I'm Nevets: Nerd, cinephile, TV-junkie, bookworm, gamer, and slacker extraordinaire.
Replacing the Irreplaceable? It's Worth a Shot...
With smoke monsters, time travel, ghostly apparitions, and a mysterious, ever-wandering tropical island, there's very little chance that we'll ever come across a television show quite like Lost ever again. I can honestly say that even if I wasn't a huge fan of its ending (don't get me started), the show — taken in as a whole — gave me one of the most delightfully addictive viewing experiences I've ever had in all my years in front of the boob tube. And now that it's gone, the real question is what is there to take its place?
Below I've compiled a list of several TV shows and miniseries which may help soothe the pain of your Lost withdrawal. Because while there may not ever be another Lost, there are certainly other fish in the sea that may have a somewhat similar enough feel to help fill the sad and lonely void which this glorious show left behind.
So enjoy, good luck, and namaste.
What's the Criteria Needed for a Show to Be Like "Lost"?
- Serialization: While television shows such as Star Trek, The X-Files, Fringe, and The Twilight Zone are all fantastic works of fantasy and science fiction, they are for the most part simply episodic "mystery of the week" shows. The main plot of an episode typically begins and ends in that episode. Serialized TV shows such as Lost, on the other hand, have one epic overarching storyline where each episode uses techniques such as cliffhangers to lead one episode directly to the next, like chapters of a novel. This type of story telling gives the entire series a movie-like feel and—when done right—always keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat, desperately craving the next episode to come.
- An Ensemble Cast: The characters—we're going to need a bunch of 'em and they each need to be fleshed out, interconnected, and integral to the shows plot. Because while Lost wouldn't be the show we love without its creative mix of intriguing mysteries and mythologies, the series would be nothing if it weren't for the eclectic group of well-developed characters which gave us reason to care what happens in the story in the first place. Any show worthy of comparison must have a well-sized list of unique, dramatically varying characters of its own for us to get to know.
- Mysteries: With our characters now in place, we're going to need some good old fashion mysteries for them to get all mixed up in. It's not necessary that a show have quite as many mysteries as Lost had, but a few are going to be essential to keep us guessing, theorizing, and dying to get to the bottom of.
- Mythologies: Behind any epic fantasy and science fiction story is a well-constructed mythology, lurking just out of reach of each mystery we encounter. While we may spend the majority of our viewing time trying to work out all those individual mysteries on the way, it's the ultimate mythology that should tie everything together at the end.
- 5. Unique and Bizarre Worlds: Now we're not talking about planets here (although that's cool too) but simply strange, unconventional, and new environments that are located outside of the norm. They should ooze with mystery, the supernatural, the weird, and/or the unexplained. This can be as simple as a small, isolated town crowded with quirky and shady characters or as complex as a mystical island full of polar bears and murderous plumes of smoke. As long as it successfully helps us escape from the mundanes of reality into a new and unique world of fantasy then it'll work.
Does It Have to Be a TV Show?
As for whether or not addictive similar programming is restricted only to television shows, the short answer is probably.
Movies, while we all love 'em, are simply way too short to suck you in quite as well as a TV series or even a TV miniseries can (several minis, by the way, are included on the list below.) The more hours we invest in these shows, the more involved we become in the lives of their characters and their world. Just as with a novel, a series has the time to devote hours upon hours to character development, plots, and mythologies. While movies are great in their own way, they're unfortunately limited in this respect. So TV is more than likely the best way to go.
Admittedly, this is far from one of the greatest TV shows ever conceived; and for the most part it's nothing more than a dumbed down version of The X-Files. It consists of two pretty boy ghost hunters who involve themselves in monster of the week bore-fests which are clearly designed for randy tween girls who've yet to expand their horizons beyond the likes of the Twilight series. With that being said, the show does have its good points, such as a fantastic soundtrack and some downright hilarious (intentionally) moments.
But the real reason the show is getting a thumbs up recommendation is for its fifth season storyline which went beyond monsters of the week and into cool, mythological serial territory that's right up there with the greats (complete with an overarching storyline full of angels, demons, and some surprisingly engaging drama.) This 5th season was initially intended to be the last of the show, which is probably why they tried so hard to get it right. If the entire series would have been like this it most certainly would have been a much greater show than it was.
Unfortunately, after they decided to drag the series out beyond its fifth season, things went right back downhill—fast. Nevertheless, this one season was pure gold and highly recommended for any fan of fantasy and mythology in their shows.
9. "Storm of the Century"
In this creepy miniseries written by Stephen King, we have a group of people stranded in their little town, blocked off from all communication with the outside world due to a powerful, claustrophobia-inducing blizzard which has hit their area. If that wasn't bad enough, a mysterious stranger suddenly appears during this "storm of the century" who brutally murders one of the towns residents and appears to know all of the deepest, darkest secrets of all the citizens. His motives and history remain unknown, but the message he gives to all is a chilling one: "Give me what I want, and I'll go away."
Along with The Stand, this has to be one of the most well-made (and non-hokey) miniseries made from Stephen Kings writings. Perhaps this is due to the fact that Storm of the Century was specifically made to be filmed as opposed to being an adaptation from an already published novel. Whatever the case, the story is a pretty solid horror/mystery tale. The only real flaw is that there's not enough focus given on the varied assortment of characters. Not that there's none, but more would have been nice. All in all, it gets the job done.
8. "The Lost Room"
This forgotten Sci Fi Channel miniseries may have not been the most memorable thing to ever hit television screens but it was certainly a unique idea which brought a lot of captivating mysteries that were really fun to watch unfold. The show itself revolves around a mysterious 1960s motel room located outside of normal time and space. Every object from it brings strange supernatural powers to whoever possesses them.
With its quirky characters and repeated revelations of new special powers acquired due to the various objects from the room, the show was really more reminiscent of the show Heroes, It gets the recommendation due to the fun of the mystery of the room itself, which manages to hold your attention and keeps you wanting to know more of just what in the heck is going on.
7. "Twin Peaks"
In 1990, David Lynch, the acclaimed cult director of such weird and captivating films such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet, came along and brought us Twin Peaks. It was a hauntingly eccentric show about the ongoing investigation into the mysterious murder of a small-town homecoming queen named Laura Palmer, whose corpse was found washed ashore "wrapped in plastic."
While it's hardly an epic in the classic sense, the mythologies, mysteries, and eccentric list of bizarre characters are all there. As an added bonus, we get some cool and eerie dream sequences with backward talking dwarfs and an atmosphere that's as surreal as it is intriguing.
After its first season the momentum (and quality) of the show died down a bit but it is nevertheless a show that begs to be seen.
6. "Steven Spielberg Presents Taken"
This 2002 Steven Spielberg produced miniseries is by far one of the most unjustly overlooked television experiences there has ever been. Spanning through the Roswell incident of the 1940s all the way up to the early 2000s, the story is the definition of epic. It revolves around the lives of several generations of three families who have each been involved in alien abductions in one way or another. Why are these people being taken and what is the plan of the aliens taking them? You'll have to watch to find out.
The characters of each decade are extremely well written and performed. The ultimate mystery as to who the aliens are and what they want remain to be intriguing throughout the entire 10 part series. If I had to choose one aspect of Taken to take issue with, it would have to be the shoddy graphics of the aliens and spaceships. But it was the Syfy Channel; what do you expect?
Set during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in 1934-1935, Carnivale was an odd show with mysteries and mythologies galore and eerie religious undertones of good versus evil. It followed two disparate groups of people; the first consisting of a traveling carnival full of freaks and geeks (led, incidentally, by the same dwarf from Twin Peaks) who have picked up a mysterious, irritable young man (Nick Stahl) who may or may not have supernatural powers. The second group revolves around a minister (Clancy Brown) who makes migrants regurgitate change and who beats himself with a horse whip.
As you can probably tell from that brief description, Carnivale isn't the easiest of shows to explain to people. All I can say is that it's a shame that it never made it to a third season (especially since the second season ended with a cliffhanger.) And while I normally wouldn't recommend a show that was never given a complete conclusion, I'll make an exception for Carnivale. It was just that good.
Besides, it's not like the mysteries in Lost were wrapped up and delivered to us on a silver platter. Sometimes you (sadly) just have to enjoy what you can get. And what we got from Carnivale was pretty friggin' cool.
4. The Stand
Stephen King was a huge fan of Lost while it was airing, often mentioning and praising the show in his articles for Entertainment Weekly. The creators of Lost, in return, were outspoken fans of King as well; they often featured and mentioned his books in their episodes. It seemed fitting to add one of Kings most memorable and well-received miniseries onto this list.
The Stand would be worth the addition even if the above wasn't so. The similarity to Lost is strong with a large ensemble cast full of intertwined characters in a post-apocalyptic world where crazy stuff goes down. The only real downfall of the show would have to be the decision to give Molly Ringwald a starring role. Other than that, the series was aces.
3. "The Prisoner"
The Prisoner was a strange and one-of-a-kind series. It followed an unnamed British agent who, after abruptly resigning his job, is abducted and held captive in a mysterious seaside "village" which is isolated from the rest of the world by mountains and sea. Monitored by security forces and weird devices, the village itself is a complete enigma where nothing and no one are quite what they seem.
Even though it only aired 17 episodes between the years 1967 and 1968, this surreal British spy/science fiction series left one bugger of a jolly good impact (that's how the British talk, right?) whose influence can still be seen in popular culture today. The show is the inspiration for the name Number Six, given to the beautiful Cylon from the reimagined Battlestar Galactica and even cited as being one of the major influences to Lost.
With a very cool and interesting collection of fledgling superheroes and villains, and one of the most awesome plot lines to come around in ages, Heroes was a show destined for greatness. Believe it or not, it actually lived up to those expectations...for the first season at least.
Luckily for us, that first season works very well as a stand-alone show (the final episode only contained relatively minor cliffhangers), so it can easily be watched by itself, without the need of experiencing the horrible seasons that followed.
1. "Battlestar Galactica" (2004 Series)
The story begins with a miniseries that sets the stage for the next 4 seasons to come. The basic plot is that after an old, robotic enemy known as the Cylons resurface and obliterate the Twelve Colonies, only a small group of the planets population make it out alive on a team of ships lead by an old but powerful warship known as the Battlestar Galactica. From there on, the last of mankind's refugees must struggle to survive not only the Cylons who continue to pursue them, but also their own political, social, and relational disputes along the way. They do all of this while attempting to find a long-lost, fabled "thirteenth colony" known as Earth.
First and foremost, do not be fooled by the shows title or that brief plot outline; this is not Star Trek. There are no aliens (not in the typical sense), and there is no fluff. This reimagined version of Battlestar Galactica is an intense, gritty, no holds barred fantasy drama with a socio-political commentary and an epic cinematic value that puts most feature films to shame. It's chock-full of mythology, action, mysteries, and gripping, realistic, multidimensional characters that you'll find yourself loving, hating, and questioning all at the same time. When this show came onto the scene in 2004 it blew both critics and fans everywhere away. Not only is this the most Lost-like show around (as far as basic addictive-vibes and intriguing mysteries go) but in most ways it surpasses that show in its substance, mythology, and its massively epic scale.
It is truly a show which should not be missed.
Sign the Guestbook
Linda Jo Martin from Post Falls, Idaho, USA on April 12, 2020:
Thanks for this list. I am getting close to the end of LOST - I watched it a decade ago and watched it again during the lockdown of 2020 so now I need something new. It is a bit disconcerting that I've already watched your #1 choice twice (Battlestar Gallactica) however there are plenty of other series here for me to explore. Thanks.
Mike on April 07, 2019:
None of the stuff on this list is even slightly at all like Lost. LOL The moron who made this list up is a royal, moron
Mark on February 19, 2019:
Flashforward should be added to the list :)
Florensab on December 13, 2018:
Haven should be on this list.
The Gutter Monkey (author) on June 10, 2018:
Hey, guys, thanks for reading, and sorry about the late replies (my notifications must've been on the fritz). I can't get back to everyone, but here's a few responses:
• The 100 didn't exist when this list was first compiled, but I may at some point update it to perhaps a Top 20 or so and include some newer titles, as a lot of good stuff has been released. A few in particular that I have in mind include, The Leftovers, The OA, and perhaps even Mr. Robot (although I'm on the fence about that one). We'll see!
• I'd toyed with the idea of adding Under the Dome on here, back when I first put this thing together, but it was just far too short-lived a series to get too much into its mysteries (loved the book, however!). Also, the series as a whole, in my opinion, was a bit lackluster to be recommending in the first place.
• Like The X-Files, while Fringe had an overall overarching story-arch, it nevertheless felt a bit too episodic, in my opinion, to have a place on here. To my mind, something with a LOST vibe required a more consistently serialized structure. It's why I only referenced season 5 of Supernatural on here (and I'm, admittedly, still a tad dubious about that inclusion).
• Aside from them having to often deal with an equivalent of "The Others", I've not been able to piece together a good case for adding The Walking Dead onto the list. But I do appreciate the recommendations.
• I've not watched Siberia, Dark, or Da Vinci's Demons, but I'll definitely have to give them a gander. Thanks for the suggestions!
• And the writer in question here, Garima, is a he, but that's okay, haha. I'm happy you enjoy Supernatural, even though you don't feel I know what I'm talking about.
Anywho! Thanks again, everyone, for reading and commenting. I appreciate it. Hope you enjoyed!
Garima on June 08, 2018:
SPN is a great show, and it is not silly at all
this writer does not know what she is talking about. Lost was a great show but you can't compare it with spn.
also the 100 would have been perfect for this list
maria on April 06, 2018:
Try with DARK, Lost vibe everywhere. time travel, symbols,mysterious characters, secrets, even a hatch!
100 sucks on March 23, 2018:
I try to watch The 100 and it really sucks, nothing even close to Lost, it is like Gossip girl in the forest. OMG what a garbage.
alfredo tamer on December 11, 2017:
muy bonitas series
Lost fan on October 27, 2017:
If you loved "LOST" , you will certainly love "THE 100".. And you will thank me a lot... ;)
Dan on September 14, 2017:
The 100 is the best thing close to the lost that happend tho if u like mistery but on a more deep and dark tone Twin Peaks works 2 i recommand giving it a try if u don't like The 100.
Matthew on August 30, 2017:
I only agree with a couple of these. Fringe is a clear successor to Lost, coming from the same mind of J.J. Abrams. Another wild, mysterious adventure is DaVinci's Demons. It's kind of like Lost crossed with Fringe, set in the 15th century, but awesomely modern.
Carnivale is a real mind-f*** of a show, and I would give my first born child for a third season. Heroes was amazing at the start, had the potential for a compelling mythology, but ended up being a total abortion.
I'm so depressed all these shows are gone, and nothing is taking their place. It seems like there's no more appetite for them. It was a 2000s thing I guess. Maybe it has something to do with all the good television coming through streaming sources now?? I don't know. Most shows are serialized to some degree now, but they don't have the always-unfolding mystery, mythology, and element of the supernatural.
Don't get me started on Stranger Things. Everyone has a boner for that show just because it has that 80's B-movie vibe.
Really though, check out Da Vinci's Demons.
Ben Road on May 26, 2017:
Heroes was only similar to Lost in a very superficial way. The Stand was good in its own way but it didn't fall under the same category. The Leftovers is by far the most similar show to Lost that I have come across.
Bob on August 25, 2016:
The 100 is a must watch if you like lost
TV Fan Attic on July 09, 2016:
Checkout The Heroes reboot, The 100, Everwood, and Lost Girl these are all similar and good shows for the first couple of seasons. Also Grimm and Greys Anatomy. Anything JJ Abrams is good and sci-fi and HBO and Starz seem to have the best cable or premium channel TV shows, next would be CW, abc, Fox and the network walking dead is on
Kate on June 05, 2016:
Hey i loved lost i felt so sad when it ended. I also really like supernatural. Although some seasons leave a lot to be desired like the Levithan storylibe it still has really intresting charecters and the seasons have gotten better so I think you shouldve gave it a little more credit its a pretty good show
RaT on February 13, 2016:
I have to say, I went and watched Battlestar Galactica and watched it back to back because of this post and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now I'm back for more!
Khyati on October 14, 2015:
I love love love lost series it's just so addictive once I started watching it couldn't stop
Josh on September 03, 2015:
Siberia is a very mysterious show. Best described as Lost meets Survivor. It is amazing, unfortunately only one season as of now, and some unanswered questions, but great regardless.
Cayla on November 01, 2014:
Under The Dome is pretty similar
AARTHI CHAND from INDIA on September 12, 2014:
Naheed Ahsan on July 16, 2014:
wow great list, currently watching The Walking Dead
Renee Dixon from Kentucky on March 07, 2014:
Lost was great, thanks for the many suggestions- I will have to check out many of these. The Walking Dead is SO great too, I'm glad you included that as well!
Angela F from Seattle, WA on January 18, 2014:
I was a big fan of LOST until the ending lol Revolution or Under the Dome seems to be the closest fit for me now
Kaylab123 LM on December 02, 2013:
It took me until this year (2013) to start watching Lost. I can't believe I waited so long! It was really an amazing show.
anonymous on September 03, 2013:
With the help of Netflix, my family became avid fans of Lost. No doubt that it was one of the best series to grace our tv. That said, I'm in full agreement with this writer in regards to Battlestar Galactica. The latest version of BSG is hands down the best scifi program to ever be aired. As a matter of fact, it's one of the best programs of ANY genre. I would highly recommend checking it out.
Snakesmum on August 07, 2013:
Ineresting reading, although I've never watched any of these shows, except the first episode of Supernatural. Didn't like it, so never watched it again.
marktplaatsshop on June 12, 2013:
Never seen those, but will look in to it., thanks for liking and visiting my lens, and for sharing
anonymous on June 08, 2013:
It's a fine list, though.
I enjoy the mystery ish, but I feel like having a few or more main characters never ends well. It can make for a really intriguing show and multiple storylines, but we saw both Lost and Heroes fall apart; Heroes more so.
Lost just doesn't have replay value in my opinion, which is why I actually enjoy SPN's monster of the week format.
anonymous on June 08, 2013:
The only reason SPN might be for the randy tween girls as you posted is because those actors are studs (so I've read & heard). If SPN is for randy tween girls, then Lost is for under-10-years-of-age-girls. I can call SPN a great show, but not Lost.
I enjoyed it, obviously... Otherwise I would not be on this site. It whatever doe! All personal preference. Kinda makes me feel like I should get through that mad-boring first episode of X-Files.
lionmom100 on June 05, 2013:
I Loved Lost, although it took several attempts to watch the show. I loved the characters and the world. I wasn't a huge fan of the ending, but loved the symmetry Abrams created in the episodes and in the beginning and ending images of the series. As for what has happened since, Jin is still on the island, with frequent episodes with Terry O'Quinn and a cameo with Frank LaPidus . There was at least one show with Hurley (Alcatraz). At least two series with Elizabeth Montgomery, including Revolution, which sorta has a feel of Lost, and is a serial. And i love Michael Emerson in Person of Interest. I finally found a show that has Elie in it (Defiance). Kate has done hair ads and Matthew Fox has done a movie that I haven't seen. And that's all I know.
aud-vid-n-read on May 31, 2013:
I absolutely loved LOST. I never missed an episode. I'm familiar with some of these shows you've mentioned, but I'll definitely be checking out the others.
LorLinda from Denver Colorado on May 27, 2013:
This is one of my styles of movies good taste.
Erin Mellor from Europe on May 15, 2013:
I like a few of these, but I'd never heard of Carnivale, it looks great, thanks
anonymous on May 07, 2013:
@anonymous: *Instantly.. My bad
anonymous on May 07, 2013:
@WildFacesGallery: WATCH IT =D
anonymous on May 07, 2013:
I had never heard of lost till like 3 weeks ago, when I was bored and really needed something to watch, I started watching it and isntantly loved it. It's just perfectly made. I watched it like 24/7, honestly. I watched it all in 2 weeks. Stayed up all night, did what I had to just to watch it. It's been about a week now... And there is nothing else in my head. I might just watch it again. xD Boone, Desmond and Sawyer - Forever my favourites <3
pauline60 on April 22, 2013:
I watched Lost on DVD last year, didn't know what to watch when it was over, may just have to go back to the beginning again!
Marja79 on April 17, 2013:
I just love love love and oh did I say love Supernatural. Over here season 6 just ended and I cannot wait to see the next season. I think might even buy the dvd instead of waiting!
The Gutter Monkey (author) on April 09, 2013:
@anonymous: True Blood is pretty good (mostly the earlier seasons that you mentioned) and I'm a HUGE fan of Six Feet Under, it's actually my number one pick for basic serialized series in general, but as for this list, it's strictly for shows that were and are the most LOST-like.
lionmom100 on April 09, 2013:
I'm a sci-fi lover and Lostie, yet I missed some of these series. Loved original Battlestar Galactica, but could never get into the new one. Loved the prequel, Caprica, however. Thanks for these reviews.
redpillpuppet on April 02, 2013:
@TheGutterMonkey: I didn't like Heroes from the beginning. Too teenagey for me.
The Gutter Monkey (author) on March 23, 2013:
@gr82batnvol: Yeah, as far as the world should be concerned, Heroes season one is all that exists in my eyes. It was fantastic. And stands very well on it's own.
gr82batnvol on March 23, 2013:
Heroes season 1 was good but then it dragged. I like "the walking dead" and "being human".
Takkhis on March 08, 2013:
I enjoy watching Carnivale :)
RetireAt57 on March 05, 2013:
Great list. I watched The Prisoner all the time!
Synergise2011 LM on February 28, 2013:
Great list. Some I've seen, some I will need to check out. I thought the lost room was a fantastic piece of science-fiction. You should also check out "the fades". A British science fiction show that sadly ownly lasted for one season of 6 episodes but is brilliant.
Renee Jaco Whitfield from Bogalusa, Louisiana , United States of America on February 08, 2013:
Nice List I Love Supernatural and Heroes!
MemoryMistress on January 24, 2013:
I've never seen any of these! They sound pretty good. Thanks for sharing!
ninjawin on January 08, 2013:
very interesting. i like "the walking dead"
Stephanie from Canada on December 21, 2012:
Some great recommendations! But nothing could ever replace Lost. :)
rainwork on December 17, 2012:
Great lense! But still Lost is definitely the best alongside with 24. I have a lense on the 5 Best Tv Series i have watched, so if you want to see it here is the link... https://hubpages.com/entertainment/top-5-tv-series
Neil Spencer from uk on December 16, 2012:
Fringe all the way...
anonymous on November 06, 2012:
Great lens, nothing is ever going to compete with lost. That's a once in a lifetime show!! Really rather enjoying Fringe at the moment.
CoffeeWriter LM on October 16, 2012:
Great lens, I've seen quite a few of your selections. Don't know if that's a good sign or not!
Itaya Lightbourne from Topeka, KS on September 16, 2012:
Yeup...loved Lost! Also loved Heroes. :)
Tonto Murray on August 16, 2012:
Absolutely loved Lost. I am currently rewatching the entire series with my daughters who also now love it. Blessings on this lens.
anonymous on August 11, 2012:
I have watched and enjoyed many of your picks - what about Six Feet Under from HBO? Also True Blood - earlier seasons?
dorora on July 26, 2012:
Fringe and Flashback are definitely very similar to LOST.. yet they aren't featured in your list.
Killd0ll on July 16, 2012:
The lost room is great
WriterJanis2 on July 03, 2012:
Great picks. I'd also like to to suggest The Lost World TV series.
Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on June 27, 2012:
The Stand was really enjoyable viewing for me.
LabKittyDesign on June 23, 2012:
Good catch on Carnivale - most people never heard of it (HBO threw that show under the bus big time).
psychicreadingsr on June 16, 2012:
anonymous on June 13, 2012:
Wonderful reviews... Noted down a few of the pics! Thanks!
Mona from Iowa on June 11, 2012:
You know I've not seen Lost though I've heard a lot about it. But several of the series you have listed here I have watched faithfully and loved.
JoshK47 on June 11, 2012:
Definitely some excellent picks here - thanks for sharing! Blessed by a SquidAngel!
AmandaTWaH on June 10, 2012:
I loved Lost and I was so sad when it ended, but it was starting to get drawn out to the point where I knew it had to end. I'm going to check out The Stand. Thanks for your suggestions! I would love to add this to my favorite lenses module in my About Me lense.