When the first episode of Lost aired, and we met John Locke, I phoned my mother and told her that I was already on to something. The name, John Locke, was significant because in the year before, I had taken a course on political philosophy and had read John Locke. And, for the next couple of seasons I was left wondering if that was a coincidence or not (I highly suspected not). Then we meet Jeremy Bentham, and my suspicions were confirmed; John Locke’s character is based on early policitical philosophers who discussed such issues as the social contract and utilitarianism (the greatest good for the greatest number and so forth…). It made perfect sense.
This little revelation is only the beginning. Literature is regularly mentioned throughout the show; from Stephen Hawking to Stephen King, from Of Mice and Men to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I can’t help but wonder if the Lost book club could provide us with additional insight into the story line (which for those of you who think it’s a bunch of 20-somethings smoking pot, has been established since the beginning). Add to this, the revelation that J.J. Abrams has bought the film rights to King’s The Dark Tower (for nineteen dollars, no less), and the obvious influence those books have had on the show itself (see time travel, paradox, reluctant leaders).
I don’t watch much T.V. In fact, I purposefully avoid it, selecting my viewing pleasures carefully and patronizing the Internet for access, but Lost had me from hello. Some may complain that the story line itself is lost, but I would argue that this is one of the most intelligent shows in our history, and draws heavily on classic literature, theory, and science to bring us 44 minutes of entertainment. If you can’t follow it, perhaps you need to hit the books.