Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Secrets of Lost, the TV series

Television is changing and perhaps it’s time this beast steps out of the primordial slime and evolves. We are living in a world of multi-everything. From multimedia to multitasking we have people to see, places to be, things to do and more choice than ever before. But from the time we first switched on and tuned out, television has been the medium of choice to escape the crazy jumble of everyday life and for an hour or 2 do nothing at all.

But how long is it going to last?

The producers of the popular hit television series, Lost, got with the program and merged fiction with reality with fiction again. In a sub-plot twist, a novel is found by a character who didn’t survive the plane crash. Author Gary Troup (fictitious, yet surreally real) delivered his novel Bad Twin just days before the doomed flight. www.amazon.com is selling the novel alongside the entire first series of Lost on DVD. There is a broken interview with Gary Troup including a reference to his first book which is mysteriously unavailable, but relates to the Hanso foundation, which relates back to the bizarre hatch and strange Others on the island where Lost takes place.

Lost abounds with hidden hints. In order to follow the show completely its fans are crawling the internet for missed clues and shared theories. There are several web sites connected with the show, including an official web site for the fictitious Oceanic Airlines, with all operations ceased following the flight 815 disaster. New web sites associated with the show keep popping up. I’m not exactly keeping track of it, but I can’t help noticing them. Are they officially related to the show? Some probably are and some might not be, but one thing is for certain, never before has any television series crossed so many mediums.

If you’re not yet convinced, channel 7 recently aired a Lost special hosted by the series’ director. JJ Abrams revealed there is a reference to the series hidden in his recently released Mi3 movie. Yes, that’s correct. The blockbusting sequel to the Tom Cruise films contains a reference to the world of Lost.

But that’s not all! On an episode aired recently in Australia the series was interrupted for an advertisement. It took me a moment of contemplation to realise it wasn’t a regular commercial break. It was an advertisement for Hanso, the fictitious organisation most likely responsible for all the strange events happening on the island. In the midst of watching the main characters trekking through the tropical jungle, the narrative was interrupted with a self-imbedded commercial. The commercial contained a freecall number. The number was real and according to a Wikipedia reference was different in every country where the episode aired. Calling the number led to a whole new set of mysteries and the telephone Medium was crossed.

I’ve been watching the show, but as I said I haven’t been following its multimedia spinoffs in any depth. I am, however, immensely interested in how the producers of the show are using every available technology to (not to sound too cynical) make money and enhance the viewers’ experience of the TV series. Is this the future of television? My magic 8 ball tells me: Outlook Likely.

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