There are many great things to take in and remember about "Lost."
But the biggest gift the ABC show has bestowed on those of us who have watched, obsessed, analyzed and debated its meaning and plot over the last six years is... each other.
Wouldn't you say?
What would this magnificent ride have been if we weren't constantly talking, blogging, podcasting and, lately, tweeting about how we feel about the show? Executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have given birth to an impressive community -- not of "crazy Lost fans," but of people who care deeply about so many things: art, literature, science and philosophy. And, yes, of course, the numbers and the Smoke Monster and the four-toed statue and the Oceanic 815 castaways.
There are many great and popular TV shows, shows that touch hearts and entertain and somehow become bigger than themselves. But what I saw in January on Waikiki Beach -- 12,000 people gathered for the season premiere, people who came from around the globe to share a singular experience -- spoke volumes to me about the worldwide impact of a drama that started almost on a lark.
It's both exciting and sad to think of "The End" on Sunday. But the fans have done it again. A whopping 2,000 "Lost" viewers, some from as far away as Europe, Australia and Turkey, will gather at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday for an event that will include Q&A's with "Lost" actors, with beloved "Lost" blogger Jo Garfein, and the finale screening. And, no, this is not an ABC event.
In fact, I'm going to call it the largest independent fan party in TV history because, honestly, I've never heard of anything like this. The hosts are father-and-son "Lost" podcasting dynamos Jay and Jack Glatfelter, who have been doing their thing since 2005 and get 500,000 downloads a month from 70 countries. Jay Glatfelter, 25, is finishing up his bachelor's degree in history, looking for his first job and getting married next year. Jack Glatfelter, 47, is the group sales director for an ice rink in Raleigh, N.C., where they live.
Their podcast was born out of a mutual love of "Lost." In 2005, Jay was in a band and read an article about the growing number of podcasts and thought it would be fun to give that medium a try. Immediately, he thought of doing one with his dad because "he has large opinions about a lot of things." But his father had no idea what a podcast was, so the idea died fast.
Then "Lost" took over their lives. They weren't just watching the episodes. They were taking notes and having wild discussions.
"That's when I was like, 'This is it!'" Jay said. "This is what we're going to do a podcast about."
"I thought it would last two or three weeks," Jack added. "Why would anyone want to listen to us talk about a TV show? I didn’t realize there were other podcasts about other TV shows."
Almost five years later, their podcast is the fourth-most-popular independent podcast on ITunes, and it has won numerous awards, including a Podcast Award for best entertainment in 2007. They knew they were on to something on their sixth podcast, when "Lost" actor Jorge Garcia called in to let them know there were cast and crew members listening to them every week.
"I flipped out," Jay said.
"He's always been my favorite character, so I was like, 'No way!'" his father added.