Lost first aired in 2004. This was a show full of mystery and with that came an active online community of fans discussing theories. Online forums for TV shows have been around since the early days of the internet, no surprises there. But it was with the rising popularity of podcasts in the mid 2000s that the discussion forum for TV shows (and anything else) found a new medium.
For some fans, just watching a TV show is not enough. I was among those that watched an episode of Lost and then hit the forums to post/lurk about what was going on. Is Walt special? Who is this Henry Gale fellow? How cool is Mr Eko? What was the significance of that line/scene/shot? I was thinking about Lost a lot. As the show went on, I started to listen to couple of Lost podcasts and with that my experience of Lost expanded way beyond the series.
The first of these was The Transmission. Based in Hawaii where Lost was filmed and hosted by husband and wife team Ryan and Jen Ozawa. The second was also a family affair, this time father and son Jay and Jack Glatfelter with The Lost Podcast with Jay and Jack.
These podcasts discussed episodes in detail, speculated on the mythology and involved input from listeners. Hearing people call in from all corners of the globe and sharing their thoughts on my morning commute was a great way to start the day. It filled the gap between episodes perfectly. These fan podcasts even attracted cast and crew from the show such as Jorge Garcia and Damon Lindelof. There was more too. An official Lost podcast with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse rehashed and previewed episodes and responded to fan questions. An official UK Lost podcast from comedian Iain Lee once had a secret message from the Hanso Foundation embedded. There was a podcast feed just to capture the number of different Lost podcasts. Each satisfying a craving to delve deeper into the show.
This combination of watching episodes and then listening to podcasts brought me closer not only to the show and community but someone closer to home.
I told by brother to watch Lost and at first he had no interest. Up until this point, our mutual TV watching was limited to football (soccer) and a sitcom or two. I kept telling him about how good the show was and kept things as vague as possible but enticing (much like the show). I was ready to re-watch the first few seasons and he finally cracked and said he would watch it with me.
We are a quiet pair. We talked but never really discussed things. It was normal for us though. Minimum but mostly effective communication. So our discussions between episodes were limited in the early days but it was him that suggested listening to a Lost podcast and with that things began to change. As the show went on and he caught up, we were discussing theories and talking about scenes much like the podcast community were. It sparked something off in us, maybe gave us the confidence to talk to each other more, beyond formalities.
We talked about Lost and then Lost podcasts. We found bits in the episodes that made as laugh that were meant to be serious. For example a desperate and drunken Jack shouting 'We have to go back!' always makes us chuckle. I once copied a letter Locke wrote to Jack and placed it on my brother's pillow when he wasn't there.We have watched The Constant episode several times. We woke up to watch the series finale at 5am, it was broadcast the same time as it aired in the States. Lost and the podcasts bought us closer together.
Our joint watching expanded with older and newer shows. Podcasts dedicated to TV shows continued to grow. They went on and became network backed companions such as AMC's Chris Hardwick fronted Talking Dead and Talking Bad. This shorter format had the stars participating and bought the discussion directly after the show aired.
My brother and I continued too and found another show to obsess over in Fringe. We listened to The Fringe Podcast with Darrell and Clint. It was just as good as the Lost podcasts we were so fond of. It heavily involved the fan community and the hosts had a great rapport. Now we were talking about timelines, Observers and multi-dimensional theories. We didn't watch the later seasons together but a synchronised viewing of the Fringe finale was special.
As we started to lead our own lives more, the discussions were fewer but the effect of Lost and the podcasts was permanent and we are still close. We still talk about TV shows. We text each other the occasional quote or screenshot from Lost.
My memories of the show are more than just the show itself.