There's still room in storyline for twists, surprises

On “Lost,” a solved mystery inevitably means an even knottier one will emerge in its place. How fitting, then, that answering “when” ABC’s acclaimed island drama would end wound up raising expectations for “how.”

“Anticipation for the series finale is incredibly high,” says Stephen McPherson, president of ABC Entertainment Group. “I’m sure it’ll mean a few sleepless nights for Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.”

Not too many, if the exec producers have anything to say about it.

“We can’t let those expectations terrify us,” Lindelof insists. “The reality is, we’ve known what the series finale is going to be for a while now.”

The only wiggle room is in how exactly the characters will arrive at their ultimate destinations. Explains Cuse, “The path that we take to the end still has some room for surprises and changes and discoveries along the way (in terms of) the characters’ journeys and how their relationships evolve.”

Getting Lindelof and Cuse to spill even a drop of a detail about how they plan to wrap the whole thing up? Not gonna happen.

“We think it’s cool,” Lindelof says, “and that’s the way we will have written the 119 hours of the show that precede it.”

They will, however, share some goals for the final episode: Be fair to the show’s characters. Deliver on promises they’ve made to fans over the course of the series’ run. And, as the old adage goes, leave ‘em wanting more.

“When we say more, we don’t mean answers,” clarifies Lindelof, “because hopefully, the show will wrap up in an incredibly satisfying way, both mythologically and emotionally.”

Of course, as that other old adage goes, you can’t please everybody, and Lindelof and Cuse already have begun preparing themselves for myriad reactions. The way Lindelof sees it, “The immediate aftermath of any beloved series, whether it be ‘Battlestar Galactica,’ ‘The Sopranos’ or ‘Seinfeld,’ is so overwhelming that it’s incredibly hard to distance yourself from the creative choices made leading up to it.”

Ultimately, the producers are more concerned with the way “Lost” is regarded long after its final whoosh through time.

“How the show is perceived as a whole once you kind of take a step away and look back at it,” Lindelof says, “that’s the one that really matters to us.”

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