When I was a kid, my Dad bellyached that he was giving up on prime time when they took Ironside off TV. Jeepers, I thought, TV was packed with great shows like The Monkees, Laugh In and Room 222. But it turns out that I am my father's son, and I've lamented the passing of more prime time TV shows than my Dad ever did. When Cheers went off the air, I told myself at least there was Seinfeld. When Seinfeld went off the air, at least Frasier was still on. When Frasier left, I had The West Wing. And when The West Wing was cancelled, at least there was ABC's Lost. Until Sunday, May 23.
When creator J.J. Abrams first crashed Oceanic flight 815 in the fall of 2004, he set a new standard for television pilots. Compare that first hour of Lost to any major studio release. The special effects, the instant character definition and the breathless pace were as good as any Hollywood blockbuster. But like millions of others, I cursed many of the 120 hours of Lost. The scores of plot lines and extra characters made my head spin. However, when the story returned to the core characters, Lost shone. Pound for pound, Lost had the best cast in television history. The show produced at least eight breakout performances, and countless supporting roles and cameo star turns.
The final episode of Lost will haunt me. Was it perfect? Of course not. Did it answer all of the mysteries? Sorry. But for me, the finale was satisfyingly intelligent and unabashedly emotional. And it touched the third rail of prime time television: faith. It explored good vs. evil. It explored unrequited love. And the writers' vision of life everlasting was incredibly brave. I've watched the final hour four times already and appreciate it a bit more each time. They had me at "goodbye."
Everything you need to know about Oceanic flight 815 (through Season Three) in 8:15: