A year ago, ABC hosted an incredible launch party for the release of the LOST Season 1 DVD. Journalists were flown to Hawaii, free of charge, whisked away into the jungle via tram ride, and serenaded by a band playing on fuselage while they were satiated with tropical drinks on the beach. The whole even was an epic undertaking, impressing all who were invited. This year, however, the launch of the LOST Season 2 DVD will not be met with a similar extravaganza. ABC has severely reduced the budget for this year’s party, slicing the guest list in half and abandoning last year’s beach front venue, opting to use a 125-seat restaurant instead. This budgetary skimping could be a harbinger of sever under-financing in the near future. I sincerely hope ABC doesn’t view LOST’s season 2 as a disappointment simply because ratings went down. Most any show that explodes onto the scene in their premiere season will have a let-down in their sophomore year. This is what happens when the initial hype inevitably dies down. It is normal. Even so, LOST was undoubtedly a huge moneymaker for Disney. Perhaps more troubling is what some view as the creative discrepancies between the first two seasons. While LOST’s first season was universally lauded, the second failed to garner as much critical praise, perfectly evidenced by this year’s noticeably fewer Emmy nominations. Again, the second season is always a tough one and there has to be someone at ABC who understands this. However, the lessening critical support is the kind of thing that may convince the network executives to strip down LOST’s budget. It is wholly possible that ABC’s internal viewpoint of LOST has switched from “Biggest Show on Televisionâ€? to “Solid Program with Quality Fan Baseâ€?. One of the best ways to slash the budget of a show like LOST is to kill off a character. As we’ve seen in the past (well, mostly season 1), the LOST brain trust is completely unafraid to exterminate a main character. The LOST cast members re-negotiated their contracts following season 1, exponentially raising their pay per episode. With a cast as large as LOST’s, losing a character isn’t crippling; you don’t even need to replace a dead character with a new one. Given all this, it’s quite interesting to look at what Matthew Fox (“Jackâ€?) and Naveen Andrews (“Sayidâ€?) have lined up for themselves, outside of LOST. Naveen Andrews is in the midst of filming one of the two segments of “Grind Houseâ€?, the two-movies-in-one film by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. Naveen is starring in Tarantino’s segment. What does this mean for Andrews? Is he looking out for his future, possibly knowing something we don’t about the fate of Sayid? Matthew Fox recently signed on to play Sly Stallone’s antagonist in “Rambo IVâ€?. Yeah, seriously. A huge action film like “Rambo IVâ€? will, presumably, take months to film. Given LOST’s long production schedule, I see no way that the two don’t conflict. Again, does Fox know something about Jack that we don’t? Maybe the skimped down DVD launch party means nothing. Maybe last year’s turned out to be too much of an undertaking, and the powers-that-be decided it wasn’t worth the hassle. It doesn’t feel that way, however, and I, for one, am not very happy about it. -Oscar Dahl

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