I’ve been stepping back from reporting individual news stories for a while, but this is getting impossible to ignore. Over the past month or so, Lost has added five recurring characters to its already expansive cast. Some have been small pieces of casting, whereas others have been large recurring roles.
And don’t get me wrong, the show has earned it ability to do so: the end of the third season introduced not only the “Freighters” who are near the island on Naomi’s boat, but also the potential for us to meet new characters in Flash Forwards. There remains a door open, clearly, for the series to add to its cast.
But my concern is that the show has yet to prove to me that it is able to balance their cast when such large-scale expansions take place. For evidence, simply look at the above picture.
When Ana Lucia, Libby and Eko entered into the equation in Season Two, they dragged down the show with them. While fine as individual characters (Yes, even the much maligned Michelle Rodriquez, pictured), they never became full-fledged cast members (In terms of co-existing with the original group), and all have now been unceremoniously killed off.
Season Three saw a slightly more successful integration, as The Others have become integral parts of the island’s past, present and future. However, their introduction still took the series a good 10 episodes or so to deal with; the result was a stretch of the series that caused many to flee entirely.
In both situations, I think that Lost has proven able to right their ship in due time…but that initial patch of stormy seas is something that we need to watch out for. Considering the momentum that the series has following its incredibly successful third season finale, I have to wonder whether or not the show will go through another disastrous stretch all over again. Plus, with 16-episode seasons, we have even less time than before to get used to our new additions.
The jury is still out in this case: with more time to plan out the season, and less episodes to execute in the time period, perhaps it will give them a chance to do it right this time around. Still, the paranoid cynic in me worries that the vindictive cynics will come out of the woodwork in Ferbruary, their sights set on a show that once again has overcast its series.