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Lessons <I>Mad Men</I> Can Learn From <I>Lost</I>‘s Final Season

Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner recently said that he'd like to set an end date for his landmark series, presumably so it can go out with as much style as it came in with (and avoid bringing his characters into the dreaded '80s). Seriously, no one needs to see a retiring Don Draper, Joan having to deal with gravity and a 30-something Sally Draper just being utterly annoying all the time. This news (which AMC denied without actually denying) immediately reminded us of when Lost announced how many seasons it would ultimately air. Back then, we assumed its end date would allow Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse to keep the show tight, allow it go out on a high note with one jaw-dropping twist after another and avoid useless filler episodes.... Now, we're not so sure. So, before Weiner and company finalize plans to set a hard-and-fast finale deadline, here are some potential Lost pitfalls we hope they avoid:

Don't have the dead corpse of Grandpa Gene suddenly be embodied by a 300-year-old spirit who is desperate to get away from the East Coast and must convince the entire original Sterling Cooper staff to reunite in order to allow this to happen.

If there's a massive corporate overlord pulling all the strings and watching all the actions of Sterling Cooper from an offshore locale, introduce him before the final season.

Don't suddenly forget that popular characters Sal, Paul and Ken ever existed just because you have no convenient way to work them into the story.

Don't let Francine steal little Gene from Betty in an attempt to protect the child, and then have Betty go from her gorgeous put-together self to a crazy, rifle-toting wild woman with unkempt hair.

Don't suddenly create an alternate reality in which Dick Whitman never became Don Draper and Betty pursued a modeling career, only to have them meet up under the most preposterous circumstances anyway.

Similarly, don't create a future reality where Don turns to drinking and is on a quest to get his family back together, and then have that future reality not be a future that could really happen or actually matters to the plot.

Do not, under any circumstances, push a beloved character down a well in Long Island or anywhere else.

If you say that you'll give answers about Don's life, or resolve major issues, do it. And don't save all the loose ends to be tied up until the very end.

Don't take a corporate battle for control of a company and turn it into a long, convoluted religious metaphor.

Don't make a bunch of filler episodes that exclusively follow Trudy and Pete's life and have them be all about their attempts to create a picture-perfect life together.

Do not have Don do something that causes a massive explosion that gets Peggy killed and have him totally change his personality out of guilt.

Don't have Peggy suddenly discover that there is a lighthouse outside her apartment window that she never noticed before.

Please do not allow Don to start wearing only white while a rival agency wears black as a not-so-subtle reference to an ongoing battle of good and evil.

Don't let one of Bert Cooper's pieces of collectible modern art fall and hit him on the head so hard that he loses the power to speak English.

If you're going to have a shocking surprise about Peggy's baby, don't vehemently deny that it is one thing and make it that anyway. No one will be surprised. Trust us.

Find out what would have happened to the actors' careers if they'd never landed their roles on Lost.

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