By Katherine Nichols
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 29, 2010
The last couple of seasons of "Lost" began with a whimper, slowed by the writers strike that temporarily crippled the television industry into early 2008 and a faltering economy that precluded any notion of gala parties and premieres in 2009.
This year, however, the series returns to its former glory as it prepares for the final exit -- and once again, Hawaii residents will reap the benefits.
Tomorrow night the first episode of the sixth and final season will screen at Sunset on the Beach, three days ahead of the rest of the world (229 countries and 49 states, to be precise), which must wait until Tuesday. The hype sparked "Lost" vacation packages, attracting fans from all over the world to attend the event unique to Hawaii. It could be even more popular than the Season 3 premiere event in October 2006, when throngs of screaming fans paralyzed Waikiki.
SUNSET ON THE BEACH
Featuring the 'Lost' Season 6 world premiere
Where: Queen's Beach, Waikiki
When: 5 p.m. tomorrow (screening starts at 6:30 p.m.)
Info: 923-1094 or www.hsblinks.com/1rj
Most dedicated viewers will stake their territory at Queen's Beach long before the stars and producers walk the international press line. (Consider this: For what other show do the writers and producers stroll the red carpet? Dedicated followers and ingenious plot twists have made Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof celebrities, too!)
Daniel Dae Kim, who has played Jin Kwon in more than 100 episodes since the series premiere, said the writers have always created innovative methods to convey plot, action and character development, and this season will be no different.
"There are going to be changes to the narrative storytelling style," he said in a telephone interview. "We're going back to being character-based in a way that reminds me of Season 1."
Emmy winner and Golden Globe nominee Michael Emerson has hinted about the upcoming season's violence and energy, and Kim agreed.
"Every season, our show seems to have gotten a little bigger in scale," he said. But Kim believes the final season will combine the best of both character development and action.
Along the way, some viewers drifted because of the convoluted science-fiction plot, while other fans became even more devoted, forming the show's "smaller but more vocal and hard-core audience." Kim is hopeful the final season will lure both groups.
"At its core I think 'Lost' is a human story," he said. "The characters pique a lot of interest."
And the actors who play them are just as enthralled. Will Jin and Sun reunite happily? At all? Even Kim doesn't know.
In a moment of reflection, Kim pondered the evolution of the show. For him the biggest change occurred between Seasons 1 and 2. Initially, few people thought the series would succeed; nobody really knew the names of the actors involved. The next year, all were a worldwide phenomenon.
"The second-season Sunset on the Beach (premiere) kind of overwhelmed me a bit," he admitted.
But all that fuss certainly has helped the actors' careers. According to Kim, he never would have received the offer to perform the lead in a theater production of "The King and I" in London last summer without the recognition "Lost" has brought him.
He's also proud to have participated in a series that will leave an indelible mark on the television landscape. When discussing the past 10 years of television history, he said, "You can't have that conversation without including 'Lost.'"
But for him there's been much more to the experience.
"Living in Hawaii has been one of the best things about being on this show."
In case you missed it
To prepare for the first episode after the complex Season 5 finale, it's best to watch both installments of "The Incident" again on www.abc.com. There's also a multipage episode summary available on the site.
A few key points:
» We finally meet Jacob, the multilingual leader of the island who permeates many of the characters' lives long before they crash on the island. He crosses paths with Sawyer and Kate as youngsters, as well as Jack as a surgeon. Does he save Locke's life after Locke is thrown from a window? And there he is, attending Jin and Sun's wedding in Korea. In a cab he urges Hurley to return to the island. Jacob appears to be partially responsible for Nadia's death by pulling Sayid aside just before Nadia gets run over by a car. In most instances, Jacob touches fingers with the key characters at some point. And he's obviously behind the miracle that prevents Richard Alpert from aging.
» Locke wants Jacob dead and tells Ben to stab him. Ben agrees because he is fearful of his dead daughter's threat to destroy him if he doesn't follow Locke's orders (and he also resents Jacob for ignoring him for so many years).
» But if Locke's body is still in the coffin on the beach, who is with Ben and Jacob in the tomb underneath the statue? Who, exactly, has found the "loophole"?
» Back in the 1970s in Dharma Initiative time, Jack is trying to blow up the island (for Kate, he explains to Sawyer) in an effort to prevent the crash of Flight 815 and everything that subsequently happens on the island. At the Swan station construction site, Jack throws the plutonium core into the pit. Everything metal gets pulled in, including Juliet, who is tangled in chains. The fall critically injures her. When she sees the explosive beside her, she whacks the core until it detonates. The show ends in a blinding flash of white light.
Who's alive? Who's dead? How will it change the next 30 years, if at all?
—Katherine Nichols, Star-Bulletin