The 6-Season TV series ‘Lost’ wasn’t an astonishingly different one when it released its pilot. A lot of characters, plane crash, seemingly uninhabited island, survival – things don’t seem unusual. And then it begins. The traversals through time, the foresight, bizarre obscure phenomena, varying timelines across decades, “The Others”, Jacob/Man in Black, Dharma Initiative and everything else makes sense only as the series progresses and from the outside, things do seem a little out of the line in the beginning. The ending of the Season 6 finale is another frequently talked about “happenstance” which, I would say, could’ve been stretched to another season or a two, rather than leaving us all flabbergasted.
What makes ‘Lost’ so special that we have been missing it since? To start with, the idea of creating continuity has boggled filmmakers, which ‘Lost’ has clearly defied. There is a certain depth in the each and every episode and the same has been carried forward to the next, which is quite rare in TV shows nowadays. Also, there are a countless number of characters (at least more than 30 regulars as per my count) which is a wee bit difficult to pull off, given the character depths and their relationships that are there to be developed.
To sum up, a TV show similar to ‘Lost’ would have either of stranded people, survivors, time-travel, alternating parallel timelines, clairvoyance, interpersonal animosities, mysterious phenomena, mythological references, unexplained deaths or disappearances, chaotic unorganized groups, uninhabited islands (or towns or cities which are difficult to leave) or spiritual powerful beings. Here, on this list, we bring you a bunch of TV shows which are similar to ‘Lost’ in one or the other way, either with the ensemble cast or the premise or the weird supernatural events. And mind you, this isn’t an exhaustive list but just are our recommendations. You might be able to find a few of these shows like Lost on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
13. Flight 29 Down (2005-2007)
The story of a bunch of teens who were a part of an adventure camp crash land their 15-seater plane on a remote island in the South Pacific. Though not much depth to the story or characters per se, ‘Flight 29 Down’ barely fulfills the criteria of being compared with ‘Lost’, let alone the other ingredients. A watchable 2-season flick if you’re looking forward to a dumbed down version of ‘Lost’.
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12. Haven (2010-2015)
Set in a fictional town called Haven near Maine, an FBI agent Audrey Parker tries to get to the bottom of the weird incidents often called “Trouble” in town, which also leads her to switch jobs and join the Haven Police Department. Between her investigations related to the curse and losing herself, she also has to deal with the people around the town and the extreme measures undertaken against the Troubled residents of Haven. Not a signature Stephen King adaptation, yet this 5-season TV show has somehow managed to stick to its sub-genre that is investigative and overwhelming at the same time.
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11. The New People (1969)
Long before ‘Lost’, ‘The New People’ seems to have traveled a similar path. The story of a group of students who are the lone stranded survivors on a former unused nuclear-test site following a plane crash, they devise rules of their own and start their parallel Government on the uninhabited island. The 17-episode season is nowhere close to ‘Lost’ except for the premise, yet is considered significant due to the time when it was made (i.e. long before ‘Lost’ was even conceptualized).
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10. Storm of the Century (TV Miniseries, 1999)
Looks like Stephen King has a thing with Maine. A short-yet-impressive take on the spirit of survival, ‘Storm of the Century’ starts with a heavy storm that has hit a town called The Little Tall Island near Maine. After the blizzard comes in, all the access to the town gets blocked and the residents can’t leave the town either. The entire series screams of Stephen King in each and every frame and has an uncanny taste to it. Unusual phenomena and some weird cult affairs form the core of this series.
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9. Fringe (2008-2013)
This J.J. Abrams series is probably another feather in his cap. Based on supernatural occurrences, ‘Fringe’ observes and narrates the work of the Fringe Division of the FBI, comprising a bunch of alternative thinkers who explore fringe science that borders with non-scientific, presumably fictional and supernatural stuff. A team of 5 members explores the possibilities of collisions with a parallel universe, biological experiments gone haywire, superhuman capabilities, singularity, and other paranormal incidents. ‘Fringe’ often takes a lot of brains to assimilate but is a lot cooler than it sounds. Mind over muscle, I’d say.
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8. The Leftovers (2014-2017)
Perhaps, here I can say, as the name suggests. The HBO series boasts of an apocalyptic event known as Sudden Departure, wherein, 2% of the world’s populace has mysteriously disappeared or left. Having faced the trauma of losing their loved ones all of a sudden, the residents of Mapleton try to cope with their day-to-day lives, while hiding beneath the weight of the said inexplicable event. Religious groups, scientific references, interconnected characters, and a post-apocalyptic setup makes this TV show intriguing and thoughtful.
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7. Carnivàle (2003-2005)
Set in the time of The Great Depression, ‘Carnivàle’ is the story of two opposing sides, apparently pointing to the Good and the Evil, comprising of characters having supernatural abilities, clairvoyance, and other un-worldly powers. From bringing back the dead, cult practices to disbelieving that one’s doing God’s work, ‘Carnivàle’ is replete with sympathizers on the good and the evil sides both, well-connected episodes, wrapped in a carnival-like setup. If you’re into movies that showcase mysterious yet commonly talked about religious cults and practices, closed groups and paranormal stuff, this one’s perfect for your taste buds.
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6. Twin Peaks (1990-1991, 2017-)
Touted as one of the best television series of all time and set in a fictional town called ‘Twin Peaks’, this TV show is a lot more perplexing and surreal as opposed to its perceived notion. The story begins with the murder of a young girl named Laura Palmer in the town. That follows the investigation led by FBI Agent Dale Cooper. Strange things start happening and Dale finds himself between untrustworthy town folk, supernatural visions, a multitude of realms and a bunch inexplicable deaths and killings, thus unable to leave the place. Imaginative yet deep, ‘Twin Peaks’ eeriness is frightening.
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5. The Prisoner (1967)
A man who is eloping the country is knocked off unconscious and is moved to a village which is mysteriously monitored with surveillance cameras, private security guards, a balloon-like device to catch hold of people who try and escape and numerous “villagers”, all of whom have been allotted a number for their identification instead of names. Granted number 6, the protagonist finds it difficult to cope with hallucinations, visions and other means of brainwashing by the captors. Definitely ahead of its time, ‘The Prisoner’ is the protagonist’s struggle within and against a collective lot of his captors.
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4. Wayward Pines (2015-2016)
A US secret service agent finds himself seemingly stuck forever in a town called ‘Wayward Pines’, who is in the town to investigate the disappearance of two of his colleagues. After arriving at the place, he meets with an accident and is unable to contact anyone else after losing all of his valuables. Unbeknownst to his whereabouts, his wife, and son also begin looking for him. Strangely terrifying and instigating the fear of the unknown, this suspenseful thriller is worth each moment of your time.
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3. The 100 (2014-2017)
Set in a post-apocalyptic world, ‘The 100’ is the story of 100 prisoners who have been sent aboard Earth to determine how habitable the planet has been, after the nuclear apocalypse. The juvenile prisoners, upon their arrival, discover that the world has had a few post-apocalyptic survivors for quite some time, having been divided into factions – Grounders, Reapers and the Mountain Men. Made in a similar fashion as that of movies like ‘Divergent’, ‘The Hunger Games’, ‘The Oblivion’ etc., albeit with an entirely varying storyline, ‘The 100’ breathes life into the otherwise dead segment of this sub-genre after the closure of ‘Lost’.
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2. 11.22.63 (Hulu Miniseries, 2016)
An absolute winner, ‘11.22.63’, based on a Stephen King novel of the same name, about a person who travels back in time to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the former POTUS. James Franco wins us all over with his portrayal of a man stuck in time, for if he returns in between, the time will be reset and he’ll have to start over. Its resemblance with ‘Lost’ lies in the fact that there is a time-travel angle, combined with bizarre phenomena related to wormholes and unexplained happenings back in time, thus leading to the same or somewhat even grimmer future a.k.a. The Butterfly Effect. Breathtaking and nail-biting, this one’s a must for all the fans of ‘Lost’.
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1. Under the Dome (2013-2015)
If we don’t go solely by the IMDB rating, ‘Under the Dome’ is the closest relative of ‘Lost’ after the latter’s conclusion. Set in a small town called Chester’s Mill near Maine (yeah, again), which already has a small socio-political ecosystem on its own, this Stephen King’s story features numerous interconnected characters, strange phenomena like appearance of an invisible unbreachable dome out of nothing, mysteriously fainting people, visions and deaths, bizarre repetitive metaphors used by many and spooky happenings around the invisible dome itself. With limited resources, the growing political imbalance and social unrest within the dome, the residents of Chester’s Mill must find a way to get over with everything and survive at the same time. Gritty, impactful, and scary, ‘Under the Dome’ must be watched for its stellar performances, character depths, special effects, engaging storytelling, and unexpected twists.
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