Thursday, April 20, 2006


Back on April 10, Andrew Wallenstein wrote the following in an article:

Add one more to the list of mysteries amassing like moss on the island of "Lost."

Forget for a second the true identity of Henry Gale, the black smoke that peered into the eyes of Mr. Eko or the map that appeared to Locke on the hatch door. Here's what's truly puzzling: Why can't ABC move the massive audience that tunes in Wednesday at 9 p.m. to the 10 p.m. slot?


It's difficult to understand why the pairing of "Lost" and "Invasion" didn't work. Anyone who has sat glued to their couch between 9-11 p.m. on Wednesday has to marvel at how similar in sensibility these shows are, from their eerie tone to the plot puzzles that are carefully strewn like a breadcrumb trail leading viewers from episode to episode.

You would think all "Lost" fans would love "Invasion," but that's the black magic of primetime scheduling for you. The practice of maintaining audience flow is equal parts art and science -- always unpredictable, even when it seems a textbook example of how to develop and schedule around hit lead-ins.

I think the answer is simple. It doesn't matter what follows 'Lost', no matter what the channel. Last year 'The West Wing' followed 'Lost' at 9 pm, but over on NBC. It's one of my favorite series; it will stand the test of Time as one of the greatest TV shows ever made.

But I had to set my VCR to record it because I was too hyped up over what I had just seen the hour before over on ABC with 'Lost'. I didn't want to dilute the experience by watching any other TV show so soon right after that. It didn't have to be similar, it didn't have to be on the same network, it didn't have to be perfect for my demographic. I just didn't want to watch.

Instead, I wanted to abandon the TV entirely and immediately discuss what I had just seen with other like-minded viewers wrapped up in the island's mystery. To hell with the concept of water-cooler TV - waiting until the next day to discuss it at work wasn't going to cut it.

Besides, we don't even have a water cooler where I work......

This is why I think 'Invasion' lost all those 'Lostaways'. They were all online over at
The Fuselage and other message boards dedicated to 'Lost'. And that's the price networks are going to have to pay for developing a symbiotic relationship with the Internet.


1 comment:

bill said...

I think you nailed the problem. At our house, we’re still too geeked up to watch another intense drama. Gotta let the adrenaline come down before bed. Last year I would watch “West Wing,” but then, as now, I’m watching it out of habit, not out of any emotional involvement. I think a change in tone, like a nonthreatening comedy would have worked. I would have loved to have watched something like “Kitchen Confidential” or even “Love Monkey.” A show like “Arrested Development” would be too intense while we’re decompressing.