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'Lost': Season 5 countdown! New toys! Geek heartbreak! Videos!

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Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008. Just eight days until Thanksgiving. Thirty-two days until Hanukkah. Thirty-six days until Christmas. And 63 days until the season premiere of Lost. Freakin’ Lost! Whoo-hoo! Can’t you feel the butterflies of excited anticipation flittering in your gut in that mildly uncomfortable way that kinda makes you wanna go poop? I sure do!

Of course, there are other, potentially less flatulent ways to express your Lost enthusiasm. Tonight, for example, if you live in the Lost Angeles area, you could head over to Meltdown Comics (7522 West Sunset Blvd.) at 7 p.m. and meet executive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof as well as several of their writing staff cohorts. They’ll be there to pick up their weekly allotment of new comics, no doubt (I hear Carlton is a huge Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers fan) (if you don’t get the reference, you must be 18 or older to Google it), as well as sign autographs to mark the release of a new line of Lost toys marketed by Kubrick, the super-cool Japanese company that specializes in small, blocky collectible figurines. (Google search for images. I like ’em all, especially the sad-faced Hurley…though Kate looks a little Fabio to me.) Feel free to scream and faint with I just met the Jonas Brothers and I’ll never wash my eyeballs again! hysterical glee — I hear Damon and CC totally love that.

In the meantime, here’s a new Lost mystery to puzzle over. Have you guys seen this?

It’s a series of short video clips for…well, no one quite knows for sure. In fact, my emails to certain peeps in the Lost camp were returned with equally baffled reactions. The assumption is that these clips are merely promotional spots touting Lost broadcastsin Britain. But the content — Sayid bursting through the doors of whatappears to be a new Dharma station and then being seized by variousmorphing substances shaped like the numerals 1, 2, and 3 — has fansbuzzing and mulling the significance, if any. My theory? Smokey livesin a Dharma lab when he isn’t hunting castaways — and he has siblings.Yep: the crazy season is upon us!

Yet where God opens a Lost door, he must close one, althoughmaybe not all the way. There has been an intriguing — and possiblydisappointing — new development in the show’s latest between-seasons,reality-blurring, Internet-based alternate reality game. Since July,the Dharma Initiative has been recruiting Lost fans viadharmawantsyou.com to volunteer for a new version of the weird scienceoutfit. The game/narrative has been moving rather slowly for some, butthe expectation of all has been that it’ll begin to pick up and startpaying off the closer we get to the new season. But yesterday,participants received an email from Hans Van Eeghen, head of Dharmarecruiting, announcing that due to the current financial crisis, Dharmahas gone bust. Writes Van Eeghen: “This stunning reversal of fortunehas forced us to abandon our ambitious plans. In fact, absent thisfunding, the Dharma Initiative was forced to make the only sensibledecision we had available: we sold the Dharma Initiative to thetelevision show LOST.” The email goes onto to indicate thatparticipants can expect to soon hear from Cuse and Lindelof about whatwill happen next. My sources declined to comment, but I fear that thisemail is ABC’s coy way of announcing that the ARG is being revised,curtailed, or canceled altogether due to the economic downturn thathas mandated budget cuts throughout all of Hollywood. When we know forcertain, we’ll let you know. Post your insanity below.