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The Walking Dead is the spiritual successor to Lost

Sure, 'The Walking Dead' is a completely different show than 'Lost' was, but at their core they are both about a rag tag group of survivors who have to band together to stay alive.

Perhaps it is not the most obvious comparison, as a zombie apocalypse drama and a show about a magical island and a crashed plane seem very different, but I can’t help thinking that The Walking Dead and Lost share a whole lot in common. The Walking Dead has not yet premiered (it does this Sunday, Halloween night, on AMC), but I was lucky enough to check out the first two episodes. Without getting into detail I will say this: it is by far my favorite new show of the season and I think anyone (even people who are not zombie fans) should check it out.

While I was watching the first two episodes, I couldn’t help but think about another high quality series that recently left us: Lost. I know evoking the name still gets a whole lot of disgruntled fans upset, and I understand that. Here’s the thing: The Walking Dead is like Lost without the mysteries. At its core it shares a similar sensibility with Lost. The Walking Dead is really a character piece, about a group of people forced to work together in order to survive. To steal the cliche from Lost: they have to live together or die alone. They two shows are both about survival and finding ways to get along when the odds are not in your favor.

It seems like so many recent shows have been trying to be the “next Lost.” Last season it was FlashForward, with its winding mysteries. Heck, it even felt like they cast half of the same actors. This season, The Event seems to be trying to cash in on the mystery-loving audience. Here’s the thing, though, I’m not convinced that Lost was popular because of the mysteries (in fact, I think it may have been popular in spite of them if you listen to some people.) I know I was intrigued by the mysteries on Lost and loved talking about them, but what kept me coming back was the characters. The characters were also my main complaint with The Event and FlashForward.

I certainly hope I’m not scaring anyone away from The Walking Dead with the comparison. I think the two shows will end up being very different, but I also think they share a similar sensibilities. I also think that as The Walking Dead moves forward, you will be able to see similarities between the zombie apocalypse survivors and the survivors of Flight 815. Some of the big questions on the show will be how the survivors are effected by their situation. How will the change and adapt? How far will they go for their own survival? If the show follows the comics by Robert Kirkman (and the second episode strays quite far), we will see the group encounter other groups with suspicion and mistrust, much like the folks on Lost did when they encountered the Others or the crew from the freighter.

For those of you who have been looking for an appropriate successor to Lost, you may have found it in The Walking Dead. Even if you hated Lost, though, I urge you to check out AMC’s newest drama. There are not nearly enough smart, high quality shows on TV now and The Walking Dead is going to help fill that void.

Photo Credit: Scott Garfield/AMC

8 Responses to “The Walking Dead is the spiritual successor to Lost”

October 27, 2010 at 4:51 PM

Characters??? Characters??? Surely you jest sir! Characters are not important!!!

OK, I kdi, and agree that a lack of developed characters is definitely the Event’s biggest downfall right now (Though, they did have a big character-centric episode this week … On a character that probably didn’t need it just yet).

Though I’ve seen the first episode of The Walking Dead, and didn’t necessarily attach much to the main character just yet…

October 27, 2010 at 8:13 PM

The thing about Walking Dead is that there’s no real “end” meant to it. There’s no “what IS the island?” plot; no “what is The Event?” question; and, in the case of Walking Dead, no mystery about why the zombies happened or how things can return to normal. It’s just a bunch of characters trying to survive and what they do to survive in a world infested with zombies.

Now, as far as any of them being likable … that’s a different story.

October 28, 2010 at 10:40 AM

Depending on how closely the series follows the books, Rick will most likely fall into the reluctant leader/king douche role (a la Jack on Lost). I’ve always felt that the motivations were there for all his questionable decisions in the books. It will be interesting to see how that plays out on the show.

For me the best characters are the secondary ones. I <3 Andrea big time, and Dale is pretty great too. I'm curious to see if they will introduce Michonne, who is also awesome.

October 28, 2010 at 10:41 AM

What are your thoughts on reading up on the Comics first, or, at this point, just powering through the series and then reading the books?

October 28, 2010 at 10:44 AM

I have a feeling they are going to be very different. The first episode of the series follows the opening of the comics very faithfully, but the second episode veers way off course with a bunch of new characters introduced. I think you’ll be fine watching and not powering through the comics.

Also, keep in mind that there are only 6 episodes in the first season, so even if they follow the books, they aren’t going to get far.

I love the comic, but it is seriously the most brutal piece of fiction I have experienced. There is much jaw-dropping. Definitely not for everyone.

October 28, 2010 at 10:45 AM

Considering my favorite piece of fiction remains The Stand, I’m hoping this will have a lot in common…

October 28, 2010 at 11:41 AM

. . . . .

I’m with Keith on this: While there are similarities in the show with Lost, that’s stretching it. No real ‘end’. (Well .. there is: Either they survive … or they don’t.)

Not having read the books myself (*sigh*), I’m of the opinion those who come on board dry will not be disappointed with the result. The first two episodes are a rockin’ good time, filled with everything one would expect from a zombie flick … and more.

Would reading the books for me be better? No clue. But I do know I would probably be picking apart what was in and what was left out and how things deviated from the pages. And I believe that just might detract from my enjoyment of the episodes.

I’ll go back and read the books in due time once I’m ingrained into the series. It’s not an ‘ignorance is bliss’ thing … it’s just I want to take in the series as it’s presented in all its g(l)ory.

And, again, based on the what I’ve seen so far, everyone’s in for a good ride …

November 4, 2010 at 4:03 PM

i think that the walking dead has a great start to it witha lot of suspense. im trying to figure out what happens after he gets out of the tank. should be interesting

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