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Published: Tuesday, 1/16/2007

Lost won t leave the rest of cast stranded

Many thought <i> Lost </i> writers put too much emphasis on Jack (Matthew Fox). Many thought <i> Lost </i> writers put too much emphasis on Jack (Matthew Fox).

PASADENA, Calif. As some fans see it, ABC s Lost lost its way this fall with too much emphasis on Jack (Matthew Fox), Kate (Evangeline Lilly), and Sawyer (Josh Holloway) and scant attention paid to the other characters. Diminished ratings reflected viewer dissatisfaction.

When the show returns Feb. 7 in its new 10 p.m. Wednesday time slot for a run of 16 originals, Lost offers a strong episode that flashes back to explore the background of potentially sympathetic Others doctor Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell). In the present, the episode still revolves around the attempt by Kate and Sawyer to escape the Others island while Jack holds Ben s life in his hands.

After that episode, producers swear, the focus returns to the core Lost cast back on the beach.

Once the season premiere resolves the escape story, it is in many ways a return to season one with more character-centered story-telling and not as much mythological drive, said executive producer Damon Lindelof.

Executive producer Carlton Cuse defended the decision to focus on a smaller segment of the cast in the first six episodes that aired last fall. I think there s a distorted sense of the season in its totality. When you see the entire third season in totality, you ll get a better sense of what everybody s been doing.

I haven t been as down on Lost as many viewers, who simply seem to have grown impatient with the story. Producers acknowledge Lost requires an intense, ongoing commitment and they try to offer up some answers to the show s mysteries but avoid having the characters discuss the bigger mysteries (What is the monster? What s the secret of the island?) because they said it would get boring.

One key to preventing the show from running off the rails will be to pick an end point, Cuse said. Once we do that, a lot of the anxiety will go away.

When might that be? Producers wouldn t say, but they said they do take a lesson from mythology-heavy The X-Files, which Cuse said probably ran two seasons too long.

The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rob Owen, the TV editor for the Post-Gazette, is attending the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Los Angeles.

Contact him at: rowen@post-gazette.com

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