This exotic survival saga about redemption and community started earthy and existential and finished esoteric and mystic, sparking endless discussion and frustrating some of its fans in the process. What is inarguable is that its tantalizing, labyrinthine mysteries helped change the way we watch and talk about television.
This is like a breath of fresh air for someone who never stopped loving it. Finally, the bitter years of disappointment, in which the whole thing looked like it would be whitewashed from history, seem like a memory. As someone who was astonished to find himself buried in an avalanche of praise for something he was enjoying, and being thoroughly unused to such things, this is reassuring. But it also suggests that the new praise may also suggest that all the previous love will amount to something, in the future, that will make it harder to rediscover than, say, The Prisoner, something that continually enjoys revivals precisely because it didn't have an ending, or The Fugitive, because its ending defined the whole thing. What good is a cult following if it completely collapses?
As a fan of Star Trek, I know what it's like to see something you love lay dormant for years. But the thing that keeps Star Trek coming back is that at its heart, it's relatively simple and durable in new iterations. What about Lost? Fans tend to binge-watch things that continue giving them visceral thrills. A lot of people came to Lost because they wanted to know answers, and they kept finding them in strange and unexpected places. But when they saw where it was all headed, what the last answers would be, they lost interest. The ending of Lost is the same as its beginning. At its heart, Lost is an examination of the human condition, far more demanding, and ultimately forgiving, than anything else in this moment has proven to be.
But maybe it's too demanding. Fans saw something flashy, and so came aboard for that. Do fans of old television really come back for substance? Absent from EW's list was the cathartic, short-lived Boomtown. I've never found much interest in reviving interest for that, but it remains a truly treasured memory for me. Theoretically, it'd be easier to rediscover. A lot of the key players resurfaced in Justified. And yet...?
This is the strange place in the cultural ether I always inhabit. Maybe it explains me. I don't think I'm a contrarian, but that's what I end up seeming like. I don't know. Maybe I just shouldn't worry about it. Let succeeding generations do that. I have my memories, right?