Lost is an American serial drama television series that predominantly follows the lives of the survivors of a plane crash on a mysterious tropical island. There, they must negotiate an unknown monster, wild boars, an unpredictable group of prior occupants, strange other worldly characters, each other, and polar bears as they try to survive and attract rescue. The main ingredients that have made Lost an icon for success have been its international ensemble cast, plotline of mysteries, flashbacks and flashforwards to the additional mysteries of the characters' past lives.
It was created by Jeffrey Lieber, J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof, is produced by Bad Robot Productions, and is filmed almost entirely on location in Hawaii by their local production company Grass Skirt Productions. The show is produced by ABC Studios (formerly Touchstone Television) and airs on the ABC network in the US. Its musical score is composed by Michael Giacchino. Lost has also been known for its innovative nontraditional marketing, including a world-spanning alternate reality game (ARG) in 2006 called The Lost Experience.
"This show is about people who are metaphorically lost in their lives, who get on an airplane, and crash on an island, and become physically lost on the planet Earth. And once they are able to metaphorically find themselves in their lives again, they will be able to physically find themselves in the world again. When you look at the entire show, that's what it will look like. That's what it's always been about." - Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof, IGN interview, January 16, 2007
Lloyd Braun is credited as the man who largely created the concept of Lost at its very beginning. At this time (2003) Braun was the group chairman of ABC. Originally conceived as "The Circle", there is no clear account of how he came to the concept of Lost, but nonetheless he was fascinated with the idea. But it would seem that he was the only one. Relentless in his passion for what then had only been described as a "plane crashes on an island" , Braun went to J.J. Abrams. Abrams at the time was running Alias, and didn't have the time to do The Catch (a show he was developing) and start on a new series, especially when Lost around this time was just a barely developed concept. Before Lost even became a show, it was mostly surrounded with criticism. Then, when Lost was greenlit, Michael Eisner (chairman and chief executive of Walt Disney Co.) had this to say about it: "[It's] A crazy project that's never going to work" . Lost was initially imagined as "Castaway: The Series." The show's name was supposed to be Nowhere. 
The producers first imagined Jack as a leader, who would die in the first part of the pilot. Michael Keaton was originally slated to play Jack in a guest capacity, but executives demanded that he would survive the Monster's attack, as they saw the great potential in the character. Only after Matthew Fox's audition, the producers decided to keep Jack around to be the de facto leader of the survivors.
Both Evangeline Lilly and Yunjin Kim auditioned for the role of Kate. Evangeline Lilly eventually got the part, but almost did not make it to the audition because of troubles with her passport. After Jack's (planned) death, Kate was to take control of the survivors, and producers originally envisioned her to be more like the character of Rose, who lost her husband during the crash, while he was in the tail section of the plane.
Matthew Fox, Dominic Monaghan, Jorge Garcia and Josh Holloway auditioned for the role of Sawyer. Ultimately, Holloway got the part, but several characters were created because of their auditions. The producers formed the character of Charlie to suit Monaghan's acting skills, Fox got the part of Jack, and Garcia got the part of Hurley, as the first character cast. (Lost: The Complete First Season (DVD)) Originally, the executives saw Sawyer as a suit-wearing con man, but after the audition, they molded his part to suit Holloway's southern accent and the "edge" that he brought to the character.
Originally, the characters of Sayid and Sun were not in the script. Despite Yunjin Kim failing to land the role of Kate, they liked her nonetheless, and decided to write a role especially for her: Sun, the optimistic but put-upon wife of a South Korean businessman, Jin. Later, Daniel Dae Kim was cast to play the part of Jin as a counterpart to Sun. Also, the producers saw that Naveen Andrews's work would be perfect for the role of Sayid.
There have been numerous changes to the creative writing staff behind the storyline of Lost from the beginning to the present. Paul Dini has been with Lost since its inception, and was present at the Season 1 preview screening at Comic-Con 2004. Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis joined the writing group midway through the first season. Javier Grillo-Marxuach no longer writes for Lost, although he wrote for and participated in The Lost Experience. Jeph Loeb joined as co-executive producer in Season 2. Drew Goddard and Brian K. Vaughan also joined the writing staff during Season 3. Many of the writers are also known for their work in the television as well as the comics industry.
The FX department, originally based in California, was later moved to Hawaii. The Hawaii offices of Grass Skirt Productions moved from Dole Cannery Offices to the Hawaii state-operated Hawaii Film Studio. At this time the primary sound stage in the former Xerox Hawaii building near Dole Cannery, which included the set for the caves, also moved to the Hawaii Film Studio where the sets for the Swan and Hydra station interiors were created.  . The other location settings are, with a handful of exceptions, located exclusively the island of Oahu in Hawaii.  The exceptions include the airplane interior of the Pilot, and the underwater scenes in "Whatever the Case May Be", filmed in southern California near Hollywood, and the polar bear cave, filmed on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Jack Bender is an executive producer, and along with Jean Higgins comprises the top ranking staff members residing in Hawaii with the film crew, although Carlton Cuse, the "show runner" for Lost, frequently travels from California to be with the crew. Bender thus naturally serves as the primary resident director for episodes, although Lost also uses a wide range of guest directors.
Lost has been notable as a television program that has been heavily integrated with a multifaceted interaction with viewers, many of which have been industry firsts. These have included a significant use of the internet, including three Alternate Reality Games (The Lost Experience, Find 815, and the Dharma Initiative Recruiting Project), webisodes, official podcasts, an official forum called "The Fuselage", episodes made available through iTunes after broadcast for viewing on iPods, episodes viewable online at ABC's official site, Xbox Live downloads, and tacit support of fan sites. Lost has also been notable for combining all of these approaches to achieve what some have described as "viral" or "meme" status. [source needed]
Lost (along with Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy) is often credited with helping to "revive" ABC in its maiden 2004-05 season. Prior to that, ABC had been falling behind other networks with unpopular derivative shows and low ratings. Thanks to Lost and other new shows of that season, ABC was revived as one of the stronger networks and has remained so since. The success of Lost also spawned subsequent attempts at various networks at serial dramas with continuous storylines [source needed], especially those with flashbacks and an element of mystery, such as ABC's own The Nine and Daybreak (both canceled), even though serial dramas tend to be less popular, and therefore less profitable, in syndication.
See also: Criticism of Lost#Scheduling
ABC aired the first season of Lost (2004–2005) on Wednesdays at 8/7c, and moved the second season (2005–2006) one hour later to 9/8c. Both seasons started in the fall and ended in the spring, with multiple breaks in which repeats were shown. For Season 3 (2006–2007), in an effort to maximize the amount of straight-run episodes, ABC divided the season into two "mini-seasons": a 6-episode pod in the fall and a 16-episode pod in the spring. For the second "mini-season", due in part to avoiding Fox's American Idol, Lost was moved to a new time slot of 10/9c on Wednesdays. Viewership dropped to its lowest levels, although it is unclear if that was due more to the time slot, hiatus, or viewer interest in the actual storyline of Season 3. However, Nielsen reported that Lost was the top time shifted show from January 01, 2007–November 18, 2007, meaning that it benefited the most from DVR playback at a date later than the broadcast.  For Season 4, Lost was moved to Thursdays at 9/8c, starting on January 31, 2008, a change brought on by the effects of the writers' strike on the network's lineup. The straight-run format was kept, but reduced episodes meant that a fall start date and mid-season break were no longer necessary. Season 4 was broken up into an 8-episode pod and a 5-episode pod due to the writers' strike. For the second group of episodes, beginning on April 24, 2008, the timeslot has been changed to 10/9c on Thursdays . For season 5, which will air for 17 straight episodes without any hiatuses, Lost was switched back to Wednesdays at 9/8c.
Lost is also available for viewing the next day in full episodes on the ABC webpage, and it is now available on the Xbox Live marketplace. Since the second "mini-season" of Season 3, ABC started showing Lost back-stories, of which four new mini-episodes are available on the website at the time of a new episode. Averaging around four and a half minutes long, these mini-episodes portray part of a character's life before the crash, in chronological order.
Lost can be seen on two (sometimes three) different networks in Canada. The first, (CTV) network is aired in English. The second, (SRC) network is dubbed in French. The CTV network shows Lost at 7:00 pm ET on Wednesdays. SRC (Société Radio-Canada) network shows Lost (under the name Perdus) dubbed in French. It is also shown on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm ET. But also airs again on Saturdays at 10:30 pm ET.
Canadian broadcasts on the CTV Network have been concurrent with US broadcast, while on the SRC they are a little more than a half a season behind. With Season 3's post-hiatus later time slot change in the US, Canadian viewers actually have seen Lost first before the American viewers: the east coast Canadian broadcast has in fact been two hours, and in some weeks three hours, ahead of the east coast US broadcast.
For the Season 4 the show was aired thursdays on both CTV and SRC, on CTV the same time as on ABC and at the SRC it was at 8:00 pm ET. CTV stopped airing LOST for the fifth season, but their affiliate 'A' channel did, Wednesdays at 9:00 pm ET.
Most Canadian cable and satellite providers also carry major ABC affiliates, usually from Seattle and Detroit.
The first two seasons of Lost were seen on Channel 4. Before Season 3 began broadcast in the US, Sky One bought the rights to air Seasons 3 and 4. Recently, Virgin Media and Sky have disagreed over the price of the Sky TV channels. Virgin Media no longer carry Sky One, making the Sky Digital platform the only way to watch Lost on broadcast TV in the United Kingdom. Virgin Media have secured the rights to on-demand broadcasts of Seasons 1 - 3 of Lost, from August 2007. 
UK broadcasts of Lost originally began Season 1 eleven months later than in the US, but caught up by broadcasting Season 2 just two months after the end of the Season 1 broadcast. As of Season 3, the episode broadcast in the UK is just four days behind US airing.
Lost is aired in Ireland by free-to-air station RTE 2 and on a number of subscription packages by Sky One. RTE 2 was one of the first European stations to air Lost and began nine months after the first US airing, though began catching up during the first season by airing two episodes in one night on a number of occasions. At the moment, Lost retains its Monday night slot on RTE, which means it airs its episodes five days after ABC, and only one after Sky One. It's current time-slot is 10:05 pm.
Since Sky One's acquisition of rights to air on a Sunday night, a considerable drop in ratings for RTE 2 has been witnessed but Lost will show on RTE 6 days before Sky One from The Shape Of Things To Come on because of Lost being postponed for a week by Sky One.
In Australia, Lost has always been aired by free-to-air station Channel 7. From season one to two, Lost aired at Thursdays 8:30 pm. For season three, Lost was pushed up to 9.30 pm. For the most of season 4, Lost retained it's 9.30 pm timeslot but eventually it was moved to 10.30 pm. In season 4, new Lost episodes aired six days behind USA, in comparison to 3-5 months behind although as of Season 5, episodes are aired 3-5 weeks behind. Many Australian fans of Lost have been complaining that Channel 7 is 'abusing' Lost, by pushing it back to later times, ending each episode early (as of season 5) and airing episodes further and further behind the original US airing. Channel 7 has a history of doing similar things to US serials, eg 24 and Alias.
The Lost Experience and countries involved
Australia's Channel 7 and the United Kingdom's Channel 4 also played an integral part in The Lost Experience (TLE), along with the United States' ABC, with official bloggers being assigned to each: The Lost Ninja was based in Australia with Channel 7, and The Other Girl was based in the UK with Channel 4, and rounded a trio with Speaker, the US TLE blogger working for ABC. Glyphs and clues in these official blogs and "live" events were found in all three countries during the course of the game.
- See also voice actors
Lost is broadcast in a number of countries, and their airdates vary from being almost concurrent with the US broadcasts, such as Sweden which is generally only one episode behind, to still beginning to broadcast the first season, as in Japan. Some countries dub their broadcasts with voice actors, while others use the English audio with subtitling.
For a long time, the direction in which the show was headed was uncertain. There were rumors about further seasons, and even feature films. However, on May 7, 2007, ABC revealed that Lost was to continue for a further three seasons, with each of them being condensed into 16 episodes. They were to be aired back-to-back with no gaps, starting in February and ending in May. Unfortunately, the Writer's Strike ruined this plan, and the fourth season only contained 14 episodes. To compensate the final two seasons will each run for 17 episodes. Accordingly, Lost is expected to end in May 2010, after 120 episodes.
Lost has become a widespread hit around the world, and with this has brought a community of dedicated fans who analyze every single aspect of the show, including planted Easter eggs. The producers seem very aware of their fanbase, and indeed the inclusion of these Easter eggs is to enhance one's enjoyment of the show.
ABC, beginning in Season 5, have found a new way to recap episodes of Lost called Lost Untangled. This is a comical way of summarizing the previous episode using the Lost character Action Figures from Season 1. These short clips air after Lost during ABC's "Life On Mars", and are also shown on ABC's Lost web page.
- Literary works
- Songs featured in Lost
- Unanswered questions
- Criticism of Lost