TELEVISION Is 'Lost' losing its way with complex stories?
How many mysteries can really be solved in one season?
By TERRY MORROW
Is "Lost" leading viewers on a wild goose chase? Diehard fans say it is bringing up too many storylines and not resolving any of them. Creatively, "Lost" (8 tonight on ABC) could be one big tease without any kind of payoff.
"I don't think that will be the case," Steve McPherson, president of ABC primetime entertainment, told reporters recently.
These same fans don't want to put blind faith in "Lost" mastermind J.J. Abrams and his ability to resolve all the mysteries on the island. Ask ABC executives, and they defend the show. But for "Lost," its hit status means that some of the storylines have had to be developed quickly to keep interest alive, ABC says.
Of the major mysteries introduced -- ranging from the bloodthirsty creature in the jungle to the crazy Frenchwoman lurking about to the visions of the undead -- nothing has been firmly explained yet.
Keep it moving
"We talk about pace all the time," McPherson said. "We talk about which mysteries are working, which aren't, how much we're giving, how much we're not giving.
"... Those are probably the biggest fights that [Abrams] and I have in terms of what we're doing on a week-to-week basis."
In a recent episode, the castaways searched for the mysterious troublemaker Ethan (William Mapother), who kidnapped Claire for reasons we still don't fully understand. The episode also flashed back on the life of Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) and another woman he once failed to help.
At least one frustrating characteristic of "Lost" is about to come to an end.
The season finale, which will air later this spring, is reportedly going to include the death of a major character.
"Lost" has "killed" off major characters before, only to reveal that the victim is not really dead. This time, however, the death is supposed to be a permanent one for a castaway.
"Lost" co-star Ian Somerhalder said recently he did not know who was being killed off, but he and the rest of the cast would find out when they get the finale script.
Somerhalder, whose character, Boone, has found more screen time recently, says he has been frustrated by the show's use of its characters. Having 14 regulars means hardly anyone gets lots of time in front of the camera.
"A doctor wants to practice, a judge wants to judge, and an actor wants to act," he said. "But you can't focus on all 14 characters every week. That's too much, so I understand that."