The NYT has an interesting roundtable up on whether network television has a future.
One interesting comment was on the power of characters vs gimmicks:
Some worry that the big network shows aren’t developing great characters that will last. I’m not so sure about that. “Lost,” when you get right down to it, is a character study. We put up with the monsters and time jumping because we want to know what happens to the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815.
Lost has some of the best characters on TV and certainly they are its focus. Seasons 1-3 were premised almost entirely in gradually revealing each character's story, details which made the 4th and 5th seasons even more captivating as the character arcs continued to intersect and develop.
But who are we kidding, I want to learn all about the monster too...