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From the Introduction to the book:

Looking back, it is perhaps unsurprising that Lost was able to provide a common vocabulary for people to speak of something that simply could not be. After all, everyone knows that planes don’t just vanish.1 But much like it did on Lost, a giant hunk of carbon fiber and aluminum alloy had seemingly evaporated into thin air. As a result, the stories about the survivors of Lost’s Oceanic Flight 815 provided a well of resources for weaving the incomplete and sparse data from Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 into a more meaningful whole. Of all things, it was a television show that functioned as the interpretive framework through which individuals accepted and understood these events. Apparently, scientific protocols and sophisticated technologies were simply not enough, for they could neither explain away the ambiguities of the situation nor satisfy the public’s collective desire for these random and muddled events to mean something more. Instead, what allowed something meaningful to emerge—some coherence in the midst of chaos—was TV…

To continue reading, download the complete introduction to Watching TV Religiously: Television and Theology in Dialogue here.