Lost: The Numbers
The Numbers at first seemed like a giant Easter egg hunt. Originally it was just that. A fun little game that the writers was having with the fans, but over time it began to evolve into a more central art of the story. The Easter egg hunt was fun though while it lasted. The numbers were 4,8,15,16,23, and 42. When they are added all up it is 108, which is another common number throughout the series. The Oceanic Six, that left the Island, it was the 108th day that they left. When they found the computer in the hatch in season two, they had to push the button every 108 minutes. It wasn't clear if the numbers exactly meant anything, but they did mean something to Hurley. He was dead set on the numbers being bad as they brought him bad luck over his time before the Island.
Hurley thought that the numbers were bad because he used the numbers to win the lottery, which netted him a hefty pay check but an even worse amount of bad luck. Hurley learned of the numbers when he was in a mental institution from a man named Leonard Simms who kept mumbling the numbers over and over. This led to Hurley using the numbers to win the lottery of 114 million dollars. As his net worth increased however, his bad luck increased. In his course to be rid of the bad luck he learns of others who came across the numbers. One person went as far as to commit suicide to be rid of the curse of the numbers. Through all of this, he was convinced that the numbers carried some sort of curse. He went to Australia to learn more about the curse, and of course on his return trip back to home, the plane crashed further cementing his belief that the numbers were cursed.
The numbers appeared frequently early on in the show, even in the most discrete of ways. For instance, Jack sat in the 23rd row of the plane while Ana Lucia was in the 42nd row. In the Bible there is phrase from Psalm 23, "For the Lord is my Shepard." Again, Jack sat in the 23rd row, and his last name is Shepard. The DHARMA initiative frequently used the numbers as well. They had test rabbits and used the numbers to identify them. The 23rd rabbit has been seen at least twice in the series and many of the hatches had doors with the numbers on them. When the survivors found the hatch in the latter part of the first season, Hurley noticed on the outside part before they blew off the door that the numbers were engraved. He was dead set on stopping Locke from blowing the explosive, but was too late. The hatch didn't exactly bring them any sort of bad luck, but did lead to a few deaths. Boone died in a way from the discovery of the hatch, Ana Lucia and Libby died inside of the hatch.
Any pre-concieved notions as to what the numbers meant before season six, quickly vanished when the episode "The Substitute" aired. The Man in Black takes Sawyer to a cave where Jacob had presumably rested at before. Inside the cave were to rocks on a pendulum, one rock was black (Man in Black) and the other was white (Jacob). The Man in Black takes the white rock and chucks it into the ocean saying to Sawyer, "It's an inside joke." (Again, plays into the good versus evil by way of using symbolism, which is a very big thing in this show which I talked about in my Smoke Monster hub.) Even more important, inside the cave on the ceiling were hundreds of names crossed out. The ones that weren't crossed out were Jarrah (16), Reyes (8), Ford (15), Shephard (23), Locke (4) and Kwon (42). All people that were potential substitutes for Jacob if something were to happen to him. These substitutes were supposed to watch the Island and keep the Man in Black from escaping. The Man in Black then goes ahead and crosses out Locke, as he had taken the form of Locke as he was killed by the Man in Black's puppet in Ben Linus.