Lost Alternatives: Live Without The Island By Watching These Shows

Lost may be over and done with but life keeps on going and so does our TV viewing. Last night millions of television viewers were left stranded with a viewing timeslot to fill. Sure we could get up off the couch, maybe get some exercise, but most of us would rather watch something else than take up tennis. The question is, without Lost, where do we go now? If you're looking to fill the Lost void in your life we have a few suggestions.

Whether it's on network television, DVD, or better yet available for free on Netflix Instant Watch these viewing ideas should help you get through life without the Island. There will never be another Lost but these alternatives may help you resurrect that old Lost feeling in your life, when you need it most.

Hawaii Five-O

Somewhat strangely Daniel Dae Kim, better known to Losties as Jin, is one of the only Lost cast members who will be back on TV any time soon. Aside from Elizabeth Mitchell on V, the rest have nothing lined up and it's hard to say where or when or if you'll see them next. But at least you'll still be able to watch Daniel, as Det. Chin Ho Kelly on CBS's upcoming remake of Hawaii Five-O. Chin Ho Kelly is an ex-detective wrongfully accused of corruption. The show's unlikely to have much in common with Lost aside from Kim, but we'll take what we can get.

Here's how CBS describes what they're planning with it: Hawaii Five-O is a contemporary take on the classic series about a new elite federalized task force whose mission is to wipe out the crime that washes up on the Islands' sun-drenched beaches. Detective Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin), a decorated Naval officer turned cop, returns to Oahu to investigate his father's murder and stays after Hawaii's governor persuades him to head up the new team: his rules, her backing, no red tape and full blanket immunity to hunt down the biggest "game" in town.

Where You Can See It: Starts airing Monday nights this fall on CBS.


It's rare that genre programming breaks out into the mainstream and because of that, for a lot of people Lost was their first real exposure to science fiction and fantasy on television. Lost crossed over because even though so much of what happened on the show was fantastical, it was really all about characters. Sure there was a smoke monster and time travel and resurrections from the dead, but the focus of the show was always about the relationships between different groups of people and how they interacted with each other under different types of stress. Farscape takes the same approach to hard, outer space science fiction, but since it only ever aired at odd times on the Sci Fi channel, chances are you missed it.

It's the story of modern day astronaut John Crichton (think of him as the show's Jack Shepherd), flung through a wormhole into a distant galaxy. There, he's stuck on a living ship with a group of escaped prisoners who though at first his enemies, become his allies, and eventually form a dysfunctional family. Like Lost the show's storytelling is linear, miss one episode and you won't know what's going on, and like Lost it's squarely focused on characters. Crichton, as a man from our time, grounds it in a reality we can comprehend while the show explores a galaxy so strange, it makes island polar bears seem logical. The show's ensemble cast is unrivaled by any other you've seen on TV and as Lost was, it's brilliantly shot, with the kind of cinematography you only usually see on a movie set. Unlike Lost though, there's no instant hook debut episode. It takes awhile to get into it, but once you're in, you'll be hooked. While you're wading through the barren summer TV wasteland hoping for some suitable, fall Lost substitute from the networks, try out Farscape by giving five episodes to win you over. Give it a shot and you'll fall in love.

Where You Can See It: Streaming free for members right now on Netflix Instat Watch.


Undercovers is the next series from Lost creator JJ Abrams and it sounds like he's going back to his Alias roots. Alias, the show he did before Lost, focused on a secret agent struggling to balance personal life with spying. Undercovers takes that premise and applies it to a couple. It follows a married pair re-activated as CIA agents after years of retirement. Here's the trailer:

Where You Can See It: Starts airing this fall on CBS Wednesday nights at 8pm.

The Prisoner

If your favorite part of Lost was wandering around watching people ask questions which would probably never be answered, then you'll definitely want to pick up a copy of AMC's remake of The Prisoner or alternatively, click right here and watch all 17 episodes of the original British series in their entirety, for free, online. In a lot of ways The Prisoner was a Lost prototype. In either the original series or the new miniseries, it's the story of a man held prisoner in a mysterious village where surreal things happen and nothing makes a lot of sense.

More than just a way to slake your need to watch a show in which a bunch of people wander around with no idea what's going on, it has a lot in common with Lost. Questions and confused people held against their will are just the tip of the iceberg. For instance it takes place in an isolated environment, cut off from the outside world, forcing our hero to deal with the insanity on his own. There's not a smoke monster, but there is this really weird, giant, floating globular thing which terrorizes people. Even if you never really quite understand what's going on in the show, the miniseries is worth watching simply for the brilliant performances of Ian McKellan and Jim Caviezel, who chew scenery like it's made of funnel cake in their Prisoner redo.

Where You Can See It: The Prisoner miniseries is now available on DVD and you can watch all 17 episodes of the original series for free online here


Alright, I'll admit it. Like a lot of people I originally tuned into Lost's premiere because I wondered what a fictionalized version of Survivor would be like. I turned on my TV expecting an amazing island setting where people would wander around struggling to find food and spend most of their free-time attempting to construct beacons which would bring rescue. Instead food parachuted in from the sky and they were all far too busy dodging polar bears and being afraid of this mysterious smoke monster to do any beacon building. But now that it's over, maybe you still need your deserted island fix. Newsflash: Survivor still exists.

It was there before Lost and it'll be there after Lost. It's comforting to know that somewhere on your television dial there will always be a show in which people are forced to sit on a sandy beach and slowly starve to death. Survivor will be back for another season this year and while these days it's a far cry from what Lost became, maybe it's a good time to go back and revisit what we all though Lost sprang from. Sure it lacks all the mystical hocus pocus, but frankly I'm kind of exhausted by Jacob and the Man in Black. It feels like the time is right to sit back and watch real, actual, non-zombie human beings face off in a challenge which involved little more than seeing who can eat the most disgusting bug, instead of these otherworldly chess matches to the death.

Where You Can See It: Survivor returns for a new season this Fall at 8pm on CBS Wednesday nights.


Weeds lacks the genre flair of Lost, but I'm pretty sure Kevin Nealon's Doug Wilson would tell you he knows all about the Smoke Monster. Showtime's original series about a pot dealing single-mother and her family returns for a sixth season in August and if you're a Lost fan looking for a new home, it's not too late to light up with Nancy Botwin. All five previous seasons are now available on Netflix Instant Watch, free for anyone with an existing Netflix account. Sure most of the big questions in Weeds center around which of her kids Nancy will screw up the most, but the show's linear storytelling and talented ensemble cast should feel familiar to Losties.

Most importantly, Weed's approach to drug dealing is much the same as the one taken by Lost. In the same way Lost soft-pedaled science fiction by making it about character drama, Weeds approaches the world of growing and selling illegal substances through interpersonal relationships. It's more about Nancy, her friends, and her family than it is about water bongs and grow houses. That's really just a backdrop for complex stories of people struggling to connect, fall in love, raise a family, and survive in the harsh environment of Mexican drug cartels. As Doug would say, it's Legendareh!!

Where You Can See It: 5 seasons of Weeds are available streaming free to members in Netflix's Instant Watch right now. Weeds is expected to return to Showtime for a sixth season soon.


I can't in good conscience recommend watching ABC's V, after a solid debut it's quickly turned stupid. But it's hard to deny the Lost similarities. If you're looking for a straight-up Lost rip-off, this show about alien lizards disguising themselves as humans so they can manipulate public opinion (presumably in order to sell V t-shirts) may be the one for you. Here's the evidence:

Where You Can See It: V is expected to return to ABC for another season at some point. No date has been set yet.

Battlestar Galactica

Maybe I'm doing the show a disservice by describing it this way, but I'm going to do it anyway: Battlestar Galactica is Lost set in outer space. The plot's different and the people are completely different, but all the elements which made Lost work so brilliantly are also the same ones that made the Sci-Fi channel's remake of the mostly forgotten 80s television series one of the best shows ever on television. It feels like a series that everyone ought to know about by now, and maybe if like me you were locked in throughout its entire run it feels foolish to recommend it now, but maybe not. After all BSG was mostly mired on basic cable and compared to Lost's ratings BSG's audience was a miniscule cult. Most people who love and watch Lost on a weekly basis have never see Battlestar Galactica, and that just doesn't make sense.

It doesn't make sense because all the things you love about Lost are also all the things we Frakkers love about BSG. It approaches genre storytelling (in this case space ships running from an enemy) through character-driven drama. It pits men of faith against men of logic in battles of philosophy with far reaching consequences. It tells stories of love and love lost. It touches on mysticism and conspiracies, and mixes action with brainy, thought-provoking twists and turns. Battlestar Galactica is literally everything you already love about Lost, only done even better. If you're a Lostie who was too busy obsessing over the island to tune in during its original run, now's your chance to create an alternate universe in which you know a Cylon is. Pick up a Battlestar Galactica DVD set.

Where You Can See It: All four seasons of BSG are available on DVD.


JJ Abrams is at it again. Lost may be off the air but Abrams is still on television. He long ago left Lost in the capable hands of Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, while moving off to make feature films and focus his energy on a show called Fringe. It's kind of like The X-Files meets, well, JJ Abrams. Special Agent Olivia Dunham investigates fringe science, the weird, the impossible, the really really strange. She does it with the help of a mad scientist, played brilliantly by Lord of the Rings' John Noble and Joshua Jackson as his son.

Again all the Abrams hallmarks are there. Like Lost the show uses linear storytelling to tell complete character and story arcs over time. And like Lost it's all about character relationships and connections, set against a backdrop of the really, really weird. Unlike Lost though, it's not the kind of show you can't just jump into and have fun with. It's lighter fare, maybe the perfect follow-up for anyone who's sick of crying over dead characters but maybe still wants some of that sweet, sweet Abrams vibe. If you do, consider clicking over to Fox.

Where You Can See It: Fringe returns to Fox this fall for a new season, Thursday nights at 9pm.

Terra Nova

Terra Nova's the new, big-budget genre show coming to Fox as a mid-season replacement next season, and it comes with an impressive pedigree. Steven Spielberg produces along with Star Trek and 24 vet Brannon Braga and Lost producer David Fury. The only teaser image released from the film makes it look like Lost meets Avatar, a lush jungle setting which could hid untold mysteries. In particular, it hides dinosaurs.

Terra Nova's plot description makes it sound a lot more like Land of the Lost than Lost. It's about an ordinary family flung back in time to prehistoric Earth as part of a massive expedition to save the human race. That's all we know for now, and admittedly it isn't much. But if you're looking for the next big thing in network genre programming to fill Lost's void, this is the safest bet there is. Keep an eye out for Terra Nova.

Where You Can See It: Terra Nova should show up on the Fox network soon.

For our complete coverage of the Lost finale go here.

Josh Tyler