Why Promoting ‘FlashForward’ as Next ‘LOST’ was a Bad Idea

If you watched any television on ABC during the months leading up to FlashForward‘s series premiere, you probably got the message loud and clear: FlashForward is the next LOST. ABC did everything in their power to convince the viewing public that FlashForward was the show that was destined to fill the hole that was going to be left by LOST‘s absence after its 6th and final season.

The FlashForward promotion worked, too. Many viewers were extremely excited leading up to FlashForward‘s premiere, and the buzz on the Internet was exactly what ABC was pushing. The LOST fanbase, for the most part, tuned in to see what ABC expected them to watch when their beloved Island drama was dead and buried (unlike a certain ex-disabled walking deadman).

However, the FlashForward/LOST cross-promotion may have actually had negative consequences that ABC didn’t expect, or that maybe they had their network fingers crossed against: unrealistic expectations for viewers.

While ABC intended to communicate to the viewing public that FlashForward was a show (in its own right) that had the potential to be as exciting and engaging as the golden calf called LOST, the viewing public heard that it was just like LOST. Which, if you haven’t figured it out yet, FlashForward is not.

Sure, FlashForward has some significant similarities to LOST. Below are a few:

  • Both shows feature a very large cast of characters
  • Both shows present an overarching mystery (or mysteries) to be solved over the course of the narrative progression
  • Both shows feature (or featured) Dominic Monaghan as a potent character
  • Both shows have a penchant for deep drama mixed with intense action
  • And, lest we forget the obvious, both have the power of ABC/Disney behind them

But FlashForward is not LOST.

That is not to say that FlashForward is not a good show. On the contrary, FlashForward has started to develop a mythos to it already that is worth following, and should the hiatus and any related changes that David Goyer and his team make to the show prove fruitful in the next few months, FlashForward could indeed be “the” show that LOST fans turn to once the story of the Island survivors has drawn to a close.

But, let me repeat, FlashForward is not LOST. Many viewers were expecting it to instantly have the same magic that LOST has built up over the past 5 years, and that expectation has proven very unrealistic. It will take some time for FlashForward to develop its mythos, and even in that, this new show will/must be different from LOST.

Unfortunately, ABC’s propaganda machine has failed to communicate this to viewers, and rather than allowing FlashForward to develop its own rabid fanbase over time, ABC forced the show into a cubby hole that will require it to be compared to the fan favorite throughout its first few years, if not beyond.

Of course, this could prove to be the start of a new curse on any show that promises to fit the fanbase of the show that has generated the kind of unrelenting fandom that LOST has. ABC may be feeling the “curse of LOST” for a long time to come.

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  1. David Vox Mullen
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