On Tuesday morning, television is going to look a lot worse than it does right now. On Sunday, we’ll say farewell to “Lost,” and on Monday, “10 Things I Hate About You,” “24” and “Law & Order” will bow out.
We haven’t reached the “put your TV out with the trash” stage; at least a half-dozen very good shows will be returning next fall. Still, there’s no question that these four departing series will leave a void that needs to be filled, either by new or existing shows.
Here are my final thoughts.
“Lost” (8 p.m. Central Sunday on ABC, two-and-a-half hours)
On air: 2004-10, six seasons
Why it was great: Scenes of people trekking through the jungle for some important purpose. Sawyer having nicknames for everyone. Getting people to talk about great literature from the past every time one of the characters picked up a book.
“Lost” always gave us something to think about, starting with “What would it be like to be stranded on an island?” That was a compelling enough premise, but starting with Charlie’s famous utterance (“Guys, where are we?”), the mythology only got richer. “Lost” has always held my attention, even when I’ve complained about it.
Seasonal breakdown: The first is the best. Seasons 2-4 drifted away from the point before Season 5 got back on track by exploring the Dharma Initiative. Runner-up status for best season is the current one because of its Alterna-World, which I think will pay off in the finale.
Best character: Claire Littleton. Her Australian accent is cute. I would’ve said John Locke, but then they killed him off in the middle of his arc.
Possible heirs: “Fringe” obviously leads the pack. It’s got an alternate world (with alternate versions of the characters), a rich backstory about rival factions hoping to harness technology, characters in need of redemption … basically, it’s “Lost” in the concrete jungle rather than the Hawaiian jungle and with weird science instead of weird mysticism. Also, NBC’s upcoming “The Event” is a serial about a guy uncovering a mystery, but it doesn’t have “Lost’s” supernatural edge.
Share your thoughts on “Lost” in the comment thread, and check out my upcoming posts on the three Monday finales.