Class is now in session for students of the online "Lost University," which will offer courses in the physics of time travel and other Lost-themed subjects. The tuition? $46.99, the purchase price of Season 5 on Blu-Ray, available in stores starting today.
Lost has consistently lost viewers every season. So this scholarly project is mainly an attempt to further capitalize on the niche audience the show still has. It will also build publicity as the show goes into its final season in January, since the coursework will include clues to the new episodes. But it's too bad this is little more than a marketing Gimmick, because a Lost-themed higher education makes a certain kind of sense.
Pop culture is making us smarter, after all. The show's emphasis on literature, philosophy, and theoretical physics has already inspired Lost-as-education segments from Popular Mechanics and other outlets. And the courses include multimedia sessions featuring celebrity professors like Caltech's Sean Carroll. You've got to admit: Your anthropology classes would have been a lot more entertaining if the coursework included Lost.
Maybe Damon Lindelof and the other creators figured it was time to take ownership of the show's educational potential. Or they just wanted to emulate (or mock?) Ray Kurzweil's Singularity University. It's enough to drive even a mystery-loving Lost fan a little crazy. Among the lingering questions about this venture: Why launch "Lost University" now (as opposed to a four years ago, enough time to earn a proper diploma)? Why it's only available on Blu-Ray? Wouldn't a smoke monster have been a better mascot than a polar bear? Is Hurley Lost U's John Blutarsky?
Perhaps, if Lost University does well, other television franchises will follow suit. There could be a CSI-themed forensics school, a Lie to Me-Mentalist program in psychology, a Gossip Girl degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology, or a Jersey Shore School of Cosmetology for Men. Who says network TV is dying?