Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dispatch from ABC: The Lindelof set me up!

You may recall in the days leading up to the "Lost" season premiere, I linked to an interview where Damon Lindelof, referring to the grilling I gave him at last summer's press tour, called me "a pain in my (butt)." Well, we had something of a sequel a few minutes ago.

Sometime after Mo Ryan's interview ran, Lindelof reached out to me and we metaphorically kissed and made up, and fortunately season four was kick-ass. But when press tour approached and ABC scheduled a showrunners panel to feature Lindelof, along with Carlton Cuse, Marc Cherry, Shonda Rhimes, Greg Berlanti and Silvio Horta, Lindelof told me he expected nothing less than another sweat-inducing interrogation.

The problem, of course, is that I had very little to complain about with season four. "Why is Kate still so boring?" isn't really a useful question to ask, you know? So I thought about it for a while, looked back over the reactions to each episode, and eventually decided to ask a question about why, in retrospect, Jack came up with the Oceanic Six plan, which was far more convoluted than necessary considering it was voluntary. (I had been assuming for much of the season that they were forced into leaving the island and following the lie by some outside force.)

So I gave it a shot, but Lindelof, sneaky bastard, was ready for me.

He not only nodded and smiled at the sound of my voice, but in response to my question, explained, "It's actually a funny story. We were sitting halfway through the season, and we had come up with this simple, streamlined, non-convoluted excuse, and I turned to Carlton and said, 'Alan Sepinwall might actually like this, so what we ought to do is come up with something incredibly convoluted so he can bust our balls at press tour.' And he said, 'Let's do that! He'll never fall for it.' Lo and behold, here we are."

At that point, the only thing I could say was "Touche."

In terms of actual "Lost" news, the session was pretty light, though Carlton did say Daniel Dae Kim would appear on the show in the future "in some form" -- which prompted Damon to add, "In human form!" And when someone asked Carlton how they planned to use next season to set up the final year, he called it "a tricky year for us; like 'Two Towers.' It's the year that links us from the past to the final season... We've known a lot of what we wanted to do there for a long time. The challenge we have now is how to make this season exciting and engaging."

The funniest part of the session, actually, was Carlton and Marc Cherry, who had gotten friendly with each other during the strike as part of the WGA's negotiating committee, translating each other's metaphors from sports (Carlton) to musical theater (Marc) and back again.

I'll have Shonda's take on the Katherine Heigl situation -- or what she said about it -- in a few minutes.


Question Mark said...

Was there any hint given as to what next season's episodes will look like structurally? Like, will they still use character-centric flashbacks to carry an episode, or will the 'flashbacks' all be based around what the people still on the Island are up to?

Alan Sepinwall said...

None. Because there were people from so many shows up there, and because we were so fixated on the Shonda/Heigl thing, and because Damon and Carlton weren't going to say anything substantive anyway, we got nothing out of them. Plus, they had to leave immediately after the session, so there wasn't even time for a scrum -- or for me to seek revenge on Lindelof.

Anonymous said...

In terms of actual "Lost" news, the session was pretty light, though Carlton did say Daniel Dae Kim would appear on the show in the future "in some form" -- which prompted Damon to add, "In human form!"

YAY!! I think....

Funny story about Lindelof's "revenge," Alan. Sounds like you're having a good time out here :-)