!
My point is that I'm still a fan. A huge fan. Huge.
And so I sincerely and genuinely apologize to all those whom I have stripped of their Lost fandom just for complaining about the stuff you didn't like. It doesn't make you any less a fan. In fact…
It just makes you honest.
I respect that. And I'm genuinely sorry for ever feeling otherwise."
With Lindelof’s proverbial mea culpa, it brings some interesting questions. If Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 had premiered before the final season of Lost was planned, would the finale have been different?
Additionally, it brings into question storytellers becoming so invested in their story and the subsequent positive fan reactions that they lose sight of delivering the best experience to their audience and knowing what their viewers want.
For Lost, it appears that Lindelof and Cuse believed that the fans were invested in the fantastical journey that they have led of them, when, in fact, many sighted the continuous mystery and lingering questions as what drove them to keep tuning in. While the final season of Lost provided some revelations, many questions were left unanswered.
In the end, television is a very subjective medium. While movies are set up as an event where you travel to a specific venue, television is in your home and something that you enjoy by yourself and with your family. What starts as a simple pilot, turns in to a journey over many years in which a series grows, as does the lives of those watching. Over those years, each person connects with something different in the series.
This is why you always hear people saying that [insert TV show here] is MY show - something that is rarely, if ever, said about films. And, ultimately, there’s no way you’re going to be able to please everyone.
A sentiment that is hard to grasp, but one that must be acknowledged.