Getting stranded on an inhospitable island with a bunch of nefarious characters and a blood-thirsty beast that lurks in the bushes has turned out to be a good thing for Dominic Monaghan.
The British actor acquired cult fame status by playing the hairy-footed Hobbit Merry Brandybuck in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. And now his smoldering portrayal as tortured rocker Charlie on ABC's "Lost" has positioned him as one of the hit show's breakout stars.
"It's great to be in a show that people actually watch," Monaghan told the New York Daily News recently.
"My friends watch it," he continued. "And it's great because they're not tuning in to a piece of (expletive) show just to see me. They watch it because they want to watch it."
Monaghan has seen his share of bad TV, most of it in his native England. Although he has the blockbuster "Lord of the Rings" movies to his credit, he had few reservations about committing to an American TV project.
"American television is just a lot more dynamic and creative," said Monaghan. "There seems to be quite a lot invested in American television. They take it really quite seriously over here, which is really refreshing. They give it a lot of weight."
Another selling point was J.J. Abrams, the mastermind behind "Alias," who created "Lost." The new show revolves around a group of people stranded on an island after a plane crash.
"(Abrams) was someone that I was really impressed with," said Monaghan. "He has an innate ability to get you excited about what he's working on."
The cast of "Lost" is sequestered on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, where they endure a grueling production schedule and little advance warning of plot developments lest spoilers end up on the myriad "Lost" fan sites.
"They track all the scripts so if one turns up on eBay, they will know who did it," Monaghan said. "They keep up with what's being said on the Internet and make sure that they confirm or deny rumors that pop up."
But Monaghan has some information about upcoming episodes.
"In future flashbacks, you're going to see Charlie (at) the height of his heroin addiction," he said.
"We're definitely going to see more of the monster," he added, offering another snippet of plot. "At least one of the major characters is going to die by the end of the season. And the monster could be the reason that character gets lost."
On whether or not there is a supernatural element, Monaghan is more cryptic.
"Everyone on the island," he said, "is linked in some way."