Honestly the only thing I have to justify is "why so low?" Lost is amazing television. It's that sort of necessary viewing that everyone who watches television should watch. It is sort of the crystallization of what a serialised show should be. Whilst most shows go season by season, Lost has one story which has so far sustained it for four brilliant years. Plus with Season 5 starting in less than 3 weeks and the final season little over a year away, the Lost story looks set to blow away all expectations till its conclusion.
The only reason Lost is at number 3 this year is because I found two shows which I loved this year, they might not overthrow it as favourite (although one is stunningly close) they were superior to what Lost offered in 2008. Lost Season 4 was arguably the best season of Lost since Season 1, but with only 14 episodes it just didn't compare to the consistency that my top 2 shows offered over more episodes. However Lost is still superb and is the show I'm most hyped for that comes back this year (the fact that my top 2 shows have finished also helps).
So Lost has a near perfect cast (there have been a few duds), superb writing (only one show can beat it), a level of direction that is of film standard and quite possibly the most gripping story ever written, in any medium. You seriously have no clue where on earth the story is going to take you.
Lost might be pegged as that show set on a desert island where weird shit happens. But honestly it's so much more, Lost is about the characters, the writing and, yes, the weird shit. It comes together in one of the most fully realised packages a television show could ask. You actually become attached to characters (so much so I've teared up at certain points). Really Lost is perfect television and only one show matches it terms of quality.
Season 4 moved at a terrific pace with only two episodes that felt average. Plus then there was the fact that we got the ever so brilliant "Constant" like other top end television such as last years "Blink" from Doctor Who, "The Constant" elevated what it meant to tell a story on Lost, "The Constant" was the perfect merging of "Flashes Before Your Eyes" and a normal Lost episode that made the episode just amazing television. Then there was the fact that it had a real emotional pay off and was a real game changing moment.
Not many shows can claim to have as many amazing episodes as Lost, and those that do, are the elite. Shows like The Sopranos, The Shield and The Wire. Shows that fundamentally changed television. That is exactly what Lost is doing. It is the only show airing on a main network in the US to have a definitive end point, most other shows will either die a drawn out death or just get canceled. Lost will actually get to tell it's story and that's what makes it brilliant.
Lost is like a novel, and if the next two parts of the story maintain any of the quality that was to be found in Season 4, Lost will be held against that lofty pedestal of "GREATEST SHOW OF ALL TIME". However really we can't judge that until 2010 when the show finishes. But I know for a fact that I'm going to be there ever step of the way to watch this utterly sublime show until it finishes.
So if you're not already into Lost then just watch it!!! If you are I'm preaching to the converted. Here I present the first scene of Lost...obviously it looks better on a proper television in widescreen but it's still epic.