Like its principal characters, ABC’s series Lost has had a checkered history. After a blistering first two seasons, viewing figures declined to unanticipated lows. That prompting some doomsayers to wonder if the show might be canceled. Thankfully for anyone wrapped up in the complex mythology of Lost, ABC was not so rash. The series then won back some critics and the writers wisely set a date for ending the ordeal of the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815.

Although Lost has regained some of its early acclaim, it hasn’t been able to recapture the popularity it enjoyed when it was considered one of the coolest shows on television. Fans wanting to revisit those glory days can now do so in print thanks to Titan Books. The company recently published Lost: Messages From the Island, 176-page full colour softcover book that focuses on the shows first two years.

Lost: Messages From the Island is a compilation of what the publishers consider to be the best articles from the Lost: The Official Magazine (also published by Titan). As such, the book contains little new material. Exceptions are a one-page introductory letter by executive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof (Star Trek) and an Afterword by Paul Terry, editor of the Official Magazine. Those items are essentially just ‘Thank you’s to people that work on the series, however. They contain no additional background information about the show.

Given that this book is a compilation of articles from Titan’s Lost periodical, its style is typical of what can be seen in most of that company’s various Official Magazine titles. The pages are bold, colourful and extensively illustrated. The articles that have been included in Messages From the Island are a mix of interviews, concept art, storyboards and Dear Diary pieces by some of the actors.

The interviews take up the majority of the book and are the most substantive content, at least in terms of length. Their coverage is also comprehensive. Most members of the first and second season cast and several personal from behind the camera contribute. The latter include Lindelof, Cuse and Executive Producer Bryan Burk, producer Jean Higgins and Director of Photography Larry Fong. The Dear Diary pages are the least substantial articles (aside from the introductory letter and the Afterword), being just shorts notes providing personal reflections on things the actors particularly enjoy about being in the show.

This book will appeal mostly to fans of Lost who were not subscribers to early issues of Lost: Official Magazine. Its biggest flaw may be that the material it covers is several years behind where Lost is now. Characters and situations have moved on and the mysteries that intrigued viewers during the second season have been explained or supplanted. Therefore, when the actors talk about where they want their characters to go in season two or beyond, the comments can feel dated. This is odd for a Titan tie-in book because most of their ‘companion’ publications (such as the Stargate Atlantis and Smallville Companions reviewed here and here) are as up-to-date as they can be. On the other hand, the interviews in Messages From the Island can also give an insight into how things have changed on the show. Therefore, if you haven’t seen this material before and aren’t expecting the latest buzz, you will find plenty to read in this book.

Michael Simpson is the Associate Editor of the Vancouver-based film and TV website CinemaSpy.com and a freelance writer on a range of topics (Home Page).

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