So over the past few weeks, we’ve been catching up on past episodes of Lost in preparation for Tuesday night’s season premiere. We’re still uncertain of the show; it feels too often like the writers are making it up as they go along, digging themselves deeper and deeper into a hole hatch from which there will be no possible escape. The fact that there seem to be no fewer three John Lockes is, for us for now, more frustrating than exciting.

But the die-hard fans love and revere the show. So much so, it seems, that given the opportunity to watch an unauthorized and leaked copy of Season 6’s first episode, they turned away en masse.

How to explain this? Over at Wired, writer John Abell gives it a go. (Hat tip: Above the Law). Abell runs through a handful of possible explanations before landing here:
[M]aybe it’s because fan interest in the show is so high that the value of a shared experience — in high definition — trumps getting a head start on the water cooler conversation that will begin during the show on IMs, Twitter and e-mails and, oh yeah, in-person among those people who actually watch the show physically together in the same room.

Fair enough. But what does this have to do with law? Abell takes it a step further, arguing that consumers will place a fair value on intellectual property — and respect content-providers’ rights — when they themselves feel respected and feel fairly treated. Continues Abell:
Maybe this is just about avoiding spoilers or crappy video. But I have a hunch there is more to it. The phenomenon of postponing joy in the era of Bit Torrent, general revile for DRM, and TiVo liberation may reveal a truth in the rough: People want what they want, but it isn’t necessarily the knee-jerk assumption of some content owner that the motive to bypass legal channels is merely to steal. Maybe consumers are just fine paying a fair amount for a good experience, and just hate stupid restrictions and monopoly pricing.

In any event, here’s to hoping in the end the Lost people wrap this thing up in a way that’s as respectful to their viewers as their viewers seem to be to them.