The news today is that the show will end with Season 6. The show's creators have signed a deal that guarantees that it will end at that point. Each of the remaining three seasons will be only 16 episodes long. This is great news for two reasons. Firstly, as with the brilliant Babylon 5, having an end goal will tighten the storytelling and give it some clear direction while allowing for the mysteries to be resolved (if it goes on indefinitely, they can never truly explain most of the mysteries). Secondly, fewer episodes per season means fewer filler episodes and more care taken with the episodes that are produced. The more TV I've watched, the more I've observed that shows with 20+ episodes per season almost always have a few poor episodes to meet their quota, while shows with fewer episodes tend to be stronger throughout.
My one remaining doubt regarding 'Lost' is the use of flashbacks, a hallmark of the show. I love the flashbacks, the way they flesh out the characters and deepen the mysteries of the island. The thing is, there are only so many they can do before it starts to grow tiresome and less relevant to the main storyline. I can already see this happening to some extent in Season 2, where they're sort of reaching for ways to maintain a connection between the characters' pasts and the present.
In any event, my major issues with the show have been addressed and I can accept a few more years of flashbacks (especially when they are compelling mini-stories in and of themselves). I can't wait to see how it all ends...
Devin at Chud has a good write up on this, where he states:
A word for those who complain that the show doesn’t answer any questions or solve any mysteries: it does. In a major way. But what upsets some folks is that the answers keep bringing up new questions and mysteries – which, one assumes, is the whole point of a show marketed as a mystery from the start.
It's a fair point, and I think my initial statement about the show not giving any answers was a bit harsh. BUT, upto the end of Season 2 (can't comment on Season 3, it may reveal a lot more), these answers have been few and slow in coming. The hatch has been revealed, as has its function (sort of), and so have 'the others', but the show has taken up a lot of time while still leaving a lot up in the air. I guess my issue is with the pace with which things happen, something the last few seasons (and season 3, or so I've heard) ought to resolve.