|Episode no.||Season 1
Episode 1 & 2
|Directed by||J. J. Abrams|
|Original air date||September 22, 2004 (Part 1)
September 29, 2004 (Part 2)
|Lost (season 1)
List of Lost episodes
"Pilot" constitutes the first and second episodes of the first season of ABC television series Lost, with part one premiering on September 22, 2004 and part two on September 29, 2004. The episodes were directed by J.J. Abrams, written by Abrams and Damon Lindelof, and based on a story created by Abrams, Lindelof, and Jeffrey Lieber. The pilot introduces the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, who experience a plane crash and end up on a mysterious island. Three of the characters, Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox), Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly) and Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan), are featured before the crash in flashbacks of their experiences on the plane as it breaks apart in mid-air; these scenes established Lost's defining use of flashbacks.
This episode was the most expensive pilot episode up to that time, costing between $10 and $14 million. This was primarily due to the expense of purchasing, shipping, and dressing the actual decommissioned aircraft body used to represent the wreckage. It is one of the most critically acclaimed television pilots of all time. Both parts of the pilot earned high ratings, and the episode would later win many awards. TV Guide ranked the episode No. 5 on its list of "TV's Top 100 Episodes of All Time".
On September 22, 2004, Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) awakens in the jungle and notices a yellow Labrador retriever darting through the bamboo forest. He runs through the jungle to a beach, where he is confronted by the carnage of the airplane crash of Oceanic Flight 815. Jack, a surgeon, darts from one survivor to the next, administering medical aid. He assists the pregnant Claire Littleton (Emilie de Ravin), enlists Hurley (Jorge Garcia) to watch her, and administers CPR to Rose Henderson (L. Scott Caldwell), saving her life. After the initial shock passes, Jack retreats to a quiet area beyond the beach to tend to his own minor injuries, when he notices Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly) passing him. He asks her for assistance, which she gives by helping suture the wound on his back. Hours later on the beach, survivors Hurley, Michael Dawson (Harold Perrineau) and his ten-year-old son, Walt Lloyd (Malcolm David Kelley), discuss what to do with the bodies in the wreckage, while an uninterested James "Sawyer" Ford (Josh Holloway) looks on. Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews) organizes a clean-up crew, while Hurley salvages meals from the plane's galley and distributes them to the survivors. Shannon Rutherford (Maggie Grace) refuses chocolate offered by her brother Boone Carlyle (Ian Somerhalder), believing that rescue is imminent.
That night, the peace of the camp is disturbed by loud roaring noises and crashing trees emanating from the nearby jungle. In the morning, Jack decides that the survivors need to send a distress signal, believing that the best solution is to use the plane's transceiver, found in the cockpit of the plane. Kate claims to have seen smoke from somewhere within the jungle and asks to go with Jack to find the plane's cockpit. With Kate and Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan), Jack sets off into the jungle to find the cockpit. When the trio find the plane resting against a tree, they are forced to climb through the rows of seats to reach the cabin. Inside, they find the pilot still in his seat. Charlie disappears into the bathroom while Jack and Kate find the pilot (Greg Grunberg) who wakes up with a concussion. He tells them that the plane had lost radio contact six hours after take off, where it turned back for Fiji and hit turbulence. Meanwhile, on the beach during the rainstorm, a group of survivors takes refuge in the wreckage. While huddled there, a Korean man, Jin-Soo Kwon (Daniel Dae Kim), tells his wife, Sun-Hwa Kwon (Yunjin Kim), in Korean that she should remain close to him at all times. Even though most of the survivors have taken shelter, John Locke (Terry O'Quinn) remains outside and sits alone in the rain on the beach with his arms outstretched, enjoying the moment. Back in the plane's cockpit, the conversation is interrupted when the strange roaring noise that the group heard from the jungle the previous night returns. When the pilot investigates, he is seized by something outside, prompting the trio to grab the transceiver and flee. During the escape, Charlie falls. Jack returns to help him, while a terrified Kate runs on. After the monster disappears, Kate, Charlie and Jack reunite and find the pilot's bloodied corpse suspended in a tree top.
As Jack, Kate, and Charlie head back to the beach, Kate asks Charlie what he was doing in the bathroom. Charlie says he was being sick, but in a flashback, it is revealed that Charlie had been taking drugs in the bathroom before the plane crashed. He had attempted to flush his stash but had been prevented by the sudden onset of turbulence. On the island, while looking for his dog Vincent, Walt discovers a pair of handcuffs, which he shows to Michael. Afterwards Sawyer attacks Sayid, and claims he is a terrorist who blew up the plane, but they are soon stopped by Michael and Jack. Sayid manages to repair the transceiver, but it does not have a signal and little battery life. While working on it, he reveals to Hurley that he was a communications officer with the Iraqi Republican Guard in the Gulf War. Sawyer decides to go with Sayid, Kate, Charlie, Shannon and Boone to bring the transceiver inland in an attempt to reach higher ground and get a better signal. Along the way, they are attacked by a charging polar bear, which Sawyer shoots and kills. When asked about where he found the gun, Sawyer says he took it from a dead U.S. marshal. Sayid accuses Sawyer of being the marshal's prisoner. Kate takes the gun from Sawyer and Sayid instructs her on how to dismantle it.
A flashback shows the final moments of the flight. Kate is talking to the marshal, the same injured man to whom Jack had been tending to on the beach. On the plane, Kate is wearing the handcuffs that Walt found in the jungle. As the turbulence hits, the marshal is knocked unconscious by a falling suitcase. Kate uncuffs herself and puts the marshal's oxygen mask on him before attaching her own, at which point the tail end of the plane suddenly breaks off and falls away. Back at the beach, the marshal wakes up during the operation and asks Jack, "Where is she?" Inland, Sayid turns on the transceiver and it has a signal. However it is being blocked by a transmission in French that has been repeating for over sixteen years. Shannon translates it: "I'm alone now, on the island alone. Please someone come. The others are dead. It killed them. It killed them all". The group look at one another before Charlie says "Guys, where are we?"
The series began development in January 2004, when Lloyd Braun, head of ABC at the time, ordered an initial script from Spelling Television based on his concept of a cross between the novel Lord of the Flies, the movie Cast Away, the television series Gilligan's Island, and the popular reality show Survivor. ABC had also premiered a short lived series about plane crash survivors in 1969 called The New People with an opening episode by Rod Serling. Gadi Pollack notes that some of "the influences of Lost came from...the game Myst." Jeffrey Lieber was hired and wrote Nowhere, based on his pitch to write the pilot. Unhappy with the result and a subsequent rewrite, Braun contacted J. J. Abrams, who had a deal with Touchstone Television (now ABC Studios), and was also the creator of the TV series Alias, to write a new pilot script. Although initially hesitant, Abrams warmed up to the idea on the condition that the series would have a supernatural angle to it, and collaborated with Damon Lindelof to create the series' style and characters. Together, Abrams and Lindelof also created a series "bible", and conceived and detailed the major mythological ideas and plot points for an ideal five to six season run for the show. The development of the show was constrained by tight deadlines, as it had been commissioned late in the 2004 season's development cycle. Despite the short schedule, the creative team remained flexible enough to modify or create characters to fit actors they wished to cast.
Lost's two-part pilot episode was the most expensive in the network's history, reportedly costing between US$10 and $14 million. The series debuted on September 22, 2004, becoming one of the biggest critical and commercial successes of the 2004 television season. Along with fellow new series Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy, Lost helped to reverse the flagging fortunes of ABC. Yet before the episode aired, Lloyd Braun was fired by executives at ABC's parent company, Disney, because of the network's low ratings and his role in greenlighting such an expensive and risky project. The pilot episode's world premiere was on July 24, 2004 at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
Though Abrams and Lindelof did not use Lieber's work as inspiration for their own, Lieber's request for arbitration at the Writer's Guild of America pointing out the similarities in both scripts earned him a story credit. Lieber would later say the series would drift much from his concepts in Nowhere, declaring Lost was "more like Lord of the Rings than Lord of the Flies".
In the initial plans for the series, Jack was going to die midway through the first episode. The role of Jack was originally offered to Michael Keaton, but when the producers quickly changed their minds about Jack's death, making him the leader, Keaton gave up the job. After Matthew Fox's casting as Jack, the character was established as a leader, and the airplane pilot was introduced to take Jack's place as The Monster's first victim. Around seventy-five women of different shapes, sizes, ethnicities and ages auditioned to be Kate. In the initial plans, Kate would emerge as the leader after Jack died. She was not going to be a fugitive, instead her husband was going to go to the bathroom shortly before the plane split in mid air, and she would remain adamant on the Island that he was alive. This ended up being used for Rose’s (L. Scott Caldwell) character instead. The producers were impressed with Canadian Evangeline Lilly's audition for Kate, as she displayed the confidence with vulnerability that they were looking for. As this was Lilly's first role, she had difficulty obtaining a visa to work in America. She was supposed to start on the first day of filming, but the schedule was rearranged to give her more time, and in the mean time, the producers began auditioning again in case the visa did not come through. However during one of the auditions, they got an email confirming that she had obtained her visa and could start work on the show.
Matthew Fox, Dominic Monaghan and Jorge Garcia originally auditioned for the role of Sawyer, who at the time was supposed to be a suit-wearing city con man, but the role was given to Josh Holloway. Garcia was the first actor the producers knew they were going to cast. While the producers thought Garcia was spectacular, they did not think he fit in the role of Sawyer, so they created the Hurley character for him instead. When Holloway auditioned for Sawyer, the producers liked his southern accent and the edge he brought to the character (Holloway reportedly forgot his lines and kicked a chair in frustration). The producers knew he did not suit the role, but thought he was very watchable, so they rewrote the role to suit him, making him more feral, Southern, but kept the same intelligence he originally had. After appearing in The Lord of the Rings, Dominic Monaghan was offered many fantasy-based roles, like elves and pixies. He was keen to portray a different role, so he wanted a contemporary part that had layers and an edge. Originally Charlie was an older rocker that has been a big hit in the 1980s but now had a heroin addiction. After the producers enjoyed Monaghan’s audition of Sawyer, they decided to cast him as Charlie and rewrote the script to make Charlie a young has-been instead.
When the producers were auditioning actors for roles in Lost, Harold Perrineau was in the area. The producers called it a "natural move" to have him audition. Although initially skeptical about the show, he took the role when Lost creator J. J. Abrams explained more about it. A lot of children were seen for the role of Walt. They were narrowed down to the top three, with Malcolm David Kelley winning it, after the producers were impressed with his role in Antwone Fisher. Abrams had worked with Terry O'Quinn previously on Alias, and was keen to work with him again. He explained to O'Quinn that although the role in the first episodes would be fairly small, the character will develop afterwards. O'Quinn took the role as he trusted Abrams. He was also the only character who did not have to officially audition for a part of a main character. The producers were looking for someone who had a "Paris Hilton quality" to play Shannon, but she could not just be shallow, as the storyline would require more than that. A lot of women were auditioned before the producers finally settled on Maggie Grace. She was written to be an antipathetic character in the first season as the producers needed a character they could use to create opposition and conflict. Unlike many other characters of the first season, who were rewritten based on their actors, Boone was largely the same through production. He was originally going to be named Boone Anthony Markham V, going by the nickname, "Five". Ian Somerhalder was cast in the role, but he did not want to shoot a pilot; however, he jumped at the opportunity once he found out he would be working with Abrams.
Lost was planned to be a multi-cultural show with an international cast. The producers thought it was essential that an Australian was cast for the part of Claire, and the Oceanic 815 was leaving from Sydney. Emilie de Ravin was working in Edmonton, so was unable to go to the auditions, which were being held in Los Angeles. From a video she sent to the producers, they were able to tell that de Ravin had the youth and sweetness required for the role, but also looked as though she had some life experience. Sayid was not in the original draft of the pilot episode, but executive consultant Jeff Pinkner had worked with Naveen Andrews on a short-lived ABC series called The Beast, and was keen to have him on Lost. The producers were surprised that Andrews was interested in the role. When they cast him, all Andrews was told was that Sayid was from Iraq and had been in the army. Yunjin Kim originally auditioned for Kate. At her audition she told the producers that she spoke fluent Korean, having been raised in South Korea, where she had starred in several films. The producers were impressed with Kim's performance and wrote her the character of Sun, who was planned to be someone who could not speak English, but after examining her relationship with her husband, the audience would learn that she does in fact speak it. Daniel Dae Kim was cast in the role of Jin, Sun's husband. Dae Kim described his audition as a "really interesting experience". He found it especially hard as it was his first time acting in Korean, and he had not spoken in it regularly since being in high school, when he would talk to his parents.
The pilot was shot in Oahu, Hawaii, except the studio scenes set inside the flight, shot in Los Angeles. The wreckage of Flight 815 was made with a Lockheed L-1011 built in 1972 and previously used by Delta Air Lines until 1998, that after being purchased by ABC was broken up and sent to Hawaii by ship. J.J. Abrams decided not to do aerial shots to avoid revealing too much of the island, and also because he considered the different point of view could confuse audiences.
Many special effects were used, especially bluescreen. One was made just before part two was broadcast, since a scene involving a stuffed polar bear was freeze framed and mocked on the internet, prompting ABC to replace it with a CGI bear.
Part one made a ratings record for a pilot episode, with 18.6 million viewers, and part two scored 10.5/17 on the Nielsen ratings, watched by 17 million viewers. Both parts were aired on the same night for its first UK broadcast on Channel 4, August 10, 2005, and it became an instant hit. It was the second most watched programme for Channel 4 for that week, with ratings of 6.75 million, second only to Big Brother.
Reviews were favorable upon release. IGN gave it a 10/10 score declaring that Lost "delivers on every promise it makes to its audience." In IGN's 2008 series of "Flashback Reviews", IGN's Chris Carabott changed the scores; he gave part one a 9.5/10, saying that the show's mysteries "would keep many of us captivated for the next four years"; he gave part two a 9/10, saying that "It really is a roller coaster of emotion and that sense of dread that sets in here is brilliantly portrayed." Entertainment Weekly gave an A stating that even non-science fiction and fantasy fans can like it, and USA Today gave it 4 stars praising the cast. The Futon Critic later chose the pilot as the fifth best TV episode of 2004. TV Guide ranked the episode No. 5 on its list of "TV's Top 100 Episodes of All Time".
At the 2005 Emmy Awards, J.J. Abrams won a Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for the pilot, with Mary Jo Markey winning Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series, Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore), Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series and additional nominations for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series and Outstanding Writing for Drama Series. Casting director April Webster won an Artios Award for her work in the pilot. The pilot also won two Golden Reel Awards for Best Effects and Foley, and a VES Award for visual effects. The episode was also nominated for an Hugo Award and awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, Art Directors Guild and Directors Guild of America.
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