McCULLOUGH: Ready for 'Lost' to get lost

How "Lost" are you?

Ever since the television phenomenon began in 2004, I have been hooked. The saga that started with a group of seriously flawed characters stranded on a mysterious desert island has kept my rapt attention for five seasons.

It's done all those things good TV should do — I've laughed, I've cried, I've gotten angry and one time I actually jumped up and cheered, though now I can't remember exactly why.

But as much as I love it, I'm ready for it to be over.

That's because for five years I've watched as the show's producers threw smoke monsters, double-crosses, triple-crosses, force fields, people who see dead people, ghosts, kids with mystical powers, mysterious numbers, tattooed sharks, time travel — and of course, let's not forget polar bears — at us, apparently in a very real attempt to scramble the brains of several million people.

And I can't take much more.

The shows writers are masters of the twisting plot, the zig and zag, the visual shuck and jive. I have also been convinced since about season three that they're making it up as they go. Tuesday's season premiere did nothing to dissuade me from this theory.

I had to accept time travel and Egyptian statues last season. Now they want me to watch parallel universes, too? And to get to know yet another mysterious island leader? And oh, by the way, the fountain of youth is apparently on this island, too, an island which anyone can make disappear if they can find the big steering wheel in the hole in the ground.

If the show's producers set out to create the television equivalent of meth, then mission accomplished because this show is killing me, but I can't stop, even though I know the end is near, and just like with drugs, it's not going to end well.

You see, I've been whacked by the "The Sopranos." I found out that "Seinfeld" really was about nothing. By the time the "Friends" all moved on, so had I. And let's not forget "The X-Files."

"The X-Files" was every bit as addictive as "Lost" — and every bit as mysterious. But I couldn't miss it. When it came on, I didn't answer the phone. I didn't answer the door. You didn't talk to me during "The X-Files," probably because by the end of that show's run it required all of my brain power to concentrate on the ridiculous mystery-wrapped-in-a-riddle-inside-an-enigma plot.

And it didn't end well. Despite a lengthy monologue from one of the main characters explaining the whole convoluted mess I doubt anyone understands what really happened, including the writers.

So I don't have high hopes for "Lost" going out in a blaze of epiphanic glory. But, like the rest of you, I'm going to keep watching until the bitter end, hoping that maybe for the first time since "M*A*S*H" someone will finally get a series finale right.

They won't, but we can hope. And it's such good television, I don't even care anymore. I've accepted that it will let me down.

But there's one question that absolutely has to be answered. At the end of the pilot episode, Charlie asked, "Guys ... where are we?"

Fail to answer that one, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, and I'll find you wherever you are.

Even if you're on that stupid island.

E-mail Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays.