Well that was a very interesting ep of "Lost". I love the way Sawyer maneuvered events and people there on the island. So in honor of him I'm posting the link to The Sawyer Song
just in case anyone hasn't seen it.
Now that "Threshold" has been cancelled and "Surface" has ended with only a 15-week season and it's return is doubtful (and the possibility of a Nim stuffed toy) that leaves "Invasion" as the sole survivor. It's certainly improving but like "Lost" the creators are having to balance giving the answers right away in order to keep enough of an audience for a 5-year run and not giving all the answers right away in the hope of a 5-year run. That's not easy. With "Babylon 5" and "BtVS" it was easier to maintain mysteries as most eps had a beginning, middle and end with a few tantalizing clues to the overall arc. In fact I believe JMS had the 5 seasons of "B5" plotted from the beginning and only had to change things when the suits interfered.
I think we fans do appreciate the challenge of multi-seasonal storylines no matter what Hollywood thinks ie compare the complexity of the plots of "Threshold", "Surface" and "Invasion" with the stand alone eps and simple plots of "The Invaders". In "Andromeda" when Kevin Sorbo fired Robert Hewitt Wolfe and discarded his multi-season story arc and made the show into basically stand alone eps, the series went downhill rapidly. (Trivia question: anyone know the name of the first actor to play Dylan Hunt?).
In a decade or so while ratings will still be important, TV viewing habits will be harder to measure as we might be watching shows by downloading them to our computers or iPod or cellphones to watch right away or later. The entire way of creating shows might have to be overhauled. Perhaps creators might be guaranteed a number of eps in which they can arc their series so they can make stories with beginnings and an eventual endings after a large number of eps without fear of cancellation. I remember many years ago watching a series on the Japanese channel called "Women of the Shogunate" about the life of Hideyoshi Toyotomi and I think it took about a year's worth of weekly eps to tell about his life meaning the producers were given the go-ahead to take their time in telling his story so in effect it was a maxi-miniseries. Maybe this will become more common in the future. I hope so.