On the day before the "Lost" series finale, the NY Times posted an overview of the series and said:
The show had one good season, its first. It was very, very good — as good as anything on television at the time — but none of the seasons since have approached that level, and the current sixth season, rushed, muddled and dull, has been the weakest. (written by Mike Hale)
Not that I agree with him, but in that opinion, I was reminded of 'The Sopranos'. If David Chase had ended that series with the first year, with Tony killing his Mom with the pillow in the retirement home and either getting away with it or getting led away in cuffs. (Not that it was ever likely - the cops were worthless in the Sopranos' world.)
But instead, the show continued on and with the death of Nancy Marchand, there was a loss of that focus on the mother-son dynamic that made the show different. I knew people who thereafter were only watching it to see how people (and which ones) got whacked each week. You could get that in any mobster movie.
And Chase even started to cannibalize his own plots from past TV shows to keep the beast fed. For instance, the two low-level goombahs who tried to kill Christopher so that they could get in good with Tony? That was lifted straight out of an episode of 'The Rockford Files'.
By the end of 'The Sopranos', I was going through the motions, watching it just to get to the finale and see how it all ended. But it was a case of diminishing returns with each passing season, more a collection of great moments and excellent episodes rather than being great as a whole. And of course, the very ending just really ruined it for me.
I realize I'll be in the minority on that opinion. So be it.