Can The Nine Survive Following Lost?
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Lost is the most intellectually taxing program on network television. It takes the full concentration of the viewer, who must recall information from the entire run of the show and actively attempt to figure out what the hell is going at least a couple of times per episode. Even then, the surprises and twists come out of nowhere and punch the viewer in the proverbial stomach. AND EVEN THEN, there are still nagging loose ends and thought-provoking cliffhangers to deal with. After an episode of Lost, you could use a stiff drink (or a cigarette or a trip to the opium den). After I watch Lost, I either want to keep watching Lost (DVDs are the best) or do nothing. What I especially don't want to do is switch gears and watch something else that stimulates me intellectually. This is why ABC is making a foolish decision in placing newcomer The Nine in the seemingly coveted post-Lost time slot.
Last year, ABC unveiled it's new Wednesday line-up, moving Lost from 8PM to 9PM and scheduling "Invasion", a new, high-concept show, in the timslot following Lost. "Invasion" was on the air for a year, received critical acclaim, and was unceremoniously dumped by ABC after the season. The amount of viewers decreased dramatically between the nine o'clock and ten o'clock hours, but I don't think it was "Invasion's" fault. It was Lost's.
In Lost's first season, ABC scheduled the perfect show to follow it: The Bachelor. After an exhausting hour of Lost, viewers could turn their brains off and watch a horde of crazy women vie for the "love" of an eligible bachelor. Can you think of a better remedy for a tired brain?
I have heard nothing but great things about The Nine, which premieres tonight, taking over the post-Lost timeslot. It looks mysterious, engaging, and thought-provoking and it's received overwhelmingly positive reviews. And yet, it may be bound to fail. Will viewers stick around for a second straight hour of intense, thought-provoking TV? Or will they tune out, digesting what they just witnessed on Lost, and not even give The Nine a chance? I hope I'm wrong about this because I want good shows to succeed. Generally they do, especially when they're given a humongous lead-in audience. But Lost is a whole different animal and, unfortunately, it may doom The Nine before ABC realizes it's too late.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer