The Twilight Zone, The X-Files, The Prisoner, even creator JJ Abrams’s earlier Alias spring immediately to mind when placing Lost alongside its televisual kith and kin. But there are times where I’m convinced the show’s true heart lies not in the sci-fi/fantasy genre, but in soap opera, with many of its conspiratorial elements serving as mere set dressing for stories of longing, domestic discord, parental abandonment, and tests of faith.
The soap opera comparison is more than just thematically apt: Here we have a serial involving a large and ever-expanding ensemble of pulpy archetypes (the con-man, the doctor, the fugitive, etc…), its narrative progressing at a near-glacial pace and deriving much of its drama from “shocking revelations” buried deep within its characters’ pasts. It likewise demands that its viewers posses either a fanatical appreciation for and knowledge of backstory from seasons’ past or, at the very least, quick access to Lost’s many Internet fan sites. Factor in the sexual tension that has percolated amongst many of the characters over the past two years and the soap opera parallel feels more obvious still.