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J.J. Abrams Talks About Lost and His Other Shows

From Bonnie Covel,
Your Guide to Lost.
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Oct 2006

J.J.'s Shows

J.J. Abrams has created several shows, including Felicity, Alias, and Lost. In a phone interview, he talks about Lost and his other shows. Right now, he is working on Lost, Six Degrees, and What About Brian. I would think it would get confusing working on three shows at once, but J.J. says that they are different enough so that he doesn't get them confused. He's never once told Barry Watson (What About Brian) to look scared of the Others.

The hardest part about doing the three shows is that one is shot in Hawaii, one in L.A., and one in New York. "The good and bad news is that you can get someone on the phone probably 20 hours a day," J.J says.

It also poses some scheduling problems. J.J. was set to direct Lost's season 3, episode 7, Not in Portland, the first episode in the second "pod" (see below), but that would have meant flying to Hawaii today to prep. Because of his other shows he is unable to go to Hawaii, so he will direct an episode later in the season.

Two Pods of Season 3 Shows

Last season, many fans complained about the Lost repeats, and there was a lot of confusion over whether Lost would be a new episode or a rerun on any given Wednesday night. This season, J.J. and the rest of the creative team wanted to run Lost in chunks. J.J. says that the network definitely wanted to run something in the fall, so the decision was made to do two pods of shows. The first six will be like a mini-series, then Lost will be off the air, no reruns, and another show will take the time slot. After 12 weeks, Lost will be on again with 16 new episodes.

Reading Things Into the Show

People read things into the show that the writers don't necessarily intend. J.J. says, "With anything that is analyzed people will discover things that sometimes were very much intended and other times an absolute accident." He says that the writers listen to the fans and sometime put things into the show based on fan reaction.

What J.J. Brings to Lost

J.J. feels that Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse are doing such a good job that he doesn't need to jump in and "help" them, but he really loves working with them and putting the pieces together for the show. He got to write the first episode of season 3 with Damon.

"Writing the first episode with Damon was an absolute joy -- to get to write those characters again and be inside the heads of those characters. As it goes on, I look forward to directing an episode. We have a structure that's in place for the remainder of the year and when you get to the end of the season it's such an exciting and unbelievable conclusion that I would hope maybe -- I don't want to step on Jack Benders shoes because he's such an incredible director for us back in Hawaii -- [I can] work on the finale with [Bender]."

Misperception

There is a misperception that you need to watch the first two seasons and maybe read a book about Lost or play The Lost Experience alternate reality game to enjoy the show, but J.J. feels that people can enjoy Lost even if the first episode of season 3 is their first experience with Lost. "The first episode is enough to catch people up so that they will enjoy the season," he says.

"I feel like a lot of people put the appearance or facade of what Lost is first. [They might say], 'It's a science fiction series,' well it is that, but to me the essence of the show is not that at all. It's all about who these people are and you'll discover in season 3 a whole group of people that will add to the mix in a thrilling way. What really makes Locke tick? What has Jin gone through that we don't quite understand in terms of making sense of his behavior? Flashbacks are not serving shock value, they're serving character and their history. To me the fun of the whole show is that it's all about who the people are."

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