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Herc Gives ABC's LOST Pilot Five Stars!!

I am – Hercules!!

Lost 1.1 FAQ

What’s “Lost” again?
ABC’s new scifi castaway adventure from “Alias” mastermind J.J. Abrams. As with “Alias,” Abrams himself wrote and directed the pilot.

Didn’t Herc say “Lost” was the fall show to which he was most looking forward? Did it live up to his expectations?
It exceeded them. Which were, I can tell you, enormous.

Is it the fall’s best new show?
Without question.

Is a one-hour pilot or two?
83 minutes, which is two hours. Each hour will be aired on a different Wednesday.

Earlier Coaxial reviews reminded Herc of the beloved live-action Saturday morning adventure “Land of the Lost.” Are there Sleestack? Cro-Magnon boys? Brontosauri?
There’s a polar bear that doesn’t seem to belong on the South Pacific island on which the characters are stranded. There also seems to be something Kong-size lurking in the distance, but neither we nor the characters get any kind of real look at it. We just see huge chunks of forest getting stomped down. And Greg Grunberg, who cameos as the crashed plane’s pilot, is viciously snacked upon by something both colossal and unglimpsed.

Any other island weirdness?
There are flash rainstorms that appear and disappear way too suddenly. And something I will put in invisotext only because it is revealed at pilot’s end: The group we’re following is not the first to find itself stranded on this particular island.

I remember AICN’s first “Lost” reviewer saying he stumbled across the pilot on an infomercial channel and started watching during the scene with Greg Grunberg. When does the plane’s pilot become lunch?
Minute 36.

How many are trapped in this land of the lost? Is it just a man and his two preteen offspring?
Moments before he is eaten, Greg Grunberg learns that “at least 48” others survived the crash.

48 survivors? Do we meet all 48 in the first two hours?
We don’t even see them all. Lots of figures are milling about on the beach in the background, mostly out of focus, never clearly glimpsed, waiting to come to the foreground in later installments. The two-hour pilot depicts only the survivors’ first 24 hours on the island, so we never see any kind of “town meeting” with everyone sorting out what to do.

So who are the castaways? Are there movie stars, millionaires, farm girls and scientists?
There are definitely tiers in terms of screen time.

Tier One:
* If there’s a professor on the island, it’s Jack (Matthew Fox, the eldest of the “Party of Five” kids). He’s a good-hearted young physician, and very useful in this situation.
* If there’s a Mary Ann, it’s brunette Kate (newcomer Evangeline Lilly), the hottest girl on the island and the obvious female lead. She is friendly, game for adventure, and looks spectacular on the beach in her bra and panties.

Tier Two:
* Charlie (former hobbit Dominic Monaghan) is as close as we get to a Ginger. He plays bass in a once-famous rock band called Driveshaft and, like many on the island, harbors a dark secret.
* Hurley (Jorge Garcia, whom fans of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” might remember as the plus-size drug dealer during last season’s car-pool episode) is the show’s main comic relief, a Gen-Y Gilligan whose sunny pragmatism, long curly locks and considerable girth may have been designed to remind Ain’t-It-Cool fans of a certain entertainment Web site maven.

Tier Three:
* Sayid (“English Patient” vet Naveen Andrews) is an affable military vet with survival skills and a history that includes combatting U.S. troops as a member of Iraq’s Republican Guard.
* Sawyer (Josh Holloway, who also appeared in the “Angel” pilot five years ago) is a surly American and Sayid’s societal nemesis. We don’t find out much about him beyond the fact that he’s suspicious and obnoxious.

Tier Four:
* Shannon (former “Oliver Beane” regular Maggie Grace) is the island’s Cordelia Chase, a stunning bikini-clad party blonde who tans as others worry, certain against all logic that rescue is imminent.
* Boone (who played the mysterious Adam Knight on “Smallville” last season) is Shannon’s far nicer and more realistic brother.
* Claire (Emilie DeRaven, who was pregnant with Max Evans’ alien baby on “Roswell”) is a very pregnant girl concerned about the health of her unborn child.
* Michael (Harold Perrineau Jr., the paraplegic narrator from “Oz”) is a father just becoming acquainted with his young son,
* Walt (“You Got Served” star Malcolm David Kelley), who just lost his mother to cancer.
* Jin (the ubiquitous Daniel Dae Kim, a semi-regular since 2001 on everything from “Angel” to “24” to “Enterprise” to “Miss Match” to “ER”) and
* Sun (pretty “Iron Palm” star Yoon-jin Kim) are a pair of Korean nationals who, unable to speak English, effectively segregate themselves from the rest of the survivors. It’s unclear at pilot’s end whether the pair are siblings, cousins, lovers, co-workers or something else entirely.

Tier Five:
* Locke (Terry O’Quinn, whose FBI agent Kendall headed Sydney Bristow’s task force during the second season of “Alias”) is the sinister-looking codger who spends pretty much the entire episode alone at the edge of the waterline, smiling creepily at his fellow survivors. His last words in the pilot, spoken to youngster Walt, are, “Do you want to know a secret?”

What’s not so great?
One could quibble a bit with the show’s logic at junctures. 1) Many, upon seeing the plane’s wreckage, may wonder how so many people survived such a horrific disaster. 2) Since one survivor is left with a giant hunk of shrapnel jutting out of his chest, does it really make sense for the only surviving doctor to wander off on a search mission? 3) Why is everyone so sure that a pair of found handcuffs signifies that there’s a fugitive among the survivors? The cuffs could be somebody’s sex toy, or could have fallen from the belt of a sky marshal, right? Finally, and this may be because my particular copy of the pilot may be a little muddy, it’s difficult to make out the unseen monsters’ distant wake.

What’s great?
The characters, the action, the mysteries, the pacing, the comedy, the many grisly mishaps, the special effects, the twist endings. The huge and unprecedented number of crash survivors, which should make for some fascinating drama as this strange new society is forged. The three harrowing, and I mean harrowing, planebound flashbacks, which should give many a frequent flyer nightmares for years. The cast generally, and Garcia’s repeated use of the noun “dude” in particular. The many fascinating loose ends, so certain to leave audiences craving more (just as the loose ends left by the “Alias” pilot did three years ago).

How does it end, spoiler-boy?
“Guys,” asks Charlie of his fellow survivors, “where are we?”

Herc’s rating for “Lost” 1.1?

The Hercules T. Strong Rating System:
***** better than we deserve
**** better than most motion pictures
*** actually worth your valuable time
** as horrible as most stuff on TV
* makes you quietly pray for bulletins

I am – Hercules!!

Looking for bumper stickers, plush toys and girls’ underwear covered with cartoon double-amputees? Visit The Herc Store!

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