ABC, who once was blind, now can see.
ABC has announced that Lost, a show that is either (take your pick):
- intricately plotted by insidious masterminds
- completely cobbled together by panic-stricken monkeys
will air next season with no repeats, the plethora of which this season has taken some of the wind from its sails.
Good! Of course, FOX has been doing this with 24 for a couple of seasons now. However, unlike 24 — which derives at least part of its adrenaline rush from the fact that the airing of its episodes is as relentless as the beep-boop! beep-boop! beep-boop! beep-boop! that powers it — next season of Lost will air in two disparate chunks.
Some people see that as a problem. I don’t.
They are going to break the season up: first part will be 7 episodes in Autumn 2006, full stop, and the second part will be the remaining 17, starting in Winter 2007.
All the masterminds and monkeys have to do is to think of it as two smaller seasons, and write accordingly. If you don’t think that you can put together some nice story arcs in 7 episodes, you haven’t seen the BBC The Office. And if you don’t think that a split season can work, then you haven’t seen how well Battlestar Galactica put together its Seasons 2.0 and 2.5.
I think that the consecutive-episodes plan is a good idea, as long as they back it up with downloads and/or multiple showings each week. And, of course, no repeats should also increase the value of the DVD sets, as well, even if the serialized story arc format potentially cuts into the syndication market.
In the end, anything is better than the stutter-step schedule that we’ve been saddled with this year, so I will give ABC and the Lost boys the benefit of the doubt. They should be able to pull this off.
I also think that this is the tipping point for a trend: look for more networks to do this in the future.