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By RD Heldenfels Published: May 19, 2006

I've been spending a fair amount of time on the new-season announcements, ''American Idol'' and some family business, so I haven't been blogging as much about shows as I would like. Here's some catching up.

''Lost'' on Wednesday was another disappointment. I don't want to get into too many details because some folks are still in the cone of silence about it (including my bride), but anyone who has watched the show regularly could have figured out everything it revealed -- either from analyzing Michael's behavior or reviewing what we already know about the Others. And it was badly stretched out, since we could have gotten its thin revelations in about five minutes instead of in an episode that ran past the hour mark.

''The West Wing'' bid farewell on Sunday, and even the bride, who hasn't been a fan of late, was drawn into it. I wish it had had more to offer. As leery as I am of grand statements in finales, this almost begged for one -- some kind of validation of all that Bartlet had done, maybe in Santos's inauguration speech?

And it should have closed the circle with the season opener, where we saw the gang gathered at the opening of the Bartlet library. Even if they had just reused the scene from the earlier episode, it would have helped viewers; I've heard from several who either missed the opener or, with the passage of time, had forgotten the details. In fact, looking back now, it would have been better for the show to have saved the library sequence for the series finale. Knowing what we did from it, some of the recent plot developments were no surprise.

On the plus side was last Sunday's episode of ''The Sopranos,'' another really good one, which has me already feeling the pain over the show's looming hiatus. Johnny Sack has become a genuinely sad figure, and his wife Ginny a tragic one as she suffers because of the lone flaw of loving Johnny. I know, he's a mobster, and he's responsible for a lot of deaths. But his steady humiliation at the hands of the feds -- and his colleagues, including Tony -- should generate sympathy pangs in anyone who has ever unsuccessfully battled a merciless bureaucracy. Then, in contrast to the consequences of Johnny's way of life, we have Vito, who loves the action (and hates regular work) so much that he can't help going back to the life, even if it could mean his death. Great contrast, well done, and on top of it, Janice's crying scene.

I haven't gotten to the season finale of ''The O.C.'' yet, but I plan to. As Johnny Cash might say, ''I want to see 'The O.C.' just to watch her die.'' And by now you know who ''her'' is, since Mischa Barton blabbed that her character was dying before the death had aired. Granted that Fox was promoting that someone on the show would die, and that Barton has long been reported to want out, and that the death of a series regular is pretty commonplace on TV shows these days. It was still a big spoiler for her to let that out. I have to think she was pretty unhappy with the show to give away that development. But, since she was just about the worst actress on ''The O.C.,'' I don't regret her demise.

More once I clean some other things out of the DVR -- although the cleaning is going to have to fit around the Cavs-Pistons tonight.

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