Boss Rush Banter: Lost is Still the Greatest Water Cooler Show of All Time

Before social media, a water cooler was a place where co-workers would gather not only to rehydrate, but also to discuss the previous night’s programming.

People didn’t have social media to share their instant reactions to what they had watched on TV. Back in my day, they gathered around the water cooler to take a quick break and share their thoughts on their favorite shows, among other conversations.

That was the sign of a good show. If people were talking about it around the water cooler, then producers knew they had a success on their hands. These shows that made the agenda of water cooler discussions were colloquially known as “water cooler shows.”

Folks gathered around the water cooler sharing their thoughts. (Image Credit: Pacific Springs)

While that conversation spot has shifted online, the idea still remains. And despite the influx of quality programming since the advent of social media, Lost still holds its own as the greatest water cooler show of all time.

Lost left a lasting impact on TV and many of the serialized programs we have today draw inspiration of this show’s format. Heck, for the longest time, networks were constantly pursuing a show that would be “the next Lost.”

One area this show excelled in was the quality of discussions that surrounded it after each episode aired. I was in junior high school when it began and it ran until shortly after I graduated from high school. Even teenagers would engage in spirited discussion about this show.

Why? The mysteries that surrounded the island led to numerous theories. Lost, each week, created numerous questions and delayed answers, many of which didn’t get answers during the series run. That didn’t stop fans from filling in the blanks themselves.

Lost fostered an environment for theorizing and really excelled at it throughout its run. This environment coupled well with the rise of podcasting as Lost had an official podcast as well as myriad unofficial ones that discussed theories.

In my lifetime, I haven’t seen anything like it. Say what you will about the ending or the later seasons, but Lost kept people discussing all the way to the end. I’m still down for a good discussion about the show 13 years after it ended.

The opening scene to the second season of Lost. The show had a pension for misdirection and juxtaposition to help further its mysteries. (Video Credit: ABC Studios via Brian R)

Another area Lost thrived in was its character development. It featured an ensemble cast and fleshed out each one through flashbacks and flash forwards. While theories took precedent in discussions about the show, the characters were right behind them.

As we unraveled the past of the snarky Sawyer or learned about Sayid’s time in the Iraqi Special Republican Guard, people became attached to these characters. Whenever anything happened to them, we were sure to discuss it to this day.

My point about Lost being the greatest water cooler show ever shouldn’t be seen as a putdown of other programs. I just think Lost did this so well and helped foster an environment for shows like Breaking Bad or Succession to thrive as water cooler shows.

In today’s media landscape, I don’t think a show could match what Lost did. Gone are the days of appointment viewing where everyone sat down and watched a show at a specific time.

Programs also have to compete against a lot more and specialized boards/groups make it hard for newcomers to jump in as social media has become the new water cooler. All this makes it harder for one show to grip such a large audience.

Still, there are plenty of shows that work well as water cooler shows. I just think Lost did it best.

But what about you? What TV show is the best water cooler show to you? Were you a fan of Lost when it originally aired? Let us known in the comments below or head over to our Discord channel to join the conversation.

Featured Image: ABC Studios (via Observer)

The Boss Rush Podcast: The Flagship Podcast of Boss Rush Media and the Boss Rush Network

The Boss Rush PodcastThe Boss Rush Podcast is the flagship podcast of Boss Rush Media and the Boss Rush Network. Each week, Corey, Stephanie, LeRon, and their friends from around the internet come together with other creators, developers, and industry veterans to talk about games they’ve been playing, discuss video game and entertainment based topics, and answer questions solicited on social media and the community Discord. 

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2 thoughts on “Boss Rush Banter: Lost is Still the Greatest Water Cooler Show of All Time

  1. For my money, Twin Peaks and its surrounding media frenzy is the most powerful water cooler show after the introduction of cable.

    1. I’m too young for Twin Peaks but from what I understand, it was crazy. I love what Lost did because it helped make podcasting about TV shows a thing and really tapped into the then-new concept.

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