LOST went on the air in 2004. The country had been through a devastating trauma but the culture didn't reflect it. Music had become American Idolized. Comedians were still asking if you had noticed this thing or that one. The Sopranos was exploring how a mob boss could balance family obligations with crime. Desperate Housewives uncovered the dark secrets of suburbia.
But LOST asked the questions that were on everyone's mind, but never asked out loud: how do you survive a disaster? Once you've survived it, then what? And what does it all mean?
The show used elements of fantasy and science fiction to get at truths that were too real to be addressed in more realistic drama. It was often confusing. Some episodes didn't work. But on the whole it was amazing, powerful, masterfully woven together, drawing you in just like the island drew in the characters. Like them, you needed to know.
It was the right myth at the right time.
After six years of promising answers to basic questions, the finale dared to suggest that the real questions worth asking are on a higher plane. Once again, LOST transcended its own genre and its own medium.
As Sawyer would say, "What did you expect, Freckles?"
If you missed any or all of the preceding six years, there is life after TV.
For the rest of us, we are lucky that we found LOST. And that LOST found us.