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Pilot (Lost)

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Lost episode

Flight 815 after the crash
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 1 & 2
Written byStory by
Jeffrey Lieber
J.J. Abrams
Damon Lindelof
Teleplay by
J.J. Abrams
Damon Lindelof
Directed byJ.J. Abrams
Production no.100
Original airdateSeptember 22, 2004 (Part 1),
September 29, 2004 (Part 2)
Guest stars
Episode chronology
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Lost (season 1)
List of Lost episodes

"Pilot" constitutes the first and second episodes of the first season of Lost, that premiered on September 22, 2004 (Part 1) and September 29, 2004 (Part 2) at ABC . The episodes were directed by J.J. Abrams, and written by Abrams along with Damon Lindelof, based on story by them and Jeffrey Lieber. The pilot introduces the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, who suffer a plane crash and end up on a mysterious island. Three of the characters, Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox), Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly) and Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan), are featured in flashbacks to their experiences as the plane breaks apart in midair; these scenes established Lost's distinctive use of flashbacks.

This episode was the most expensive pilot in television history,[1] primarily due to the expense of purchasing, shipping, and dressing the actual decommissioned aircraft body used to represent the wreckage. It cost between $10 and $14 million.[2] Both parts of the pilot earned high ratings, and the episode would later win many awards. TV Guide ranked the episode #5 on its list of "TV's Top 100 Episodes of All Time".[3]



Part 1

Jack Shephard awakens in the jungle, disoriented, battered and bruised, noticing for a fleeting moment a yellow Labrador retriever darting through the bamboo forest. As he attempts to gather his thoughts, he discovers a small bottle of vodka in his suit pocket. Finally able to stand, he crashes through the jungle vegetation and emerges onto an expansive beach, where he is confronted by the carnage of the airplane crash of Oceanic Flight 815. All is in chaos, and in the confusion, one survivor gets sucked into a still spinning turbine. Jack, a surgeon, darts from one survivor to the next, organizing them, giving orders and administering medical aid. In quick fashion, he rescues a man pinned under wreckage, assists the pregnant Claire Littleton (Emilie de Ravin) and enlists Hugo "Hurley" Reyes (Jorge Garcia) to watch her, and administers CPR to Rose Henderson (L. Scott Caldwell), saving her life.

After the initial shock of the crash passes, Jack retreats to a quiet area beyond the beach to tend to his own minor injuries when he notices Kate Austen watching him. He asks for assistance, which she reluctantly gives by helping suture the wound on his back. During the procedure, Kate reveals that their plane had broken apart in mid-air. Hours later on the beach, while Kate curiously observes Jack tending to a critically-injured unconscious passenger, survivors Michael Dawson (Harold Perrineau) and his ten-year-old son, Walt Lloyd (Malcolm David Kelley), discuss what to do with the bodies in the wreckage, while an uninterested James "Sawyer" Ford (Josh Holloway) looks on. Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews) organizes a clean-up crew, while Hurley salvages meals from the plane's galley and distributes them to the survivors. Shannon Rutherford (Maggie Grace) refuses chocolate offered by her brother Boone Carlyle (Ian Somerhalder), believing that rescue is imminent.

That night, the peacefulness of the camp is disturbed by loud roaring noises and crashing trees emanating from the nearby jungle. In the morning, Jack decides that the survivors need to send a distress signal to have any hope of rescue, and he believes the best solution is to use the plane's transceiver, located in the cockpit of the plane. Kate claims to have seen smoke from somewhere within the jungle and asks to come with Jack to find what is hoped to be another part of the plane's wreckage. With Kate and Charlie Pace, Jack sets off into the jungle to find the cockpit. As they move deeper into the jungle, they encounter a sudden rainstorm. When the trio finds the plane, resting against a tree, they are forced to climb through the rows of seats to reach the cabin. Inside, they find the pilot still in his seat. Charlie disappears into the bathroom while Jack and Kate find the pilot (Greg Grunberg) awaking with a start from a concussion. He tells them that the plane had lost radio contact six hours after take off, where it turned back for Fiji and hit turbulence. The plane was a thousand miles off course when it crashed.

Meanwhile, on the beach during the rainstorm, a group of survivors takes refuge in the wreckage. While huddled there, a young Korean man, Jin-Soo Kwon (Daniel Dae Kim), tells his wife, Sun-Hwa Kwon (Yunjin Kim), in Korean that she should remain close to him at all times. Even though most of the survivors have taken shelter, John Locke (Terry O'Quinn) remains outside and sits alone in the rain on the beach with his arms outstretched and seems to enjoy the moment. Back in the plane's cockpit, the conversation is interrupted when the strange roaring noise that the group heard from the jungle the previous night returns. When the pilot investigates, he is seized by something outside, which drags him through the cockpit window, prompting the trio to grab the transceiver and flee. During the escape, Charlie falls. Jack returns to help him, while a terrified Kate runs on. After the monster disappears, Kate, Charlie and Jack reunite and find the pilot, his bloodied corpse suspended in a tree top.

Part 2

Jack, Kate, and Charlie head back to the beach. Kate asks Charlie what he was doing in the bathroom, and he says he was sick, but in a flashback, it is revealed that Charlie had been doing drugs in the bathroom, and attempted to flush his stash but had been prevented by the sudden onset of turbulence.

On the island, while looking for his dog Vincent, Walt discovers a pair of handcuffs. After he shows Michael the cuffs, Sawyer attacks Sayid, who he claims is a terrorist who blew up the plane. They are soon stopped by Michael and the now returned Jack. Sayid manages to repair the transceiver, but it does not have a signal or much battery life. While working on it, he reveals to Hurley that he was a communications officer with the Iraqi Republican Guard in the Gulf War. While reading a letter sadly, Sawyer decides to go with Sayid and the group (Kate, Charlie, Shannon and Boone) to bring the transceiver inland in an attempt to reach higher ground and get a better signal. Along the way, they are attacked by a charging polar bear, which Sawyer shoots and kills. He then explains that he got the gun from the body of a dead U.S. marshal. Sayid accuses Sawyer of being the marshal's prisoner. Kate takes the gun from Sawyer, and Sayid instructs her on how to dismantle it.

A flashback shows the final moments of the flight. Kate is talking to the marshal, the same injured man to whom Jack had been tending, on the beach. On the plane, it can be seen that Kate is wearing the handcuffs that Walt found in the jungle. As the turbulence hits, the marshal is knocked unconscious by a falling suitcase. Kate uncuffs herself, and puts the marshal's oxygen mask on him before attaching her own, at which point the tail end of the plane suddenly breaks off and falls away.

Back at the beach, the marshal wakes up during the operation and asks Jack, "Where is she?". Inland, Sayid turns on the transceiver and it has a signal. However, it is being blocked by a transmission in French that has been repeating for over sixteen years. Shannon translates it: "I'm alone now, on the island alone. Please someone come. The others are dead. It killed them. It killed them all." The group gives each other meaningful looks before Charlie says "Guys, where are we?".



The series began development in January 2004, when Lloyd Braun, head of ABC at the time, ordered an initial script from Spelling Television based on his concept of a cross between the novel Lord of the Flies, the movie Cast Away, the television series Gilligan's Island, and the popular reality show Survivor. ABC had also premiered a short lived series about plane crash survivors in 1969 called The New People with the opening episode by Rod Serling. Gadi Pollack notes that some of "the influences of Lost came from...the game Myst."[4] Jeffrey Lieber was hired and wrote Nowhere, based on his pitch to write the pilot.[5] Unhappy with the result and a subsequent rewrite, Braun contacted J. J. Abrams, who had a deal with Touchstone Television (now ABC Studios), and was also the creator of the TV series Alias, to write a new pilot script. Although initially hesitant, Abrams warmed up to the idea on the condition that the series would have a supernatural angle to it, and collaborated with Damon Lindelof to create the series' style and characters.[6] Together, Abrams and Lindelof also created a series "bible", and conceived and detailed the major mythological ideas and plot points for an ideal five to six season run for the show.[7][8] The development of the show was constrained by tight deadlines, as it had been commissioned late in the 2004 season's development cycle. Despite the short schedule, the creative team remained flexible enough to modify or create characters to fit actors they wished to cast.[9]

Lost's two-part pilot episode was the most expensive in the network's history, reportedly costing between US$10 and $14 million,[10] compared to the average cost of an hour-long pilot in 2005 of $4 million.[11] The series debuted on September 22, 2004, becoming one of the biggest critical and commercial successes of the 2004 television season. Along with fellow new series Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy, Lost helped to reverse the flagging fortunes of ABC.[12] Yet, before it had even been aired, Lloyd Braun was fired by executives at ABC's parent company, Disney, partly because of low ratings at the network and also because he had greenlighted such an expensive and risky project.[6] The world premiere of the pilot episode was on July 24, 2004 at Comic-Con International in San Diego.[13]


Originally, Jack was conceived as a false protagonist who would be killed in the ending of Part 1, leaving Kate to take leadership of the survivors. The role was offered to Michael Keaton, but later it was decided that the character of Jack was to stay, making Keaton give up the job. After Matthew Fox's casting as Jack, the character was established as a leader, and the airplane pilot was introduced to take Jack's place as the Monster's first victim.

Evangeline Lilly and Yunjin Kim auditioned for Kate, with the former being chosen (despite troubles with passport that almost made her lose the part), but the producers were impressed with the latter's performance and wrote her the character of Sun, with also the addition of her husband Jin, portrayed by Daniel Dae Kim.

Matthew Fox, Dominic Monaghan and Jorge Garcia auditioned for the role of Sawyer, who at the time was supposed to be a suit-wearing city con man. The part of Hurley was written for Garcia, and due to the producers enjoying Monaghan's performance, the character of Charlie, originally a mature former rock star, was changed to fit him. When Josh Holloway auditioned for Sawyer, the producers liked the edge he brought to the character (he reportedly kicked a chair when he forgot his lines and got angry in the audition) and his southern accent, so they changed Sawyer to fit Holloway's acting.

The character of Sayid was created after seeing Naveen Andrews's work. Locke and Michael were written with Terry O'Quinn and Harold Perrineau in mind.[14]

Filming locations

A local dock in Hawaii, as seen in "Live Together, Die Alone".

Lost is filmed on Panavision 35 mm cameras almost entirely on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The original island scenes for the pilot were filmed at Mokulē'ia Beach, near the northwest tip of the island. Later beach scenes take place in secluded spots of the famous North Shore. Cave scenes in the first season were filmed on a sound stage built at a Xerox parts warehouse, which had been empty since an employee mass shooting took place there in 1999.[15] The sound-stage and production offices have since moved to the Hawaii Film Office-operated Hawaii Film Studio,[16] where the sets depicting Season 2's "Swan Station" and Season 3's "Hydra Station" interiors were built.[17]Various urban areas in and around Honolulu are used as stand-ins for locations around the world, including California, New York, Iowa, Miami, South Korea, Iraq, Nigeria, United Kingdom, Paris, Thailand, Berlin and Australia. For example, scenes set in a Sydney Airport were filmed at the Hawaii Convention Center, while a World War II-era bunker was used as an Iraqi Republican Guard installation. Also, scenes set in Germany during the winter were also filmed in a relatively regular Hawaiian neighborhood, with just crushed ice scattered everywhere to create snow and German automobile signs on the street were used.[18] Several scenes in the Season 3 finale, "Through the Looking Glass," were shot in Los Angeles, including a hospital set borrowed from Grey's Anatomy. Two scenes during season four were filmed in London because Alan Dale who portrays Widmore was at the time performing in the musical Spamalot and was unable to travel to Hawaii.[19] Extensive archives of filming locations are tracked at a repository at the Lost Virtual Tour.


Part 1 earned a ratings record for a pilot episode, with 18.6 million viewers,[20] and Part 2 scored 10.5/17 on the Nielsen Ratings, being seen by 17 million viewers.[21]

Reviews were favorable upon release. IGN gave it a 10/10 score declaring that Lost "delivers on every promise it makes to its audience",[22] Entertainment Weekly gave an A stating that even non-science fiction and fantasy fans can like it,[23] and USA Today gave it 4 stars praising the cast.[24] The Futon Critic later chose the pilot as the fifth best TV episode of 2004.[25]

At the 2005 Emmy Awards, J.J. Abrams won Directing for a Drama Series for the pilot, with Mary Jo Markey winning Editing for a Drama Series, and additional nominations to Sound Editing and Writing for Drama Series. Casting director April Webster won an Artios Award for her work in the pilot. The pilot also won two Golden Reel Awards for Effects & Foley, and a VES Award for visual effects. The episode was also nominated for an Hugo Award and the awards of the American Society of Cinematographers, Art Directors Guild and Directors Guild of America.[26]

TV Guide ranked the episode #5 on its list of "TV's Top 100 Episodes of All Time".[3]

Both parts were aired on the same night after its UK broadcast on Channel 4, 10 August 2005, and became an instant hit. It was the second most watched programme for Channel 4 for that week, with ratings of 6.75 million, second only to Big Brother.[27]


  1. ^ "TV Q&A: ‘LOST’—JACK BENDER". Wizard. 2007-03-27. http://www.wizarduniverse.com/television/lost/004036830.cfm. Retrieved 2007-10-03. 
  2. ^ Ryan, Tim (May 17, 2004). "New series gives Hawaii 3 TV shows in production". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. http://starbulletin.com/2004/05/17/news/story7.html. 
  3. ^ a b "TV's Top 100 Episodes of All Time" TV Guide; June 15, 2009; Pages 34-49
  4. ^ "Lost: Getting Your Fix," Game Informer 177 (January 2008): 79.
  5. ^ Bernstein, David (August 2007). "Cast Away". Chicago magazine. http://chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/August-2007/Cast-Away/index.php?cp=2&si=1#artanc. 
  6. ^ a b Craig, Olga (2005-08-14). "The man who discovered Lost — and found himself out of a job". The Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/1496199/The-man-who-discovered-Lost---and-found-himself-out-of-a-job.html. 
  7. ^ Jensen, Jeff. "When Stephen King met the Lost boys...". EW.com. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,1562722,00.html. Retrieved 2007-11-24. 
  8. ^ Burk, Bryan, Lost Season 1 DVD (extras), Buena Vista Home Entertainment, September 6, 2005.
  9. ^ Abrams, J. J and Lloyd Braun, Lost Season 1 DVD (extras), Buena Vista Home Entertainment, September 6, 2005.
  10. ^ Ryan, Tim (2004-05-17). "New series gives Hawaii 3 TV shows in production". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. http://starbulletin.com/2004/05/17/news/story7.html. 
  11. ^ Entertainment Industry Development Corporation (2005-05-04). "EIDC Issues First Overview of Pilot Production Activity and Economic Impact". Press release. http://www.eidc.com/EIDC_Press_Release_050405.pdf#search=%22production%20cost%20of%20a%20television%20TV%20pilot%22. Retrieved 2006-09-18. 
  12. ^ Bianco, Robert (2005-04-26). "A good season, with reason". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2005-04-26-tv-lookback_x.htm. 
  13. ^ Comic-Con 2004: Saturday's Programming
  14. ^ Before They Were Lost. [Documentary]. Lost: The Complete First Season: Buena Vista Home Entertainment. 
  15. ^ Veitch, Kristin (2004-10-16). "Lost Secrets Found!". E! Online. http://web.archive.org/web/20041208152612/http://www.eonline.com/Gossip/Kristin/Archive2004/041016.html.  Retrieved from Internet Archive on December 8, 2004.
  16. ^ Nichols, Katherine (2006-05-21). "Lost Home". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. http://starbulletin.com/2006/05/21/features/story01.html. 
  17. ^ Ryan, Tim (2005-08-24). "Reel News". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. http://starbulletin.com/2005/08/24/features/ryan.html. 
  18. ^ Godvin, Tara (2005-05-25). "Oahu plays the world". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. http://starbulletin.com/2005/05/25/features/story4.html. 
  19. ^ Wilkes, Neil (September 4, 2008). "Alan Dale talks Lost, Grey's". Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tv/a128956/alan-dale-talks-lost-greys.html. Retrieved May 4, 2009. 
  20. ^ Kissell, Rick (September 25, 2004). "ABC, Eye have quite some night". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117910869?categoryid=14&cs=1. 
  21. ^ "Struggling ABC May Have Found a Hit in 'Lost'". Reuters. Lostmedia.com. 2004-10-01. http://www.lost-media.com/modules.php?name=News&file=print&sid=10. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  22. ^ "IGN: Pilot, Part 1 Review". IGN. 2004-09-22. http://tv.ign.com/articles/550/550214p1.html. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  23. ^ "TV Review: Lost (2004)". Entertainment Weekly. 2004-09-24. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,697505,00.html. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  24. ^ Bianco, Robert (2004-09-21). "'Lost' finds fresh adventure in familiar story". http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/reviews/2004-09-21-lost-review_x.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  25. ^ Sullivan, Brian Ford. "The 50 Best Episodes of 2004: #10-1". The Futon Critic. http://www.thefutoncritic.com/rant.aspx?id=20050121. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  26. ^ "Awards for "Lost" (2004)". IMDb. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0411008/awards. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  27. ^ "BARB's terrestrial top 30 programmes (Go on w/e 14/08/05, and scroll down to Channel 4)". barb.co.uk. http://www.barb.co.uk/viewingsummary/weekreports.cfm?Requesttimeout=500&report=weeklyterrestrial. Retrieved 2005-08-14. 

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