Lost is an American adventure television series that originally aired on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010, over six seasons, comprising a total of 121 episodes. Lost is a drama series primarily based on character development, and containing elements of science fiction and the supernatural. It follows the survivors of the crash of a commercial passenger jet, flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, on a mysterious tropical island somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean. The story is told in a heavily serialized manner. Episodes typically feature a primary storyline on the island, along with a secondary storyline from another point in a character's life.
Lost was created by Jeffrey Lieber, J.J. Abrams, and Damon Lindelof who share story-writing credits for the pilot episode, which Abrams directed. Throughout the show's run, Lindelof and Carlton Cuse served as showrunners and head writers, working together with a large number of other executive producers and writers. Due to its large ensemble cast and the cost of filming primarily on location in Oahu, Hawaii, the series was one of the most expensive on television, with the pilot alone costing over $14 million. The fictional universe and mythology of Lost are expanded upon by a number of related media, most importantly a series of short mini-episodes called Missing Pieces, and a 12-minute epilogue titled "The New Man in Charge".
A critically acclaimed and popular success, Lost has been consistently ranked by critics on their lists of the top ten television series of all time. The first season garnered an average of 15.69 million viewers per episode on ABC. During its sixth and final season, the show averaged over 11 million U.S. viewers per episode. Lost was the recipient of hundreds of award nominations throughout its run, and won numerous industry awards, including the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series in 2005, Best American Import at the British Academy Television Awards in 2005, the Golden Globe Award for Best Drama in 2006 and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Ensemble in a Drama Series. Lost was declared the highest rated show for the first ten years of IMDb.com Pro (2002–2012). In 2013, the Writers Guild of America ranked Lost No. 27 in its list of the 101 Best Written TV Series of All Time.
The first season begins with the aftermath of a plane crash which leaves the surviving passengers of Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 on what seems to be a deserted tropical island. Jack Shephard, a doctor, becomes their de facto leader. Their survival is threatened by a number of mysterious entities, including polar bears, an unseen creature that roams the jungle (the "Smoke Monster"), and the island's malevolent inhabitants known as "The Others". They encounter a French woman named Danielle Rousseau who was shipwrecked on the island 16 years before the main story and is desperate for news of a daughter named Alex. They also find a mysterious metal hatch buried in the ground. While two survivors try to force the hatch open, four others attempt to leave on a raft that they have built. Meanwhile, flashbacks centered on individual survivors detail their lives prior to the plane crash. The second season follows the growing conflict between the survivors and the Others, and continues the theme of the clash between faith and science, while resolving old mysteries and posing new ones. The four survivors in the raft are ambushed by the Others, and they take Walt, Michael's son. The survivors are forced to return to the island, where they find the tail-section survivors (the "Tailies"). A power struggle between Jack and John Locke over control of the guns and medicine located in the hatch develops, resolved in "The Long Con" by Sawyer when he gains control of them. The hatch is revealed to be a research station built by the Dharma Initiative, a scientific research project that involved conducting experiments on the island decades earlier. A man named Desmond Hume had been living in the hatch for three years, pushing a button every 108 minutes to prevent a catastrophic event from occurring. To recover his son, Michael betrays the survivors and Jack, Sawyer, and Kate are captured. Michael is given a boat and leaves the island with his son, while John destroys the computer in the hatch, and so an electromagnetic event shakes the island. This causes the island to be detected in the exterior world, and it is revealed that a similar event caused the break-up of the plane.
In the third season, the crash survivors learn more about the Others and their long history on the mysterious island and the fate of the Dharma Initiative. The leader of the Others, Benjamin Linus, is introduced as well as defections from both sides pave the way for conflict between the two. Time travel elements also begin to appear in the series, as Desmond is forced to turn the fail-safe key in the hatch to stop the electromagnetic event, and this sends his mind eight years to the past. When he returns to the present, he is able to see the future. Kate and Sawyer escape the Others, while Jack stays after Ben promises that Jack will be able to leave the island in a submarine if he operates on Ben, who has cancer. Jack does, but the submarine is destroyed by John. Jack is left behind with Juliet, an Other, who also seeks to leave the island, while John joins the Others. A helicopter crashes near the island, in which Naomi arrives, who says her freighter, Kahana, is near, and was sent by Penelope Widmore, Desmond's ex-girlfriend. Desmond has a vision in which Charlie will drown after shutting down a signal which prevents communication with the exterior world. His vision comes true, but Charlie speaks with Penelope who says she doesn't know any Naomi. Before drowning, Charlie writes in his hand "Not Penny's Boat" so Desmond can read it. Meanwhile, the survivors make contact with a rescue team aboard the freighter. In the season's finale, apparent flashbacks show a depressed Jack going to somebody's funeral. In the final scene these are revealed to be "flash forwards", and Kate and Jack are revealed to have escaped the island. Jack, however, is desperate to go back.
Season four focuses on the survivors dealing with the arrival of people from the freighter, who have been sent to the island to reclaim it from Benjamin. "Flash forwards" continue, in which it is seen how six survivors live their lives after escaping the island, and are dubbed the "Oceanic Six". In the present, four members of the freighter arrive, and team up with the survivors to escape the island, since the people of the freighter have orders to kill everyone who stays. Meanwhile, Ben travels with John to see Jacob, the island's leader. John enters his house, but finds Jack's dead father, Christian, who says he can speak on Jacob's behalf, and orders John to "move" the island. Ben takes John to an underground station in which time travel was researched. John becomes the new leader of the Others, while Ben moves the island by turning a giant frozen wheel, after which he is transported to the Sahara Desert. The six survivors escape in a helicopter as they watch the island disappear, and are subsequently rescued by Penelope. In the season finale, it is revealed that the funeral Jack went to in the "flash forwards" was John Locke's, who had been seeking out the Oceanic Six in his efforts to convince them to return to the island.
The fifth season follows two timelines. The first takes place on the island where the survivors who were left behind erratically jump forward and backward through time. In one of these time periods, John speaks with Richard Alpert, one of the Others, who says that to save the island, he must bring everyone back. John goes to the same underground station Ben went to. After moving the wheel himself, John is transported to the Sahara Desert in 2007, as the time shifts on the island stop and the survivors are stranded with the Dharma Initiative in 1974. In 2007, John contacts the Oceanic Six but no one wants to return. The last one he finds is a depressed Jack. John tells Jack his father is alive on the island. This seriously affects Jack and he begins taking flights, hoping to crash on the island again. Ben finds John and kills him. After John's death, the Oceanic Six are told to board the Ajira Airways Flight 316 to return to the island, and to go back they have to take John Locke's body in the plane. They take the flight, but some land in 1977, in which they meet with the other survivors who are now part of the Dharma Initiative, and others land in 2007. The survivors in 1977 are told by Daniel Faraday that if they detonate a hydrogen bomb at the hatch's construction site, the electromagnetic energy below it will be negated, and thus the hatch would never be built, and thus their future could be changed. In 2007, John Locke apparently comes back to life. He instructs Richard Alpert to speak with a time-travelling John and tell him that he must bring everyone back to the island. After this, he goes to speak with Jacob. The series finale reveals that John Locke is still dead, and another entity has taken over his form, just to make Ben kill Jacob. In 1977, Juliet detonates the hydrogen bomb.
The sixth and final season follows two timelines. In the first one, the survivors are sent to the present day, as the death of Jacob allows for his brother, the Man in Black, the human alter ego of the Smoke Monster, to take over the island. Having assumed the form of John Locke, the Smoke Monster seeks to escape the island and forces a final war between the forces of good and evil. The second timeline, called "flash-sideways" narrative, follows the lives of the main characters in a setting where Oceanic 815 never crashed though additional changes are revealed as other characters are shown living completely different lives than they did. In the final episodes, a flashback to the distant past shows the origins of the island's power and of the conflict between Jacob and the Man in Black, who are revealed to be twin brothers with Jacob desperate to keep his brother from leaving the island after he is transmogrified by the power of the island and becomes the smoke monster. The Man in Black seeks to kill all of the survivors, which were named "candidates" by Jacob and could become the new protector of the island. The ghost of Jacob appears to them and Jack is pointed as the new protector. Jack catches up with The Man In Black, who says that he wants to go to the "center of the island" to turn it off, and therefore finally leave the island. They reach the place, but after doing this, The Man In Black becomes mortal. The Man In Black is killed by Jack, but Jack is seriously injured. Hurley, one of the survivors, becomes the new caretaker of the island. Several of the survivors die in the conflict or stay on the island, and the remaining escape in the Ajira Plane once and for all. Jack returns to the "center of the island" and turns it on again, saving it. Hurley, as the new protector, asks Ben to help him in his new job, which he agrees. After having saved the island, Jack dies peacefully in the same place in which he woke up when he arrived in the island. The series finale reveals that the flash-sideways timeline is actually a form of limbo in the afterlife, where some of the survivors and other characters from the island are reunited after having died. In the last scene, the survivors are all reunited in a church where they "move on" together.
Mythology and interpretations
Episodes of Lost include a number of mysterious elements ascribed to science fiction or supernatural phenomena. The creators of the series refer to these elements as composing the mythology of the series, and they formed the basis of fan speculation. The show's mythological elements include a "Monster" that roams the island, a mysterious group of inhabitants whom the survivors called "The Others", a scientific organization called the Dharma Initiative that placed several research stations on the island, a sequence of numbers that frequently appears in the lives of the characters in the past, present, and future, and personal connections (synchronicity) between the characters of which they are often unaware.
At the heart of the series is a complex and cryptic storyline, which spawned numerous questions and discussions among viewers. Encouraged by Lost's writers and stars, who often interacted with fans online, viewers, and TV critics alike took to widespread theorizing in an attempt to unravel the mysteries. Theories mainly concerned the nature of the island, the origins of the "Monster" and the "Others", the meaning of the numbers, and the reasons for both the crash and the survival of some passengers. Several of the more common fan theories were discussed and rejected by the show's creators, the most common being that the survivors of Oceanic flight 815 are dead and in purgatory. Lindelof rejected speculation that spaceships or aliens influenced the events on the island, or that everything seen was a fictional reality taking place in someone's mind. Carlton Cuse dismissed the theory that the island was a reality TV show and the castaways unwitting housemates and Lindelof many times refuted the theory that the "Monster" was a nanobot cloud similar to the one featured in Michael Crichton's novel Prey (which happened to share the protagonist's name, Jack).
There are several recurring elements and motifs on Lost, which generally have no direct effect on the story itself, but expand the show's literary and philosophical subtext. These elements include frequent appearances of black and white, which reflect the dualism within characters and situations; as well as rebellion in almost all characters, especially Kate; dysfunctional family situations (especially ones that revolve around the fathers of many characters), as portrayed in the lives of nearly all the main characters; apocalyptic references, including Desmond's pushing the button to forestall the end of the world; coincidence versus fate, revealed most apparently through the juxtaposition of the characters Locke and Mr. Eko; conflict between science and faith, embodied by the leadership tug-of-war between Jack and Locke; and references to numerous works of literature, including mentions and discussions of particular novels. There are also many allusions in characters' names to famous historical thinkers and writers, such as Ben Linus (after chemist Linus Pauling), John Locke (after the philosopher) and his alias Jeremy Bentham (after the philosopher), Danielle Rousseau (after philosopher Jean-Jacques Rosseau), Desmond David Hume (after philosopher David Hume), Juliet's ex-husband (after philosopher Edmund Burke), Mikhail Bakunin (after the anarchist philosopher), Daniel Faraday (after physicist Michael Faraday), Eloise Hawking (after physicist Stephen Hawking), George Minkowski (after mathematician Hermann Minkowski), Richard Alpert (the birth name of spiritual teacher Ram Dass), Boone Carlyle (after Daniel Boone, American pioneer), and Charlotte Staples Lewis (after author Clive Staples Lewis C. S. Lewis).
Cast and characters
Of the 324 people on board Oceanic Flight 815, there are 70 initial survivors (as well as one dog) spread across the three sections of the plane crash. Although a large cast made Lost more expensive to produce, the writers benefited from added flexibility in story decisions. According to series executive producer Bryan Burk, "You can have more interactions between characters and create more diverse characters, more back stories, more love triangles."
Lost was planned as a multicultural show with an international cast. The initial season had 14 regular speaking roles that received star billing. Matthew Fox played the protagonist, a troubled surgeon named Jack Shepard. Evangeline Lilly portrayed fugitive Kate Austen. Jorge Garcia played Hugo "Hurley" Reyes, an unlucky lottery winner. Josh Holloway played a con man, James "Sawyer" Ford. Ian Somerhalder played Boone Carlyle, chief operating officer of his mother's wedding business. Maggie Grace played his stepsister Shannon Rutherford, a former dance teacher. Harold Perrineau portrayed construction worker and aspiring artist Michael Dawson, while Malcom David Kelley played his young son, Walt Lloyd. Terry O'Quinn played the mysterious John Locke. Naveen Andrews portrayed former Iraqi Republican Guard Sayid Jarrah. Emilie de Ravin played a young Australian mother-to-be, Claire Littleton. Yunjin Kim played Sun-Hwa Kwon, the daughter of a powerful Korean businessman and mobster, with Daniel Dae Kim as her husband and father's enforcer Jin-Soo Kwon. Dominic Monaghan played English ex-rock star drug addict Charlie Pace.
During the first two seasons, some characters were written out, while new characters with new stories were added. Boone Carlyle was written out near the end of season one, and Kelley became a guest star making occasional appearances throughout season two after Walt is captured by the Others in the season one finale. Shannon's departure eight episodes into season two made way for newcomers Mr. Eko, a Nigerian fake Catholic priest and former criminal played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje; Ana Lucia Cortez, an airport security guard and former police officer played by Michelle Rodriguez; and Libby Smith, a purported clinical psychologist and formerly mentally ill woman portrayed by Cynthia Watros. Ana Lucia and Libby were written out of the series toward the end of season two after being shot by Michael, who then left the island along with his son.
In season three, two actors were promoted from recurring to starring roles: Henry Ian Cusick as former Scottish soldier Desmond Hume, and Michael Emerson as the manipulative leader of the Others, Ben Linus. In addition, three new actors joined the regular cast: Elizabeth Mitchell, as fertility doctor and Other Juliet Burke, and Kiele Sanchez and Rodrigo Santoro as background survivor couple Nikki Fernandez and Paulo. Several characters died throughout the season; Eko was written out early on when Akinnuoye-Agbaje did not wish to continue on the show, Nikki and Paulo were buried alive mid-season after poor fan response, and Charlie was written out in the third season finale.
In season four, Harold Perrineau rejoined the main cast to reprise the role of Michael, now suicidal and on a desperate redemptive journey to atone for his previous crimes. Along with Perrineau, additional new actors — Jeremy Davies as Daniel Faraday, a nervous physicist who takes a scientific interest in the island; Ken Leung as Miles Straume, a sarcastic supposed ghost whisperer, and Rebecca Mader as Charlotte Staples Lewis, a hard-headed and determined anthropologist and successful academic — joined the cast. Michael was written out in the fourth season finale. Claire, who mysteriously disappears with her dead biological father near the end of the season, did not return as a series regular for the fifth season, but returned for the sixth and final season.
In season five, no new characters joined the main cast; however, several characters exited the show: Charlotte was written out early in the season in episode five, with Daniel being written out later in the antepenultimate episode. Season six saw several cast changes; Juliet was written out in the season premiere while three previous recurring characters were upgraded to starring status. These included Nestor Carbonell as mysterious, age-less Other Richard Alpert, Jeff Fahey as pilot Frank Lapidus and Zuleikha Robinson as Ajira Airways Flight 316 survivor Ilana Verdansky. Additionally, former cast members Ian Somerhalder, Dominic Monaghan, Rebecca Mader, Jeremy Davies, Elizabeth Mitchell, Maggie Grace, Michelle Rodriguez, Harold Perrineau, and Cynthia Watros made return appearances.
Numerous supporting characters have been given expansive and recurring appearances in the progressive storyline. Danielle Rousseau (Mira Furlan), a French member of an earlier scientific expedition to the island first encountered as a voice recording in the pilot episode, appears throughout the series; she is searching for her daughter, who later turns up in the form of Alex Rousseau (Tania Raymonde). Cindy (Kimberley Joseph), an Oceanic flight attendant who first appeared in the pilot, survived the crash and subsequently became one of the Others. In the second season, married couple Rose Henderson (L. Scott Caldwell) and Bernard Nadler (Sam Anderson), separated on opposite sides of the island (she with the main characters, he with the tail section survivors) were featured in a flashback episode after being reunited. Corporate magnate Charles Widmore (Alan Dale) has connections to both Ben and Desmond. Desmond is in love with Widmore's daughter Penelope "Penny" Widmore (Sonya Walger). The introduction of the Others featured Tom aka Mr. Friendly (M. C. Gainey) and Ethan Rom (William Mapother) all of whom have been shown in both flashbacks and the ongoing story. Jack's father Christian Shephard (John Terry) has appeared in multiple flashbacks of various characters. In the third season, Naomi Dorrit (Marsha Thomason), parachutes onto the island, the team leader of a group hired by Widmore to find Ben Linus. One member of her team includes the ruthless mercenary Martin Keamy (Kevin Durand). In the finale episode "The End", recurring guest stars Sam Anderson, L. Scott Caldwell, Francois Chau, Fionnula Flanagan, Sonya Walger, and John Terry were credited under the "starring" rubric alongside the principal cast. The mysterious, black, smoke cloud-like entity known as "the Monster" appeared in human form during season five and six as a middle-aged man dressed in black robes known as "The Man in Black" played by Titus Welliver, and in season six, it appears in the form of John Locke played by O'Quinn in a dual role. His rival, Jacob, was played by Mark Pellegrino.
Lost was produced by ABC Studios, Bad Robot Productions and Grass Skirt Productions. Throughout its run, the executive producers of the series were Damon Lindelof, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Carlton Cuse, Jack Bender, Jeff Pinkner, Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, Jean Higgins, and Elizabeth Sarnoff, with Lindelof and Cuse serving as showrunners.
The series was conceived by Lloyd Braun, head of ABC at the time, while he was on vacation in Hawaii during 2003 and thought of a cross between the movie Cast Away and the popular reality show Survivor. Braun later pitched his ideas at the network's gathering of executives at the Grand Californian Hotel in Anahiem, describing the concept as "parts Cast Away, Survivor, and Gilligan's Island, with a Lord of the Flies element." Many found the idea laughable, but senior vice president Thom Sherman saw potential and decided to order an initial script from Spelling Television. Spelling producer Ted Gold turned to writer Jeffrey Lieber, who presented a pitch to ABC in September 2003 titled Nowhere, which Sherman approved. Unhappy with the eventual script by Lieber and a subsequent rewrite, in January 2004 Braun contacted J. J. Abrams, who had developed the TV series Alias for ABC, to write a new pilot script. Lieber would later receive a story credit for the Lost pilot, and subsequently shared the "created by" credit with Abrams and Lindelof, after a request for arbitration at the Writers Guild of America. The one inviolable edict Braun made to Abrams was that the show's title must be Lost, having conceived of the title and being angry at its change to Nowhere by Lieber.
Although initially hesitant, Abrams warmed to the idea on the condition that the series would have a supernatural angle to it, and if he had a writing partner. ABC executive Heather Kadin sent him Damon Lindelof, who had long intended to meet Abrams as he wished to write for Alias. Together, Abrams and Lindelof created the series' style and characters, and also wrote a series bible, that conceived and detailed the major mythological ideas and plot points for an ideal four to five season run for the show. The novel idea of a story arc spanning several years was inspired by Babylon 5. Because ABC felt that Alias was too serialized, Lindelof and Abrams assured the network in the bible that the show would be self-contained: "We promise ... that [each episode] requires NO knowledge of the episode(s) that preceded it ... there is no 'Ultimate Mystery' which requires solving". While such statements contradicted their true plans, the ruse succeeded in persuading ABC to purchase the show. The game Myst, also set in a tropical island, was noted as an influence by Lindelof, as in its narrative "No one told you what the rules were. You just had to walk around and explore these environments and gradually a story was told."
Abrams created the sound opening of the show and its title card being inspired by The Twilight Zone. He withdrew from production of Lost partway through the first season to direct Mission: Impossible III, leaving Lindelof and new executive producer Carlton Cuse to develop much of the overall mythology of the series themselves. However, Abrams briefly returned to help co-write the third season premiere along with Lindelof. The development of the show was constrained by tight deadlines, as it had been commissioned late in the 2004 season's development cycle. Despite the short schedule, the creative team remained flexible enough to modify or create characters to fit actors they wished to cast.
Lost's two-part pilot episode was the most expensive in the network's history, reportedly costing between US$10 and $14 million, compared to the average cost of an hour-long pilot in 2005 of $4 million. The world premiere of the pilot episode was on July 24, 2004 at Comic-Con International in San Diego. ABC's parent company Disney fired Braun before Lost's broadcast debut, partly because of low ratings at the network and also because he had greenlighted such an expensive and risky project. The series debuted on September 22, 2004, becoming one of the biggest critical and commercial successes of the 2004 television season. Along with fellow new series Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy, Lost helped to reverse the flagging fortunes of ABC, and its great success likely caused the network to ignore that the show almost immediately broke Lindelof and Abrams' promises to it regarding Lost's plots.
Many of the first season roles were a result of the executive producers' liking of various actors. The main character Jack was originally going to die in the pilot, and the role was planned for Michael Keaton. However, ABC executives were adamant that Jack live. Before it was decided that Jack would live, Kate was to emerge as the leader of the survivors; she was originally conceived as a middle-aged businesswoman whose husband had apparently died in the crash, a role later fulfilled by the recurring character Rose. Dominic Monaghan auditioned for the role of Sawyer, who at the time was supposed to be a slick suit-wearing city con man. The producers enjoyed Monaghan's performance and changed the character of Charlie, originally an over-the-hill former rock star, to fit him. Jorge Garcia also auditioned for Sawyer, and the part of Hurley was written for him. When Josh Holloway auditioned for Sawyer, the producers liked the edge he brought to the character (he reportedly kicked a chair when he forgot his lines and got angry in the audition) and his southern accent, so they changed Sawyer to fit Holloway's acting. Yunjin Kim auditioned for Kate, but the producers wrote the character of Sun for her and the character of Jin, portrayed by Daniel Dae Kim, to be her husband. Sayid, played by Naveen Andrews, was also not in the original script. Locke and Michael were written with their actors in mind. Emilie de Ravin, who plays Claire, was originally cast in what was supposed to be a recurring role. In the second season, Michael Emerson was contracted to play Ben ("Henry Gale") for three episodes. His role was extended to eight episodes because of his acting skills, and eventually for the whole of season three and later seasons.
Lost was filmed on Panavision 35 mm cameras almost entirely on the Hawaiian island of Oahu due to the wide range of diverse filming locations available in close range. The original island scenes for the pilot were filmed at Mokulē'ia Beach, near the northwest tip of the island. Later beach scenes take place in secluded spots of the famous North Shore. Cave scenes in the first season were filmed on a sound stage built at a Xerox parts warehouse, which had been empty since an employee mass shooting took place there in 1999. In 2006, the sound-stage and production offices moved to the Hawaii Film Office-operated Hawaii Film Studio, where the sets depicting Season 2's "Swan Station" and Season 3's "Hydra Station" interiors were built.
Various urban areas in and around Honolulu are used as stand-ins for locations around the world, including California, New York, Iowa, Miami, South Korea, Iraq, Nigeria, United Kingdom, Paris, Thailand, Berlin, Maldives, and Australia. For example, scenes set in a Sydney Airport were filmed at the Hawaii Convention Center, while a World War II-era bunker was used as both an Iraqi Republican Guard installation and a Dharma Initiative research station. Scenes set in Germany during the winter were filmed at the Bernice P. Bishop Museum, with crushed ice scattered everywhere to create snow and Russian storeshop and automobile signs on the street. Several scenes in the Season 3 finale, "Through the Looking Glass", were shot in Los Angeles, including a hospital set borrowed from Grey's Anatomy. Two scenes during season four were filmed in London because Alan Dale who portrays Widmore was at the time performing in the musical Spamalot and was unable to travel to Hawaii. Extensive archives of filming locations are tracked at a repository at the Lost Virtual Tour.
During its six years of broadcasting, Lost developed an extensive collection of promotional tools ranging from the traditional promotions of the TV show made by the channel, to the creation of alternate reality games such as the Lost Experience. Lost showed innovation in the use of new advertising strategies in the sector and the transformation of the conventional devices used previously.
Lost features an orchestral score performed by the Hollywood Studio Symphony Orchestra and composed by Michael Giacchino, incorporating many recurring themes for subjects such as events, locations, and characters. Giacchino achieved some of the sounds for the score using unusual instruments, such as striking suspended pieces of the plane's fuselage. On March 21, 2006, the record label Varèse Sarabande released the original television soundtrack for Lost's first season. The soundtrack included select full-length versions of the most popular themes of the season and the main title, which was composed by series creator J. J. Abrams. Varèse Sarabande released a soundtrack featuring music from season 2 of Lost on October 3, 2006. The soundtrack for season 3 was released on May 6, 2008, the soundtrack for season 4 was released on May 11, 2009, the soundtrack for season 5 was released on May 11, 2010 and the soundtrack for the final season was released on September 14, 2010. A final soundtrack, featuring music from series finale, was released on October 11, 2010.
The series uses pop culture songs sparingly, and used a mainly orchestral score (consisting usually of divided Strings, Percussion, Harp, and 3 Trombones.) When it features pop songs, they often originate from s diegetic source. Examples include the various songs played on Hurley's portable CD player throughout the first season (until its batteries died in the episode "...In Translation", which featured Damien Rice's "Delicate), or the use of the record player in the second season, which included Cass Elliot's "Make Your Own Kind of Music", and Petula Clark's "Downtown" in the second and third season premieres respectively. Two episodes show Charlie on a street corner playing guitar and singing the Oasis song "Wonderwall". In the third season's finale, Jack drives down the street listening to Nirvana's "Scentless Apprentice", right before he arrives to the Hoffs/Drawlar Funeral Parlor, and in the parallel scene in the fourth season's finale he arrives listening to "Gouge Away" by Pixies. The third season also used Three Dog's Night's "Shambala" on two occasions in the van. The only two pop songs that have ever been used without an on-screen source (i.e., non-diegetic) are Ann-Margret's "Slowly", in the episode "I Do", and "I Shall Not Walk Alone", written by Ben Harper and covered by The Blind Boys of Alabama in the episode "Confidence Man". Alternate music is used in several international broadcasts. For instance, in the Japanese broadcast of Lost, the theme song used varies by season; season one uses "Here I Am" by Chemistry, season two uses "Losin'" by Yuna Ito, and season three uses "Lonely Girl" by Crystal Kay.
In addition to traditional terrestrial and satellite broadcasting, Lost is available from various online services, including Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, and Netflix. It was one of the first series issued through Apple's iTunes Store beginning in October 2005. On August 29, 2007, Lost became one of the first TV programs available for download in the UK iTunes Store.
In April 2006, Disney announced that Lost would be available for free online in streaming format, with advertising, on ABC's website, as part of a two-month experiment of future distribution strategies. The trial, which ran from May to June 2006, caused a stir among network affiliates who were afraid of being cut out of advertising revenue. The streaming of Lost episodes direct from ABC's website was only available to viewers in the United States due to international licensing agreements. In 2009, Lost was named the most watched show on the Internet based on viewers of episodes on ABC's website. The Nielsen Company reported that 1.425 million unique viewers have watched at least one episode on ABC's website.
Home video releases
The first season of Lost was released under the title Lost: The Complete First Season as a widescreen seven-disc Region 1 DVD box set on September 6, 2005, two weeks before the premiere of the second season. It was distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment. In addition to all the episodes that had been aired, it included several DVD extras such as episode commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage, and making-of features as well as deleted scenes, deleted flashback scenarios, and a blooper reel. The same set was released on November 30, 2005 in Region 4, The season was first released split into two parts: the first twelve episodes of season 1 were available as a wide screen four-disc Region 2 DVD box set on October 31, 2005, while the remaining thirteen episodes of season 1 were released on January 16, 2006. The DVD features available on the Region 1 release were likewise split over the two box sets. The first two seasons were released separately on Blu-ray Disc on June 16, 2009.
The second season was released under the title Lost: The Complete Second Season – The Extended Experience as a wide screen seven-disc Region 1 DVD box set on September 5, 2006. The sets include several DVD extras, including behind the scenes footage, deleted scenes, and a "Lost Connections" chart, which shows how all of the characters on the island are inter-connected. Again, the season was initially delivered in two sets for Region 2: the first twelve episodes were released as a widescreen four-disc DVD box set on July 17, 2006, while the remaining episodes of season 2 were released as a four-disc DVD box set on October 2, 2006. The set was released in Region 4 on October 4, 2006.
The third season was released under the title Lost: The Complete Third Season – The Unexplored Experience on DVD and Blu-ray in Region 1 on December 11, 2007. As with seasons 1 and 2, the third season release includes audio commentaries with the cast and crew, bonus featurettes, deleted scenes, and bloopers. The third season was released in Region 2 solely on DVD on October 22, 2007, though this time only as a complete set, unlike previous seasons.
The fourth season was released as Lost: The Complete Fourth Season – The Expanded Experience in Region 1 on December 9, 2008 on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc. It was released on DVD in Region 2 on October 20, 2008. The set includes audio commentaries, deleted scenes, bloopers, and bonus featurettes.
The first three seasons of Lost have sold successfully on DVD. The Season 1 boxset entered the DVD sales chart at number two in September 2005, and the Season 2 boxset entered the DVD sales chart at the number one position in its first week of release in September 2006, believed to be the second TV-DVD ever to enter the chart at the top spot. The Season 3 boxset sold over 1,000,000 copies in three weeks.
Both the Season 6 boxset and the complete series collection contained a 12 minute epilogue-like bonus feature called "The New Man in Charge". The Season 6 DVD set entered the DVD sales chart at the number one position in its first week of release in September 2010 boasting strong sales in the DVD and Blu-ray format for the regular season set as well as for the series box set.
The characters and setting of Lost have appeared in several official tie-ins outside of the television broadcast, including in print, on the Internet, and in short videos for mobile phones. Three novelizations have been released by Hyperion Books, a publisher owned by Disney, ABC's parent company. They are Endangered Species (ISBN 0-7868-9090-8) and Secret Identity (ISBN 0-7868-9091-6) both by Cathy Hapka and Signs of Life (ISBN 0-7868-9092-4) by Frank Thompson. Additionally, Hyperion published a metafictional book titled Bad Twin (ISBN 1-4013-0276-9), written by Laurence Shames, and credited to fictitious author "Gary Troup", who ABC's marketing department claimed was a passenger on Oceanic Flight 815.
Several unofficial books relating to the show have also been published. Finding Lost: The Unofficial Guide (ISBN 1-55022-743-2) by Nikki Stafford and published by ECW Press is a book detailing the show for fans and those new to the show. What Can Be Found in Lost? (ISBN 0-7369-2121-4) by John Ankerberg and Dillon Burrough, published by Harvest House is the first book dedicated to an investigation of the spiritual themes of the series from a Christian perspective. Living Lost: Why We're All Stuck on the Island (ISBN 1-891053-02-7) by J. Wood, published by the Garett County Press, is the first work of cultural criticism based on the series. The book explores the show's strange engagement with the contemporary experiences of war, (mis)information, and terrorism, and argues that the audience functions as a character in the narrative. The author also writes a blog column during the second part of the third season for Powell's Books. Each post discusses the previous episode's literary, historical, philosophical, and narrative connections.
The show's networks and producers have made extensive use of the Internet in expanding the background of the story. For example, during the first season, a fictional diary by an unseen survivor called "Janelle Granger" was presented on the ABC web site for the series. Likewise, a tie-in website about the fictional Oceanic Airlines appeared during the first season, which included several Easter eggs and clues about the show. Another tie-in website was launched after the airing of "Orientation" about the Hanso Foundation. In the UK, the interactive back-stories of several characters were included in "Lost Untold", a section of Channel 4's Lost website. Similarly, beginning in November 2005, ABC produced an official podcast, hosted by series writers and executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. The podcast typically features a discussion about the weekly episode, interviews with cast members, and questions from viewers. Sky 1 also hosted a podcast presented by Iain Lee on their website, which analyzed each episode after it aired in the United Kingdom.
The foray into the online realm culminated in the Lost Experience, an Internet-based alternate reality game produced by Channel 7 (Australia), ABC (America), and Channel Four (UK), which began in early May 2006. The game presents a five-phase parallel storyline, primarily involving the Hanso Foundation.
Short mini-episodes ("mobisodes") called the Lost Video Diaries were originally scheduled for viewing by Verizon Wireless subscribers via its V-Cast system, but were delayed by contract disputes. The mobisodes were renamed Lost: Missing Pieces and aired from November 7, 2007 to January 28, 2008.
In addition to tie-in novels, several other products based on the series, such as toys and games, have been licensed for release. A video game, Lost: Via Domus, was released to average reviews, developed by Ubisoft, for game consoles and home computers, while Gameloft developed a Lost game for mobile phones and iPods. Cardinal Games released a Lost board game on August 7, 2006. TDC Games created a series of four 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles ("The Hatch", "The Numbers", "The Others", and "Before the Crash"), which, when put together, reveal embedded clues to the overall mythology of Lost. Inkworks has published three sets of Lost trading cards, Season One, Season Two, and Revelations. In May 2006, McFarlane Toys announced recurring lines of character action figures and released the first series in November 2006, with the second series being released July 2007. Furthermore, ABC sold a myriad of Lost merchandise in their online store, including clothing, jewelry, and other collectibles. In November 2010, more than five months after the final episode aired, DK Publishing released a 400-page reference titled The Lost Encyclopedia, written by Tara Bennett and Paul Terry. The book compiled information from the TV show producers "writers bible", listing nearly every character, chronological event, location, and plot detail of the series, filling in the gaps for die hard fans.