Lost in the everyday

Zoë Shacklock

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Lost (2004–10) can be categorised as a ‘vast narrative’: sprawling serial narratives concerned with epic journeys, extraordinary physicality and extensive seriality. Critical and popular discussions largely present these programmes as epic television, defined by both their narrative sprawl and their removal from everyday life. This chapter argues that, in contrast, the affective impact of Lost emerges as much through a set of ordinary aesthetics as anything extraordinary. Using Yuriko Saito’s work on ordinary aesthetics, the chapter considers how much of Lost revolves around ordinary experiences such as walking, cooking, cleaning and laundry. It is these everyday, ordinary actions that make the programme affectively meaningful to the audience. To explore Lost’s investment in the ordinary and the everyday, the chapter focuses in detail on the opening scene of the second season, in which the answer to the Season 1 cliffhanger – ‘what’s in the hatch’ – is revealed to be a man’s very mundane, morning routine. The chapter also considers how serial narrative on television exists as part of the flows of everyday life, and argues that Lost’s long-form seriality allows the programme to become part of the audience’s ordinary experience. The chapter aims to reconfigure Lost’s legacy as a ‘gamechanger’, instead positioning it as part of television’s traditional relationship to the fabric of everyday life. As the hatch reveal demonstrates, the heart of the island is not a mysterious problem to be solved, but something much closer to home.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEpic / everyday
Subtitle of host publicationmoments in television
EditorsSarah Cardwell, Jonathan Bignell, Lucy Fife Donaldson
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherManchester University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781526170231
ISBN (Print)9781526170224
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2023

Publication series

NameThe television series


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