Hi, my name is David, and I'm a Lost-a-holic. I followed the show for five years.
How do I explain my feelings towards Lost as a series? I'll use another TV show metaphor. In the second season of The West Wing, Leo, the chief of staff, is trying to persuade the President to sign off on a missile defnse system, even though the latest test failed. He tries to persuade him by saying, "We succeeded on 9 out of 10 parameters," he tells him. "What was the tenth?" asks the President, with a sense of mischief. "We missed the target."
That is very close to how I feel about Lost, only in this series case, it was worse. This was a show that succeeded 95% of the time. In the final analysis, so many of the questions that it asked were answered in the shows final season. And the avoided the mistakes that The X-Files made during it's final seasons that I kept defending it to, well, non-fans, that I really thought the show would tie everything together at the end. And then 'The End' came... and it just didn't. I intend to watch the series again, and see if I missed anything, particularly in Season 6, but right now, my feeling is still, one of being cheated.
Now I fear for Lost's legacy. Though critics still consider it one of the greatest series ever created, I have already seen articles written online, advising shows like The Event how to avoid turning into Lost. I feel that the show may be consigned to the ashbin of the internet, as yet another mythology series that crashed and burned, like the X-Files. Worse, actually--- at least the X-Files has a possibility as a film franchise. No such luck for Lost.
The serialized drama is a risky thing. Throughout the shows runs, there were at least two dozen shows that tried to jump on Lost's particular bandwagon. Invasion, Flashforward, Life on Mars (American version), Dollhouse ... all of them interesting shows that never got quite the chance that Lost did, and I got suckered in on most of them, hoping for the next big thing. Hasn't come yet.
Few shows have inspired more joy in me, or appeal to the better angels of my nature. I loved Buffy and Battlestar Galactica but I've never felt the urge to buy a bunch of their action figures or bobbleheads. (Speaking of which, Nik, have you ever been inspired by any series in such a way, I've always been a little curious about this as well.) I was genuinely sad when the series was over, not just because I felt slightly cheated, but also because I was pretty damn sure I'd never see another series like this again. Fringe is a criminally underrated series, and it does have the same cult following, but Walter Bishop is still not John Locke.(Though maybe now the Emmy judges will think so) I've followed a lot of series that might have had that kind of pull, but they all got abruptly cancelled. Each year, I kept watching series, hoping I'd find the next Lost. Each year, I came back to the original. I don't have that option any more.
Basically, this group--- the group of fans who have gathered at this site--- is Lost's legacy. This is a series that deserves to be remembered, not because it's grasp exceeded its reach, but because it did so many things right so much of the time. Lost may not have been a complete success, at least not the way we wanted it to be, but it was not a failure.