If you liked Lost, you should be watching…

…the two best dramas on network TV, Revolution and Once Upon a Time.

They are both wrapping up this week with fall finales.  Once Upon a Time (ABC, created by Lost writers Kitsis and Horowitz) is in its second season, and Revolution (NBC, produced by J.J. Abrams) has been the highest ranking new show this fall.  So what do they have that compares with Lost?

Deep ensemble cast with solid acting.  Neither of these shows has mega-stars headlining.  But what they do have is a lot of really good character actors. (And many of them, especially guest stars, you will recognize from Lost.)

  • Revolution: Billy Burke (criminally underused in the Twilight movies), Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet from Lost), Giancarlo Esposito, and a strong showing from newcomer Tracy Spiridakos
  • Once Upon a Time: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison (House), Emilie de Ravin (Claire from Lost) and don’t forget Robert Carlyle and Lana Parilla as scene-stealing villains

Similar episode formats.  Watching either of these shows will feel familiar, because both shows follow Lost’s style, where the present-day story line is interspersed with flashbacks that elucidate some critical plot point or character aspect.  Revolution jumps between pre- and post-blackout, while OUAT flashes between our world and the fairy tale world (before the curse in the first season, and now during the present time in the second season).

Overarching plotline that digs up more questions than it answers.  Not that this is a bad thing.  But my biggest disappointment with Lost was its inability to satisfy our curiosity without confusing or boring us. Here is where OUAT differs a little.  We came into season 2 with several key mysteries, and several of them have already been definitively answered in a satisfying manner.  I am a little concerned about Revolution, though.  If it cannot give us some good, plausibly scientific answers about the pendants and the blackout soon, it may be a deal-breaker.

Intriguing fantasy/sci fi elements.  OUAT features storybook characters and a healthy amount of magic (and the special effects are only slightly cheesy ^_^).  Revolution actually doesn’t need many special effects because a lot of the story takes place in a dystopian setting with no electricity and virtually no technology.  But the fight choreography is beautiful!

Two words: character development.  You may start watching these shows for the story, but you will keep watching them for the characters.  The characters are absolutely the highlight of both shows.  In Revolution, all the characters are walking a fine line: Miles between his past actions and present desires, Charlie between her innocence and drive to fight for others, Nora between various promises and debts, Nate between duty and love, Cpt Neville between loyalty and ambition, decency and power.  Everything hinges on which way they fall.  In OUAT, the characters are all trying to merge their past lives as fairy tale characters with their present lives in the real world.  The main characters are trying figure out what it means to be a family now, and the villains are wondering if their (mis)use of their powers are actually making their lives better or not.

You can catch the first season of OUAT on Netflix, and there are several recent episodes of each show on the networks’ websites.  I can’t wait until they start up again next year!

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