I think Peter Suderman's exactly right about this:
A compressed season may not have been a good thing for The Wire (although, hey, it's still not bad), but I think it stands a good chance of improving the prospects for Lost. One of The Wire's strengths has always been its expert pacing, balancing the various needs for character moments, plot development, and plain old suspense. The true scope and complexity of each arc usually took five or six episodes to develop and another five or six to unravel before the last two episodes provided closure.
Lost, on the other hand, has had the opposite problem; it's been positively spastic with its pacing, usually too slow, and always too heavy on laying the groundwork for intrigue without providing nearly enough follow up. The creators are experts—perhaps the best on TV—at sucking viewers in. But they don't know exactly what to do with you once you're on the hook. A slightly compressed schedule could potentially force its writers to focus on what's truly integral to their story rather than on what's merely tantalizing.
Now whether Peter's right about this ... well, your call.
Ross Douthat is a contributing editor at The Atlantic.