Love or hate Lost, the fact remains: It’s over. Which got us thinking, if we could each do one thing differently ...
Spencer Patterson, A&E editor: Waaaaalt! When Lost’s creators cast 12-year-old Malcolm David Kelley to play 10-year-old Walt Lloyd in 2004, they should have considered the ramifications. Kelley hit puberty and he was exiled from the island, robbing us of a key character, and adequate closure to his arc.
Decent planning—cast differently, stock up on footage—or smarter writing could have averted the glaring Walt fiasco. At the very least, the role should have been recast. Short-term, many might have found the new face distracting, but better that than the eternal blunder we’re now forced to endure.
Levi Chronister, Greenspun interactive: Drop the mythology. As a character drama, Lost succeeded like few before it. As a genre show, it ended up failing like shows that haven’t lasted six episodes, let alone six seasons. Most of the unanswered questions—Why do women die during childbirth? or How did the frozen donkey wheel work?—are mythological, and answering some (or even all) of them on DVD three months later won’t cut it. Focusing the show on characters rather than piling enigma upon enigma might have kept Lost from being an Internet phenomenon, but it could have preserved it as an all-time classic.
Josh Bell, film editor: I’m hesitant to second-guess the creators of Lost, because any changes to the show would make it into something other than their unique vision. But if there’s one thing I would have liked to see, that could have been resolved quickly without interrupting the flow of storytelling, it’s one more flashback illuminating the shared past between Libby and Hurley, whose mutual mental-institution stints hinted at a tragic or sinister connection. Libby’s sixth-season return gave the pair’s relationship some emotional closure, but a bit more detail would have made their reunion even more satisfying.
Ken Miller, contributing editor: Damon Lindelhof and Carlton Cuse had something truly unique going by the time the second season wrapped. The hatch subplot? Superb! The introduction of those Dharma illustrations? Incredible! And then for Season 3, we got ... humans in cages? One of the brainiest shows ever had suddenly morphed into a warmed-over stew of Planet of the Apes. Suddenly the big question became not “Who are The Others?” but, “Will Sawyer manage to accidentally shock himself again?” There have been other hiccups (Nikki and Paulo, anyone?), but this one took the fish biscuit.
Rick Lax, staff writer: I would have killed off Jack in the first episode. That was the original plan—the show was going to be billed, “Lost, starring Michael Keaton as Jack.” And then the smoke monster was going to throw Keaton into a tree during the pilot.
Touchstone nixed the idea, ironically, because it didn’t want to mess with the audience. (Isn’t that was Lost was all about?) Keaton dropped out, Fox took over and the rest is history.
Now, Fox is a great actor, and the Jack Shephard character came around in Season 6, but killing him in Episode 1 would have raised the bar of unpredictability even further.