"The strike screwed things up a bit but at least it wasn't a complete 180," said Sasha Wolff, a 34-year-old "Lost" addict from New York. "Of course I say that, but as soon as episode eight airs, I'll probably freak out."
"Without a doubt we're going to be hanging. Without a doubt we're going to be pulling our hair out and lamenting, waiting to see what happens next," said Ryan Ozawa, 33, who runs the "Lost" blog The Transmission out of his Hawaii home. "Hopefully it'll be enough to carry us over into the next one."
But the more casual viewer may not be as hungry for what amounts to an appetizer.
"The best way to see this show may be on DVD — watch as many as you want to without interruptions," Bianculli said. "The people who aren't obsessed, who just enjoy it, they could say, 'If it's only coming out for eight episodes, I'll just wait six or seven months and see it on DVD.'"
Season four could answer many questions. (How did Locke's father get to the island? What's up with the people in the rescue party?) But only one is guaranteed to be resolved after tonight's premiere.
"The question is not how many episodes are viewers losing because of the strike," Bianculli said, "but how many viewers is 'Lost' losing because of the strike?"