In a way it’s a misnomer to call Lost one of TV’s best shows—it’s a fine show on the level of character and writing, but what makes it a classic is that it’s the finest interactive game ever to appear in your living room once a week. An elaborate fractal pattern of intersecting stories concerning plane survivors on a not-quite-deserted island, a secretive international organization and a monster made of smoke, Lost only begins with the 60 minutes you see on TV. Its mysteries, clues and literary-historical allusions demand research, repeat viewing, freeze-framing and endless online discussions. And in a medium where executives assume that viewers will flee anything that remotely challenges them, Lost proves that millions of people will support a difficult, intelligent, even frustrating story—as long as you blow the right kind of smoke at them.
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