This past weekend, one of American TV's most successful prime-time dramatic series came to an end.
More than 20 million people watched the finale of ABC's "Lost," which was filmed entirely in Hawaii.
For six years, audiences around the globe tuned in to follow the adventures of the survivors of a plane crash, stranded on a mysterious and dangerous island.
The castaways, who came from many parts of the world, had to learn to live with each other, and their pasts. Each week, the show took them - and viewers - on an emotional and mind-bending roller coaster ride, through a dizzying loop of supernatural forces, armed conspirators and, of course, romance.
""Lost" is completely groundbreaking," said Henry Ian Cusick, who played the character Desmond. "And I'm so pleased for it because I love mythology and I love sci-fi."
While many fans pondered the mythology of "Lost," others were drawn to its depth. Storylines often touched on matters of fate, destiny, spirituality, the meaning of life, or what it means to be human.
Even though "Lost" featured an evil smoke monster, which terrorized the castaways, executive producer Jack Bender says the show was really more about the monsters within the characters.
"It's ultimately about these people, it's the humanity of the show," he says.
Over its six-year run, "Lost" won dozens of awards, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe for best drama series.
Michael Emerson took home an "Outstanding Supporting Actor" Emmy for his portrayal of the character, Ben Linus. He credits the writers for much of the show's appeal.
""Lost" seems to me the best and most successful and logical use of a multicultural cast on television, seems organic," says Emerson. ""Lost" plays to our taste for mysteries and puzzles in a really good way."
Critics credited "Lost" with sparking a resurgence in serialized dramas, and inspired other networks to embrace more diversity in their casting. It was the first prime-time TV show to feature characters speaking in their native language with English subtitles.
"I think it's changed the landscape of television," says Jean Higgins, one of the show's executive producers, who believes the series inspired other shows, through its storytelling and diversity. "I think a lot of them are really derivative of "Lost.""
The end of "Lost"
With so many viewing choices, getting audiences to tune in to a serialized drama each week is no easy feat, yet "Lost" managed to hold onto a huge, loyal fan base.
Damon Lindelof, one of the show's creators, says getting ABC to announce an end date for "Lost" three years in advance, gave them time to carefully craft the plot line leading to the finale.
"The idea of thinking about life after "Lost" or life without "Lost", is incredibly bittersweet," he says. "But at the same time, I think that we're all thrilled that it's ending. The fact that the show is now coming to an end, and we're ending it on our own terms as opposed to the show is being canceled, or went on three or four years after it should have, really generates this tremendous excitement."
For cast members like Jorge Garcia, who played Hurley, filming their final shows together was poignant.
"Coming in this season, shooting has been really cool, but kind of feels like your senior year, where you're really appreciative," he says. "And you know the sadness is coming, but you're not there yet. Right now, you're just kind of enjoying everybody and just soaking everything in again."
Fans can keep on soaking it in. "Lost" continues in syndication, on DVD and on countless Websites devoted to the extraordinary adventure.