Review: “The Lost Room” Mini-Series

Posted by Peter Hall - January 1st 2007 @ 8:39 pm

Directed by Craig R. Baxley, Michael W. Watkins 2006
Written by Laura Harkcom, Christopher Leone, Paul Workman

The Lost Room

The Sci-Fi Channel has got heart and I love ’em for it, but their track record on original productions is pretty spotty.  Which is why it brings me great, great joy to tell you, kind reader, that The Lost Room isn’t just worth your time, but it is the best thing the network has ever produced that isn’t called Battlerstar Galactica.  It is strictly science fiction with no horror, but has such radiant imagination that I can’t resist writing about it here.

Peter Krause plays detective Joe Miller, a man who stumbles onto a case which introduces him to a motel room key.  A key that can be slid into any lock on any door, opening said door into a motel room from the ’60s.  Upon exiting the motel room, the key’s operator can choose where the door re-opens.

Miller soon discovers that the key is just one of at least a hundred objects from inside the motel room.  Each object is indestructible and poses a, seemingly, unpredictable power.  There is a comb that stops time, a pen which unleashes torrents of electricity, a knife that causes everyone in the room to fall asleep…and even a bus ticket which, when tapped on someone’s head, drops them out of the sky onto a stretch of rode outside Gallup, New Mexico.

Turns out that there are people all over the country who know about ‘the objects’ and are seeking them out in an attempt to reunite them, resulting in what they hope will be some kind of spiritual ascension.  A lot of these people will do whatever it takes to get their hands on an object, which Miller quickly realizes after the man with the pen throws Miller’s daughter into the motel room and closes the door, resetting the room and, misplacing, the young girl indefinitely.  Miller then becomes hell bent on tracking down the right people and right combination of objects that can bring his daughter back to him.

And that little set up is just the first third of the three part mini series.  The subsequent episodes mix it all up even further, introducing more and more objects, their bizarre powers and the even more bizarre people who try to hold onto them.  I’ll not go farther into the plot twists and turns, but know they are plentiful and fascinating, working together to weave a complex fantasy world where the banal is really the monumental. 

The series’ creators do a remarkable job of constantly keeping the mystery fun and energetic.  They assembled a great cast.  Peter Krause is, as always, an effortlessly relateable screen presence and does carry the entire four and a half hours by himself, but supporting players like Peter Jacobson, Roger Bart, Julianna Margulies and even Kevin Pollak bring a good balance of helpers and villains to Krause’s altruistic quest.

The script is excellent.  Granted that, save for the triumphant final scene in the motel room itself, the intensity of the conflict is never brought to breakneck pace, but it jogs at an intentionally delightful pace that gives ample time to appreciate all the nuance and endless discovery that went into what is one of the most creative sci-fi scripts ever seen on television.

I don’t know when "The Lost Room" will air again or when it comes out on DVD, but when it does, I’ll let you know.  It’s a charming series with great wonder and great personality.  Check it out.  It’s not life changing, or even flawless, but it is thoroughly entertaining and if Sci-Fi decides to make it a regular series, I’d be all for it.  God knows they should find something original to fill any one of the 40 hours per week that Stargate airs.

comments are closed
  1. R.J. Sayer
    January 7th, 2007 | 2:32 am | #1

    Great premise. Great work.

    The ending was pretty lame… but i’ll just chalk that up to the short runtime for such an expansive concept.

    I REALLY hope this gets picked up as a regular series.

  2. January 7th, 2007 | 8:58 am | #2

    Yeah, I really liked what happened when Miller went inside the room for the last time, but everything a minute before and the minutes after was rushed, to say the least.

  3. January 16th, 2007 | 2:08 pm | #3

    I love The Lost Room too! With Sci-Fi channel, it seems to either suck or it’s great. This one was GREAT!!! I was a little disappointed with the ending, but I also hope it comes out as a series. I meant to email the network and tell them so, you’ve reminded me I still need to do it.

  4. Amanda
    March 19th, 2008 | 1:27 am | #4

    I recently watched the lost room online and decided to buy it for my family to watch on DVD. I found it delightfully intriguing. The concept was spectacular however I felt like I needed more after everything was said and done. I felt like they did take a good thought and rushed it. There could have been a slower pace in Miller ending his search. I loved the series much in the way I loved the cube which ended much in the same way with no explanation. In the cube’s case, they did produce a hypercube which in my personal opinion went too far and a cube zero who got mixed reviews because it explained the beginning. I liked the explanation however i can see how some people like to leave something like that open to the imagination. The Lost Room could have a possibility to explain the beginning much like the cube did, or like star wars has done for those who are not familiar with the cube. I think it would be and interesting way to tackle the project however i would not mind having more episodes from Miller’s story. Ive heard rumors that no more Lost Room episodes are in the making, some think that it may make a series of books instead. I think this would be a grave mistake not to continue with the lost room because many were upset with the ending and felt that there were gaps in the story. I personally would like the choice. I thought the Matrix should have stopped at the first episode thus I only bought the first one though I saw all three. Even if people like the story of the Lost Room as is, they still can appreciate more of an explanation from the wonderful mind who created this all.

  5. Jean
    October 30th, 2008 | 3:00 am | #5

    I just watched “the lost room” on dvd. I was really hyped. I loved it….then it ended. I thought, “Where’s the rest of the story?”. I come on line and read that the sci-fi channel didn’t pick it up. Could not believe it. What a waste of my time. Why would you want to buy a dvd with no ending(I checked it out at the library)? Same goes for other sci-fi series that I liked, the 4400 and Dead Zone. Don’t know what the powers that be are thinking. What I know is that there is a HUGE untapped audience out here who LOVES sci-fi. It’s a shame that networks aren’t getting behind the talent out there and making shows that could target this audience. I don’t ‘do’ cabel any more due to the lack of creativity on it. I guess I’ll be turning off the TV and turn my time over to reading sci-fi.

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