5 New Shows For People Who Are Still Looking For Their Next ‘Lost’

next lost collage

In May, Lost will have been off the air for two years and for numbers-obsessed, island lovers like myself it feels like we’ve been kicking around sideways purgatory waiting for our soul mate to show up for an eternity now.

I would never argue that Lost was a perfect show, but when it was good, it was better than anything else on television and when it was bad it was still wildly addictive. Since Jack and company went into the light, the networks and fans alike have been looking for the next character-driven, mystery-laden, life-consuming genre show to come along and capture our imaginations. The sad truth is there will never be another Lost for a myriad of reasons, and attempts to replicate the magic have only led to a long parade of failed imitators (see Flashforward, The Event).

But that doesn’t mean we should all give up on new shows and spend the rest of our days curled up with our fancy hatch-shaped box sets. I think when most people say they want another Lost what they really mean is they want another show to feel passionate about.

No single show has been enough to fill the island-shaped hole in my heart just yet, but the five on this list have helped me move on… a little. While only one of the shows on consistently matches (and dare I say it: maybe even exceeds) Lost in quality, they all have just enough of that familiar spark to keep me coming back for more.

1. Game of Thrones
 

Game of Thrones HBO Sean Bean as Eddard Stark photo

That show I blasphemously implied may exceed Lost in quality? It’s this one.

For the fantasy-adverse, Game of Thrones is a tough sell. I almost missed out on the show myself when I saw all of the swords and what not. My love of all things geeky has never extended to knights, maidens or dragons, but it only took one episode to trigger a Lost-level addiction. Like Lost, Game of Thrones has a sprawling cast of morally gray characters and a layered mythology. It’s dense, smart fantasy that understands a story is only as good as its characters, a lesson most of the shows that followed in Lost‘s wake never seemed to grasp. Game of Thrones creates a very specific world that doesn’t look like anything we’ve ever seen before. It’s a dark and bloody place, but it’s also one you’ll never want to leave.

If you’re a fan of Lost and you haven’t given Game of Thrones a chance to woo you, just do it. I promise you, Westeros will feel like home in no time…just remember not to get on Cersei’s bad side.

2. Alcatraz
 

Alcatraz (FOX)

Hey, it’s got an island, time travel and Hurley, what more do you want? Yes, I know it looks nonsensical, and it may very well be, but this show is slowly becoming something special.

While the case of the week format is holding Alcatraz back, Fringe experienced similar growing pains before it jettisoned the standalone format and embraced the weird. There’s no reason Alcatraz can’t do the same, if it stays on air long enough to get the chance. What it already has is a compelling internal mythology and killer flashbacks to ’60s-era Alcatraz. It recently introduced a love story thwarted by time that instantly gave the series an emotional boost. The couple is no Desmond and Penny–not yet anyway–but their story ties the two timelines together in a tangible way.

Alcatraz hasn’t completely come into its own yet, but until that happens Jorge Garcia is there being awesome every single week, and we all secretly wished he was the star of Lost anyway, right?

3. Once Upon a Time
 

once upon a time abc

Once Upon a Time was created by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, the two former Lost writers responsible for fan favorite episodes like “Tricia Tanaka is Dead” and “Greatest Hits.”

To make Lost fans feel welcome in the bright fairy tale world, they have created they have taken the liberty of planting Easter eggs (an Apollo bar here, a well-timed 8:15 there) in the show for sharp-eyed viewers to find. It’s a nice jolt of nostalgia, but it’s not necessary. Even without the Easter eggs, it’s clear Once Upon a Time owes a great debt to our favorite soul-searching castaways. Each episode is centered around a particular character and toggles between the fairy tale world and the modern Storybrooke setting.

The show is flawed (and oh so campy) but it also has the ability to dole out goose bump inducing moments of awe, like when the clock began to tick again after Emma’s arrival in town. It’s not the coolest show on television, but it more than makes up for that in heart.

4. The Walking Dead
 

THE WALKING DEAD Season 2 Cast (8)

A group of disparate characters struggle to survive in a strange land. They argue over leadership, they meet strangers who may or not be benevolent, they occasionally have pseudo-philosophical discussions about the fragile nature of their own humanity–no, I’m not talking about Lost, I’m talking about that AMC show with all the zombies.

It is a universally accepted truth that we all want The Walking Dead to be a better show. In its current state, half of the characters are loathsome and the other half barely have names. It plods along week after week ironically only ever really coming to life when a zombie happens by to try to eat one of the main characters. So why am I recommending this show to you? Because it’s a less awesome version of Lost with zombies and in a world where original flavor Lost has been discontinued, it’s the generic flavor or nothing, and in truth I enjoy it. Even when it’s bad. It’s fun in the way B-movies are fun: there are occasional scares and no emotional stakes.

That’s not what I usually look for in a television series, but from a show that gives me a taste of that zombie season Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were always teasing us about, I’ll take it.

5. Wilfred
 

WILFRED

I feel like I need to preface this by saying I’m completely serious. If you enjoyed Lost and don’t have a serious aversion to Apatow-esque humor, then you need to be watching Wilfred.

It may be a silly comedy about a dude and a man in a dog suit (who is actually a dog), but there is a seriously trippy mythology beneath all of those stoner jokes. The first season finale ended on a mind-bending note that came close to giving me “omg, the island just disappeared” levels of feelings. It’s hard to say how interested the writers are in delving into the nature of what exactly Wilfred is, but they have no problem giving viewers plenty of material to ponder over.

Perhaps most importantly, they’ve made the characters of Ryan and Wilfred interesting enough to make us actually care about pondering the deeper questions at all and if that isn’t a show paying homage to the Lost legacy, I don’t know what is.

 

Alright Lost fans, now that I’ve shared my list of shows that help ease my Lost nostalgia, I want to know how you’ve moved on. Which shows fill the Lost void for you? I want to hear all about them in the comments, but until then Namaste.