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I

have admitted to being a TV junkie on more than one occasion here. I can watch hours of mindless J-dorama relatively guilt-free… unless I have a stack of papers to grade. And one of the reasons why J-dorama–that’s Japanese TV drama to the uninitiated–can be easy to watch is that they are short, in terms of number of episodes.

In Japan, production and/or broadcast companies will develop a story, pitch it to potential sponsors and when the money is ready, they will create a series that will run for nine to twelve weeks–the everage show being about eleven. Watching one dorama is like reading a novel. You meet most of the characters in the first chapter, characters develop as the plot unfolds, they reach a climax and the last episode is a kind of denouement. If the story is good, then there is a degree of satisfaction, you put down the “book”, and life goes on.

This is not the case here in the US.

We live in a Flash-Gordon, Saturday-matinee kind of world over here, where each episode ends with the main character in a dreadful situation, and every viewer is left hanging there, wondering until the next Saturday, what will happen to our hero. In the world of TV, this has been extended not only to the end of an episode, but to the end of a TV season. Blame Dallas. After “Who Shot J.R.” waaaaaaaay too many shows use this hook in the season finale to hold their fans in suspense over the summer.

Well, the summer is over! And tonight is the season premier of “Lost”. Woo hoo! I can’t wait. What happens when Locke, Mr. Eko and Charlie fail to enter the code and push the button in the computer? What was that eerie light shining on everyone’s face? A nuclear explosion? (Well, hardly. That would mean the end of the show.) And what of the “Others”? What will they do with Jack and Kate? Will Michael come back to rescue them? Personally, I have faith that Sayid and Sawyer/James will come through and save the day.

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