I’m a sad panda. As you know, ABC’s sci-fi drama “Lost” is coming to an end. After six seasons and 121 episodes, TV’s most intriguing episodic series is calling it a day.
Unlike the end of “Battlestar Galactica,” which I approached with a certain amount of (well justified) dread, I’m at peace with “Lost” going off the air. I feel the story needs to be concluded before it’s stretched out of shape. TV has a tendency to milk shows long after their expiration dates; and episodic shows, those that have built-in end points, suffer the worst. Most, if not all, wind up canceled before they get a chance to conclude properly. At best, they get a two-hour TV movie to tie up loose ends. (Project: ALF, anyone?) But the creators of “Lost” have prepared for this since Day 1.
It’s not that I expect every single mystery to be tied up in a neat little bow. I already know that’s not going to happen, and I’m perfectly happy to roll the remaining questions around in my head for years to come. Honestly, so long as poor Hurley and long-suffering Desmond depart with happy endings, I’m going to be OK with whatever transpires in “The End.”
I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of the show. I’ve enjoyed almost every season. (Admittedly, parts of Season 3 were a little slack. Cough—Nikki and Paulo—cough.) For me, it’s entered the pantheon of classic television alongside “M*A*S*H*,” “Cheers,” “Friends” and “Northern Exposure”—shows that introduced me to characters I actually cared about. I was interested in what happened to the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. And I’m deeply curious to see where they end up. This was always the tricky secret of “Lost”: As absorbed as viewers were in mysteries about hatches and ancient skeletons and four-toed statues, it was the backstories of the various characters that mattered most.
So how should we mourn the loss of this modern TV classic? Starting on Saturday, May 22, we need to watch “Lost: The Pilot” (KOAT-7 7 p.m.), reliving the two-hour pilot that started it all, “Pop-Up Video”-style.
Sunday, May 23, is the big day. Start early with a “Lost”-inspired backyard barbecue with 48 total strangers. Set up a kiddy pool, surround it with play sand and nosedive a couple of model airplanes into the makeshift beach. Play a few “Lost”-centric games like Senet (the ancient Egyptian game that Jacob and his evil twin play) or Connect Four (Hurley’s nuthouse rec room favorite). Eat “Lost” food (tropical fare like fish, coconuts and wild boar will work). Supplement that with a few fake labels off the Internet and serve Mr. Cluck’s Chicken Shack buckets, Apollo candy bars or any number of generic Dharma Initiative food items. If you really want to get ambitious, bake up some tasty “fish biscuits.”
Just be sure to huddle around the TV at 6 p.m. for “Lost: The Final Journey,” a two-hour flashback of significant events from the series. At 8 p.m., it’s “Lost: The End,” the two and a half hour series finale. It doesn’t actually end there, though. “Jimmy Kimmel Live: Aloha to Lost” airs at 11 p.m. Producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse will be there with cast members Jorge Garcia, Josh Holloway and Evangeline Lilly. A final goodbye to help ease our collective pain.