Lost Final Season: Sink or Swim?

February 2, 2010 marks the date which begins the final season of one of TV’s biggest pop culture phenomena of the past decade. I will begin by saying that I was never into Lost not because I didn’t like the show or even thought it was bad. I never got into it because I missed the entire first season. While I heard people gradually get into the show by the time season 2 rolled around and it had become the water-cooler show I knew I was too late.

Shows like Lost is the kind of show which is never easy to get behind even from the get-go with it’s over-encompassing mythological story arc not to mention several running subplots which bisects and even joins the main story. I knew that I couldn’t give the show it’s proper due  by rushing into watching the first season. It’s the same reason why I hesistate to recommend the best show on TV ever to people who never watched it from the beginning. I speak of HBO’s The Wire. These kinds of shows needs and requires an almost slavish like attention and loyalty from it’s early adopters.

While I may not have adopted and watched Lost I have bought all the DVD sets and will buy the 6th season as well. I do this so I can watch the show once it is done using my own timetable and also giving it the attention it deserve. Some would say that the show will have lost some of it’s mystery since people have been talking about it to me or I have read thing about it on the internet. To be honest I have a knack for tuning out such things if I have to. All I know about the show is that people on a plane crashed on an island with a polar bear and a smoke monster. So yeah, the show hasn’t been spoiled for me.

Now, with this 6th season about to begin I can see the anticipation building amongst people I know who literally love this show. It is all they can talk about. It is this kind of devotion I wish other shows whose run ended too soon would’ve gotten (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Dollhouse, Firefly, Jericho and many more). I haven’t seen this kind of devotion to a TV show by so many people since Chris Carter’s The X-Files. That was another show which gradually became a pop culture sensation after the first season and just kept building and building until it reached its final season.

I see many similarities between the two shows. Both have labyrinthine mythologies which comprise the bulk of its main story. Both shows have a small core of characters whose motivations are clear but everyone else around them steeped in mystery. Pop culturally both shows have ingrained themselves in the mass audience’s TV watching habits. Both shows have been well-written with some of the best characters on TV of the this generation.

With this final season of Lost I bring up one thing that may distinguish it from Carter’s long-running serialized show. J.J. Abram’s show has a chance to go out swimmingly. It has a chance to deliver on it’s legions of fan expectations. Many are already expecting this final season to be the best of the whole series and will want nothing less than a “big bang” of a series finale. While I think it would be great if Lost went out with a bang and not a whimper the way The X-Files did in its final season, I still caution people to temper their excitement and expectations. A show with this much hype throughout its time on TV almost seemed destined to underwhelm and disappoint a large portion of it’s fans. I use the series finale of Battlestar Galactica as a prime example.

That show from Ron D. Moore was another show which built a loyal and fanatical fanbase with its complex storyline which reached an almost religious myth level. When the finale finally aired there were equal amounts of satisfaction and major disappointment. The ending of that show, for some, just didn’t satisfy their expectations and certainly left questions unanswered.

Will Lost avoid this pitfall? Only the next couple months will answer that question and for Abrams’ and his team of writers they better hope that the ending they have for the show will not sink the series in the end, but let it swim into TV legend.