‘FlashForward’ sure makes me feel ‘Lost’

by W. Andrew Powell

The cast of FlashForward

The cast of FlashForward

This evening I watched the first episode of ABC’s new series, FlashForward, and I’m officially hooked. The concept is fresh, the cast is good, and I’m seriously loving this vibe, but I can’t shake that it’s all somehow familiar. Kind of like déjà vu on TV, but the truth is, that’s more than just a coincidence.

While I can’t shake the feeling that the show reminds me a lot of the first season of Heroes, the real connection I can’t shake is the feeling that I’m watching a spin-off of ABC’s Lost. And I’m definitely not alone on this one, at least if you check with other Lost fans.

Set in a present-day America, FlashForward stars Joseph Fiennes and John Cho as FBI agents (Mark and Demetri), on a case that goes off the rails. In the middle of chasing suspected terrorists, the entire world blacks out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. With mayhem across the globe, caused from every person going unconscious as they drive cars, fly planes, and operate heavy machinery, the death toll is astronomical, but the real question is why did it happen?

As everyone investigates, people realize that they didn’t black out so much as witness a scene from their own lives, six months in the future – on April 29, 2010 to be exact.

Since Mark is at the forefront of piecing this together, and his own vision has him working on the case (dubbed “Mosaic” in the future), it’s up to him and Demetri to try to figure out what’s happening.

Pretty interesting, right?

Looking at the Lost angle, right off the top I want to be realistic. It’s in ABC’s best interest to hook Lost fans on another series before Lost kicks the bucket early next year. So, making FlashForward somewhat Lost-like is a no-brainer in other words.

Some fans will also point to the show’s title as a hint to the Lost connection, since one whole season of Lost was devoted to “flash forwards”. However, Canadian author Robert J. Sawyer penned the original book in 1999 and appropriately enough, it was set in 2009 (in the book, the people of Earth also saw themselves 21 years in the future).

There’s also such a thing as pride in America, which means that if someone from Lost was involved in FlashForward, their name would be somewhere in the credits. Although I’ve only looked through some details, the only people from Lost involved with FlashForward seem to be a couple of actors, including Dominic Monaghan (who we haven’t met yet) and Sonya Walger (playing Mark’s wife, Olivia).

Setting all of that aside though, I’m willing to play the devil’s advocate once more. In fact, I want FlashForward to be a Lost spin-off, but I still find it hard to accept. Here are some of the reasons I am willing to consider that it’s a possibility though.

The Book
First off, while the book clearly had nothing to do with Lost, it seems like ABC, and creators Brannon Braga and David S. Goyer are adapting the work slightly. Since I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone, I’ll just say that the cause of the event in the book could definitely be adapted to fit within the Lost universe, especially if it were right at the point in the fifth season finale when Jughead went off, which potentially changed the course of time, and everyone’s fate on the island for the upcoming season. Maybe people in the rest of the world experienced their flash forward as a consequence?

Title Sequence
At about 50 seconds into the premier the FlashForward opening title runs, and while it’s not that close, it’s basically just the words “Flash Forward” over a tonal sound. So, no opening music, no credits – just the show’s name – same as Lost.

Oceanic Airlines
At 6 minutes and 13 seconds into the episode, John Cho’s character seems to be staring out the window of the car at an advertisement for Lost‘s Oceanic Airlines. If you’ve watched the episode, you know that there’s a question as to whether Demetri will be alive in six months since he didn’t have a flash forward. I wonder then if his character dies in an Oceanic Airlines crash.

An Oceanic billboard in FlashForward

An Oceanic billboard in FlashForward

On the one hand, that doesn’t mean the shows are connected, it just gives a nod to Lost while also giving a good reason as to how Demetri bites it. The name has actually been used a lot in film and television, the only difference this time is that FlashForward is using the same logo for the airline as Lost.

I’ve read on a few message boards that one of the show’s writers/creators said they put the ad in as an homage, but this could still be a real hint that there is a connection between the shows. In fact, it’s the best hint.

Explosive Beginnings
We’re getting a bit more tenuous here, but starting at around 11 minutes into the episode, Mark has a very similar experience to Matthew Fox’s character of Jack in Lost with the airplane on the beach being replaced with a gas tanker on a street. In FlashForward the tanker explodes, shrapnel goes flying, and shortly after we get a big, epic shot of the devastation around Mark – much like we see around Jack in the first episode of Lost.

Again, this could be coincidence, but it feels uniquely appropriate to this connection discussion.

The Dates
Finally, FlashForward suggests that the date of April 29, 2010, the date that people see when they black out, is important on multiple levels and I can imagine at least two reasons why. In the “FlashCard” videos on ABC.com the creators note that the date is important, and it’s simple to guess that the show will have its finale on that date (it’s a Thursday, after all).

The other interesting side of this is that Lost will very likely be near its series finale around that date. Last year, April 29 was also the date of Lost‘s 100th episode (a pretty important one called “The Variable”). Important? Probably not, but still interesting.

If I had to put my odds on anything it’s that FlashForward is just a lot like Lost, has borrowed a few elements to win some fans, and has merely given a few friendly nods to that series.

Truth is, if FlashForward were connected to Lost, wouldn’t ABC have promoted that fact somehow, or left bigger hints to draw in viewers? I’d imagine so. Even if the connection was minor I think there would have been more hints leading into the show’s debut, particularly in terms of some viral campaign.

I’m still going to wish for some Lost connections and tie-ins, because I like the idea, but even as I come up with ways that it works, it still doesn’t make sense. Subtlety is not a strong point of the American entertainment industry, and joining two divergent series together without any promotion is just way too subtle for me to believe.

(Canadians looking for FlashForward can find it on CTV’s A channel, or online at watch.ctv.ca/flashforward/. Hopefully, CTV will have some sense and ditch one of their crappy cop shows soon so FlashForward can move over, but I’m not betting on it since they pushed Lost off of CTV and over to A last year.)

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WWOFTBBNR September 26, 2009 - 10:49 am

You’re right in saying that FF simply gives nod to LOST, and nothing else. As far as the Dimitri character not having a flash, it’s directly related to a character in the book. People that are saying FF is a LOST tie in need to realize that the book was written in 1999, and the show is using a lot of the elements of the book. The only tie-in to LOST is that ABC hopes that those of us who watch LOST will watch FF.

WWOFTBBNR September 26, 2009 - 10:53 am

You’re right in saying that FF simply gives nod to LOST, and nothing else. As far as the Dimitri character not having a flash, it’s directly related to a character in the book. People that are saying FF is a LOST tie in need to realize that the book was written in 1999, and the show is using a lot of the elements of the book.

For those thinking it’s a tie-in; Is Chuck a tie in because it mentioned Oceanic 815 in passing? Is The Office a tie-in because Dwight asked Ryan about the Dharma Initiative? The only tie-in to LOST is that ABC hopes that those of us who watch LOST will watch FF.

Finch September 26, 2009 - 1:12 pm

If you look closer, the billboard actually says something about a perfect flight record. So, if it is a spin-off, that does support the idea that the bomb reset things and that they landed in Los Angeles with no complications.

It’d be the most original spin-off in history. No fanfare, just a mysterious connection at first. It’d be brilliant and it would probably get them even more publicity than if they had told everybody. Speculation and gossip and rumour are much more powerful than brazen advertising campaigns. I’m more likely to watch a show based on a recommendation than I am advertising.

W. Andrew Powell September 26, 2009 - 2:35 pm

The more I think, the more I realize the shows may just have crossover elements. For instance, the Oceanic poster, which says “Perfect Safety Record” across the top, I would guess that this does prove the finale did reset reality, but again, it’s probably just an ABC teaser for the fans.

I have to add as well that the dates are important to remember. The “present day” of Lost in the last season was 2007, so even if the bomb going off affected Lost’s present day, that would still not be FlashForward’s present day. The only other way it could connect is if Lost has an event on April 29, 2010 that has repercussions on the FlashForward reality, an event that might even potentially cause the flash forward for the planet six months earlier. Just a thought.

Deb Di Bella September 26, 2009 - 10:20 pm

I am hooked. I immediately saw “LOST!” in the first episode and like many, wondered if there was a connection. I am a LOST! fan so I, too, am hoping that this is a spinoff and think that it is absolutely brilliant way to do it. I’m telling all my LOST friends to watch it.

rock September 28, 2009 - 12:09 am

I am not even a Lost Fan, Have only seen very short segments of “Lost” yet, as soon as I saw “Flash Forward”, I said somehow this is connected to “Lost”! Did enjoy this program though!

Oscar September 29, 2009 - 1:18 am


olivia’s child is named charlie. so was her babys name in LOST with edmund.

Mario September 29, 2009 - 6:15 pm

some info from the web:
The billboard – too easy.

The funeral home from the “Through the Looking Glass” episode of “Lost” was Hoffs Drawlar, which is an anagram for “Flash Forward”

A strange, out-of-place, animal was seen wandering after the event. In “Flash Forward”, it was a kangaroo; in “Lost”, it was the polar bear.

Demetri’s wedding dance song was “Islands in the Stream”

When the unidentified agent calls Scotland Yard to corroborate his vision, they both state that they saw a bird hit the window. That is eerily reminiscent of the experience of a young Walt.

(Stay with me on this one….) The global event caused everyone to see a vision of April 29th, 2010 at 10 PM PST (or 1 AM EST) and it lasted 137 seconds. The infamous numbers in “Lost” (4,8,15,16,23,42) add up to 108. 137 – 108 is…you guessed it – 29!

Tara October 4, 2009 - 8:38 pm

just to oscar, penny’s (from lost- sonya wagner) child, named charlie, she has with desmond, not edmund :]

victor October 12, 2009 - 6:27 am

HERE IS A CLUE! When desmond and loke are in the hatch and loke doesn’t push the button (and he sees the numbers turn into those red images) start your stop watch! From the moment those turn red until Desmond turns the fail safe key is……..you guessed it 2min and 17seconds!

JOJO October 23, 2009 - 10:27 pm

In FF, Ned, the guy who ends up in the hospital with Addison’s Disease is the same actor who plays Thomas on LOST. Thomas was Claire’s boyfriend and father of Aaron. Some people think he is Ben’s son because he looks so much like Ben.

Or couse, Penny, Charlie and Cassidyfrom LOST are in FF..

The shot of the young boy with the stick in Somalia watching the crows reminded me immediately of Eko.
Charlie Pace’s fathers name in LOST is Simon. The same name as Charlie’s character in FF.
Cassidy’s name in FF is Kate.

JOJO October 23, 2009 - 10:29 pm

Olivia/Penny can’t get her potatoe chips out of the vending machine. Very much like Jack can’t get his Apollo Bar out of the vending machine. Jacob gets it out and gives it to him.

Lost Fan April 10, 2010 - 7:03 pm

If Flash Forward is what happens after Lost ends, why would they start the series before Lost’s series finale? Don’t you think that might be a bit of a spoiler? And yeah, there haven’t been any promotions about it so I don’t think the stories are IMPORTANTLY connected at all! I love Lost, it’s the greatest show on tv!!

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