"Stories are nothing but mystery boxes."
J..J. Abrams, the brains behind Lost, Alias, and the new Star Trek 1 & 2 (and Alcatraz you can read about how I feel about that here), could be the consummate master of both the TV show premise and serial suspense. He gave a great TED talk years ago called "The Mystery Box"(video above). Serious Abrams fans will have already seen it, but I think it's worth another visit.
Abrams talks about how he loves boxes... loves to take them apart and loves to make them. He says that mystery is actually an unopened box and it becomes uninteresting as soon as you open it.
"In whatever it is that I do, I find myself drawn to infinite possibility, that sense of potential.”
He brings out a box he bought decades ago marked, "Tannen's Magic Mystery Box." He's never opened the box because "It represents infinite possibility. It's represents hope. It represents potential." Once you open the box, it's just not as much fun.
He also shows a clip from Jaws where there is no action and almost no dialogue. He said people wanted to repeat the success of Jaws so they ripped off the shark, but when you look at this scene you realize they ripped off the wrong thing.
"There may be times when mystery is more important than knowledge."
It may indeed be true that sometimes mystery is more important than knowledge, but only in fiction. I love the concept of the mystery box. But at some point, I like to open the box even if you just find another little mystery box inside.