While trying to articulate to someone how I could love the show so much now, even though I was so stressed in the middle of the series, I came up with an analogy that I think fits my experience pretty well.
So here's my analysis of my emotional reaction to LOST.
Lost Season 1 and 2 is like starting with an empty kids room... where in you are getting all kinds of fun, new, mysterious toys and you're having a blast watching them pour in, like Christmas every week!
BEST SHOW EVER! It's so exciting and you're talking about everything you're getting with whoever will listen.
But then, by Season 3 you're starting to getting overwhelmed. Christmas every week was great at first, but now, there's too much coming in and too much there to be able to play with it all at once. You're going from toy to toy, to new toy and beginning to feel stressed, unsure what to do... maybe even fighting with people over what should be played with and what new toy you want next week.
Season 4 feels to me like a kids room that hasn't been cleaned out for years.
It's such a mess that you can't figure out which toys and games are amazing great fun (Jack's We have to go back!) and which ones are just junky toys that are thrown in there for an instant gratification moment to make you feel like you're getting something new...(Ben not killing Widmore because 'you know I can't do that'...a rule without any real importance for the show at all.)
I wouldn't say it's quite like those shows about hoarding, but it's close to that stress level, the first time through, anyway. There's so much piled up and hiding that you can't even see it all anymore. Sorting through it alone feels impossible - you need help from the writers and it doesn't feel like they're doing anything but tossing in more mysteries.
There's good to be had in Season 4, if you know what to focus on - but for me the first time through, I didn't. There was just too much going on and too much from previous episodes which hadn't been addressed and I just wanted to cry.
Season 5 is when the writers have come in and agreed to help clean up the mess. It's like when you've finally dedicated yourself to start sorting out some of the expensive and/or techy toys into what's important and valuable and you put them in safe places on the shelves. The mess is still there all over the floor, but at least you're able to put away a few things and agree with the writers that it's starting to make sense, even if there's still stuff you don't know what to do with.
Season 6 to me (starting with The Incident) is going through the older stuff that has sentimental value and importance... the mythology and the emotional connection to the characters we've grown to care about and those things on the island that are meaningful - and were literally broken or ancient - the statue foot, Richard's story, the source of power, who is Jacob? Who is the man in black, what happened to Claire?
And also, Season 6 is like the final purge where they had to make these important emotional decisions to just throw out things (and people) they are either done with, or don't know what to do with - burn the cabin, we have no room for it. We liked Ilana in the store, but when we got her home, we really have no time for her... Sun and Jin were great, but we really don't enjoy playing with them anymore.
Those final decisions are where I fight with my kids the most - and it's where fans argue the most too - what do you keep, what has sentimental value, what is too broken to fix, what should never have been brought into the mess in the first place. My kids and I don't agree on their toys and fans don't all agree with each other or the writers on which story elements should have been brought in, kept, fixed, are meaningful....
Rewatching the show, is like nostalgia. Like going through toys from your past and all the feelings coming up again - I enjoy some of it more now than I did back then... Plus, there is no stress because I know what's important and what to focus on so all that frustrating confusion isn't there for me like it was the first time through.
This might not ring true for others, but it fits for my experience, and, I just had to share...