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November 16 2008

(SPOILER) Drew Goddard, no longer 'Lost'? During an interview at Screenwriting Expo, it was implied that Drew Goddard is no longer a staff writer for the Fifth Season of Lost.

At the end of the article:

"* This year, Paul Zbyszewski (from Day Break) and Melinda Hsu Taylor (from Women's Murder Club, Vanished and Medium) are new staff writers; Kyle Pennington ("Cabin Fever") has worked his way up from post-production and is now a staff writer; it is never explicitly said, but strongly implied that Drew Goddard and Christina M. Kim are also no longer staff writers."

Well, Drew does have The Cabin in the Woods to direct shortly.

Well, at least Brian K. Vaughan is still on staff... and Darlton of course.
Drew's to good for that show.
Hardly, RCM. Drew is an awesome writer but then Lost is an equally awesome show. Pity that he may be leaving but I'm sure it won't impact the series too much.
It's a shame if it's true, I've really enjoyed his episodes. At least we've still got 'Cabin' to look forward to.
Everything Drew writes is great. I hope by some magic he winds up on Dollhouse.
Yeah, I'm betting this is a very Cabin-related decision.
One less reason to watch for me, and reasons are rapidly depleting. The show is structurally clever but emotionally hollow; with Goddard gone I see things getting worse.
Emotionally hollow, WilliamTheB? Really?

It's my investment in the characters that has me hooked, if I'm honest. As much as I love the island and it's various mysteries it's still mostly the various characters and relationships, good and bad, that keeps me coming back. I'd say that Lost is far from emotionally hollow, at least from my perspective.
"Lost" Season 4 was fantastic! I'm sure Drew is serving a useful purpose via Joss, and on his own, so it's Lost's loss, and the world's gain. Maybe Lost's characters will lose fewer body parts now that Drew has moved on.
Maybe he's not a full-time member, but could write as a freelance.
it is never explicitly said, but strongly implied that Drew Goddard and Christina M. Kim are also no longer staff writers."

So basically they didn't mention his name and this means he's obviously off the show?
That would be more than enough for an exclusive story in The Sun, Simon. ;)
Hope this isn't true. Drew is terrific on Lost; The Shape Of Things To Come is probably my favourite episode. (He and BKV are a perfect match, I can't bear to see them parted...)

I suppose he might have taken up full-time monitoring of Jason Biggs' choice of underwear...
Sounds to me like something may have been said 'off the record'...
If someone says something to you "off the record", you don't get to go "and in this conversation with this someone, they didn't say but strongly implied" as a way to get around them being off the record. Heh. (I mean, there's nothing stopping you from doing so, but it violates what "off the record" means, since it still ties the person in question directly to the information.)
Well, not surprised, I expect The Cabin in the Wood to take most of his time soon.
The show is structurally clever but emotionally hollow...

That's exactly how I feel.
If this is true, it will be a loss to the show. He wrote their best episodes.
That comment was unfair of me. I'm shamed. I've seen episodes of "Lost" written by Drew and they were certainly excellent. I just have a personal dislike for "Lost" that I can't articulate very well.
In addition to Cabin in the Woods, there's a little sequel to Cloverfield that he's working on.
Understand, dislike the show, not the man. BTW, does anyone know the air date of "Cabin in the Woods"? Sounds like a twisted serial. Or is that a serial twisted;)
Cabin is a movie not a TV show, hence it has a release date not an air date. Currently that's October 23.
Well, I hope his leaving, if it is true, is Cabin-related. I, too, think his episodes have been among the best of the series.
OK, I'm sorry, I love LOST. Its plot was enough to get me hooked, but the characterization is why I love it.
About Goddard: Although I liked his episodes, I have faith that LOST is awesome enough to soldier on without him.
Well, that's a shame. I love the man to bits, and he was great with small character moments and fun dialogue. As is BKV. It was great to see their names together on screen.

Anyway, if Drew is there or not, I don't think it'll impact the show a whole lot. They have a quite competent writing staff and in fact, I'd say that some of my favorite season 4 episodes (which is my favorite season of the show) were, in fact, not written by either of them. Which is surprising, seeing as I'm completely in love with BKV's work in comics and with Drew's writing in general and is a testament not to how mediocre their episodes were (they weren't), but to how much Lost has hit its stride and how great it has been, recently. I'm one of those people who don't get why the show would feel hollow, emotionally. I'd have agreed with that comment if it was said somewhere midway in season two or at the start of season three, when we had lots of backstory for the sake of backstory, much padding and the introduction of a few characters who weren't fleshed out as well as they could have been. But recently, Lost is better than ever. And the attention given to the characters is one part of why that is.

The season five trailer filled me with the kind of giddy joy I haven't felt for a while. I love Lost to bits.
Could Cabin in the Woods contain - Jacob?

FYI, for those so inclined, there's now an unofficial Facebook group for The Cabin in the Woods.
Highlander, on emotionally hollow:

Basically, there is no sense of community on the island--not really, at least not to me. A lot of the characters were, I think, badly mishandled at some point or another, none more so than the tailies and their deaths, especially Eko, whose entire arc after "The 23rd Psalm" was to build a church, then stop building a church and go push the button, and then hallucinate/see the monster and die. The rest of the characters are still all over the map for me; sometimes Jack or Locke seem reasonable, but then they go into their monomaniacal obsessions (with being superman, being the leader, or in Locke's case doing what the island wants) that just stretch their psychology too thin. And even if you accept that, for example, Jack is so much of a control freak he won't let someone else do an appendectomy on him without bossing them around, or that Locke continues to act the suave savant even after brow-beating Sawyer to kill his daddy for him, why does everyone else still continually put their trust in them? The fourth season finale was exciting, but there was no sense that anyone actually cared about all the people on the island who weren't opening credits cast members--and I include the writers in this as well. Did we even find out if Rose and Bernard decided to stay, or to go and get blowed up? Basically, I think that Sun and Jin have been presented more or less consistently, as have relative newcomers Ben (to a point) and Juliet; and most of the cast are very good. And the island is gorgeous. But I think most of the main cast have eschewed their complexity for a bold, flashing sign indicating how complex they are; Jack is less a leader who happens to be conflicted as a "CONFLICTED LEADER" in bold and capital letters, underlined.

EDIT: Jack and Locke aren't the only characters that don't ring true to me, but they're the most obvious ones, hence why they formed the subject of the rant. :) And yes, Terry O'Quinn is still very awesome.

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2008-11-17 07:36 ]
I think Lost is very emotionally powerful. It's one of my favorite TV shows.

And yeah, I'm betting Drew left to work on Cabin.
Fair enough, WilliamTheB. I have to say that I don't agree with much of what you said but personal perspective is key to how much enjoyment you get out of a show so if that really is how it comes across to you then I can understand how emotionally hollow it must seem.

I actually see the more obsessive, out of control part of the personality of Jack and Locke to be their truest natures. The people they wanted to be, the people they try to be, actually only being shadows of their true extremes. The more the island takes hold of them, the more they are forced to become who they really are. The split in the group that happened in season four showed that the other survivors don't all trust Jack or Locke totally but understand that they are the best options available to them for leaders. When deciding to follow either one or the other it was probably a case of the lesser of two evils, if you like.

Anyway, not going to take this thread any further off-topic. Don't know what it is about Lost that makes me step up and defend it all the time. ;)
Picking up on this, I am always fascinated by how people invest in shows; it comes out of my investment in Willow and Tara, I think. (I can hear some of you saying, ya think? :-)) Anyway. I watched all of S1 Lost, and I quite enjoyed it. Until we got to the finale, which resolved nothing. I began to watch S2, but the introduction of new characters I did not like, and a continual inability to resolve mysteries left me ultimately with no interest, and I stopped watching and have never returned. And I know that there are many people who simply breath this show, and I believe it has to be because they invest or identify with a character- the character is their buy-in to sitting through the unsolved mysteries. Because as the show keeps changing characters- adding new ones, killing old ones, limiting screen time for originals like Claire, it becomes harder and harder to find a character to care for. And to read this interview here and see that L and C are claiming that they will not resolve all the mysteries even when they finish the show for good is yet a further indication that they have privileged character over continuity. Which is sort of sad, you know, because you can actually have both if you try.
Okay, so much for no further Lost defending... ;)

Dana5140, I think what Damon and Carlton are saying is that there are bound to be some fans left with unanswered questions for the simple reason that they are asking questions that Damon and Carlton have no idea about. Lost fans, myself included, tend to see everything as a clue and every character moment as a possible question, even those that have no actual connection to the greater story. If one fan believes that Sawyer's choice of meal in episode X was somehow a part of what later happened to him in episode Y then they will want that addressed and when it's not they will consider it an unanswered question. That's hardly the fault of the writers. All you have to do is read through Lostpedia to realise that 50% of the show's mysteries are actually nothing more than fan speculation and assumption.

Now if the writers fail to answer the questions they have posed themselves, like the skeletons in the cave, the black smoke, the Hanso connections and such, that would be a whole different thing. Until the show ends though, it's not really fair to say that they won't. This is a six season continuing story where giving the answers at the end of season one would have made the following five seasons entirely pointless. You can't resolve a show like Lost until it is actually over. A show like Buffy, as an example, works differently because each season has it's own arc whereas Lost's arc covers the entire series. By design, the mysteries need to remain a mystery until the end or the show becomes something entirely different and something I'm not sure I would be quite so addicted to.
Well, to be fair, Highlander, saying the show is a six season continuing story is something of a retcon :). Don't get me wrong, I like Lost a lot and I agree with most of your points, but back in season two I was almost where our Dana is now.

Here we had a story with a beginning and possibly somewhat of an idea of the end, but not much plotted in between. So when it became this huuuge hit in the first season, the writers still had to pretty much figure out where this thing was going and had to buy time to get there. So what we got was writing and thinking on the move. This lead to a second season - and beginning of the third - that was, in my opinion, dissapointing. The writers had to stretch things and give little or no answers and had no clear vision of where they were going, sometimes building characters archs like that of Eko that were ultimately confused and dissapointing (especially given the huge potential for that character). It had a large, noticeable effect on the show.

The fact that I liked the characters (in my case, not just one, but quite a few, though Charlie and Claire were initially my favorites) and that the writing - confined within a single episode - was mostly good, kept me going even when I felt the show was sliding a lot in overall story quality. Which is exactly the effect that Dana was suggesting in his post.

I am, however, very glad I stuck around. Because as soon as it was decided that the writers got their wish for a clear, plottable end point, the writing picked up a great deal. The show refound a sense of direction and the padding and confused storytelling dissapeared. The third season finale was jaw-droppingly great and the fourth season has consistently been very, very impressive. The trailer for the fifth season suggests this line will continue, with the show not affraid to shake-up its basic premise (like it also did in season 4) and stay fresh. In the past season a lot of things have been resolved, questions have been answered and we've progressed a lot both in terms of character devellopment and in overal arc plotting. Some new questions have been raised, certainly, but I don't ever have the feeling they're adding them just for the heck of it (the way it felt in season two), but rather as building blocks for the future seasons, which have now already been (broadly) plotted in advance. If Lost had been that good in season two, I doubt as much people would've grown disillusioned with the show as have now.

In short, I'm confident that we'll get a satisfying ending and that the ride to get there will be exciting and fun. But it certainly wasn't ever so.
No, I understand this, but I am not so sure that C and L really did mean those hypothetical mysteries that the fans themselves derive. One of the reasons I gave up is that something like the smoke monster could be answered fairly easily, but here we are 4 seasons later without an answer (I think, since I don't watch), and I just stopped caring. But the real reason was that I could not care for the characters; they were so damned mutable, chanding all the time as the needs of the story dictated. One season heroic, the next idiotic. Locke, to me, was a prime violater. And since each character was written as nearly tragically flawed, there was no moral voice for any. See, that is how I viewed Tara, as the moral voice for the Scoobies while she was present, and when she was gone, they were adrift as a result. But with all these characters on Lost, who were we supposed to care for? When all were badly flawed and seemed to have no growth at all in their moral character?

I know I have said this many times, but for me, identification is key. Three times I have really identified with a character, and when I did I gave those shows my undivided commitment: Tara (and Willow) on Buffy, Sara Sidle on CSI, Sophie on In Treatment. These became more than just entertainment for me; they touched me. Lost never did; it seemed too convoluted, too aware of its own brilliance to ever care about what anyone actually thought- until they lost viewers and had to construct a new story about how they had an endpoint in mind all along. Right.
"Well, to be fair, Highlander, saying the show is a six season continuing story is something of a retcon :)."

Well, it being specifically a six season show would certainly be something of a retcon, that's true enough ;). I don't think the idea of it being one long mystery is anything that wasn't always on the cards though. The length of the series may have been something of an unknown, leading to the padded out and occasionally dragging season two (although I still maintain that much of the padding led to some brilliant character moments), but it's always been obvious to me that the core mysteries of the show were going to be kept for the end of the entire run. That's actually one of the major aspects of Lost that got me hooked.

Dana5140, fair enough to all you say. All I will say again in defence of the writers is that until we see the final moments of the final episode it's not entirely fair to suggest that all the important mysteries won't be answered. Saying it would be easy to explain the smoke monster may be true but it may equally be impossible to do so without revealing a larger aspect of the story that needs to be kept a secret until the show ends. We just don't know what can be considered an easy reveal in the larger story.

When the show is over and we can judge the whole thing as a complete story, then I'll happily accept any complaints people have about unanswered questions. At that point the accusation will be hard to deny. For now though I'd rather wait and see what they come up with because they haven't let me down yet.
Fair enough, Highlander; I don't think anyone would disagree.

But. One problem I have had with Lost fandom is that often I see comments made that people like me, who gave up, just aren't (enter your own term here: smart, involved, etc.) enough to get it. Like I haven't the sophistication to wait for all the answers to be revealed, and in their constant put down, more involved with Heroes, with its constant resolutions and new mysteries, than Lost with its extended storyline. If you have been involved with Lost fansites, you have to recognize this. Well, of course I can only speak for myself, but I am a pretty savvy TV watcher, but Lost lost me- I just gave up because, in truth, I just felt I was getting jacked around, that there was no endpoint in mind, that continuity was not a consideration nor was answering any questions. It may be the nature of the beast these days, but Lost has bled viewers over time, and no comment from their PTB will convince me this is what they wanted or planned for. In the end, it may be that there is a real emotional payoff- there was, in Buffy, and in Angel- and in In Treatment for Sophie (just incredible) or for Sara Sidle and Grissom on CSI (we shall see in January when William Petersen leaves). But the price to get there just became too high for me, without a buy-in from a character I could care for.
Odd that Heroes gets mentioned here, since its characters are the ones moreso than any others on television today which are "damned mutable, changing all the time as the needs of the story dictated. One season heroic, the next idiotic".
Anyway, closer to the matter at hand, I've always been of the mind that Lost either works for people or it doesn't, and don't take some sort of offense at the people for whom it doesn't work. Different people have different trigger points in terms of when an overarching mythology is wearing thin for them without enough payoff along the way. Personally, I'm still a long way away from reaching that point on Lost. The unfolding of its backstory, and its endgame, move at almost the perfect pace for me.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-11-17 18:44 ]
Dana5140, I certainly wouldn't be one of those to suggest that you were somehow not intelligent enough to "get" Lost. I think Lost takes a good deal of patience and to really enjoy the show on all levels there needs to be a fair amount of concentration and attention to minor details involved, especially if you choose to take part in the online aspects of the show. However, that's not the same as saying that you have to be of a certain level of intelligence to appreciate it. As Bix says, you either like it or you don't.

That said, I'd also have to agree with Bix that Heroes would seem to be far more guilty of backward and sometimes entirely unlikely character development than Lost ever was. From Sylar going from serial killing monster to misunderstood hero in the space of one conversation with his mum (and some handy retconning involving Elle) to Hiro's incredibly dumb decision to endanger the world because he was bored with his desk job at the start of this season. I've actually come very close to giving up on Heroes altogether. Still hanging in there though. Just. ;)

"The unfolding of its backstory, and its endgame, move at almost the perfect pace for me."

Same goes for me. I can honestly say that I've never been so hooked on a television series. I'm wanting it to end so I can know the answers but dreading it being over in equal measure. The writers must be doing something right.
I wasn't touting Heroes, believe me, just noting that for some, they compare the two because they move at different paces. In fact, I think Heroes is guilty of some really bad writing, and a failure to be mindful of the nature of the characters they developed. This season is almost like they want to throw out the nature of every character: Sylar is good, Claire is bad ass, ettc. Most of the time with Heroes, I just get upset at the poor writing- but they are also bleeding viewers.

Most of us here really do understand that we like what we like and we don't like what we don't like and it is no measure of our knowledge as televisual critters that we do. I love CSI, which I think probably posits me in the minority on this board- but my buy-in was through Sara and her relation with Grissom, which ends when WP leaves next month- at which point, I will watch with nowhere near the interest I did- echoing how I responded to Buffy after Tara was no longer on the show. I was really just referring to comments I have seen in past readings when I was more active in Lost fandom. It sort of set up an "us vs. them" kind of thing; the "us" got it and the "them" did not and ergo were stupid or whatever term they wished to use. I sure have no problem with someone loving Lost- enjoy! :-)
To be fair, a lot of the "us versus them" that cropped up in Lost fandom was because many of the people who became ex-viewers (or at least the vocal ones) tended not to argue that the show wasn't working for them, but instead that it was badly-made stupid crap.

That tended to make too many Lost fans a little defensive and so they in turn pushed back too hard and started calling people dumb or illiterate.

A lot of that tension originated because vocal ex-viewers seemed incapable of accepting the notion that something could be artful and well-crafted but still fail for them.

(By "vocal ex-viewers", I'm not referring to you. I'm just giving the other side of the context of what happened in the "us vs. them" Lost fandom circumstance.)

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-11-17 20:47 ]
Honestly, I see none of this "us vs. them" stuff in the community now but I think that's because the show, and it's community has become so niche now that no one is leaving the ride and criticizing the show and all the one's who did have given up.

Also, viewer bleeding? Lost has been consistent from the beginning. Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't an episode has ever dropped below 12 million viewers. The only times there are an influx of viewers is during season premieres and finales and the drop off from those is to be expected.

As for the character connection, I can understand not connecting with any characters and that being a problem for some people but for me I love so many of them and the progression has just been wonderful.

Also, Dana, you made a comment about how the characters didn't progress enough and while I can agree that S2 dragged in the middle and that you have your points there I also have to say that Lost is a progressive show. The character's arcs are not contained within the season but are show long. We're still watching Jack and Locke's arc develop. It's one of the things that I love about the show but I can see where the season payoff not being there just won't do it for some people. Also, if you're not invested in any character then it won't work for you. The thing is, the last bit of S2 and most S3 brought some excellent new characters and some wonderful development for pretty much all of the other ones. Season long arcs that culminated in such beautiful payoff that I don't know where to begin. I think a problem is that people gave up just before the show got it's bearings again and that's a shame.

Jeez, all of the ideas running through my head, all the comments I could have some rebuttal to, Lost is just a problem for my brain, a good one though. I could go on and on trying to defend it. It's a work of art that will only truly be appreciated once all of the picture is there, of this I'm sure. There will be haters but what's art without it's critics? And you're entitled to many of your complaints, a lot of them I share, but many of them have been resolved and many others have their own reasons for being.

And a bit more on topic, so sad to hear that Drew probably won't be on. He was one of the best writers they had and wrote many of my favorite episodes. I look up to him as a writer and he'll be missed by me on Lost but very welcome in other projects. Still waiting for Cabin.
No need to defend Lost; this has not been about challenging that interest that people have. It was more about how I lost interest and why, and that's just me. I think it is too late for me to come back; I no longer have the time to watch 4 seasons worth of eps in the hope that I won't get agitated in the watching. I guess I have just moved on, the divorce final. :-)

These days I tend to watch way too much, and not all good: Terminator, Heroes, House, Criminal Minds, CSI (only Las Vegas), True Blood, and then stuff like Survivorman, Storm Chasers and Mythbusters. Some are pure escapism, some I invest in- House, for example, though I am devastated Cutthroat Bitch is gone. CSI. And I am really upset that HBO put off the release of In Treatment on DVD until October of next year; that hurts. I probably feel about In Treatment like you guys do about Lost- it's just a superb tale, and affecting, and I sat there sweating blood about those characters.
Highlander: Well, as you say, fair enough. Certainly, I think the writers know that Jack and Locke are becoming more extreme and obsessive, and that is part of the point; but I do think that their lunacies make them less interesting as they become more fixated, and not more, and that the other characters don't really react strongly enough to them. And the flashbacks themselves have also tended to simplify the characters more over time; after introducing Locke's daddy, it went around and put him at the centre of almost every problem in Locke's life, including his paralysis (in an episode that was, yes, written by Drew). The psychology of the characters just seems thin to me--but of course, this is also just me.

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