What Do We Make of Damon Lindelof's Mea Culpa to Lost Fans?

lindelof_225.jpgLate on Friday The Daily Beast published an essay from former Lost executive producer Damon Lindelof about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I. The crux of it: Because Lindelof, a life-long Harry Potter fanatic, found himself hating The Deathly Hallows, he finally understood what it meant to be a fan. Specifically, he finally understood that the irate sect of Lost fans who hated the series' ending had merit. "I sincerely and genuinely apologize to all those whom I have stripped of their Lost fandom just for complaining about the stuff you didn't like. It doesn't make you any less a fan," Lindelof wrote. "In fact, it just makes you honest. I respect that. And I'm genuinely sorry for ever feeling otherwise." Which begs the question: Why?

As a Lost fan who enjoyed the finale -- and as a Harry Potter fan who enjoyed The Deathly Hallows, despite its many flaws in comparison to the book -- perhaps I'm coming at this from the wrong angle. Maybe if my dander were up because Lindelof and his co-executive producer Carlton Cuse had turned six years of my life into nothing more than loose ends, red herrings and forced spirituality, I'd appreciate a tossed off apology in the form of a blog post, too. But since I'm not that fan, there is something truly lame about it all. To wit: Good and bad, Lost was Damon Lindelof's vision. As the showrunner he crafted the series and, in theory, produced the program he wanted. If some geek on Twitter or an Ain't It Cool forum didn't like what he accomplished, why should he actually care?

Of course, this brings up a larger point in the Lost mythology: Lindelof and Cuse cared too much. Too often it felt like they relied on crowdsourcing to figure out what they would do next, instead of their own instincts. (See: Nikki/Paolo; the arcs of Hurley and Sawyer.) As a result of this, the fanbase felt entitled -- Lost fans felt like part of the process -- and when things didn't go their way, they revolted. That Lindelof didn't have the stomach for such matters isn't all that surprising -- it's not nice to see yourself assailed all across the Internet -- but that lack of stomach is what separates him from TV immortals like David Chase and Matthew Weiner. They are showrunners who didn't (and don't) care what the fans think, and thus their visions weren't compromised. Do you think Chase would have ever written an apology to Sopranos fans who disagreed with him about how that series ended?

In the end, it's the Lost faithful who should feel most burned by Lindelof. Not for leading us down a bunch of dead end streets, but for being so easy on the unfaithful who felt he had done something wrong by leading us down a bunch of dead end streets. Those people were stripped of their fandom for a reason. Let's keep it that way.


  • KevyB says:

    You got it right big-time! When people were up in arms over the creepy near-incest story, Ian Somerhalder was killed just a few weeks later. Obviously they had a plan for his character, but they tossed it all out the window because people complained, about the story AND the Boone character.
    I personally don't believe they ever had a "plan" for the show. I really truly believe they had ideas for great surprises, but absolutely nothing for figuring out how to make those surprises believable or organic to the proceedings. Which is why I stopped watching it in the middle of the second season. These guys were amateurs in a professional world.

  • Citizen Bitch says:

    I'm not following Nikki/Paolo as an example of crowdsourcing? What am I missing?

  • katiegee says:

    This isn't about apologising to anyone. Interest in Lost is on the wane and Harry Potter is in the news, so he's just trying to grab some attention like the petulant brat he is. Crawl into a hole and die Damon, or a least shut your mouth. After that stinker of a finale you've got a nerve to be criticising anything. It's not for you to be telling anyone if they are allowed to be fans or not, how arrogant and patronising is that? What's the matter, missing those lovely dollars you ripped us off for? Or aren't the sycophants telling youu how wonderful you are. He should never be allowed to write again.