Krause stars as a divorced dad and Pittsburg police detective, Joe Miller. This is exactly the point where most but not all of the police procedural ends and the crazy begins. The series opens with a series of murders at a pawnshop with the number one suspect missing. Finding this guy is the key to The Lost Room. Joe finds his man dying from unknown causes and with his last breath, he places a key in Joe's hand.
From there, Joe's world spins out of control. You can try the trailer to try to get a sense of what's happening, but it doesn't quite cover it.
Joe finds every door opens with the key, yet returning to the door he entered doesn't work as it should. He hops from a sun-drenched hotel room off of Route 66... circa 1960 to many different points around the world. Through trial and error, he makes his way home. Joe's daughter , Anna disappears into the room sending Joe on an insane quest to learn the secrets of the room to bring his child back. And to clear his name of Anna's murder.
While it sounds like a bit from Monsters, Inc., the lost room is even odder than a one-eyed Mike Wazowski, Boo, and Sully dropping acid.
The world Joe and his daughter disappear into is one of creative storytelling with 100 objects cast minor characters to build a story of consistent insanity. Consistent enough to create a warped police procedural. Every item has a purpose, every purpose leads Joe step by step back to the room and his daughter, with every step, bringing a crazed 60s hip mythology to life through magical items. Items that call to people, items that are collected and killed for, the Objects of desire with a horrible price.
I wish I could say this mini-series was amazing, but it's really middle of the road. Peter Krauss and Ellie Fanning deliver, the story as wonky and compelling, but somehow the story never really progressed to satisfaction. It could be that Sci-Fi Channels' treatment of the story as a backdoor series pilot is to blame. Or maybe the internal consistency was not meant or able to progress to a regular serialized TV show. I'm not sure.
It was well written, nicely filmed with interesting locations, and still didn't quite rise to what it could have been. In rewatching in 2021, it is still as intriguing and crazy as it was in 2006. A modern-era Twilight Zone that didn't get the same traction as that other, more sustaining TV show. It has many of the same weird vibes as the X-Files without being locked at the turn of the century.
I give it a strong 3 of 5 stars.
You can pick up a DVD with the original 3 episodes parcelled out as 6 one hour episodes plus an 18-minute featurette called "Inside the Lost Room". On the DVD, the episodes have the following titles:
- The Key,
- The Clock,
- The Comb,
- The Box,
- The Eye,
- The Occupant.