Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof has opened up about the original plan for his mysterious drama series, including that it was intended to run for only three seasons.
The prolific writer has gone on to produce two acclaimed shows for HBO in The Leftovers and Watchmen, both of which utilised relatively short episode counts to tell a focused and finite story.
Lindelof had hoped to do the same with Lost, but came up against pressure from American broadcaster ABC, which wanted to keep the show on the air for as long as they could due to its high viewership.
Speaking to Collider, he explained: “There were all of these compelling mysteries and so we were saying, ‘We wanna have this stuff answered by the end of season one, this stuff answered by the end of season two, and then the show basically ends after about three years.’
“That was the initial pitch, and they [ABC] were not even hearing it… They were just like, ‘Do you understand how hard it is to make a show that people want to watch? And people like the show? So why would we end it? You don’t end shows that people are watching.'”
This tight three-season plan ultimately went out the window for that reason, but ABC did begin to understand the writer’s concerns when the show hit a rough patch with critics.
After initially asking for an outrageous 10 seasons, a rare feat for most American scripted dramas, the network ultimately met Lindelof’s team somewhere in the middle.
Lindelof added: “So the agreement was we landed on six [seasons] with less episodes to give us more time in between seasons to plan things out. And then of course the fourth season was cut short by the writers’ strike, but everything else went relatively according to design.
“Not to say that everything we did worked, but we had a plan and we executed that plan.”
Lost came to an end in 2010 and although its grand finale proved to be polarising, some fans and critics still regard it as one of the best television shows ever made.