Throughout Lost‘s tenure, some viewers derided the show’s creators for not having a concrete plan and subsequently molding the show as they went along. Sure, there was a basic outline on what the Oceanic survivors would do and where the series might ultimately end, but the meat of the story was left up to some meddling. This led to dissolved plotlines and many, many unanswered questions. The show is undoubtably flawed in this way. However, would it have been a better program if the creators knew exactly where they were going from the beginning?
The short answer: Absolutely not.
Well, let me rephrase that: Probably not. A long, coherent storyline containing minimal plot holes that provided dynamic characters, deep philosophical queries, mysterious situations and, most of all, a hella lot of heart, all without seeming contrived and predictable, would’ve made for better television. But is that realistic? Probably not. Television’s format allows for shows to feel around with many different formats and styles until they find the right ones. If a character isn’t working, then cut ’em out. Same goes for a plotline. But a show that’s set in stone from the start doesn’t allow for this freedom.
Lost‘s creators started with a somewhat flawed show — despite an outstanding pilot — which routinely improved as they plugged in better characters, plotlines and themes into the series. A fully mapped out storyline with little room for manipulation would’ve proved to be fatal, and most likely wouldn’t have lasted its entire planned timeline.