What were your favorite films, TV shows that led to this?
Orci: The first thing I brought up was Real Genius. Remember the old Val Kilmer movie comedy? It was about a bunch of geniuses at the university, solving scientific problems with science? So that was my sort of weird touch point. ... Alex was a big Twin Peaks fan. So he wanted the sort of surrealistic FBI element to it. And J.J. loves [filmmaker David] Cronenberg. He loves The Fly. He loves those kind of [shows] where medical science or something like that goes just slightly wrong, and it becomes kind of horror, you know? Just kind of those three sensibilities mixed in together.
Abrams: The Twilight Zone, you know, for me was the most impactful show, mostly because it combined characters that were ultimately damaged--and often heartbreaking--with situations that were absolutely terrifying and weird. ... And clearly The X-Files is a huge influence; Altered States is a huge influence; the David Cronenberg films. There were a lot of things that for me were obsessions, and I feel like we get to, you know, play in that arena now.
There are so many shows now with mythology arcs they end getting less interesting the more they end up revealing. How do you make this different from those?
Orci: I don't think the stories that we're generating and will continue to generate are dependent on "the answer." So we can in theory indefinitely continue to do what we're going to do, whether or not we have the answer. The fact that we actually know what we're doing, and have an end point, is kind of a bonus that allows us to have everything sort of make sense retroactively. But I don't think our show is predicated on the notion that we're going to have to be revealing our secret every week.
Pinkner: The mythology of the show is one of the rails of the storytelling, but it is by no means the one that we all think that people are going to come back for. It's really just the cherry on the top of the sundae, and ... it's there already: It's there in the pilot. You won't even know it's there. And, ... unlike show's we've done, we're not asking the audience to be wondering [as in Alias] "Who is Rambaldi? What is Rambaldi about? What does Rambaldi want?" It's much more of an open mystery, and the sense of revelation won't be like "Oh, thank God they finally answered that question. Now I can move on to another." We're approaching it from a different point of view.
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