Letak, Abigail. “"Accidental Intellectuals"”, Boston College, 2012. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/2615.
As cult, quality, and mainstream television have merged, a new breed of show has evolved; such shows raise complicated themes and incorporate deep meanings. Drawing from Abercrombie and Longhurst’s (1998) audience continuum, this study focuses on the more casual portion of fandom previously overlooked in fan studies. These “everyday fans” differ from their cultist and enthusiast counterparts by limiting television to a hobby, not engaging in creative production, and not seeking out fan networks. The interviews with sixteen everyday fans as well as four cultists/enthusiasts ground Lost fandom in previous fan traditions and also explore the experience of a previously overlooked segment of the audience. Using ABC's LOST, this study shows how mainstream, everyday fans often unconsciously think about practical and profound issues of everyday philosophy simply by following characters and storylines. In effect, viewers of the show become "accidental intellectuals." LOST raises issues of love, redemption, science versus faith and good versus evil. The interviews with everyday fans reflect that viewers were not only using critical thinking in puzzling out the show’s mysteries but also engaging in deep analysis, personal identification, and the pondering of profound moral dilemmas through the medium of the characters, often without realizing it.