Okay, hold your emails. Yes I know about the delusional ass Anthony Spinner is suing ABC claiming he created LOST. Before I give you my opinion I’m going to warn you, I’m going to be brutally frank about this. It is the only way I can be about something this ludicrous, particularly after the vultures in the media have had the gall to spin it as being remotely possible. You’ve been warned:
It is complete, utter, f******g b*** s*** – and worse yet, an offense to writers everywhere.
First off, Spinner relies on a list of character similarities to prove his script was stolen. This is un-freaking-believable, since LOST’s writers have openly admitted to using some fairly basic archetypes for their characters, the same characters can be found en masse in any number of television shows. The point is, the basic contours of the characters do not establish who they are, that is a matter of story.
Where is the story Mr. Spinner? Is this really about people crashing on a desert island? Is that the key similarity? Because if so, you have a minor problem: that story is so old, and so overdone that it has its own genre – the Robinsonade, which goes back to the 1700’s.
A lot of the similarities can be explained by simple logic. Let’s say you are given the opportunity to create a show like LOST, based around castaways on an island yadda. yadda. One of your tasks as a writer is to create a scenario that is going to last. To do that, you need to immediately disarm a few issues that could kill the credibility of the show. What if people get sick/infections? Easy, cast a Doctor. What about food? Have an experienced hunter.
I guess what really irks me the most, though, is the fact that this douchebag thinks that LOST is all about these meaningless character traits. Guess what, none of the characters on LOST are incredibly imaginative in their basic construction. There are plenty of stories that feature doctors, conmen, hunters, and so on. What makes LOST great is the individual stories that have been layered onto these archetypes since the first season, and the mind-rending mythology that has served as a backdrop to it all.
And this dude thinks he deserves some credit here because he thought of “killing off lead characters”? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a blind zealot here – there are definitely enough similarities to make you say hmmm, but at the end of the day here is how I see the facts:
- The similarity in genre – ie castaway tale – not even remotely noteworthy because the genre has been used extensively anyways. Does Blue Lagoon owe him money too? Castaway? Maybe if he wins he’ll split his pot with the creators of Gilligan’s Island, since he obviously stole his concept from them just replaced the minnow with an airplane.
- The similarities in character type are not noteworthy, UNLESS the actions and general plot-lines were substantially similar. As for the romantic tension, if he thinks he invented the love-triangle, he’s worse off than I thought.
- The other factors of mysterious “others” and bizarre animals… please. How is a Sabre Tooth Tiger, an extinct animal, comparable to a polar bear? Because it is out of place? Well, how about this: Mysterious Island, Jules Verne… giant fricken crabs, sinister and elusive natives, an orangutan named Joop. So old, it is public domain.
I guess the worst part of this whole scenario is the fact that respectable media outlets like TMZ [snicker] present this whole fiasco as if there is a snowball’s chance in hell that there is a shred of truth to it. LOST will not be the last piece of fiction to feature castaways on an island running into bizarre things, it will merely be the best of a vast genre with a long-long history.
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