The story follows a detective as he investigates a mysterious motel room, which acts as a portal to an alternate universe. In the 1960s, an unknown event at the Sunshine Motel caused ordinary things in Room 10 to transform into items of wonder. The room and its contents gained unique and inexplicable properties, transforming them from mundane things into indestructible objects with extraordinary powers. These objects are sought after by anyone who knows their secrets.
If you're a fan of NBC's 2006 hit show Heroes
, chances are you'll get a similar kick out of The Lost Room
, a three-part, 4.5-hour Sci-Fi Channel miniseries originally broadcast in December 2006. It's pure hokum (especially when compared to Heroes
, which rises from the same creative zeitgeist), and not nearly as clever at it initially seems to be, but there's something undeniably compelling about its premise, which turns everyday objects from the Kennedy era into powerful talismans of supernatural force. The present-day story is rooted in a dark, terrible, and cosmically reverberant incident that occurred in a remote motel room in 1961. Now it's 45 years later, and Detective Joe Miller (Six Feet Under
's Peter Krause) has acquired a motel-room key that turns any door into a portal to "the lost room," a kind of alternate-reality no-man's-land, where his young daughter Anna (Elle Fanning, a look-alike for her older sister Dakota) soon goes missing. In his quest to retrieve her, Miller attracts the dangerous attention of various secret factions (with names like The Order, The Legion, and The Collectors) in heated competition to locate the many objects that hold strange powers and could, when gathered together, yield amazing benefits or tear reality apart.
Beginning with Krause, superb casting makes The Lost Room constantly engaging, even when its logic borders on nonsensical. Clearly intended as a potential series, it leads to a let-down ending where too many questions remain unanswered, but getting there is a blast. And while the smart, beautiful Julianna Margulies seems cast adrift as Miller's bland love interest (and a member of the object-seeking underground), the story grows increasingly intriguing with the introduction of a wealthy father (Kevin Pollak) obsessed with curing his cancerous son with the objects; an unstable nebbish (Peter Jacobsen) who's been driven nearly mad by his visits to the lost room; a devious doctor (Dennis Christopher) who falls in with a group of religious zealots convinced that the lost room leads to God; and various supporting characters (including comedian/monologist Margaret Cho) and subplots that lead you to believe this is all leading to something fantastic. That The Lost Room fails to deliver on its early promise doesn't mean it's a waste of time; it's got the same clever appeal as Heroes and Lost, and one can easily see how it might've made a more rewarding long-form series. Individual reactions will vary, but fans of supernatural sci-fi will want to check it out for themselves. --Jeff Shannon