why aren't you—you probably noticed that my self-promotion pedal was pushed to the limit today. That's because I was able to interview the estimable Lloyd Braun for the estimable Vulture blog at New York magazine.
For those out of the loop: Braun was the ABC executive who greenlit Lost, only to be fired before it ever aired. The rest, as they say, is history. The twist is that in an effort to keep Braun as part of the show, executive producer J.J. Abrams commissioned the ousted executive to voice "Previously on Lost" before every episode—a mystery that even a gigantic Lost nerd like myself didn't realize until last week (I had always assumed it was John Terry a.k.a. Christian Shephard).
I got to speak with Braun for nearly thirty minutes last week and the results of our conversation appeared on the Vulture blog earlier Monday. However, like you would expect, there were some great nuggets left on the cutting room floor due to space constraints. You can read the published interview here. After the jump, however, check out some choice "director's cut" selections about the legacy Lost will have on television in the future.
What kind of legacy do you see Lost having?
The shows that have the best chance of resonating with an audience are ones that don’t, in any way, feel derivative. There are so many choices out there. People aren’t looking—in my opinion—for a different version of a show that’s already on the air. I think if you look at a show on ABC like Modern Family—which is a terrific show—there wasn’t anything on TV like Modern Family. You look at Glee. There isn’t anything on TV like Glee. I think there’s a lot to learn when you look at the shows that work and the common thread that you often find is that there wasn’t anything on television like that.
So then do you think that networks will take more risks in the wake of Lost?
I wish I could tell you that were the case. The truth is, I think it’s gotten harder and harder to put a show like Lost on the air. As there’s more and more pressure on all these companies—and certainly all these executives—and the scrutiny on decisions is so significant, it becomes harder and harder to take big risks like that. Let’s not forget, Lost was an enormously expensive pilot. It’s gotten more difficult to make a really big bet on a concept that is completely out of the box. It still happens, but it doesn’t happen very often.
Of course, the sad part about those statements is that Braun is right. It's a vicious cycle: people love television shows that go outside the box, but network executives are afraid to go outside the box. And don't think this terrible economy makes things any easier. (By the way, if you have a full time job, I'm available; thanks Air America!). That means if we see another show like Lost in the near future—and not some hack rip-off like FlashForward or V—it will take a minor miracle.
Good thing Lost still exists... at least for another three months.