Thursday, September 03, 2009


Here's an interesting curiosity....the original pilot script for LOST. When I say original, I mean very original....this was the first product of then-ABC president Lloyd Braun's vague notion that his network should do "a show like Cast Away." This script was written by Jeffrey Lieber well before J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof or Carlton Cuse ever got involved in the project. As you might expect, then, the product is far different from the show we've actually been watching for the last five years, though there are still a few similarities:

* General Frank White = Sayid or the faux-general air that Locke had about him in the first few episodes. Heck, Locke's first-ever flashback scene is him on the phone apparently involved in some kind of battle strategy before it's revealed that he's at his desk at the paper company playing a war RPG.

* General White's death = the shock death planned for Jack's character in the Abrams/Lindelof pilot. I know I've told this anecdote before, but the original plan for 'Jack Shepherd' was to establish him as the leader in the first half of the pilot and then have him be the one (rather than the pilot) who ends up killed by the Monster. This version of Jack would've been played by Michael Keaton, and thus the audience would've been even more shocked to see the ostensible star of the show killed off in the first episode.

* Xander the Aussie convict = combination of Kate and Sawyer

* Pregnant Sarah looking for her husband = combination of Claire and Rose

* Jed needs pills to stay sane = Charlie's need for heroin, sort of

* "Together we survive, apart we don't" is a much less poetic version of 'Live together, die alone.'

* Piper the hot, materialistic blond chick = Shannon

* Zach = Boone, aside from being related to Shannon

* Nell the doctor = Jack, though she's kind of inverse of Jack in that Nell seems to a good leader and not much of an actual doctor, whereas Jack is a great doctor but a crappy leader

* German kid who doesn't speak English = the seeds of Jin or even Walt

* The Sykes children = Walt, and hints of Zack and Emma, the two kids taken from the tail section by the Others.

* Truman in Australia to collect his father's remains = Jack in Australia to get Christian Shepherd's body

So some of the seeds of LOST are there, which is probably why Lieber got a co-creator credit. But the biggest difference is, of course, that 'Nowhere' is a straight-forward deserted island survival show. There are no polar bears, or Monster, or Dharma Initiative, or visions of dead people, or any hints of the larger mythology that LOST incorporated into even its first episode. The other major difference is that the LOST pilot was awesome and immediately hooked you into the concept, whereas this script was more than a little cliched in more than a few places and immediately seemed to put the survivors in dire straits too quickly. (Granted, they didn't have the benefit of an Island that could heal people.) I like the idea of the episode ending on the last day of General White's 'grace period' time of a week, but still, a concept like this would be better suited to a limited-run, shorter series on cable, rather than a big network show with an initially open-ended episode commitment.

Since we're still five months away from the premiere episode of LOST's sixth season, this script is a decent little appetizer to whet your whistles until the big day. But I dunno, overall I'm far more fired up by things like the title of S6's first episode (LA X --- yes, the space between the letters was intentional), the fact that Kenny Powers' brother is joining the cast and the awesomely intriguing promotional poster. This is the clearest version I can find, but it's basically every main character from all five seasons standing in a row facing the viewer. The one exception is Locke, who's standing in the middle with his back turned. (i.e. a nod to Jacob's enemy.)

January 2010 can't come soon enough.

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