Remember that Lost “show bible” we told you about recently? Well, the plot thickens.
Former producer Damon Lindelof has opened up about the leak to /Film, and gave some new details about the behind-the-scenes document (which was never intended for public consumption). For one thing, he wasn’t happy to see that it leaked out into the wild, as it was only developed for internal use. He also noted it was produced to provide approximately 30 potential episode plots, because ABC was “very concerned about the premise’s viability as a series.”
The “show bible” reveals the initial mission statement for the series, noting it was intended to avoid “Big Mysteries” and sci-fi storylines. Obviously, the show veered pretty wildly from this initial plan, but Lindelof says there’s a reason for that.
Basically: The pitch document was created to convince ABC to pick up the series and alleviate their fears, but by the second or third episode they pretty much abandoned the vast majority of those guidelines and went full-on sci-fi mystery. Thank goodness they did.
Here’s how Lindelof explained it:
“So, per J.J., we made a very specific effort in this document to say we were not going to be serialized, we were not going to be genre and we were not going to do what Alias had done. So even though I think it was our intention to do all of the above, we needed to put that in the document because the document was essentially a letter to ABC saying ‘Here’s what the show’s going to be’ ...
[But] by the time we started breaking the first two episodes, it was already very clear to everyone in the room that the document that we had written to get the show picked up was going to be completely and totally null and void.”
But why did the network stay out of the way at that point, and let them deviate from the pitch? Lindelof wouldn’t say, but the obvious answer is the fact that the first season attracted close to 20 million viewers — meaning that whatever they were doing, folks seemed to like it.
Admittedly, it’s pretty sneaky to almost “trick” the network into picking up the series, but most fans (and network execs for that matter) would probably agree it all worked out in the end.