When it first aired, Lost was groundbreaking for the way it rejected common TV structures, presenting a serialized show that demanded viewers come back week to week. It helped lead us into the era of prestige TV we still enjoy today, though leading that charge could be a struggle, as co-creator and showrunner Damon Lindelof discussed in an interview with Collider.
Lindelof says that the plan for the series was only ever to run for around three seasons. With the show’s hook relying on dangling mysteries in front of viewers hungry for answers, it could only ever sustain itself for as long as those mysteries were compelling.
“Lost was like, ‘What’s in the hatch? What’s up with the monster? Who’s the original Sawyer? How did Locke get in the wheelchair? What is the nature of the island? Why does it appear to be moving? Who are the Others?'” Lindelof told Collider. “There were all of these compelling mysteries and so we were saying, ‘We wanna have this stuff answered by the end of Season 1, this stuff answered by the end of Season 2, and then the show basically ends after about three years.'”