Never mind the mystery of the island or what's going on with the Smoke Monster - Does Lost have a secret agenda that goes beyond entertainment? And if so, should we be worried?

According to Michael Ausiello's live blog from the Damon Lindelof/Carlton Cuse panel at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, the fifth season of ABC's island (and, increasingly, off-island) drama is very purposefully not for fairweather fans. Lindelof is quoted as saying:

If the first episode of Lost you see is the premiere of season 5... you most likely won't understand the majority of it.


The reason for that confusion? The show's increasing science fiction - and more specifically, time-travel - filled nature. Lindelof again:

Time travel has been in the show's DNA from the beginning. The audience is prepared to go on that journey with us.

It's an interesting quote - and ties in with previous comments from both Lindelof and Cuse that they've "hidden" the science fiction nature of the show in previous seasons, but feel liberated by it being such an openly core part of the series at this point. Certainly, the show's moved away from its earlier mystery castaway set-up towards something more traditionally scifi (Teleporting islands, nefarious scientists and time-travel centered around love? I mean, come on. It could practically be an episode of Doctor Who), but how much of that is because Cuse and Lindelof feel as if they've "trained" their audience to be able to deal with it...? And if that's been Lost's secret mission all along - to indoctrinate a mass audience into sci-fi - how long before we can give Lindelof and Cuse honorary io9 medals?">Live blogging 'Lost': Team Darlton break their silence on season 5! []