When viewers settled in on Sept. 22, 2004 for the premiere of a new ABC show about marooned survivors of a plane crash, there was no way of knowing what the next six years had in store for them.
Very quickly, Lost revealed itself to be so much more than a survival drama. The sci-fi series created by Jeffrey Leiber, J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof would introduce enthralled fans to hatches, polar bears, smoke monsters, the Dharma Initiative, the Others and more obstacles meant to prevent the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 (played by Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Josh Holloway and more) from leaving their tropical prison—or lure them back if they managed to escape. Overseen for much of its run by Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, Lost encouraged viewers to try and solve the puzzle at its heart while always promising that answers would eventually arrive.
But by the time the show signed off in 2010, it had introduced more mystery than could reasonably be resolved and its finale chose to focus more on the characters we’d come to know and love over the specifics of why and how every last strange occurrence had come to pass. Naturally, fans were left reeling at the perceived bait-and-switch, earning the show a spot on the list of TV’s most controversial series finales ever.