Legacy is not just a simple passing of the baton, especially in the world of TV series. In this ambiguous and confused context, the legacy risks becoming a huge problem, even a boulder for all those TV series that are linked to themes or genres of a cult work. In the world of TV series there have been many products that have been a watershed: we are talking about those products that serve as a reference point for subsequent works. Lost is certainly a point of reference for many TV series in which the horizontal narration mixes with flashbacks and flash-forwards to delve into the stories of the characters on stage. The work created by JJ Abrams also binds the adventurous trend to the most disparate hues, above all thriller, drama and science fiction, and also for this way of skilfully mixing genres, it has been elected as one of the best TV series of every time. The story of the hijacking of an airplane and the consequent survival of the group in a mysterious and disturbing place has been taken up by many TV series, including the brand new and creepy Yellowjackets.
Yellowjackets is not Lost
But how much does Lost’s Yellowjackets have? A comparison with Lost might minimize its quality but let’s see why Yellowjackets is not Lost.While partially collecting some narrative principles of Lost, the new series visible on Paramount +, is not a copy of it or a vulgar substitute, and to fully enjoy its intensity we must free it and free ourselves from any comparison. First of all, what belongs only and only to Yellowjackets lies in the attempt to develop a narrative in which there are the conditions for approaching the themes of a “bildungsroman”. Girls who survived in the Canadian woods in 1996 is filmed in gift, in contact with a completely different reality from the one in which they left their poor friends. The analysis of the post-events trauma of the past is proposed again in 2021, years later, to know the consequences and above all the drifts of that sunburn: there is the desire to understand the evolution of the thoughts and of the character of the protagonists after such ambiguous years. But above all we want to thoroughly investigate a period, the adolescent, in an ancestral and distressing setting.
25 years later, in Yellowjackets, the surviving girls have become women, mothers, workers, but the choices of the past continue to direct the behaviors of their present. The adolescence spent between cannibalism and wounds is not just a reminder therefore, but a disturbing echo that never leaves the protagonists alone. This continuous reversal in the face cannot fail to bring to mind the masterful flashbacks of Lost, but in Yellowjackets we follow the protagonists even today, we analyze their actions taking into account what happened in the Canadian woods. What will their life be like now? Why are those events still knocking on the door? In the series aired on Paramount+, the present makes itself felt strong and lively while the daily activities of the protagonists are properly explored, and this is one of the reasons that make it less similar to Lost, albeit very similar. The real link between his series remains the story of a claustrophobic world in which it is hard to breathe: that is, the viewer is asked to embark on a journey in which the anxious expectation of the truth always remains a distant mirage.
A female universe full of secrets
A more solid difference with Lost lies in the attempt with which Yellowjackets aims to depict the female universe in all its facets: the cast and the most interesting characters belong to the world of women. The players of the soccer team in the yellow jerseys are the highlight of the show thanks to a not indifferent psychological introspection in which the primordial instinct, taken to the limit, comes out of its hiding place to be seen and felt in all its ‘splendour’. The series reflects the fears and hopes of modern feminism through a three-dimensional excursus in which the present represents only the culmination of the physical and mental fatigue of the protagonists. The excellent cast of the series manages to give vent to the nuances of the girls, all united by a disturbing and gloomy air: Cristina Ricci and Melanie Lynskey give out of the ordinary tests, they manage to set fire to the soul of the story.
Lost is then more philosophical but less gloomy than Yellowjackets: the mythological and scientific elements are partially removed to give more space to moments in which tension and fear never leave the viewer satisfied. Yellowjackets is a more thrilling, psychologically realistic and violent story: through an ascending climax, the brutality of the series, accompanied by moments of real reference to the horror genre, comes out little by little without fear, demonstrating, moreover, the aptitude for giving away traces of existentialism. The windowless, hypnotic atmosphere is reminiscent of the best moments of Lost but it’s not an end in itself: everything is set up for completing a difficult-to-decipher quiz. The two series, in this very similar, make us many more questions than answers, and this is absolutely good for the success of both. But then why the comparison with Lost could become a problem?
As we said in the incipit The legacy is not just a simple passing of the baton. It would be ungenerous to watch Yellowjackets just to relive the feelings we had with Lost, and also unfair to think that the series is a copy of it. Breaking down this comparison, Yellojackets has established itself not only as an original story but also as one of the best products of recent years. Because if Lost is and will certainly be a point of reference for many works, Yellojackets must be savored without any kind of comparison. If for years we have wondered who was the heir of Game of Thrones without finding any valid answer, the same happens, in my opinion, with Lost: there are no heirs or substitutes for a work, much less Yellojackets can be defined as such. The latter is a little gem that lives and breathes on its own. Yellowjackets can’t and shouldn’t be known only as the daughter or younger sister of the Lost.