5 TV shows like Lost, sorta

Lost title card

“Guys, I feel Lost.” Said everyone ever watching the show for the first time.

So the island was…something or other. Tens of millions of viewers tuned in and enjoyed the hell out of it, but, in many cases, they were left with more answers than when they started. It was all part of the fun, I guess. For some people. But if you’re digging around for more TV shows like Lost, it’s a tough sell.

Lost was one of the most expensive TV shows to produce, with a huge cast, island location, and other issues. Duplicating the scope and setting is a challenge for any production crew, and that’s to say nothing of the writing, directing, casting, and scary smoke monsters and stuff.

Is there any hope for the future? Shall Lost fans ever be able to replace their beloved show, perhaps with a new show called Found, or something.

Sorta. Plenty of supernatural sci-fi programs have come since, and they have certain qualities that you might enjoy. Probably not everything, but they’re worth a try.

TV shows like Lost

1) Flashforward

FlashForward cast title

“Wait, it has Harold?!”

This one bears a circumstantial resemblance to Lost, in that all the characters are thrown into a seemingly supernatural scenario and must deal with the consequences. In this case, it’s that the entire planet simultaneously loses consciousness for 2 minutes and 17 seconds, and during this blackout, they see supposed visions of their own futures. The ensuing disaster (especially on roads) puts the sort of pressure onto the characters that the Lost survivors experienced as well, throwing them into a difficult scenario immediately.

The show was cancelled before a planned ending could be reached, but it did manage to run through the first season, generating mostly positive reviews for taking a bizarre premise and exploring the characters who then have to deal with issues that arise from it. It also pushes toward sci-fi territory in addition to character-driven drama by having certain characters investigating the accident, including one character that managed to escape it, and an earlier, identical event years before.

2) 24

24 cast

“Wait, there are characters besides Agent Bauer?”

And here we are at the suggestion for fans of fast-paced action and shaky cams.

One of the strengths of the new glut of supernatural drama shows is that they can keep you on your toes by always keeping you guessing about what’s coming next. Though in the case of 24 it’s for entirely different reasons, they were better at it than perhaps anyone else.

The constantly heightening tension, which you’d think might eventually reach a weird breaking point after which viewers wouldn’t care anymore, somehow seems to work all the time. 24 is set to high speed practically all the time, and the gritty directing style will probably keep the attention of the sorts of fans that enjoyed Lost, but got annoyed when things slowed down. I’m not saying that makes it better, but this is a good place to go for fast-paced action and ever-increasing dramatic craziness.

3) Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica, last supper cast photo

Except their suppers are rarely this civil.

This show might be the best proxy for Lost anywhere to be found. Probably no one actually thinks so, but it has a lot of the same qualities that kept fans of Lost glued to the set.

First of all, the characters are in a somewhat similar situation. They’ve lived through a disaster, and they have to deal with awful consequences. They also have to band together and work harmoniously, and often fail to do so for a variety of reasons. They get thwarted by the opposition, become driven further and further apart from each other, have to work out treaties, and suspect those in their own ranks of betrayal. Kinda like the survivors on Lost.

The structure and style offers the gritty realism of the shaky cam directing style, the frequent cliffhangers, the mysteries of not quite knowing what’s going on sometimes, the proxy of sci-fi in place of supernatural elements, life-threatening danger, interpersonal drama of all sorts, and somewhat religious overtones on the part of certain groups. It actually has a lot going for it, in terms of content and style, that you’d find in Lost.

Battlestar is also really good. It has the sort of name that puts people off immediately, because it sounds so much like sci-fi that non-sci-fi fans expect to hate it, but the sci-fi elements are rarely the reason to watch the show. The characters and drama are what shine through.

4) The 4400

The 4400 title logo

Probably tough to give each of them screen time, though.

Another WTF premise that consists of a whole lot of random people in a bizarre predicament beyond their control and the ensuing challenges, The 4400 consists of…well, 4400 people, all of whom mysteriously disappeared at some point in time, then all mysteriously reappeared, without having aged, all at the same time. Oh, and they have magical powers!

The characters have to deal with uncovering the mystery of their predicament, their powers, as well as the simple fact that they have to get their lives back on track, or start over somehow. It’s a tricky process, as you might imagine.

As with Lost, sci-fi elements such as time travel play a significant role, and eventually the 4400 are revealed for being more significant than a mere accident, and the uncovering of the mystery is part of the drama. Just like…you guessed it.

Sadly it was cut off before a real ending, and a fan petition failed to reverse the decision. Writers’ strikes, budget issues, and other woes finally did it in.

5) Heroes

Heroes cast title logo

There’s a companion show called “Normals.”

So yes, it’s obviously far more of an X-men successor than a Lost one, but dammit, supernatural sci-fi shows are hard to come by sometimes.

Minor sidenote: The trailer annoys the hell out of me. All these people discover they have superpowers, and they’re annoyed? Come on, guys. Get it together.

But anyway, structural similarities abound, even if the setting bears no resemblance; the ensemble cast keeps the story broad, with all sorts of plot threads and interactions. And, of course, the supernatural capabilities of the titular heroes drive some of the plot, and adds the “it could only happen in a story” fantasy element that fans of sci-fi or supernatural fantasy crave.

But dammit, guys, you’re superheroes. Quit being all fussy about it! Go do cool things and stuff!

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