That’s not hyperbole. I don’t watch that much TV anyway, especially primetime dramas.

I didn’t watch the series premiere of LOST when it aired. In fact I didn’t watch any of the first season. In 2005 I was working at the company that was producing the DVDs for season 1. Often during my lunch hour I would watch TV shows or movies that we were working on since I had easy access to all files on our internal network. I had overheard many conversations amongst co-workers about LOST, and decided one day to see for myself what all the fuss was about. I was instantly hooked after watching the pilot, and mowed through the first season in a week or two. Same for my wife. We’ve watched the series faithfully ever since.

I had the island map from the interior door of the Swan hatch as my computer desktop. At work we had regularly scheduled meetings to discuss the previous nights episode. I got to program the season 2 Bonus Features DVD, which included a Connections feature that explored all the connections between the characters in their flashbacks through the first two seasons. I thought it was really cool that we got Francois Chau (Marvin Candle, Dr. Chang, etc) to host the disc. The island mythology was fascinating and the storytelling was unlike any I had seen before.

Turns out that all along it was the writers that were "LOST".

By the end of season 2, the mysteries of the island and its inhabitants were really starting to pile up on each other, and fans of the show were starting to get frustrated. I had one foot in that camp, but I kept the other planted in the LOST universe. I didn’t want to stop watching the best TV series I’d ever seen. I had faith in the highly acclaimed writers and producers that they had a plan. I enjoyed coming up with theories of my own and debating with others about theirs. All this was done with the belief that someday we’d get answers.

When it was announced that the show would have a definite ending after 6 seasons I was relieved. I figured that eliminated any chance of the show ending abruptly due to poor ratings or other network politics. I thought the writers could finally start bringing things together and that everything would make sense. After all, they had plenty of time and an exact end date to work with. But what followed in seasons 4 and 5 was more mystery, filler, dead-end tangents, time-travel, random violence, and red herrings. It started to become a real possibility that the writers actually had no idea where they were going. My expectations for the show were diminished, but with an end in sight and so much time already invested, I had to endure to the end.

I had only small hopes for the final season. Even so, every episode was as unfulfilling as it was wayward, almost mockingly vague and cryptic. What was once intrigue and excitement after each episode was now sadness and disenchantment. I went from wanting it to end so I could finally understand it to just wanting it to end. As the series finale crept closer it became painfully clear that the questions we had been seeking for years would go unanswered.

The ending was predictably hollow and incomplete. To justify the conspicuous lack of elucidation the producers and the show’s apologists conveniently claimed that the show was always about the characters and their relationships, not about the island.

And that’s the problem.

The show was almost ENTIRELY ABOUT THE ISLAND. If all I cared about was whether or not Jack and Kate ended up together I could have watched any romantic comedy. From the beginning the island was presented as the MAIN CHARACTER. I wont go into all the unexplained phenomena of the island here, suffice it to say that only a few were even meagerly addressed. Most were completely ignored. The entire fan base of the show was built upon the enigmatic pseudoscientific properties of the island, the Numbers, Dharma, the smoke monster, the hatches, Jacob, time travel, etc. It all turned out to be completely meaningless in the minds of the writers. It was just stuff they made up to keep people watching – nonsensical meanderings presented all along as integral parts of the show that would someday be explained. Little did we know it was all filler to keep us around for six seasons, and at the end they would just show the characters hugging and call it good.

Some will say that those with my point of view don’t get that we’re supposed to “draw our own conclusions” and not expect to be spoon-fed all the answers. To that I say that one of my favorite movies is Cast Away, which ends with the main character standing at a crossroads. We are to draw our own conclusions as to which road he chooses, and I was among the minority that thought it was a perfect ending. The difference is that Cast Away is about one person’s struggle to survive on an island. The island is never presented as the main character. We know exactly what Chuck Noland’s options are and can decide what each of us would do given the circumstances. No unsolved mysteries. No smoke screens (pun intended). No meaningless diversions.

The production value of LOST is unquestioned. I doubt we will see that kind of budget for a network television show in the near future. The cast and crew did an admirable job in bringing an epic adventure to life for our viewing pleasure, and their work is even more impressive knowing now that the entire story was nonsense. They still made us care. The score and sound design were stellar if not flawless. All of these came together to produce a television spectacle that will be very difficult to replicate. It’s the proverbial tough act to follow.

It is partially for that reason that LOST will be the last TV drama I ever watch. I feel like I’ve seen the best of what this generation’s TV producers can do. But mostly its because of the disappointment. Because I bought into the script and stepped faithfully into a world created by ultimately flawed entertainment professionals who could not fulfill expectations of their own conception. I don’t blame the writers entirely. I fully understand the system where ratings determine the life and death of a show, that there’s no way to know how long a show is going to last, that you must try and lure viewers with an exciting pilot episode that leaves people wanting more, that you have to continuously create reasons to tune in next week.

But they had plenty of time to explain in the last three seasons what they had built up in the first three. People would have been much more likely to watch knowing that they would get answers instead of more questions. Not even attempting to explain the mysteries of the main character of the show (the island) is unacceptable. Even the plot lines concerning the human relationships were full of holes and made no sense. I guess it’s my fault for expecting too much. Just don’t expect me to invest a couple hundred hours of my life into a TV show again.