The Emmy-winning showrunner behind Lost and The Leftovers addressed fan reactions to the divisive series finale of Lost as well as the recent fan petition calling for HBO to remake Game of Thrones' final season with "competent writers."
"When the fans rise up, and they have a sort of hive-mind approach, the media culture says that there's an empirical belief that, 'Oh, the Lost finale sucked,' or 'We are putting together a petition to demand X, Y, Z,'" Lindelof told journalists during HBO's presentation at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Wednesday. "But that's not all fans, that's some fans. What the proportion is to the overall fandom is anyone's guess. We're living in a culture where online, Twitter, social media, or the pieces that [journalists and critics] write are directing the zeitgeist. The Lost fans had demands; there were things that they wanted, but they also wanted to be surprised. I don't really know how to thread that needle. As a storyteller, I'm a little bit confused about the term 'fan service.'"
Referencing the Game of Thrones characters Brienne of Tarth and Tormund Giantsbane, who many fans hoped would develop a romantic relationship, Lindelof said that fans want certain things to happen in a show they love, and they're upset if the show goes another way. But fans often complain if those things do happen after all. "They'll say, 'Oh, that's just fan service,'" he said.
Ultimately, Lindelof said he has to ignore what fans want when he makes decisions about a show.
"My job is to make something that pleases me and the people I work with," he said, later adding, "You can self-identify as a fan and write the stuff for yourself to some degree and hope it connects with other people. If you're doing this job, and your intention is for everyone to love it, you're not going to be able to do this job."