Why The Affair Is the New Lost—Yes, LOST

There's a reason for all those surprise Golden Globe nominations!

By Kristin Dos Santos Dec 15, 2014 8:31 PMTags
Ruth Wilson, Dominic West, The AffairSteven Lippman/SHOWTIME

Remember when every new show was touting itself as "The  New Lost?"

Yes, we know you haters hated the finale. But we loved it…And let's move on.

Not since Jack, Kate, Sawyer and the gang met up in that church for one final goodbye have we had the sort of programming that people can't stop theorizing about between episodes. There were a bunch of attempts—The Event, Alcatraz, Terra Nova, FlashForward, Threshold, V, Invasion, Drive, Surface—but they all failed.

And now, TV finally has a new drama that we consider to be a "new Lost" and it has come in the most unexpected of all places:

Showtime's The Affair.

Stay with me now.

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For you who haven't seen it, the most important thing you need to know is that this show is ANYTHING but what it seems. (Don't tell it what it can't do!) It's not a sudsy, soapy telenovela about a man and a woman cheating and falling in love. It's a murder mystery and more importantly, a mind-bending examination of what happens when a TV show has no reliable narrators and you have no idea what you're even really watching, or why.

Sound familiar?

Still, that's not the biggest reason The Affair is the first and only show that has really reminded us of Lost.

It's the feeling you get watching it. The Golden Globe nominated—booyah!—series  finally gives us that feeling of excitement and wonder, in which we can't stop talking about—and theorizing about—it, not only the night it airs but for the week following. The deeply layered plot. The sublimely complex characters. The mystery that just keeps getting more and more f--ked up and intriguing. (Who was killed? How? Why? Why are they being interrogated? Why does she look different? Who's her kid? What year is it? Why is the cop lying? Why is she using her maiden name? Is anyone telling the truth? WHY WOULD ANYONE EVER CHEAT ON JOSHUA JACKSON OR MAURA TIERNEY? Ahem. That might be more of a personal quandary.)


The questions, they never end. But in the best way possible. And the feeling The Affair is giving reminds me of a lovely quote from Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof:

"I hope [Lost] is remembered for the experience that happened in the six days in between the airings of the episodes…That feeling of, 'I can't wait to see what's going to happen next.'I understand that Christmas morning is really important. But I'm a Christmas Eve guy. The level of excitement that I felt as a kid on Christmas Eve, and now as a parent that I watch my kid experience, that sense of anticipation and excitement, I just feel like it's so hard to generate that feeling in people."

For my money, Lost will always be the gold standard when it comes to "I can't wait" Christmas Eve-feeling programming.

But this Christmastime, we fans can be pretty dang grateful for The Affair.

Stand by for more scoop on The Affair's final episode of the season later this week. (Finale airs Sunday.)

In the meantime, let's debate: Who will Allison choose? Cole or Noah or neither and why?! Join me in the comments below, or on Twitter (@kristindsantos)!

P.S. If you haven't watched The Affair, you can watch the season premiere here. And the rest of the episodes here