Both 'This Is Us' and 'The Good Place' cite the mystery drama as model

By Dan Snierson
August 02, 2016 at 12:00 PM EDT
Mario Perez/ABC via Getty Images

It was NBC’s day at the TCA Summer Press Tour to trot out the stars and producers of its new (and returning) shows, and it kinda-sorta turned into Lost Appreciation Day.

During a panel for This Is Us, creator Dan Fogelman namechecked ABC’s crypto-drama, noting that his ambitious series about characters seemingly linked by birthday is a “dramedy version of Lost.” “You have to see how these people are connected,” he said of the show, which feels “bigger than life.” The ensemble series features such actors as Sterling K. Brown, Milo Ventimiglia, and Mandy Moore.

Lost received an even bigger hat tip later in the day during a panel for The Good Place, a comedy from Parks and Recreation co-creator Michael Schur that stars Kristen Bell as a not-exactly-virtuous woman who accidentally winds up in an afterlife paradise, where Danson’s character is one of the architects.

“This show is never going to be a wash-rinse-repeat kind of a deal — not to disparage that as a way to write or present a TV show,” said Schur, answering a question about the show’s direction beyond the pilot. “The pilot is a pretty good template for what is an average episode for this show, in that it has a contained story, and then at the end something kind of dramatic happens, and it sends the show spiraling off into a different place. The model for this show in some ways in my own head is Lost. I love that show.”

In fact, when brainstorming the Good Place concept, one of the first people that Schur consulted with was Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof. “I took him out to lunch, and I said, we’re going to play a game called ‘Is This Anything?’ where I pitch you an idea and you tell me if it’s anything. And he gave me a lot of wonderful advice, and the reason I called him and wanted his advice is because the way I was imagining it going was sort of the Lost way — of cliffhangers and big events and dramatic things that change the course of the characters’ lives and stuff like that in every episode.”

Perhaps surprisingly, Lost wasn’t referenced during the panel for the network’s time-travel drama, Timeless.

The Good Place debuts on Sept. 19, and This Is Us premieres the following night.

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