When it comes to laying out its premise, the new ABC drama
“Lost” doesn’t waste a second. A man laying in a
pile of brush regains consciousness and wanders onto the beach,
only to find the burning wreckage of the plane he formerly
occupied. For the next few minutes, chaos reigns as people are
trapped under debris, a pregnant woman screams for help, a piece of
the plane explodes and the other surviving passengers wander
aimlessly along the shore of this deserted island, some hysterical
and others in shock. By the time the opening credits roll,
“Lost” has snatched the audience’s attention,
ready to take them on a horrifying thrill ride that is unlike
anything on television today.

Beth Dykstra
How you doing? (Courtesy of ABC)

The now-conscious man is Jack (Matthew Fox, “Party of
Five”), a heroic doctor who possesses both fearlessness and
the kind of knowledge that can help the 48 survivors stay alive. He
quickly assumes a leadership role, moving people to safety and
tending to injuries. Wounded himself, he calls on an attractive
young woman to sew him up. This woman, Kate (Evangeline Lilly),
becomes a perfect counterpart to Jack, as she also keeps a clear
head at all times but still has the fear of being stranded on the
island lingering in her mind.

Jack and Kate clearly establish themselves as the most complete
and dynamic characters on a show with a robust supporting cast.
Whether it’s the hard-nosed Asian man who speaks no English
telling his wife to stay away from the rest of the group or the
self-centered woman who keeps telling her brother they are going to
get rescued (which is certainly not happening anytime soon, as the
plane crashed hundreds of miles away from where it lost
communication), the rest of the survivors open up endless
possibilities for storylines. Dissension among the group members is
bound to happen once the airplane food runs out and they realize
the peril they are in.

Probably the most intriguing of this supporting cast is Charlie
(Dominic Monaghan, “Lord of the Rings”), an eccentric
European man who takes a liking to Jack and Kate, going along with
them to find the cockpit of the plane to try and radio for help. It
is during this expedition where the danger of their predicament
becomes evident. Lurking in the jungle of this island is a huge,
bloodthirsty beast looking for prey. While the trio is inside the
plane, the animal makes its presence known, violently shaking the
cockpit and killing the pilot, leaving him hanging in a tree. While
this idea seems a tad hokey, the characters, mixed with some great
camera work, create a very realistic aura of fear that is passed on
to the audience. The beast remains unseen, which will only build
more anticipation towards its eventual sighting.

“Lost” could have very easily been a poor
“Cast Away” rip-off or, even worse, elicit comparisons
to an overly dramatic version of “Gilligan’s
Island.” Fortunately for viewers, while the program
isn’t able to keep up the raw energy of the fantastic opening
sequence, it makes up for it by being original, smart and truly
engrossing.

Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars

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