It's been a few years since Lost first debuted to rave reviews, introducing a huge cast of characters in a format that has since been imitated many times with few successes. Never before had the TV audience been treated to a show so enigmatic, unique, involving, thoughtful, and exciting. The first season ended with a bang, and we couldn't wait for the next season...
Only to be treated, in my opinion, to a largely lackluster year that reverted to showing too many of the same overlapping sequences, dragging things out when the pace could have been so much more brisk. There seemed to be a lot of filler episodes, but I was determined to stick with it--surely this show couldn't suddenly drop so low! It must be set-up for an amazing second half...
And I must say viewers were duly rewarded for their patience, because the pace definitely picked up, events snowballing into incredible developments--namely of course, the capture of Jack, Kate, and Sawyer by the Others, with the aid of the by now notorious turncoat, Michael. Things couldn't have ended on a higher note, really.
With the third season, I felt that Lost got back to its roots--intrigue, tension, and intense character development. I thoroughly enjoyed the third season in its entirety--I can't help but mention the jaw-dropping first and last episodes of the season!--things seemed more direct with less bushwhacking. The plot just could not be sidetracked much with the urgency of Jack, Kate, and Sawyer's circumstances (keyword "much," because it still happened, lagging very slightly near the middle for which I have to withhold "1/2" a star).
I enjoyed the new characters--the surprising and darkly amusing pair Paolo and Nikki, greater insights into Ben, and particularly Julia, a satisfyingly maddening character you sometimes sympathize with, and hate yourself for it later when it's not clear whose side she's on. She's the perfect wild card with believable motivations, and it is with her that the Others begin to lose some of their mystery and other-worldliness.
That is not to say everything is revealed...far from it, in fact, but some things have as promised been answered, but naturally, we are given even more puzzles. Rather than feel tiresome with the additional burden of more questions, I was as curious as ever--Lost knows just how to present new riddles: not so head-on as to be overwhelming, never off-handedly as for anything to feel made up on the fly, and ultimately, never without the element of fascination. Just what is the nature of Jacob? Just who is Naomi? Just what are the Others trying to accomplish, and what is their relation to the Dharma project? Is Sun doomed?
Layers upon layers upon layers! With the sad departure of 2 loved characters, the only upside I can think of for season 4 is an even more focused scope for the plot...never mind the possible return of Michael! To say I'm excited for what's to come would be an understatement, but until February (an unbearably long ways away), reliving this season will have to suffice!
In summary, I highly recommend this. You might have heard the entertainment news of dropping viewership at last due to more and more unsolved mysteries piling up, but I can only say that it's their loss: these people are missing out on a brilliant show that feels refreshed and on the right track again!