In the world of television, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz are unsung geniuses. As writers for the hit series Lost, which premiered in 2004, and creators of Once Upon A Time, which has it’s 5th seasons premiering on Sept. 17, these two know how to make addicting TV. One show follows survivors deserted on an island and the other follows fairy tale characters deserted in Maine, but both series’ have a lot more in common than you might think!
1. Flashbacks (and forwards)
Both Lost and Once thrive off of character backstory, so it’s no surprise that flashbacks are part of almost every episode. Due to these #throwback segments, we see Snow White and the Evil Queen’s muddy past, Emma’s harsh childhood on Once. Then on Lost, we see Hurley’s suspicion for a certain set of numbers and practically every other characters’ earlier years.
Lost took it a step further and introduced ‘flash forwards’ in its season three finale. Despite giving viewers the ending (sort of), these flash forwards managed to stir up even more suspense!
2. Intricate Plot lines
Clearly, Kitsis and Horowitz learned a thing or two from their island days. Lost quickly gained the reputation for being a finely-tuned instrument with intricate plot lines that weaved through almost every character in the series. Once follows suit, making sure that no presence in the show is without rhyme and reason. I mean, remember when Peter Pan was Rumplestiltskin’s dad?
3. Smoke Monsters
Kitsis and Horowitz seem to love their smoke monsters. What was deemed ‘the smoke monster’ made a number of appearances throughout Lost. There were never really any answers as to what this wisp of dark smoke was up to, but it’s menacing nature made the island all the more creepy. Once is also infatuated with evil smokey beings. Pretty much every evil curse comes in the form of colorful smoke that envelops the whole town and curses everyone in it’s path.
4. Casting Parallels
It seems these guys had fan favorites. Many of the actors who appeared in Lost have booked a stay in Storybrooke, whether it be for five episodes or five seasons. Claire is Princess Belle, Hurley has been a giant, Sayid has been Jafar, Juliet was a crazy ice queen and Charlotte is the wicked witch of the west. To name a few.
5. Cliff-Hanger Finales
What’s a season finale without a good cliff-hanger? It would seem that Kitsis and Horowitz have made this their motto. Finales of both shows continually dished out some serious twists and turns, the latest being that Once Upon A Time protagonist Emma is now officially evil. Yikes.
6. Slow Descent Into Madness
There are only so many times that characters can turn good, turn evil, find lost relatives, and have love affairs. As with many good shows, the seasons tend to get a little more iffy as time goes on. But we’ll still watching until the end…
Both of these shows have a LOT of foliage. Primarily season two of Once (which took place in jungle-y Neverland) and pretty much every season of Lost.
In one of the very first Lost episodes, a polar bear appeared on the island. This was never again addressed, leaving fans more than a little confused. Maybe it wandered in from one of Once Upon A Time‘s Elsa-and-Anna episodes?
Once is certainly just as guilty of this TV felony. In the beginning of the show it was established that any resident who left Storybrooke would forget who they are and probably never stumble across the magical town again. It’s reasonable that a powerful character might defy this rule in the name of plot-twists, but people come and go across the boarder every other episode these days.
9. Stellar Character Development
These shows are serious about character development and it’s probably one of their best qualities. The perk of having multiple seasons and lots of backstory means we see the progress of characters overtime.
Storybrooke native Regina Mills is the perfect example. Kitsis and Horowitz took your standard ‘evil queen’ and morphed her into a complex human being. She may still have a few bad bones in her body (as any former super-villain should!) but her gritty past, affection for her son Henry, and her blossoming romance with Robin Hood show that she has a good side as well.
Lost hosts a ton of deep, philosophical character developments. Between flashbacks, present day, and flash forwards we see huge transformations in characters such as John Locke. We’re given snippets of Locke’s past as an underdog, shown his adjustment to being paralyzed in his later years, and then see him take a key leadership role on the island. Some may even go as far as to say Lost is the story of “lost” souls. Deep.
10. Insane Fan Theories
If you Google fan theories from Lost or Once Upon A Time, you won’t leave your house for two days. The number of theories are endless and each is formulated with the utmost detail using minuscule events to back these theories up almost flawlessly.
One Lost theorist said that ‘future’ and ‘past’ characters were all simultaneously inhabiting the island, thus creating much of the conflict throughout the seasons. Others say that the island was rigged (possibly by the Dharma Initiative?) and for years the characters were being watched in preparation for a giant test.
Many Once fans are behind the theory that Emma Swan is not, in fact, the ‘outside world’ character who is saving the Storybrooke natives. Instead, she herself is a fairy tale character (the Swan Princess, maybe?) this whole time. Whaaaaat? The crazy thing is that once you read the evidence, all of these theories are perfectly plausible.