I've been trying to write this for a while.
I continue to start over.
I think it's very important for me to say absolutely clearly just exactly WHY Lost is one of the best stories that has ever been told in any form.
First of all, let's put aside the fact that the writers, directors and Execs who oversee the production of this show are Masters of their craft. Anyone who has watched from Episode 1 like I have and has seen any of the season premieres or finales or the episode in season 2 (?) entitled "Numbers"---or, for that matter, ANY episode save for the first 1/2 of season 3---would be able to tell you that. When was the last time a tv series (or even really a movie) produced such a quantity of what I like to call "Oh Shit Moments"????
"Oh Shit Moments" (OSM) are just that. And you know what I'm talking about. Moments during a story- book, tv show, movie, play- in which your only genuine reaction is "OOOOOOOH SHIT!!!"
Well, folks, Lost is chock full of those moments. Almost every episode. I cannot think of a show since The Twilight Zone (the original, mind you) that has produced such fine suspense and mystery combined with humanity and drama. But, the difference with Lost is that Lost is one story!!! The Zone were a collection of stories. The suspense that Lost creates is unbelievable. The ability of the show's staff to constantly raise the stakes and make the story even more stressful and tense and dire and...well, scary, is something I completely admire. In this world that Locke, Jack, Sawyer, Kate, Sayid, Juliet, Desmond and so on live in there is continuous danger; and so, we- as observers- are a part of this. We feel the danger right along with them. When those cliffhangers come at the ends of the episodes, we have those OSM's because we know that those moments have SO much riding on them. Those decisions that have to be made, those revelations that are discovered, those characters that finally meet- these are all moments that are built up so well that we the audience might as well be on The Island ourselves. The reason Lost is a success is because these folks know what the hell they are doing.
And also, what other TV series can you think of that in its 6th season still has millions of loyal viewers despite the fact that NONE of us still KNOW WHAT THE HELL THIS SHOW IS ABOUT!??!?! I mean, one week it seems that the show is about time travel. The next week it's about destiny. The next week it's really a love story- man and woman, father and son, brother and brother, man and the world. Sometimes the show plays like one big conspiracy theory. And yet even still sometimes Lost seems to be a metaphor for man vs nature. Whatever this story is- whatever JJ Abrams, Damon Lindelof, and Carlton Cuse (who have all, by the way, earned my loyalty to any project they ever produce for ever and ever) are going to reveal to us at the storied end of the series next season- it has been told masterfully. It has sucked us in, and it has scared us, it has made us cry, it has worried us, it has made us laugh, it has made us feel like we're loved, like we're not loved, like we know what it is to be powerless against your situation but to fight on anyway. To use what little we have to soldier on. Even in the face of black smoke cloud monsters, evil Others, scheming madmen billionaires, a crazy pop-eyed Island dwelling double-crosser who has all the answers but can never be trusted and, the most difficult obstacle of all- the desire to get back to the life you know but the knowledge that you'll never be the same without those you love.