'Lost' Recap

Today was supposed be catching up with "Lost" star Michael Emerson, but that will have to wait for another post.

In the meantime, we can still catch up with the season premiere.



First, the "Lost" producers gave us the flashbacks. Then, they gave us the flashforwards.

Now, they are giving us a completely alternate reality that is running concurrently with life on the island. It's not a huge shock -- after all, JJ Abrams and company are the guys behind "Fringe," which features two parallel versions of Earth, and this summer's "Star Trek," which created an alternate reality that preserved the original series' storyline but allows new stories to be told.

It appears as if "Lost" will be continuing the concurrent storylines at least for a while, if not the rest of the season.

Already, though, the producers have given us a series of new questions while answering last season's cliffhanger -- what happened after the H-bomb was detonated?

--Who is Fake Locke/Smoke Monster/Man in black? Why did he need Ben to kill Jacob?

--Why was it so important for Sayid not to die, and what happened to bring him back to life?

--Who are the other Others? Are they more Others, or are they a completely separate group?

--When did the bomb create the divergent timeline? People just assumed that time was altered at the point of when the plane crashed, but evidently it happened at some point earlier in time, creating subtle changes in the new timeline (such as Shannon staying in Australia rather than flying back with Boone, or Christian's coffin not being on the plane).

Clearly, there are many other questions that branch off those issues.

Kudos to the producers for having the guts to take such a radical shift with 16 episodes left in the final season rather than just trying to answer previous questions and play the original storyline out.

It's hard to think of another show right now that would take such a creative gamble, which is why "Lost" remains the most compelling hour of TV each week.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: Speaking of parallel worlds, "Fringe" (Fox, 9 p.m.) returns to the opposite world inhabited by William Bell (though Leonard Nimoy isn't in tonight's episode). It follows a new "Bones" at 8 p.m.

And STILL speaking of parallel worlds and time travel, Sam and Dean travel back in time as an angel seeks to prevent their existence by stopping their parents in 1978 on "Supernatural" (CW, 9 p.m.) That follows a new "Vampire Diaries," which features a flashback to the past, when the brothers were still human in the 1860s.

ABC's lineup of "The Deep End," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice" is all new but features no time travel that I know of.

CBS, however, does flash back and forward with "Surviving Survivor" at 8 p.m., which looks back at some of the show's memorable moments and previews the new "Heroes vs. Villains" season. It's followed by new episodes of "CSI" and "The Mentalist."

NBC's comedies are all new, including guest star Kathy Bates on "The Office" at 9 p.m.

On cable, Michael adjusts to life with his new psycho ally on "Burn Notice," (USA, 10 p.m.), while "Archer" (FX, 10 p.m.) is new. There's also a new "Project Runway" on Lifetime at 10 p.m.