After reading the year-end “Best Of” lists that cited Lost, the ABC TV series about plane crash survivors among the year's top TV programs I ordered the entire first series (2004) from Netflix.
I am so intolerant of episodic TV because of the annoying commercials except for news I almost only watch TV programs available on DVD. I watch when I want to watch, as many or as few episodes as I want at any given time.
During 2005 I watched all of OZ, all available DVDs of The Wire and the first season of UPN's Veronica Mars. In each case, reading the recommendation of others sent me to explore these TV dramas which I would otherwise have missed.
I believe Lost deserves it's top-ten designation. The series is plot and incident driven with superb character development that includes a lot of backstory about the lives of the stranded passengers on a mysterious island.
I'm not a fan of reality shows so I was skeptical at first. But this is definitely not a reality show—there's a lot of incongruous plot involving polar bears, unseen whispering voices and unexplained creepy phenomena none of which appeals to me, but admittedly contributes to the grip the storyline has between segments and episodes. I was never bored.
Lost is not a 'procedural” drama, like West Wing or CSI, in which the plot line is finished, the mystery or conflict resolved by the end of the hour. With those shows one can watch any episode, anytime and be satisfied with a self-contained dramatic story.
Nor is Lost a reality show, although it owes much of it's production design to the Survivor model. I have only once watched Survivor and have no interest in bug-eating, back-stabbing hard bodies playing outward bound games.
With Lost, both action oriented plot along with interweaving backstories about the characters build over many episodes a captivating mystery about interesting people in constant danger while struggling with their past and uncertain future.