For a variety of reasons, we didn’t get around to watching the finales of these shows until tonight, and everyone has already had their say, so I won’t have much to add. Lost went out as it went in, IMO … almost every episode was intriguing, inspiring plenty of online water-cooler talk the next day, but I never cared about it once the water-cooler was unplugged. I never missed an episode, liked it most of the time, but now that it’s over, I won’t miss it.
A common way to discuss Lost is to divide fans between those who like the puzzles and those who think it was about the characters. I don’t know that I favored one side over the other, but I will note that the finale was dissatisfying to me in terms of the puzzles it did/didn’t solve, and I didn’t care about most of the characters, so the “let’s all take a curtain call” aspect of the finale didn’t get to me.
24 offers a useful contrast. It was always about blowing stuff up, and watching Jack Bauer kick ass, yet the final scene between Jack and Chloe carried far more emotional resonance than any of the final “couples” scenes on Lost. This wasn’t the first time characters on 24 elicited a strong emotional response … who can forget the sad death of Edgar Stiles? A lot of this had to do with the cranked-up speed of 24 … it banged you on the head until you responded, so of course you got emotional … nonetheless, if Lost was about characters, then so was 24, and I liked the characters on 24 a lot more. The villains of 24, in particular, kicked the Smoke Monster’s ass.
Whatever … it probably just comes down to the fact that Jack Shephard was one of my least-favorite characters on Lost, so the finale wasn’t for me. I watched both shows, I enjoyed both shows, and both shows are historically important, coming in the era when television series caught up with audiences who could handle “difficult.” But I don’t anticipate thinking much about these shows now that they are gone. There is always room for solid series that keep our attention, but there’s a lot of space between those shows and the ones in the pantheon.