Tuesday, 10 April 2007
THE LOST ROOM
The Lost Room (TV) dir. Craig R. Baxley, Michael Watkins
Starring: Peter Krause, Juliana Marguiles, Kevin Pollack
“The Lost Room” is a Sci-Fi Channel Mini-Series which aired last year and is now available on DVD. It’s a 6-part Stephen King-type high concept show about a police detective’s discovery of a series of mysterious objects with supernatural powers taken from a “lost hotel room”.
It’s a little tough to encapsulate into a one-liner, but the series is fascinating and highly addictive viewing. Peter Krause is a police detective (Joe Miller) who stumbles upon a highly coveted motel key from one of his perps. He soon discovers the key has the ability to open any door and enter another dimension in the form of a lost motel room. The backstory of the room and the key dates back to an unsolved cosmic mystery in 1961. Joe, a single father to his daughter Anna, has fun learning the properties of the room. The key can open any door, and once inside the room, you can exit back out into any room as long as you can visualize it. Unfortunately danger accompanies the key and with it a group of people called the Legion seeking to obtain the key. After a violent confrontation with the Legion Anna flees into the room and becomes trapped in the other dimension.
Joe’s journey to find his daughter uncovers a larger network of objects from the room, each with a different power - like “Heroes,” except the objects are everyday items and not people. There’s the “pen” which burns anything it touches, or the “bus ticket” which when touched to one’s head transports them curiously to a desolate crossroads in Kansas, MI, or “the comb” which freezes time. There are supposedly over a hundred spread around the world.
Joe joins forces with Jennifer Bloom (Juliana Marguiles), a member of a benevolent group of object-hunters seeking to obtain them so they may not be used for harmful purposes. Using his detective skills and the objects they obtain along their way Joe and Jennifer uncover the mystery of the Lost Room and the event that caused such a disruption in the physics of the natural world.
The series, part “Heroes”, part “Da Vinci Code,” part pulp noir, is immensely entertaining and satisfying for several reasons. Firstly, it’s a mini-series, and therefore it has an “end”. Unlike the “X-Files”, “Lost” or “Heroes” which are forced to torture impatient fans by dragging out plotlines for unnecessarily long periods of time over the course of several seasons, “The Lost Room” has guaranteed satisfaction. Also, the supernatural elements have easy to follow “rules” to them. In science fiction one of the most difficult tasks of a writer is to establish believable ‘rules’ within the context of the fictional and sensationalized story. Often times the filmmakers or series creators can back themselves into a corner, unable to explain or maintain the logic of the mysteries they have created (“The Matrix” being the prime example). But “The Lost Room” keeps it simple, doesn’t give us too many characters, and is not afraid of a little exposition to make sure everyone knows what’s exactly going on. This occasional “idiot check” may break a Syd Field rule or two but it’s necessary and greatly appreciated in this type of high concept story.
Peter Krause is perfectly cast as our everyman hero. Like his character in “Six Feet Under,” he’s someone we just instantly like, someone we identify with, someone who has our curious ‘what the f-k was that?’ point of view. “Heroes,” as good as it is, is missing a character like this. Often it feels like the characters and scope of “Heroes” is perhaps a bit too large for itself. It’s always walking a fine line of having a canvas too large and complex to comprehend. We’re never lost in the “Lost Room”.
And it wouldn’t be good television if it wrapped things up into a completely tight knot. Doors are left open for a second series, but even if it doesn’t we’re still left 100% satisfied, intrigued and entertained. Enjoy.
Buy it here: Lost Room (Mini-series)