Lost on the web ... but for how long?

John
John Gushue
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This Sunday, millions of people will be planted on our couches and chairs, our eyes fixed on our television screens as we watch the final minutes of a television show that has captivated us for almost six years.

"Lost" was something special in television storytelling: a show that grew many times more complex as it wore on, that widened its scope in successive seasons, drawing in influences from arcane corners of knowledge but (as we've been finding) boiling down its references to key legends and myths that have been part of human storytelling for millennia.

Surf's up -

This Sunday, millions of people will be planted on our couches and chairs, our eyes fixed on our television screens as we watch the final minutes of a television show that has captivated us for almost six years.

"Lost" was something special in television storytelling: a show that grew many times more complex as it wore on, that widened its scope in successive seasons, drawing in influences from arcane corners of knowledge but (as we've been finding) boiling down its references to key legends and myths that have been part of human storytelling for millennia.

It's how "Lost" told those stories that made it remarkable ... and part of that has been its up-to-the-minute use of the web to entertain, illuminate and tease its audiences.

It's a pity, though, that many of the web components created for the show have already vanished, like a puff of smoke, to use a "Lost" phrase. Indeed, I'm wondering what will be left online as the months pass.

Lostpedia

lostpedia.wikia.com/



Lostpedia, a site created and maintained by fans, has emerged as not only the best repository of countless number of facts about the show and its Dickensian list of characters and situations, but also a guide to how the show has used the web.

The producers of "Lost" did more than just baffle their viewers from the start with one mystery after another, peeling the plots back like onion layers. They also used the self-directed aspects of the web to make the experience of following the show that much richer, if not addictive.

One of the most engaging of the official sites was called oceanic-air.com, named, of course, for the fictional airline whose plane crashed on The Island. As with others, it looked like something else, leaving the user to figure out what was happening. For instance, there was a seating plan, not to mention a seemingly endless number of clues you were meant to stumble across.

Unfortunately, the site is down. You can read about it on Lostpedia, but clicking on the link leads to ABC's official site. Speaking of which. ...

Lost

abc.go.com/shows/lost



As official show sites go, Lost's is pretty good. There's lots to read (less to watch, unless you can jerry-rig your IP number so you can see the U.S-restricted episodes), and you have the benefit of knowing the recaps are official descriptions of what actually happened. (In the "Lost "universe, that can be mighty important.)

The sad thing is that a number of "Lost"-related web enterprises have been transported, like a polar bear in the middle of a tropical island. Sites for the Hanso Foundation and game-within-a-game sites such as Let Your Compass Guide You are no longer active. Granted, a good few of them were created as diversions between the long months between seasons, while the show was on hiatus. Nonetheless, it's a shame there isn't a more apt legacy still online about "Lost," which was so brilliant in its approach to interactive media.

John Gushue is a CBC news editor in St. John's. Twitter: @johngushue. Blog: johngushue.typepad.com.

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Organizations: New York Times, Hanso Foundation, CBC

Geographic location: US, St. John's

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