May 07, 2007 at 12:00 PM EDT

Much as I (and many other Lost-ies) would like to continue watching Lost for years to come, I’m actually relieved by the announcement that the show will run exactly three more seasons. Similarly, I’m glad the producers are going for quality over quantity by making each season just 16 episodes long. (Lost conspiracy theorists take note: 16 is one of the six cursed numbers, multiplied by three seasons is 48, whose digits are two more of the numbers…)

Variety calls the move a “potentially paradigm-shifting play,” which I think would be great. There are a lot of cinematic, serialized dramas that would benefit from having a fixed end date. Not just because it would force discipline on the writers, but also because it might encourage viewers to tune in. I know that sounds like a paradox (get invested in a show you know won’t last?), but I bet that one reason 2006-07 shows like Vanished, Kidnapped, and The Nine failed to find audiences is that viewers couldn’t imagine how they could work as open-ended shows, so they didn’t bother trying to get to know the characters. I still can’t figure out how Jericho is going to keep going, and I have the same problem with ABC’s new Traveler (which debuts Thursday after sitting on the shelf for a year, after the network watched one serialized drama after another bite the dust this season).

Do you think, PopWatchers, that more shows should come with built-in end dates? Are you more likely to watch Lost if you know there are only a set number of future installments? (I can just imagine ABC’s promo announcer saying, “Only 47 more episodes of Lost!”) And which current shows do you think would benefit most from having fixed-date finales?

addCredit(“Lost: Mario Perez”)

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