Will J.J. Abrams’ New Back-in-Time Stephen King Series Make Up for the Pitiful Time Travel on ‘Lost’?

Credit: ABC

We imagine that if J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof could go back in time, they’d rethink sending their Lost characters back in time. At the very least, they’d have to really reconfigure the continuum-bending journey upon which Sawyer, Hurley, and the shrill Australian anthropologist were thrust. As monumentally life-affirming as Lost was, it did have an Achilles heel: its time-travel arc. The island series went a little too bold with its flashes of bright light and its babbling Farradays. But now, Abrams has a chance to make up for this lapse in quality: he’s in talks to develop a new time travel series, adapted from Stephen King’s novel 11/22/63.

The story in the 2011 King book plants a modern day high school teacher back five years prior to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, arming him with knowledge of history and every intention of stopping the murder from taking place. Entertainment Weekly reports that Abrams and his company Bad Robot are looking to handle the project alongside Warner Bros. TV.

The time-travel elements of the King story seem to be somewhat more straight-forward than Lost‘s mid-series excursion back to the early days of the Dharma Initiative, with English teacher Jake Epping arriving in 1958 via a time portal in the pantry of a Maine diner, making the trip back and forth a number of times in order to rectify the various mistakes he makes and ultimately result in an ideal, Kennedy-laden future.

On Lost, there were a handful of additional elements in the time travel equation… ones that Abrams might want to do without for 11/22/63.

The Uncontrollable Jumps
Time travel is complex enough without it going haywire and throwing its victims all over linear history.

The Sending of Premonitions to the Younger Versions of People You Love
When Daniel Farraday laid waste to his reverence for the space time continuum in order to offer young Charlotte  ominous warnings, it just kind of made him seem like a creep.

The Parallel Timelines
Don’t get me wrong — when done well, parallel timelines can work wonders as a science fiction story device. But if even slightly off kilter, the entire ordeal crumbles and melts, making this string of episodes among the most painful in Lost‘s run.

The Revelation That Everyone Is Everyone Else’s Dad
On Lost, time travel meant island history lessons. We learned that Pierre Chang was Miles Straume’s dad. Horace Goodspeed was Ethan Rom’s dad. Roger Workman was Benjamin Linus’ dad. Whole lotta secret dads. Let’s keep that to a minimum here.

The Nosebleeds
Kind of an overplayed symptom of science fiction elements gone awry, isn’t it?

Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter

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