It seems like after the writers’ strike-induced hiatus, LOST got a whole lot better and The Office got a whole lot worse.

LOST‘s entire 4th season has been, overall, pretty fantastic. They’ve taken a new yet exciting direction with the implementation of flash-forwards and they now have an end date for the series, so they’re able to write towards that finale with some confidence.

The Office, on the other hand, has lost something. The first half of the season, before the strike, was strong and moved the story along well enough and remained consistently funny, with both their trademark painful awkwardness and crazy hysterics from Michael or Dwight.

After the strike, nothing was that funny. Most of the story lines became borderline depressing and staid. The Jim/Pam arc was going okay even though they were together, yet in recent episodes, I keep expecting Jim to propose and every he doesn’t take the chance, the excitement for their relationship wanes a little more.

There are little moments that are funny; mostly the Jim/Dwight pranks, but that is quickly becoming a tired element of the show. It can’t produce all of the laughs. I realize and respect the need for drama in a comedy. I think it makes The Office a more mature sitcom if it can handle darker material. But recently, it hasn’t been doing that well.

The finale failed to inspire any more confidence. While I recognize the need to set-up the stories for next season — Dwight and Angela still going hot ‘n’ heavy, Jim and Pam still unable to seal the deal, Michael and Jan still trapped in a horribly destructive relationship — I didn’t laugh once during the finale. There were a few smiles and an occasional half-hearted chuckle, but that’s it.

Maybe I’ll watch it again and give it another chance, but as of right now, I’m not pining for the return of The Office. On the other hand, Lost has betwixt me heart and soul and I have to resign to the fact that us Losties have to wait another millennium for a new season. That is, of course, if the Screen Actors Guild doesn’t go on strike and ruin another TV season. I could care less about any other show; just let The Office and Lost live.