×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Lost

Welcome to a spoiler-free zone, as "Lost" engrossingly kicks off its strike-shortened fourth season still riding the wave of last spring's dazzling twist introducing a flash-forward component.

Welcome to a spoiler-free zone, as “Lost” engrossingly kicks off its strike-shortened fourth season still riding the wave of last spring’s dazzling twist introducing a flash-forward component. The season premiere continues to offer tantalizing clues about what that future holds, while dealing with fallout from the suspect rescue party’s arrival and a key character’s heroic sacrifice. Notably, though, the second episode risks missteps similar to those that have bogged the show down before, with new faces and backstories to absorb. That said, “Lost’s” return goes down like a welcome tonic as scripted TV fades to black.

In many ways, this ABC drama has become the most paranoid show since “The X-Files,” with every ray of hope raising flags about suspect motives and who can be trusted. Each season has brought a fresh contingent into view, from weaving in the Oceanic plane crash’s tail-end survivors to the mysterious “Others” and their beady-eyed leader, brilliantly played by Michael Emerson.

The first hour — written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, and directed by Jack Bender — highlights the ongoing tension between the survivors’ natural leaders, Jack (Matthew Fox) and Locke (Terry O’Quinn), while providing an unusually generous array of juicy moments for the large (and, at times, neglected) cast. By episode two, however, the show is plunging deeply into this season’s mystery regarding the freighter, relegating some characters to the sidelines.

Even with a designated end date three years (and 48 episodes) off, it’s clear the revelations will be sparse, with each new one clouded by another wrinkle. Winston Churchill famously referred to the old Soviet Union as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma,” and “Lost” is much the same way — a show whose structure virtually requires countering every step forward with one back to protect the secrets of that confounded island.

This narrative tango has inevitably curbed the program’s mass appeal, causing viewers to drop out as the density of “Lost” lore approaches levels that would vex most English-lit majors. Nevertheless, those who have settled in for the ride continue to be rewarded, despite the occasional irritating or misguided detour along the way.

The jolt from last season’s ending came at a welcome time, but for better or worse “Lost’s” place in primetime’s pantheon will ultimately be judged by whether the final payoff was worthy of the journey. Yet for now, anyway, the series is best enjoyed by not sweating the details, fastening your seatbelt and putting one’s faith in the show’s pilots to know where the hell this flight is heading.

Lost

ABC, Thur. Jan. 31, 9 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Hawaii by Bad Robot in association with ABC Studios. Executive producers, J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, Bryan Burk, Jack Bender, Carlton Cuse; co-executive producers, Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, Drew Goddard, Stephen Williams, Jean Higgins; supervising producer, Elizabeth Sarnoff; producers, Ra'uf Glasgow, Pat Churchill,; director, Bender; writers, Lindelof, Cuse.

Crew: Camera, John Bartley; production design, James Newport; editor, Stephen Semel; music, Michael Giacchino; casting, April Webster, Veronica Collins Rooney. Running time: 60 MIN.

More TV

  • Dynasties BBC

    Bristol Is Home to Production Companies Known for Global Wildlife Projects

    Bristol, two hours west of London and known by toon enthusiasts as the home of Aardman Animations, also happens to be the world center of wildlife filmmaking and home to the top producers, directors and camera pros creating the influx of natural history shows that continue to grow ever more popular on TV screens around [...]

  • CBS HEADQUARTERS

    CBS Awards $20 Million in Moonves' Severance to 18 Anti-Harassment Groups

    CBS Corp. said Friday it would award $20 million that was originally earmarked for severance for its former CEO, Leslie Moonves, to 18 different organizations that work to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace. “These organizations represent different critical approaches to combatting sexual harassment, including efforts to change culture and improve gender equity in the workplace, [...]

  • Kevin Reilly Variety Cover

    Kevin Reilly Named Content Chief for WarnerMedia Streaming Service

    Kevin Reilly — a veteran television exec who has led programming at NBC, FX, Fox, and most recently Turner Broadcasting — has been tapped to head content strategy for the still-nascent streaming service that WarnerMedia plans to launch next year. Reilly, who has led programming at Turner brands TNT and TBS since 2015, will serve [...]

  • Food Network Strikes Multi-Year Deal With

    Food Network Strikes Multi-Year Deal With Ina Garten

    Food Network has struck a new multi-year deal with Ina Garten, the celebrity chief behind its signature daytime series “Barefoot Contessa,” the latest in a series of talent pacts being signed by the network’s parent, Discovery, The deal includes new seasons of the program, along with several hour-long seasonal specials, the Discovery-owned cable network said Friday. [...]

  • Ryan KadroPaleyLive NY: The News Is

    'CBS This Morning' Chief Ryan Kadro to Exit

    Ryan Kadro, the executive producer of “CBS This Morning,” told staffers of the A.M. program Friday that he would step down from his position in early January, citing a desire to find a new challenge. “Nearly nine years after we created CBS This Morning, I’m stepping aside and leaving it in very capable hands.  This [...]

  • Dirty John Remote Controlled Podcast

    Listen: 'Dirty John' Boss Talks Playing With Perspective to Dive Into John Meehan's Mind

    Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera. In this week’s episode, “Dirty John” showrunner Alexandra Cunningham sits down with Variety‘s senior features editor of TV, Danielle Turchiano, to talk about working with Connie Britton to develop a scripted version of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content