The Brilliant Character Development of “Lost”

There’s few things that I love more than character development. Seriously, it’s my thing. Character development is an element that I always look for in films and television. If a show or film has poor character development, it’s hard for me to remain invested in it emotionally and attention-wise. I could write many love letters to film and television, but the first I would write is one addressed to the beauty of character development (I sound crazy, right? I wasn’t kidding when I said character development is my thing).

Character development is much more intriguing on a television show, since there is time for said development over several episodes and seasons. So, I’ll be concentrating on the show that offered me the greatest character development arcs.


“Lost” will forever be at the top of my list. The character arcs are incredibly well written and executed. I quickly became emotionally tethered to many of the characters. There were many story lines concentrating on several characters, but it never managed to be overwhelming. No main character was ever ignored and their arcs were all brilliantly told and resolved by the end of show.


If you are unfamiliar with the show, it’s best that I direct you to Entertainment Weekly’s episode recaps. It’s quite a intricate show for me to explain well to someone who hasn’t seen it.

I understand why people were frustrated with the show near it’s end, and especially with how it concluded during its final episode. I actually loved every bit of it. It wasn’t exactly the ending I was hoping for, but I think it fits so well. I was able to recognize that from the beginning, this was a show about the characters.

Initially, of course, what drew me to the show and kept me intrigued was the supernatural element and the mystery of the island. The eventual fate vs science plot element became incredible intriguing to me as well.


But, after re watching the whole series twice in the past couple of years, I’ve realized that the heart of the show is its characters, and mostly the character arcs told through the show’s brilliant use of flashbacks.

The flashbacks allowed the audience an insight to who these people were before the plane crash, before their experiences on the island. This was essential to understanding how they acted on the island, not only with what happened to them on the island, but how they interacted with other characters, the relationships they made and the choices they made. The crash served as a sort of a rebirth for them. They were able to start over. And you were able to compare their past lives via flashback to how they are on the island. And that was so interesting to me.

And I think that’s what I love most about the show.It’s definitely the greatest asset of the show. The characters are very unique. I don’t think I’ve every been so attached and affected by so many characters. The character arcs and growth are insanely well done.

Who these people were were further revealed through several flashbacks. Each main character got at least one episode where flashbacks concentrated solely on him or her. Their story told via flashback would often parallel or contrast with what was currently happening on the island. Their past experiences shaped the person they become, and shaped their experiences on the island.

Once the show dived into its time travel plot, I’ll admit that it got a bit dizzying, but it was never boring, that’s for sure.  I’ve told “Lost” naysayers many times that it’s a show that you need to dig deeper into to fully understand it. And that’s another element that I loved about it. I was a “Lost” fanatic during middle school and high school. After every show every week, I would spend up to an hour online reading about the most recent theories, connections, and meanings to certain scenes or visuals, even the meaning behind the  whispers heard on the mysterious island.The show was like an onion-it had many layers, and you had to peel back the layers to reveal more about the show. And I peeled the heck out of that onion.

Often, the deeper I dug into the workings of the island and time travel, the more connections I made about the characters, and that’s when I became border-line obsessed not only with the show, but with character development. I recognized the potential character development could have and recognized the great writing and the attention to detail. The writers obviously cared about the emotional aspects of the show and it was shown through the character development. I soaked up as much of it as I could get. And it’s an aspect I continue to love.

“Lost” remains an incredibly unique show and I have yet  to see anything like it and I don’t think there ever will be.


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