The Lost Room
The Lost Room's DVD cover
Genre
Created by
Starring
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes3 @ 90 minutes each approx
Production
Producers
  • Richard Hatem
  • Christopher Leone
  • Laura Harkcom
  • Paul Workman
  • Peter Chomsky
  • Bill Hill
  • Paul Kurta
Running time262 minutes
Original release
NetworkSyfy Channel
ReleaseDecember 11 (2006-12-11) –
December 13, 2006 (2006-12-13)

The Lost Room is a 2006 supernatural television miniseries that aired on the Syfy Channel in the United States. The series revolves around the titular room and some of the everyday items from that room which possess unusual powers. The show's protagonist, Joe Miller, is searching for these objects to rescue his daughter, Anna, who has disappeared inside the Room. Once a typical room at a 1960s motel along U.S. Route 66, the Lost Room has existed outside of normal time and space since 1961, when what is referred to only as "the Event" took place.

Cast and characters

Plot

The Room

The Room is the now nonexistent Room 10 at the abandoned Sunshine Motel outside Gallup, New Mexico. At 1:20:44 p.m. on May 4, 1961, something happened at the site of the Room that erased it and all its contents. This is referred to as "the Event" or "the Incident", and is thought to be the reason for the unusual properties of the Room and the Objects from within it. At the time of the Event, the motel was in serviceable condition, but after the event nobody remembers that a tenth room ever existed. One of the Objects, the undeveloped Polaroid picture, allows a person to view the tenth room as it was at the time of the Event by standing at its now vacant location at the Sunshine Motel ruins.

The Room can be accessed only by the person who has the Key. The Key will open any hinged door with a pin tumbler lock anywhere in the world, turning that door into a portal accessing the Room regardless of where it would normally open into. As Joe Miller sees on the surveillance tape, when a door is opened using the key, it appears closed if viewed from the other side of that door. When exiting the Room, its door opens not necessarily to the original place of entry, but to any room the holder of the Key has in mind, or to a random room if the user does not focus. To reach a specific room the user must have a clear picture of the room's door and the area around it. The "Lost" Room thus serves as a means of instant travel between similar doors anywhere on Earth. Hinged doors with types of locks other than a tumbler lock or with no lock at all, sliding doors and rotating doors cannot be used to access the Room. The door used does not have to be installed in a wall and can be a smaller prop door or a freestanding doorway; the only important elements are the lock and that it be a hinged door.

Any time the door is closed with the key outside the room, the Room "resets": everything that is not an Object disappears, including people. Multiple people can enter the room at once, but they must exit the room when the Key does. When the Room resets, any Objects in the Room will return to their original position at the time of the Event. A benefit of this is that an Object enclosed within something else, such as a safe, may be retrieved by leaving it inside and resetting the room. This can also be used to distinguish real Objects from fakes, since fakes will disappear.

Objects, when outside the Room, possess special powers and are indestructible. When inside the Room, Objects lose their special properties and can be destroyed. According to the Occupant, a new Object will take the destroyed Object's place, a phenomenon he refers to as the Law of Conservation of Objects. The Occupant states that there are many Rooms, and so any non-Object left in the Room is not erased, but exists in a different instance of the Room. The reset, in turn, represents a confluence of these Rooms, allowing the Occupant (the only Object with consciousness) to retrieve things lost during a reset, provided he has a clear idea of what he wishes to retrieve.

The Event

The Event is a shorthand term given to the moment in time that the Lost Room was created. It occurred at 1:20:44 p.m. on May 4, 1961, and erased the room and all of its contents from history. The reason behind this and the ultimate purpose of the Objects is unknown, though two primary hypotheses have been postulated. Even the man occupying the room at the time of the event doesn't seem to know what happened, so the truth remains a mystery. Both hypotheses essentially lead to the same conclusion, but attribute the event to different causes.

One faction, the Order of the Reunification, operates under the belief that the Objects are pieces of God's mind or body, and that reuniting them will allow them to communicate with God. More extreme versions of this view hold that reuniting the Objects will turn one into God or at least give that person God-like powers. Martin Ruber purports that the Occupant confirmed this particular theory for him in a vision, making him the self-proclaimed "Prophet of the Objects", but his near-death state from dehydration and heat exhaustion at the time casts doubt on his claims. Additionally, the Occupant himself shows no knowledge of the circumstances behind the event. The Deck of Cards, which gives one who is exposed to it a vision of the events during the Collectors' failed attempt to use the objects on Room 9 of the hotel, may be the source of their beliefs, as it is used in their rituals.

Another (though not necessarily contradictory) view of the phenomenon suggests that reality was somehow shattered at the location of the Room, thus separating it and everything in it from time and giving its contents metaphysical abilities. Should the items be collected and returned to the room by an individual, that person would then have complete control over reality. This theory works under the assumption that the one gathering the objects has the knowledge to utilize them properly. Since the Objects are just considered tools, they would do no good if the user were unaware of their paranormal functions.

The Objects

The Objects are powerful artifacts and consist of roughly 100 everyday items one would expect to find in an occupied motel room in the 1960s. They are indestructible (except when inside the Room) and possess various other-worldly powers when taken outside the Lost Room, but do not work within the Room itself. According to the Occupant (Eddie McCleister), when an object is destroyed within the room, another object takes its place. Whether the new object takes the former's properties partially or totally is unknown. Various characters repeatedly put forth the opinion that, over time, Objects lead to something akin to bad karma or bad luck for their owners. All of the items (including the occupant) attract one another, wanting to come together. The Occupant states that the objects are aware of each other, constantly sending out pings to each other and that for a living mind this is torture; the Occupant was eventually found when a search of the recorded history of other Objects revealed a small circular area where the Objects had never been detected, representing the area where the Occupant had resided for years.

The Cabals

Many Object-seekers have organized themselves into groups, known as "cabals". Wars between cabals are mentioned in the series. There are at least three cabals:

The Collectors
The original group of Object-seekers formed some time after the Event. Led by Arlene Conroy, the manager of the Sunshine Motel, most of the Collectors were killed or driven insane after the disaster in Room 9 in 1966. The survivors hid their most important Objects in a place called "The Collector's Vault", buried in a fallout shelter beneath an abandoned prison.
The Legion
A cabal dedicated to collecting the Objects and stopping them from causing more harm. They claim to follow an established set of rules, including that they never kill in order to acquire the Objects, although this rule is sometimes put to the test.
The Order of the Reunification
Also referred to as "The Order" or "The New Religion". They believe that the Objects are pieces of God and must be reunited. Once so restored, members of the Order would be able to communicate with God for the first time in human history. Unlike the Legion, The Order have no qualms about killing.

Production

Background

The website Television Heaven explains the genesis:

[T]he series came about from a combination of two ideas that Leone had been sitting on for years. One was a joke pitch involving weirdly specific superpowers, [with] which he and his colleague Paul Workman had played around. The most intriguing of their spitballed superpowers was the ability to teleport in and out of a hotel room. "Paul's idea was that if he had the power to teleport into a hotel room, that would be life-changing," said Leone in a 2016 interview... This became combined with Leone's mothballed movie pitch, about someone who gets a glass eye with magical powers, and becomes drawn into an underground war over it. He and Harkcom, while searching for a concept to spin into a series for the Sci-Fi Channel (latterly SyFy), took these ideas and mixed them together. The specific superpowers became, instead, attached to individual objects, allowing people to trade, buy or steal them, thus creating the underground war that had previously hinged on the glass eye (which, indeed, became one of the Objects in the series). The hotel room remained central to the story.[4]

Episodes

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"The Key and the Clock"Craig R. BaxleyStory by : Christopher Leone & Paul Workman
Teleplay by : Christopher Leone & Laura Harkcom
December 11, 2006 (2006-12-11)
When investigating a murder, Detective Joe Miller learns about the Key and the other Objects, and becomes caught up in the Quest for the mythical 'Prime Object' when his daughter is lost in the Room.
2"The Comb and the Box"Michael W. WatkinsChristopher Leone & Laura HarkcomDecember 12, 2006 (2006-12-12)
Seeking the Prime Object, Joe joins forces with Karl Kreutzfeld and Jennifer Bloom to try and track down the Objects, while his former colleague, Doctor Martin Ruber, becomes increasingly obsessed with the Objects.
3"The Eye and the Prime Object"Craig R. BaxleyChristopher Leone & Laura HarkcomDecember 13, 2006 (2006-12-13)
Having learned of the Occupant of the Room, Joe searches for him in the hopes of learning more about the Event, believing that the Occupant may be the Prime Object.

DVD release

Release dates Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
April 3, 2007[5] August 27, 2007[6] March 11, 2009[7]

The miniseries is presented as six "one-hour" (44 minute) episodes, rather than as three "two-hour" episodes as originally broadcast. These are named "The Key", "The Clock", "The Comb", "The Box", "The Eye", and "The Occupant". The DVD includes an 18-minute-long making-of featurette, "Inside The Lost Room", with comments from the writers and actors. Part of the featurette shows "how sections of the motel were created and then deliberately aged so they looked like they were nearly 50 years old."[8]

Reception

The Lost Room received mostly positive reviews, scoring 58 out of 100 on review aggregator website Metacritic by critics, who called it "intriguing" but also confusing, and an audience approval rating of 8.3. At Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a critical rating of 77% based on 13 reviews, with an audience rating of 86%. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Lost Room dazzles with its bold supernatural vision, even when its mythology becomes overwhelmingly convoluted."[9] Craig Ceramist wrote in 2012, "The show (as with most good sci-fi series) amassed a huge cult following [...] Today fans are still trying to track down copies of 'the objects' that appear in the programmes."[8] Mike Duffy of the Detroit Free Press called it "a terrific, six-hour miniseries, beautifully written and sharply directed." David Hinckley of the New York Daily News called it "a very complex metaphysical mystery, the enjoyment of which comes, in no small part, from the surprises that spill out as it slowly unfurls." A negative review from Matt Roush of TV Guide called it "an especially silly descent into incoherence."[10]

Entertainment Weekly's Gillian Flynn writes, "The Lost Room is stark noir, pulpy fiction, spiritual thriller, hero's-quest fantasy, and brainy videogame all at once. It's one of the most creative ideas to hit TV in a while. It falls to pieces at the end — but it's so much fun along the way you almost won't care... A large part of the fun is watching Miller learn to maneuver through his new, weird world, gathering clues that will bring back his daughter — it's like Riven meets Lord of the Rings."[11] Alex Doyle enthuses, "The Lost Room was, hands down, the best thing ever produced by the Sci-Fi channel... The few loose ends left could have set up another round of storytelling in the world."[12]

The Sci Fi Freak Site calls it "not just such an original idea, but so original as to be astonishing," "fiercely original, irresistibly clever," and so "otherworldly, that you can't help but get drawn into it."[13] The website Interesting Engineering (which gives meticulous descriptions of the Objects and considers scientific aspects of the miniseries), calls it "brilliant" and "a mind-bending excursion."[3] Rob Buckley of website The Medium is Not Enough writes, "It alternates between dramatic, comedic, and intellectually exciting within minutes and keeps you engrossed the whole way through, avoiding most of the possible clichés that could have arisen."[14] Den of Geek, awarding it 5 stars out of 5, praises it as being full of twists with "a complexed, careful and utterly believable mythos."[15]

The acting has also been praised. Josie Kafka of Doux Reviews (who finds the miniseries "enchanting" and compares it with Primer) writes, "Krause brings a necessary deadpan incredulity to the proceedings," and declares Pollak and Jacobson to be standouts.[16] The website Television Heaven lauds the acting skills of Pollak and Bremner, the "excellent" performance of Dennis Christopher, and the "charismatic central performance by Krause."[4] Moria, a website for fantastic-genre reviewing, in a 4-out-of-4-star review calls in several actors and actresses for attention, especially the "good comic support from Peter Jacobson as a homeless man with the bus ticket, while Ewen Bremner gives an exceedingly eccentric and strange, albeit by the end of the episode, also endearingly likeable performance as the man with the comb."[17]

The miniseries received two Emmy Award nominations, for Outstanding Main Title Design and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Miniseries or a Movie.[18] It was nominated for Best Presentation on Television at the 33rd Saturn Awards.[19] Writers Laura Harkcom, Christopher Leone, and Paul Workman were nominated for a 2008 Writers Guild of America Award.[20]

Canceled comic book continuation

In July 2010, the series' creators announced at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International that Red 5 Comics will be publishing a sequel, in comic book form, to The Lost Room.[21] Publication was expected in late summer or early autumn 2011.[22] The January 2012 update from Red 5 states that although production of the comic has "slowed" due to the creators being pulled into other projects, Red 5 Comics is still "100% committed to completing this comic".[23] As of April 2013, the project has been put on hold indefinitely.[24]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "The Comb and the Box". The Lost Room. Season 1. Episode 2. 2006-12-12. Sci Fi Channel.
  2. ^ "The Key and the Clock". The Lost Room. Season 1. Episode 1. 2006-12-11. Sci Fi Channel.
  3. ^ a b Wendorf, Marcia (August 25, 2019). "The Lost Room- An Overlooked Brilliant TV Series". Interesting Engineering. Retrieved March 2, 2024.
  4. ^ a b Tessier, Daniel (2017). "The Lost Room". Television Heaven. Retrieved March 2, 2024.
  5. ^ "The Lost Room (Mini-Series) (2006)". Amazon.com. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
  6. ^ "The Lost Room (DVD) (2006)". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
  7. ^ "Lost Room, The (2 Disc Set)". EzyDVD. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Ceramist, Craig (April 20, 2012). "The Lost Room: The Power of Objects". Fishink. Retrieved March 2, 2024.
  9. ^ "The Lost Room — Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved March 2, 2024.
  10. ^ "Critic Reviews for The Lost Room". Metacritic. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
  11. ^ Flynn, Gillian (January 4, 2007). "The Lost Room". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 2, 2024.
  12. ^ Doyle, Alex (January 21, 2018). "6 Reasons Fans of Sci-Fi Mystery Shows Should Watch "The Lost Room"". Sweatpants and Coffee. Retrieved March 2, 2024.
  13. ^ "The Lost Room". Sci Fi Freak Site. 2007. Retrieved March 2, 2024.
  14. ^ Buckley, Rob (15 December 2006). "Review: The Lost Room". The Medium is Not Enough. Retrieved March 2, 2024.
  15. ^ Lines, Craig (September 11, 2007). "The Lost Room review". Den of Geek. Retrieved March 2, 2024.
  16. ^ Kafka, Josie (2017). "The Lost Room: Miniseries Review". Doux Reviews. Retrieved March 2, 2024.
  17. ^ "The Lost Room". Moria: Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review. 3 November 2008. Retrieved March 2, 2024.
  18. ^ "Lionsgate's Acclaimed Showtime Comedy Weeds Scores 5 Emmy(R) Nominations Including Outstanding Lead Actress and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series" (Press release). Lionsgate. July 19, 2007. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
  19. ^ "Saturn Awards Show Love For Lost, Heroes And BSG". Cinema Blend. February 27, 2007. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
  20. ^ "2008 Writers Guild Awards Television & Radio Nominees Announced" (Press release). Writers Guild of America. December 12, 2007. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
  21. ^ "CCI: Harkcom & Leone Rediscover "The Lost Room"". Comic Book Resources. July 24, 2010. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
  22. ^ "Update on The Lost Room Comic". Red 5 Comics. January 8, 2011. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved February 11, 2011.
  23. ^ "Update on The Lost Room". Red 5 Comics. January 10, 2012. Archived from the original on March 8, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  24. ^ ""The Lost Room" Comic On-Hold Indefinitely". Red 5 Comics. April 7, 2013. Archived from the original on June 18, 2013. Retrieved May 21, 2013.