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The Best Writing About Lost Leading up to Sunday's Final Episode

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Bloggers and critics around the world are writing their final farewells and tributes to the show that has intrigued and debilitated them for the past six seasons. While many writers have turned to listing their favorite episodes or speculating about how the whole show is going to finally end, some TV critics have instead offered up explanations for the show's prowess and success in the form of elongated prose. As always, some were more successful than others. Here are excerpts from the best columns on why "Lost" was so beloved:

Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times:

"There is something always at work beneath the surface in this show, a kind of structural poetry that embodies its themes of coincidence and fate through parallel actions and mirror images, visual and verbal echoes across space and time and, lately, worlds. (I speak of the flash-sideways universe in which even the dead castaways are alive, and thriving, and which may allow the characters to have their happy endings.) These devices are the meter and rhyme of "Lost," and -- with the rhythms of the actors and the colors of the island -- they've kept the show kind of beautiful, even when it hasn't made much sense or has wandered into unprofitable cul de sacs."

Mike Hale, New York Times:

"The contract between author and audience is being rewritten throughout our culture. Certainly we have always expected the satisfaction of resolution and revelation in our fictional narratives, but we had to let creators provide it on their own terms and then judge the overall result. "Lost" is a sign that that's not so true anymore, at least with regard to television. Now that the public conversation about how a work should play out can be louder, and have greater impact, than the work itself, the conversation will inevitably begin to shape the work in ways that earlier television producers -- or, say, Charles Dickens -- never had to reckon with."

Linda Holmes, NPR:

"And that's the sense in which Lost works allegorically, for me. I'm interested in bafflement and struggle and confusion about what's the right thing to do. I'm interested in sacrifice and loss. I'm interested in devotion and loyalty and pondering other ways things might have worked out. All those elements of the storytelling work fine as a sort of grander mythology, because obstacles exist, whether or not I understand why or how those obstacles got there. As long as those obstacles are demonstrated to be there, and as long as they stand between a character I care about and an comprehensible goal, I really don't have to have the details."

Joshua Alston, Newsweek:

"On one hand, you can fault Lost's brain trust for kicking around so many Big Questions and themes that are central to the human experience, because doing so cranked up the intrigue level to places their resolutions can't possibly reach. But it's exactly that audacity to explore such questions that made Lost such an absorbing, engaging series, and one that allows the viewer a safe way to discuss weighty, frightening existential issues. All the Lost finale needs to do is provide some closure for the characters we've grown close to over the past six seasons. As for answers to the big questions? Lost doesn't have them any more than we do, but it is to be lauded for getting us to ponder them in ways we might not have otherwise. In other words, there's nothing inside the box except more boxes. That is as it should be."