INFORMAL OUTLINE FOR ARGUMENT
1. Why 'Lost' had a strong first season and what other TV shows that are just starting out should emulate.
2. The first season of 'Lost' is better than other shows (or other seasons of 'Lost') because of the action, suspense, mystery, and character development that is inherent throughout the first season.
Introduction: Describe the first episode(s) of Lost and how it incorporates all of the elements I am going to be talking about: Action, suspense, mystery, and character development. (Use one citation here in the introduction: Statistics of the show's success.
Paragraph 1: Describe how Action is used in the first season of Lost and why other shows should follow in its wake in regards to action. (Use proof, on how action affects a viewer, and personal opinion)
Paragraph 2: Describe how Suspense is used in the first season of Lost and what about this particular suspense should be used in other shows. (use an example from the show as a citation)
Paragraph 3: Describe how Mystery in the first season of Lost made the show even better than it already was.
Paragraph ?: Why new shows might NOT want to copy the first season of Lost. List how Lost's first season failed in several ways. (use a negative review of Lost for proof/citation.)
Paragraph ?: Explain more about HOW other shows could emulate Lost, especially why it would ALSO be good for shows that aren't really like Lost. (like CSI, or a police drama.) (You could also use examples from OTHER shows that use Lost's 'formula' and how successful their first seasons were.)
Conclusion: I don't know what I'm going to put here. I think I'll just go with it as it flows, and it ends, where it ends.
1. What other TV shows? Use examples from other shows other than Lost.
2. Examples of shows that did not make it past the first season and possible reasons, to give a better understanding to why new shows should or shouldn't copy the formula used in Lost.
3. Look for research, for top ten tv shows of 2010/2011 or earlier, and how many shows in that category use Lost's 'formula'. Could also be useful for finding statistics on Lost's success.
(STARTING ESSAY 3 HERE)
Lost opens with a man lying on his back in a forest of bamboo. He blinks several times and hears something in the forest, music plays, sounding ominous, and a dog -a golden retriever- is shown near him. He stares at the dog, and the dog runs away. The man gets up slowly, and leans back against some bamboo to look over his wounds, then he gets up and starts to run through the forest of bamboo. He comes to a beach, where he hears screaming from a girl standing in the middle of what looks like a plane crash. Earlier on the man had pulled a miniature liquor bottle from his pocket, the kind of liquor they serve on planes. The man -who we later learn is named Jack- runs over to help, and that's the beginning of Lost. Forty-seven people survive a plane crash and are trapped on an island that no one can seem to find.
The first episode sums up what the rest of the series/season is going to be like and the success of the show is dependent on four things: Action, suspense, mystery and character development. These four things are the very reason Lost has had so much success. Other TV shows in different genres even, have used this same formula to become successful. Lost wasn't the first show to use these things, but it was the first to do so in such a dramatic and successful way in its own semi-unique genre. It took these four things, and made out of what used to do moderately well, into success. This is why I think shows other than Lost should use the things that made Lost so successful, and emulate them to attempt to be as big as Lost was. Lost's pilot was in the top ten of most watched TV shows when it aired says a press release in 2004 when Lost first aired ("Weekly Program Ratings")
Jack runs over to help a man that's trapped underneath some debris. He calls over several other men to help lift the debris off the trapped man so that he can drag him out from underneath. He then hears screams from a girl who is very pregnant and he runs over to help. She's having contractions and Jack tells another man to watch over the girl while he goes to help someone else. "If the contractions occur more than three minutes apart yell for me" he tells the man watching over the girl. ("Pilot") He then runs over to help another woman, when he's finished helping her he notices a ominous sound, it's the sound of the wing of the plane starting to break off, and the pregnant girl and the man watching over her are both underneath it. He runs over to them yelling and screaming and they all manage to escape from underneath the wing just in time.
That's an example of action in Lost, and what I think other shows should try to imitate is the amount of action that is going on at once. You have multiple people in trouble and several things happening at once, and it all flows together smoothly in one adrenaline-filled scene. Your heart rate goes up and you sit forward in your seat to follow along with what is happening. That's the kind of action that I think other shows should imitate, that heart-pounding gotta-catch-everything action.
Now suspense, that's almost a different story. It's a different genre from action, but it closely fits in with scenes of action, it's a kind of feeling, a what's going to happen next? feeling. Later on in the first season a strange woman comes to the beach camp, she tells a girl named Claire and Charlie who's watching over Claire and her baby, that Jack needs to come right away, that something is wrong. Charlie runs off to go get Jack leaving Claire and her baby with the woman. We figure out very soon however that the woman doesn't want Jack, she wants Claire's baby. When Charlie comes back to Claire he finds Claire unconscious and her baby gone. Claire begs Charlie to get her baby back, and Charlie and a man named Sayed go to find the baby, heading towards a column of black smoke that the strange woman had told them was created by the 'others'.
We learned earlier on that the strange woman's name is Danielle and that sixteen years earlier she'd had her baby on the island, and subsequently had it stolen from her by the 'others'. She had seen a column of black smoke a day before, and then the others had come and taken her baby. She wanted to go back to the smoke sixteen years later, and exchange Claire's baby for her own. So Charlie and Sayed head towards the black smoke in search of Claire's baby.
This is what suspense is all about. Something happens to someone, something presumably bad, and someone has got to rescue someone else. Meanwhile you're watching the show, and you're almost frantic because by now in Lost you know the characters and probably LIKE Claire and her baby, you feel sorry for Danielle at the same time, and your emotions are in an uproar. You've GOT to know what happens next. Lost sets up suspense so well, you get to know the characters and then something bad happens, and then and only then, are you connected to the characters and worry about them.
Mystery in Lost is almost in the same category as Suspense, or at least it ties into the other genre so well. That's another thing that's good about Lost, the different genres of the show tie together and flow smoothly as well. There is a lot of mystery in Lost, mystery is what makes the show move forward and what keep people watching the show. They want to know what happens next, and they want to solve the mystery, or at least figure it out.
Here are several examples of mysteries in the show: When the survivors are still all on the beach on the first night on island they hear something that sounds like a giant walking through the jungle and tearing down trees. They never actually see the creature during the first season and that's the real mystery there.
Another mystery is the Hatch that a man named John Locke finds in the ground and he wants to try and get it open. They (the survivors) eventually blow it open with dynamite that they find in the jungle in a boat called the Black Rock that somehow ended up in the middle of the jungle. But only more mysteries are created in the first season finale when the Hatch is opened and Jake and Locke stare down into the Hatch down a long dark tunnel that stretches down into the ground. The first season ends there ending with more questions than before. I didn't envy the people who had to wait for a summer to start watching season two. But that very reason is why people keep watching, because they want to find out what happens. That's what Lost does well, that despite the disappointment of the season finale they will keep watching to the next season.
The only problem with Lost is partially its flashbacks to the characters. This mostly helps along character development, but at times, you just want to skip some of them because they seem drawn out and "though I dig most of the flashbacks, occasionally they do throw off the pacing" (Clark Douglas). Sure it helped people to understand the people in the show, and to get a view on how they acted off the island but ultimately, you could have done all of that ON the island instead of off it. Other shows might put flashbacks in them, but not to the degree or intensity that Lost did. And in many ways the finale for the season was anticlimactic and even frustrating, because no questions had been answered all season and the end even dared to create MORE questions.
So although the end of the season might leave a sour taste in some people's mouths ultimately, the first season is a good model for other shows to follow. Action, in which people are in danger, suspense, in which we wait to find out what happens to the people in danger and mystery, in which we wonder who or what is that monster out there in the jungle. These things should be used for other shows to make them as successful as Lost was.