Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof

In the Dharma dumps this week, Lost fans? Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse feel your pain.

This would have been the week that Lost returned to the airwaves after its typical eight-month hiatus. But now that midseason is upon us, and there's no sign of Jack, Sawyer, Locke or Hurley on the horizon, reality has finally set in: The show's not coming back, Kate! It's not coming back!

As the usual Lost return date approaches, Lindelof tells TV Guide Magazine that he's been hearing more from wistful fans coming to terms with their island fever.

"Yes, there has been some wist," he says. "Which is appreciated more than I can articulate. As for coping, everyone has their own mechanisms."

Lindelof is busy with his active feature career (including the next Star Trek sequel), but says he's been able to fill some of his idle time "watching every great show I missed as a result of making Lost for six years. I'd advise starting with Battlestar Galactica, moving on to Breaking Bad and ending with The Wire. I'm convinced the best way to watch a series is to just binge."

The writer, who co-created Lost with J.J. Abrams, says he also still regularly hears from viewers debating over the show's merits. "Even the people who absolutely hated how we ended it still have the need to tell me this in a variety of creative ways eight months after the fact," he says. "I used to lose sleep over this, but I'm actually starting to embrace the fact that while their assessment of my talent (or lack thereof) sometimes hurts, it's nice to know that at least they cared enough about the show to reach out and tell me so. Repeatedly. OK, I'm still losing a little sleep over it."

Lindelof calls it "part of the grieving process."

Lindelof and Cuse, of course, famously negotiated an end date for Lost, allowing the producers to end the show last May, after six seasons, on their own terms. But there's a part of them that remains nostalgic for the show, which turned the executive producing duo into stars as well.

In a recent piece for the New York Times, Cuse writes that after the end of the show he "felt relief but also great uncertainty."

Cuse is now developing the Civil War drama Point of Honor for ABC, along with Randall Wallace (Braveheart). Getting back on the series horse, Cuse wrote in the Times, promises plenty of challenges — including the inevitable Lost comparison. "But as tumultuous as it all can be, I realize this what I truly love doing," he wrote.

As for Lost fans adjusting to the fact that there will be no seventh season this winter, at least they can turn on Hawaii Five-0 and imagine that Jin (Daniel Dae Kim) not only survived but now speaks perfect English on a whole different island.

"Shhhh," Lindelof quips. "That is Jin. Don't tell."

Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!