LOST aired on the American television network ABC, from September 22, 2004, to March 23, 2010. In that time it grew a fan base that even created their own website, Lostpedia, and succeed where other shows failed. Why?
Perhaps you think LOST did well purely because it hit the air when fans of Gilligan’s Island had grown up and were ready for some exciting drama. Perhaps you think LOST did well because fans of the reality show Survivor were ready for more than just “The Tribe has spoken”. Maybe it was a secret meaning in “the numbers.”.
Lost had many fans hooked from the season opener. It offer something for everyone. It had a bit of the medical drama, a bit of suspense, and even some horror. LOST had so many angles going that it may well have failed, but the show LOST actually was a huge success story.
If we really think about it, there is one reason LOST succeeded where so many other dramas (particularly those with multiple story lines, such as FlashForward) came and went. The reason was the characters. It is not so much that the characters were well written, although clearly they were, it was more so the fact that all the characters, even those that were killers, were lovable in some way.
Let us review briefly some of the key characters from LOST. Warning: This may include some spoilers for people who have not watched the show.
Jack, also known as “The Doc”, the son of an alcoholic, he himself is a troubled person, haunted by his father, who as it turns out is dead. As such Jack can never amend the broken relationship and is therefor a character many can sympathize with.
Kate, although often referred to as one of the most disliked characters, Kate’s redeeming feature is that she thought she was saving her mother from a horrible relationship by killing her abusive step father.
Hugo, affectionately known as Hurley, is not the stereotype of a lottery winner. He thinks the money only brought him bad luck, and his character is nothing short of fun.
Locke is one of the islands most sympathetic individuals. Early on his survival skill prove key to helping the group and viewers soon learn how he was manipulated by his evil father, who eventually pushed Locke off a building causing him to lose the use of his legs.
Sayid brutally tortured people while in the Iraqi National guard but viewers saw the “human” side of him as he searched for his love, Nadia.
Sawyer, whose real name is James, was a con man in the real world and his hard exterior was cracked when we learned that he saw his parents die in a murder suicide when he was but a young boy.
Sun was plotting to leave her husband after being disappointed with how her life with Jin had turned out but we soon see the inner makings of that life and become sympathetic to them.
Jin, Suns husband, was forced to work for his wife’s father as he had come from a poor fishing family and was marring up the ladder. His job involved killing people his father in-law had bad business with, but as we watch him and Sun we see that he is the product of his situation, and is not evil at all.
Claire is an Australian woman on her way to give her unborn child up for adoption, but we soon she how she entered that situation and feel for her.
Charlie is a drug addict, forced to confront this when the plane crashes. The viewers fell for him as they saw the budding relationship between him and Clarie.
Ben, not a victim of the plane crash itself, but a major character and a mass killer. In real many people would have called for Ben to be executed for the crimes he committed, but viewers soon came to adore Ben, and even see him as a hero of sorts, especially as we learned of his unfortunate relationship with his father.
There were other characters (including Vincent the dog), each with a sympathetic, and endearing, story behind them. Through flash backs, and later flash sideways, the viewers got to see each character as a whole person, the viewers understood fully why each person did what they did, even if the things they did were horrific. This is why the show LOST survived where other similar shows (such as FlashForward) failed.