''NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT''
Not a bad title for the season premiere of Lost. Certainly seems suitable given the time-travel shenanigans of season 4 and Candle/Change's assertion in the Comic-Con video that ''time isn't just of the essence... it IS the essence.'' The title pokes at the speculation that the Island isn't just missing in geographical space but also history, and it also winks at what Lindelof and Cuse suggested looms as a major new development in Lost's storytelling: episodes that have no ''present,'' but toggle between time frames a show that is figuratively lost in time. All to say, ''No Place Like The Present'' would be a fitting title for the first episode of season 5...
Except it isn't the title for the first episode of season 5.
THE LOST BOOK CLUB!
Team Lost has devised an online book club, with a reading list comprised of the more than 40 books referenced and name-checked over the course of four seasons. Check it out over at the Lost page at abc.com. You'll find the selections organized by season, with brief comments describing how each book was dropped into the story. How it works: pick a book; read the book; head to a message board at abc.com to discuss. (That said, every couple of weeks, one book is singled out as a rallying point; currently, that book is Stephen King's Carrie.) Say the producers in an introductory statement: ''Pick up any of them and experience the richness of storytelling, character, and theme, and then allow your imagination to connect all that back into our show.... We can't promise you any of these books will lead you to answers about Lost, but we can promise you'll be enriched for having read them.''
What do you think of that for the title of season 5, episode one? I kinda like it. It evokes the price paid by Michael and Jin to help save their friends and the price paid by Ben to save the Island. And it might suggest some kind of thematic context for the death of John Locke/Jeremy Bentham. I also like ''The Sacrifice'' because it links to a Russian film about death and survival set against the backdrop of apocalypse, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, who also directed an adaptation of Stanislaw Lem's Solaris, long suspected of being a Lost source text, despite not being part of the current Lost Book Club. All to say, ''The Sacrifice'' would make for fitting title for the first episode of season 5...
Except it isn't the title of the first episode of season 5. The REAL title for the first episode of season 5 is...immediately following this important announcement:
Longtime readers of this column know that about 18 months ago, cancer touched my family in a profound way. (Update: Amy is doing great, and thank you for all the warm wishes you continue to email. They do mean a lot to us.) It has also profoundly touched many people behind the scenes of Lost, which is why they've become big supporters of ''Stand Up 2 Cancer,'' a very cool, very smart, very strategic, very genuine, and very ambitious grassroots initiative designed to raise funds for cancer research. The campaign includes a primetime TV special that will air simultaneously on ABC, NBC, and CBS at 8 PM on Sept. 5. But there are many ways you can help in your everyday walk of life; check out standup2cancer.org for more info.
The producers and cast of Lost are contributing to this effort by conducting a fundraiser through liveautographs.com zip over there when you have a moment and consider taking advantage of the cool opportunity they're offering fans. Times are tight; it's hard to part with cash; and there are so many urgent causes worthy of your resources. So I'll ask for nothing more, but I will thank you for the consideration...
...and I will, finally, give you this, the real-deal title of the Lost season 5 premiere, tentatively scheduled for a late January debut:
''BECAUSE YOU LEFT''
Reminds me of what Jack told Ben that Locke-as-Bentham told him before kicking the bucket. You remember, right? If you do, I want to hear your informed analysis. Send it to JeffJensenEW@aol.com.
And I'll be back next month with your reactions and more analysis of that mysterious new Candle/Chang video!