Lost Boss Damon Lindelof Set for Full-Time TV Return, Will Steer Clear of 'Wackadoo Mythology'

He had to go back.

After focusing on film work for the past several years, former Lost boss Damon Lindelof is finalizing a full-time return to the small screen via a lucrative three-year deal with Warner Bros. TV.

“This [deal] is about me creating my next show,” Lindelof said in an interview with our sister site, Deadline. “I probably won’t be the guy who creates the next Mad Men or Breaking Bad, though I love both of these shows. What I love about television is character-based storytelling, and I want to continue to explore fantastical way of doing it where characters live in a world that is a little skewed.”

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He’s not, however, interested in repeating himself. “I won’t be the one that would come up with the next Lost,” he maintained, adding that he fully intends to steer clear of “wackadoo mythology.”

Since Lost ended two years ago, Lindelof has penned next summer’s Star Trek sequel as well as the upcoming Alien-esque thriller Prometheus. “Film-wise, I’m spaced out,” he admitted. “I think I’ve got the robot-spaceship future bug out of my system.”

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50 Comments
  1. DJ Doena says:

    I hope no one is ever going to come up with the next LOST – unless done properly, i.e. both sides of the story taken care of of and not just some half-baked excuse about it being all about the characters and everything else didn’t matter.

    • While I agree with you that more should have been don with the mythology portion, I’m going to disagree with you on what you take issue with. For me, I was fine with them not explaining most of the mysteries. To me, the mysteries and magical properties of the island were the backdrop for the show, and gave the world flavor. But I don’t need to be told how the magic works, it’s magic. This is the same way George Lucas screwed up the force by trying to explain it by DNA. My issue with the mythology was how rushed and weak the Man and Black vs. Jacob story was. That ended up being the main central plot to everything. It should have been more epic, and more time should have been spent on it. So actually, I think you are wrong in regards to the mythology. LOST had one of the coolest out of any TV show I’ve seen.

      Lastly, I don’t think you watched the same show as me when you say “half-baked” excuse. What show were you watching exactly? You do know that in first season alone, 90% of the season revolved around flashbacks that had nothing to do with the island. This was and was always clearly a show driven by the characters, and their story arcs of redemption. And hell, even when it was about the island in season 1, it revolved around characters overcoming these personal burdens (through the island’s magical properties). So again I ask, what show were you watching?

      • DJ Doena says:

        I watched LOST, for the same six seasons you did. And I don’t want to have a scientifical explanation of the island. I was perfectly fine with the Force being an energy field that surrounds all living things, I didn’t need no stinking Midichlorians.
        But a story still has to make sense in itself, or else it’s just some weird acid trip. And the LOST story didn’t make any sense except as an excuse to drop the characters off at the next crazy idea bus stop.

        For example, the the eleventh hour plot was that Smokie must not leave the island under any circumstances. Anyone bother to explain why that would be a bad thing? Or why he was forbidden to do so even before he even became Smokie? And why (not how, why!) did he become Smokie in the first place? Jack and Desmond went down to the bathtub plug just fine without becoming air pollution.

        And speaking of character development: Why would Jin choose to drown with his wife on a submarine when he has an infant daughter who needs at least one parent?!?

        • William says:

          Thank you DJ. Also, remember: it’s not purgatory. Except that it is.

        • Eli says:

          Did you really watch the show?Did you understand it? Whoever is the protector of the island sets the rules, that is why the man in black couldn’t leave. As for Desmond , he is the constant, the one resistant to electromagnetism and that’s the whole point of why he was the one chosen to go to the light and unplug the cork. As for Jack, he was the protector at that time, “blessed” by Jacob and hence also resistant to becoming a “smokie”….gosh I hate it when people are pretentiously smart mouthed, go watch something suitable for your IQ, I hear Hardcore Pawn is on, go enjoy it

          • DJ Doena says:

            Protect the island from what? From the monsters it itself and its supposed protectors create? And if your that big IQ genius, why do you have to resort to insults after just one lame paragraph? You can’t have run out of arguments that quickly with that big brain of yours, can you?

          • Eli says:

            if u truly watched the show you know there over the years many entities tried to invade the island and destroy it or harness its power…you know what there is no point in trying to explain things to haters like you, there’s a Mensa meeting I need to go to. Oh look, Duck Dynasty is on, go enjoy it dear

        • As if they explained the Characters very well! Character development is at its worst on LOST. I don’t really get how this show became successful. No proper mythology, character development nor humor. Only a few hot girls to watch!

        • Sacramento says:

          Lost was horrible not because of mystery or they didn’t explain anything but because nothing had to do with anything. In the end all what the characters went through had nothing to do with the island. What was seen in flashbacks of the characters served no purpose. It was just filler. The producers purpose was just to get you to watch the next episode. For example, after all we saw about Sayid and how he’s the way he is because of his wife being killed, in the end his soul partner was Maggie Grace’s character? Good storytelling makes the the viewer antiicpate with excitement of what going to go on next. Lost just dragged viewers through the entire series run. It’s a gimmick show where they use a gimmick that attracts interest but take that gimmick away and it’s just watching someone’s life. That’s boring. Look at another JJ Abrams show, Alcatraz. Take away the gimmick that these criminals weren’t from Alcatraz 40 years ago and it’s just a bunch of criminals committing crimes like any other crime show.

    • justin121 says:

      Character stories went no where. Seasons 4 and 5 were largely filler. The FlashSideways portion of season 6 was filler. Nothing happend post-season 3. That’s what bugs me.

      • Curt B says:

        Seasons 4 and 5 were hardly filler. They established most of the history of the island, and Ben and reintroduced the world back into the story. The FlashSideways portion of season 6 was filler. Totally. that time should have been used to expand the final season and explore the mysteries and their solutions. Then a final 3 hour episode with the afterlife stuff and jack dying as he did would likely have been considered to be one of the best endings ever. But not with the afterlife being explored in 1/2 of every episode in the final season. What a waste of storytelling space!

  2. Dave says:

    Yeah, sure gonna be real interesting. Lost was built in season one by Abrams and Lindy rode that horse til the end. Star trek.. Abrams. Prometheus…. Scott. Can’t wait to see what Lindy can do on his own, I’m guessing it will not be great as he has never created anything original in his career. Maybe I’m wrong. But, come on, I’m so right!

    • courteousvampire says:

      Abrams actually had very little to do with LOST. He was heavily involved in the pilot and a handful of episodes, but 95% of the show was all Lindelof and Cuse. So it’s kind of disingenuous to give Lindelof flak in this regard. Because, the majority of what Lost fans loved about the show was written under Lindelof and not Abrams. Just because some fans hated the ending, doesn’t mean everything Lindelof did was terrible. It’s funny, these same people that hate him now (but loved most or at least parts of Lost), forget that he was the one that made those parts they loved.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Yeah JJ has never taken full credit of Lost. He has always sort of said he was never directly involved in every episode. He did have a heavy hand in the pilot & other episodes but isnt like Fringe where he has said he is more involved. But yeah for lindelof coming back!!

        • Kaa says:

          Except Abrams has not been that involved with Fringe either. It was always Jeff Pinkner and then later Joel Wyman joined as co-showrunner. I think Abrams may have co-written an episode or too, but even then, Akiva Goldsman has been far more involved as a writer.

  3. Kaa says:

    “Will steer clear of wackadoo mythology” – you mean, his OWN?

    BTW, if it’s “the characters that matter,” then the characters have to actually matter. Which was Lost’s biggest weakness. There were too many characters, all of them two-dimensional, few of them memorable.

    • courteousvampire says:

      lol the best part of Lost was the characters. If you think the characters were two-dimensional and not memorable, then you were always going to hate the show. Most fans and critics disagree with your assessment (although some of them side with you, in their dislike for how the show ended). But you’re the first person I’ve seen saying the characters sucked. I feel sorry for you, watching from season 1-6 a heavily character driven show, when you didn’t like the characters.

      • Kaa says:

        I watched Lost for 3 seasons; you don’t have to eat a whole egg to know it is rotten.

      • Caro H says:

        “Most fans and critics disagree with your assessment”

        Most fans and critics need to pick up a book or two or twenty seven then.

        Yes, the characters sucked (by the end). Some have always sucked.

        It sucked to be a female character on Lost, for example. There were two modes in which you could function: girlfriend / mother or unhinged, boring beyotch (note that unhinged beyotches can be extremely fun when well-written). In either modes, your story went nowhere, despite sporadic interesting premises.

        Juliet, for instance, USED to be a doctor, at some point, engaged in cool research directly linked to the Island’s properties. She was also psychotically desperate to get back to her sick sister and her nephew (read: character motivation). That only lasted until she became a desperate housewife in the 70s with the motivations and mannerisms of a hormonal 15 yr. old who mysteriously forgot all about her family.

        There were many character-writing failures on that show, but they really “shined” by the end when we NEVER found out why exactly a young mother would leave her baby alone in the jungle to go follow a demon (note how that’s inconsistent with CHARACTER motivation, ie what any flesh and blood human would do, nobody gave a f about the mythology part of it). Sawyer was nonexistent, Jack was completely neutered of anything that made him interesting (hooray, a TV character who’s not an ouija-board carrying irrational nut… oh, nevermind, Lindelof’s a creationist…), etc. etc.

        Lost’s main failure was laughable, inconsistent characterization.

    • Brooke says:

      “– you mean, his OWN?”

      Yes, he means his own. His Twitter feed is full of hilarious self-depreciating humor about the fan reaction to the Lost finale. He’s aware of what people thought of it. He happily pokes fun at himself about it all the time. Like he’s doing here. He’s not a sore loser about it.

  4. Stella says:

    I can’t wait!! I love Damon, haters gonna hate!
    bye…

  5. bob says:

    Thx for ruining Prometheus with your lame script, man.

    • JonnySack says:

      I was so excited for Prometheus, then I found out Lindelof wrote it. We can expect the ship to be purgatory.

  6. JENNIFER REDMOND says:

    Come on, anyone that can say that Lost or any of it’s characters were anything short of brilliant then u couldn’t have actually watched the show, & I own seasons 1-6, & anybody that thinks lost is terrible like some r saying, I wager u $100 to watch all 6 episodes & I guarantee u won’t feel the same, wager up!!

    • courteousvampire says:

      Most the people that hate lost now seem to be the following: I. People that didn’t understand the ending (usually I hate using this as a reason for anything. Because I assume most people understand and just don’t like something. But you would be surprised at how many people actually think they were dead the entire time, or none of it happened, that it was a shared fantasy. It’s insane how many people actually think this. Just watch that Verge interview Lindelof did recently, where the interviewer himself doesn’t understand the ending). II. Had no idea what the show was actually about (genre confusion). III. Weren’t actually that invested in the show or the characters, they would just drop in and out of the show, and were only interested in the mysteries.

      I have no issue with fans disliking the ending. I have no issue with fans that feel the show is ruined because of the way the entire plot wrapped up. But any true Lost fan worth their own salt, wouldn’t say they didn’t love or enjoy large portions of the show, despite the ending being disappointed. So when I see people mad hating, I can tell they fall into the 3 categories above.

      • William says:

        And when I see people defending the show, they fall into one category: 1: “ignore the gigantic plot-chasms and focus on the characters”. The fact of the matter is, the show presented mysteries. It promised a dense, thriller-style exploration into the island, and it delivered on none of it. It was clear that the writers had no clue what they were doing, and tons of plot hooks were dropped without being followed up on. That’s just lazy writing. I don’t care if the characters are beautiful little snowflakes, I can get that on a number of shows. Lost was cool, at least in part, because of all the mysteries and insane plots, and when it turned out that none of them were going to be resolved, a lot of fans got massively, justifiably angry.

        The show had plot hooks. “What’s up with this cabin!” or “Crazy wheel in a frozen room, what’s up with that?” or “Can’t have babies on the island except you can” were all of importance to the characters as well as the audience. When you except the writers from responsibility to the plot, you remove an amount of motivation and plausibility from the characters. A show is an organism, an ecology. It needs all its elements to be good. If you just outright screw the plot, the show suffers, end of story.

      • I like your three tier system, but IMO, there is nothing really perfectly written on Lost, except for a few episodes like “The Constant” or few aspects like using “jacob using the huge compass” to look at the leader of the island. IMO, they never planned an ending to the series nor had any idea how to continue the series. All they did was, writing various story lines, procured from various books or mythologies all across the world and fragmenting that into bits and giving viewers a mysterious jig-saw puzzle to solve.(Is there any solution planned?)

        As far as character development is concerned, I am not very happy. Most of the time characters doesn’t act like what they really are. I was surprised a lot of times by various characters like Ben Linus, Kate etc. I mean, they behave different in different episodes. They act so much out-of-character all the time. For instance, Kate in the first two episodes was introduced as if she is a terrorist who blew up the New York tower. In the flash backs she acts as if she is spy and a bad-ass girl like Nikita but after learning her real story, we understand that she is just a innocent girl next-door who is being tortured and sexually abused at home by her step dad. What I feel even more ridiculous is her own mom informing about her crime to the police without supporting her. Seeing Kate’s Mom shouting for “HELP”( As if she has seen Bin Laden! ) on her death bed, after seeing Kate, made me loose all the interest I have in characters of LOST.
        Ben and Richard behaves as if they are two underworld ‘don’s in 3rd and 4th season. But in 6th season, their knowledge about island is like every other character.
        Jacob is arguably the most baseless and dimensionless character on the series.

        I can find a lot of similarities between, American Idol and Lost(surprised, huh?) We wait more eagerly for results on Idol than we enjoy the performance of the participants. Similarly in Lost, we wait for the solution of mysteries and next episode without actually enjoying the what’s going presently on the show(especially from season 2). The writers, I really doubt how good they are, but they are good hypnotists in binding audience to the series without really writing great story lines.

      • justin121 says:

        What bugs is that it was *intended* to be purgatory, but with “fan interaction” they had to change the whole thing up for the sole purose of satisfying their (Lindelof’s) ego at outsmarting the audience. What that led to? Irrelevant Sideways and unresolved stories (both the Island and the characters).

        It was either:

        a) A well-planned, fitting, albiet obvious-to-some, conclusion

        or

        b) A surprisng, ego-satisfying, convulted mess.

        Lindelof gambled on his ego. He lost.

  7. jonathon says:

    there will never be another Lost so yes i don’t want anyone to try to touch that kind of story again unless they can do it. The character drive of that show hooked me from the beginning and the ending was much more satisfying to me than to a lot of people out there. No show captivated week to week like Lost as far as what adventure would the Island take them on next and each flashback for a character made you connect to them so much more. Shows i watch now like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and to a lesser extent True Blood focus strongly on the characters and these shows are all great in their own way too but i wonder if i would have invested in these shows as much had i not been pulled in with Lost as much as I was. Like Stella said, “haters gonna hate” but as much as you might want to bash the “end” of the show you can’t say that the story/character focus wasn’t 100% on top during this show’s run on television.

  8. laurie Carasso says:

    I loved LOST from beginning to end , and I still miss looking forward to it every week.

  9. John says:

    He should write/direct one of the final episodes of Community.

    • Nick says:

      No, he should not do that. That would be terrible.

    • Community summed up the Lost experience perfectly:
      .
      Abed: [opens a Christmas gift marked “Meaning of Christmas”] It’s the first season of Lost on DVD.
      Pierce: That’s the meaning of Christmas?
      Abed: No. It’s a metaphor. It represents lack of pay-off . . . I get it. The meaning of Christmas is the idea that Christmas has meaning. And it can be whatever we want. For me, it used to mean being with my mom. Now it means being with you guys. Thanks, Lost. (S2, E11, “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”)

  10. Nick says:

    There’s two crap movies I won’t be watching. Thanks for the heads up.

  11. AT says:

    Well I’m happy about this news. The character driven stories are what interests me the most as well. And honestly I don’t know what all the complaining about Lost is for. Most of the mysteries were answered, while other ones you have to kind of think about and figure out for yourself…which I like. Whether or not you like the answers is another story. I personally thought the finale was fantastic. And anyone who goes off about the show having bad characterization just isn’t being objective. Lost did many things right, which other shows have wanted to copy but haven’t been able to. Lindelof was a huge part of that. He’s obviously talented, so I look forward to his future projects.

  12. Teag says:

    I have faith in him. He’s a fantastic writer.

  13. Jane says:

    I watched every episode of Lost more than once. It was my favorite show, but I too felt let down by the ending and most of the last season. There were so many epic stories during the 6 seasons and many of them were dropped with little explanation. Why was Aaron important? What was so special about Walt? Who were the people that brought Locke’s body back to the island in the black trunk? What was the deal with the 3 toed statue? The polar bears? What did Jacob touching the characters in the “real world” do exactly? I could go on, but the one that really got to me was the numbers, those all important numbers, were explained away in such a ridiculous manner. They had nothing really to do with the island, it was just Jacob’s way of keeping a track of his “candidates.” I read Doc Jenson’s blog every week and I got into the “wakadoo mythology” because I was thrilled a TV show was smart enough and well written enough to discuss philosophy, time travel, religion, reference obscure books, and mostly make me think beyond the reasonable. And to have that all to end with some of kind of is it “purgatory” you decide, was disheartening. I didn’t feel that the “purgatory” world offered redemption for the characters. They were dead! And if anything, shouldn’t Sayid have ended up with Nadia instead of Shannon? It’s a minor point, but was Shannon the love of his life? Did he carry a picture of her for years? I fell in love the characters and their stories. My favorites were Charlie, Claire, Desmond, Ben, and Locke. So maybe in the end, it being all about Jack, my least favorite character, who BTW, in the original pilot was supposed to die, dissapointed me even more. I guess maybe I’m the one who needs to learn to “Let Go,” but even after 2 years it’s still hard to.

    • Tuzo says:

      Jane, I feel your pain! So much so that I’m also posting a message here years later. I find “the end” disappointing but it can’t take away the good parts of Lost although it does seem to diminish them in my mind. One thing that is interesting to me is that people who didn’t like the finale or thought it failed seem to be totally dismissed as if their opinion is invalid. I could go on about this (and I have before!) but I’ll just say that for this show, which had been so densely layered and subject to interpretation, I would probably have preferred an ending where things weren’t “resolved” or “explained” (ala “Every question I answer will just bring you to another question”) and that would have been much preferable to what we ended up with.

  14. Without his glasses he probably looks like a jelly bean with stubble. Good for Jellybean Head for getting a sweet TV deal!

  15. DJ Rogue says:

    So I guess there are THREE things one shouldn’t talk about – Politics, Religion and LOST.

  16. rubytu says:

    and we love whackado mythology!

  17. smoke troll says:

    holy crap – losties and anti-losties
    #holycrap
    #tl:dr

  18. justin121 says:

    I’ll give him credit in writing films — at least he can’t change the ending the way he changes the ending of a TV show beased on “fan interaction”. Ugh.

  19. Mikael says:

    During Season 3, they knew for sure the show was ending after Season 6, so they really should’ve had the end planned out better. I’ve accepted the flash-sideways as a trick to make you think maybe the bomb did reset the events but it was really purgatory and that the island was real. What I do not accept is how RUSHED it was. The explanation (if you can call it that) for The Man in Black/smoke monster was ridiculous. It should have been more epic and more thought out. And yeah, why was Aaron so important and why did it have to be Claire who raised him?? And remember when Walt was taken and they were experimenting on him because he was special? Oh yeah, Walt aged too much so they dropped that plot. That’s what I have issues with. Don’t get me wrong, I love the show. I was just disappointed with how rushed the ending was and with the plots that went nowhere.

    • justin121 says:

      The Island was purgatory. The Others were Angels of Death.. They took Walt because he was a kid and didn’t have to pay for his sins. Aaron and Claire were the Mesiah and Virgin Mary. IT was very well thought-out. Then they had to introduce sci-fi/time-travel to strech it out to get from season 3 to season 6. Then Lindelof didn’t want an ending that people had figured out so he moved the Purgatory part to the Sideways of season 6 and had no ending for the Island part. Google “Lost Major Leaks 2007″.

  20. Barrows says:

    In Hawaii visiting now (poolside) so I can’t help but add a I love the ending post up. I also recommend taking a trip to Oahu to see some of the sights. Lost is second to the XFiles in terms of favorite shows of all time as a show that made you think a little.

    Fringe and others wouldn’t exist without it so I’m grateful.