The premiere of the final season of ABC's hit sci-fi drama Lost airs Tuesday, but a few hard-core fans couldn't wait. Thousands headed out to Hawaii this past weekend — where the show is filmed — to watch an advance screening.
Hawaii's lush tropical scenery is perfect for producing a show about a group of people stranded on a remote island, and local tour companies on Oahu have cashed in on the show's success.
Matt Morici, a guide for Ed Kos Tours, brings Lost fans to Waimanalo Beach. Before them is a pristine white sandy beach and electric blue ocean. He holds a binder with pictures from the show, including one of this precise view.
The group clicks away with their digital cameras.
Morici points out the tattoos some fans display of prominent Lost characters or mottos. He says he feels at home when he has crazy fans around him.
"I've had newlywed couples that put the phrase 'Live together, die alone' in their wedding vows. You know, Jack [one of the main characters] says, 'If we can't live together, we're gonna die alone,' right? I mean, I'm telling ya."
The day of the premiere, a large group of those "crazy" fans are meeting at Lulu's Restaurant in Waikiki for brunch. Across the street, a 30-foot screen has been erected on the beach for the showing. Oahu resident Ryan Ozawa helped organize this get-together for his fellow "Losties."
"There are many names for us," he says. " 'Losers' has been used periodically, but yes, we're 'Losties.' "
Ozawa and his wife host a podcast devoted to Lost called "The Transmission." At one point, it boasted more than 30,000 subscribers.
"You've got the mainstream audience that loves it — it's a prime-time network TV show — but you've really got the serious nerd contingent, the Comic-Con contingent, the people who, you know, have scale models of the USS Enterprise in their house," he says. "So bringing those two worlds together is frightening but fantastic."
What's grabbed the attention of Lost fans across the spectrum are the mysterious and complicated storylines. Ozawa says Lost came about at a time when social media hit its stride. The Internet is filled with fans posting their own theories about characters and fleshing out the rich mythology of the show.
"And because Lost is a global show, it has a global online audience," he says. "I mean, right on the beach, we've got folks from Turkey, New Zealand, Australia — just coming from all over the world. They're trying to argue about who came the farthest for this event."
Those bragging rights probably go to Rina Kapuya of Istanbul.
"I have a 12-hour time difference with Hawaii, so I'm thinking I'm literally from across the world, and I don't think anybody's come farther," says Kapuya. "I'm the craziest of them all.
Later, as the sun sets, thousands of fans fill Waikiki Beach for the screening.
For blogger, podcaster and uber-fan Ozawa, there were only a few surprises since he's been stalking these film locations for months, but for his wife, this was all new.
"She was sobbing like a baby, trying hard not to, but the more she held it back the more her body would shake, so I just loved it," he says. "It was fantastic."