Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Lost Room (2006)

Way back in 2006, a miniseries aired on what was then The Sci-Fi Channel.  It was called The Lost Room and was about an event, called The Event, that separated the titular room (and its contents) from reality.  Detective Joe Miller comes into possession of the room’s key, allowing him entry through any door that has a normal pin-and-tumbler lock.  When exiting the room, Joe finds that he can go anywhere he wants, provided he exits through a hinged door.  (If no location is selected, the room exits to a random door.)

The main action of the miniseries deals with Joe trying to get his daughter back out of the room.  Anna enters the room without the key.  When the door closes, the room resets with her in it.  Joe has to find a way to get her back out.  He has no proof that she’s still alive, but he has to make the effort.

Joe finds that there are at least 100 every-day objects that were part of The Event.  Each was given a special power when it’s taken out of the room.  A comb allows the user to freeze time for a few seconds.  A pencil creates a penny each time it’s tapped.  (There’s a pair of cufflinks that lowers blood pressure, although it’s admitted that it may be a placebo effect.)  All of the objects are indestructible outside of the room, allowing Joe to use an overcoat as a bullet-proof vest.

Different groups have different theories on what actually happened at 1:20:44 p.m. on May 4, 1961.  Some say God died.  Others say that physics broke down momentarily.  It’s not known what would happen if all of the objects were brought back into the room.  I’m assuming that they were all there at some point in the past.  They also lose their powers inside the room.

The miniseries was intended to be a back-door pilot.  The ending does allow the miniseries to stand on its own, but I would have loved to see it picked up.  The Lost Room got among the lowest ratings for a miniseries on Sci-Fi up to that point, so that wasn’t going to happen.  I also realize that it’s been 12 years, so I’m not holding my breath for The Lost Room:  The Next Generation.

This isn’t necessarily a crazy idea, though.  According to an interview, the intent was to have a new protagonist every so often, as the story was really centered on The Key.  It is conceivable that a new miniseries could be attempted with a new cast of characters.  I remember wanting so badly to find out what happened when the room filled up.  It was also great knowing that many of the objects either had no known use yet or had rather useless functions, like hard-boiling an egg.  (I’d love to get my hands on that pencil, if not The Key.)

I’m surprised that the miniseries didn’t do that well.  Friday the 13th: The Series had a similar premise and ran for three seasons.  Warehouse 13 also had a team that recovered wacky items and also ran for several seasons.  I’m not sure why those two had longer runs than The Lost Room.  (Maybe the trick is having a number in your title.)

At least the miniseries was released on DVD, which I was able to get through Netflix recently.  The Lost Room aired over three nights with a two-hour episode shown each night.  On the DVD, it’s broken up into six hour-long parts:  The Key, The Clock, The Comb, The Box, The Eye and The Prime Object.  Sci-Fi aired the first two hours as The Key and The Clock, which is how it’s listed on IMDb.  This is why the episodes alternate between having just opening credits and just closing credits.

I’d be careful about renting the miniseries.  This is one of those programs that if you fall in love with it, you’ll want more.  Like may other great one-season shows, The Lost Room has its followers and the followers want more.  I would love to see at least another miniseries.  Isn’t 12 years long enough?

No comments :