Sign Me Up!

Tufts University: The Experimental College located in Medford, MA is unfortunately too far away for me to consider taking an evening class after getting out of work, but seeing a recent course about LOST has me rethinking there might be hope for other colleges to offer interesting courses other than their usual cookie-cutter Shakespeare’s Women or The History of Western Civilization.

The Future is Lost: The TV Series as Cultural Phenomenon

When a plane crashed on more than 18.5 million American television screens in September 2004, a new television show had taken up the mantle of “cult hits.” “Lost,” seemingly a mix of “Survivor” and “The X-Files,” was an instant paradox: a mainstream media blockbuster that defied categorization and appealed to some of the most fringe elements of human nature.

This course will investigate how the show has spawned an empire of entertainment, marketing, and community that eclipses the show itself. We will look at how its producers have pushed “Lost” to the bleeding edge of new media where online communities take pride in dissecting each episode, from literary references to philosophical allusion. And we will see how the show’s format has inspired dozens of copycats on networks desperate to adapt to a newly demanding audience.

The course is an interdisciplinary endeavor into the heart of the phenomenon. We’ll examine the economic circumstances that led to the development of the show, the societal context that it evolves, and the possible effects of the show on technology and the future of media.

Chadwick Matlin is currently a senior majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Communications and Media Studies. Chadwick has been a fan of “Lost” since its debut on ABC. He actively follows Lost’s online community searching for information and clues buried in each new episode.

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