'Lost' Finds Surprise in Fast Foward

Fans of the hit TV series Lost are in for an unexpected wrinkle. Alan Sepinwall, who writes the All TV blog for the New Jersey Star Ledger, looks at the show's return — to the future.

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ALISON STEWART, host:

The wait is over for fans of the acclaimed mystery, sci-fi, fantasy thriller drama - I can really just keep going on. There are so many ways to describe the TV show "Lost." Another way to describe the show is slow, as in it's production schedule.

Fans had to wait eight months for the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 to return. Now, non-fans of the show, eager for something new to watch in this writers' strike dry spell, have some catching up to do if they can. Yes?

BILL WOLFF, host:

Alison, as a public service…

STEWART: Yes?

WOLFF: …I would like to provide an official spoiler alert. You - because I've never seen the show, don't have any idea about it except - I know who the writer guy is and that guy from "Party of Five" is on it - but we're going to talk about the episode that aired last night.

So if you have Tivoed it and are going to watch it later, please put on your earmuffs or just - don't turn the show off - just put it on mute, because here comes some information you don't want to have. For everybody else, stay tuned.

STEWART: On the line is Alan Sepinwall, who writes all TV blogs for the New Jersey Star Ledger, and a lucky guy. He got to see the "Lost" premiere a week ago. He's been living with this. He's even seen next week's show.

Alan, how are you?

Mr. ALAN SEPINWALL (Writer, New Jersey Star Ledger): I'm doing good. I'm glad that I can finally talk about it with you.

STEWART: All right. We got somebody else to talk about it in the studio. Here to assist us is the BPP's resident "Lost" lover Win Rosenfeld, who is also our video producer.

Hi, Win.

WIN ROSENFELD: Hey, guys. Hi, Alan.

STEWART: I asked Win yesterday in the elevator, hey, Win, can you give me an assist on this? And he was, ye-ah?

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: So we've got an excited fan in the studio, Alan.

ROSENFELD: Yeah.

STEWART: I have a question now for you as a journalist, is it possible to watch this season if all you know about the show is that there was a plane crash and the people are on this weird island where supernatural things happen?

Mr. SEPINWALL: It's possible you're going to be missing out a whole lot both in terms of the plot and who the characters are and big emotional moments. There's a scene last night where a character, you know, runs into a shack. And if you don't know what the shack is, it's not a big deal.

STEWART: Well, look at Win. What was that (unintelligible) for, Win?

ROSENFELD: There's a chilling, chilling moment there. It's…

WOLFF: I have never even seen the show and - whoa, my blood ran cold.

ROSENFELD: Oh, it was great. Yeah, it's a - that was a very - there's the really the fulcrum of the episode there was when Hurley goes to the…

STEWART: He's the big guy.

ROSENFELD: …the - he's the big guy, yeah. He goes for the cabin in the middle of the woods where the mysterious leader of the Others, Jacob, who is maybe a ghost, maybe a vision, maybe the embodiment of the island, well maybe…

Mr. SEPINWALL: Maybe Jack's father?

ROSENFELD: …maybe Jack's father. He did look a little like Jack's father last time.

Mr. SEPINWALL: He did?

ROSENFELD: On profile. Yeah.

WOLFF: The big guy has remained big despite the fact that he is stranded on the desert island. Is that…

ROSENFELD: Yeah. Well and, you know, they actually did a - they actually tried to explain it last season by having him have a secret stash of Twinkies, that sort of thing.

Mr. SEPINWALL: Oh.

STEWART: Which incidentally came up from the blogs.

ROSENFELD: Right.

STEWART: …about "Lost." But the fans were like how come this guy who's been on the island for 70 days, have never (unintelligible) any.

So Alan, for people who want to get caught up, what's the best way to do that if you're thinking, okay, I've got these eight fresh seasons of, supposedly, very good TV show. How do I get caught up?

Mr. SEPINWALL: Well, you know, conveniently, there's the first three seasons on DVD.

STEWART: Well, there you go.

Mr. SEPINWALL: And especially right now during the strike, it's not like there's a lot of to watch.

STEWART: Now, what did you think in terms of this episode because you wrote in your blog the final episode of season three, "Through the Looking Glass," was one of the finest "Lost" episodes in "Lost" history. Did last night - did it let you down or did it live up to what you think about the show?

Mr. SEPINWALL: Well, it lived up to what I thought about "Through the Looking Glass." I thought most of the previous season was kind of bad and dragged in a lot of spots and had a lot of problems. But the producers seem to have figured out what they were doing wrong and they fixed it and they've come back really, really strong.

STEWART: How about as a fan, Win, did last night's episode satisfy you?

ROSENFELD: Absolutely. Look, I mean, the central tension of "Lost" is that are these people going to get off the island and that's what keeps you watching for the first three seasons.

The end of the last season, you find out that that actually the whole episode is a flash forward. And so as a fan, I was really worried this season that where's the tension, you know? These people, you know they're going to get off and they managed to pull it off, now, Alan?

Mr. SEPINWALL: Yeah, because some other than things we now find out that not all of them get off, so that right there creates a lot of suspense.

STEWART: Well, from last night at the end of the episode, Hurley, the big fat guy, and Jeff, from "Party of Five," they're playing a game of horse.

WOLFF: Horizontally challenged, not big, fat guy.

STEWART: Well, he is. I didn't use - the fat one is not a bad word we learn that on the show last night.

Mr. SEPINWALL: (unintelligible) you don't know.

STEWART: That one is true. Well, anyway, their conversation turned quite serious. Let's play the tape.

(Soundbite of show, "Lost")

Mr. MATTHEW FOX (Actor): (As Jack Shephard): The siren is the locked.

Mr. JORGE GARCIA (Actor): (As Hugo "Hurley" Reyes) I shouldn't have stayed with you.

Mr. FOX: (As Jack Shephard) Water under the bridge, man.

Mr. GARCIA: (As Hugo "Hurley" Reyes) I don't think we did the right thing, Jack. I think he wants us to come back.

Mr. FOX: (As Jack Shephard) Hurley…

Mr. GARCIA: (As Hugo "Hurley" Reyes) And it's going to do everything it can, Jack.

Mr. FOX: (As Jack Shephard) We're never going back.

Mr. GARCIA: (As Hugo "Hurley" Reyes) Never say never, dude.

STEWART: So these two guys have gotten off the island and they might go back?

Mr. SEPINWALL: Yup. I mean, that's the brilliant thing with the flash forwards is they can get the story all the way to a point where we see them off the island and then they can go back to the island all over again. We don't know what's going to happen.

WOLFF: Never say never, dude.

STEWART: In terms of next week's episode because we know you've seen it, without giving away any spoilers…

Mr. SEPINWALL: Sure.

STEWART: …can you whet our appetites a little bit? Give us something I, you know, that we might just hold on to?

Mr. SEPINWALL: Well, in the first episode at the very end of it, we saw a guy fall out of a helicopter. He is one of the people from the freighter who are allegedly, they are to rescue them and we're going to meet three other people from the freighter and we're actually going to get a few flashbacks to who they were before they got to the island and find out why they're there.

STEWART: So we have new characters introduced. I think that's actually some of this kind of interesting episode. I don't know that much but they somehow managed to keep introducing new characters. It's not like Gilligan and Mary Ann and the professor who we got to know so well over those years.

WOLFF: It's more like cousin Oliver on the "Brady Bunch."

ROSENFEL: Well, I think the Harlem Globetrotters were on one of the…

Mr. SEPINWALL: Hundreds of people on this island, by now.

STEWART: There's how many people in the island by now?

Mr. SEPINWALL: I would guess at least a few hundred.

STEWART: Wow.

ROSENFELD: The fastest-growing island.

STEWART: So Win, tell us what you're looking forward to about these eight seasons. I know - eight episodes - I know it's a shortened season but…

ROSENFELD: I mean, I want a little resolution. I want to understand who are the Oceanic Six, why did six of the folks decide to come off the island and what kept the other people behind, you know? What's the - what would ever make anybody who is stranded on an island with such magical and strange powers stay there?

STEWART: We've got seven episodes, maybe they'll tell you.

Win Rosenfeld, super fan.

ROSENFELD: Come on, writers. Come on writers, come on producers.

STEWART: Alan Sepinwall writes all TV blogs for New Jersey Star Ledger.

Hey, thanks for filling us in, Alan.

Mr. SEPINWALL: My pleasure.

(Soundbite of music)

STEWART: The BRYANT PARK PROJECT is directed by Jacob Ganz.

WOLFF: That includes Dan Pashman, Ian Chillag, Win Rosenfeld, Angela Ellis, Caitlin Kenney, Paulene Bartolone.

STEWART: Oh, we're not going to get to everybody. Tricia's our editor, Laura edits the blog. That's our senior producer, Sharon's EP.

This is the BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News.

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