Warning: Mild SPOILERS for The I-Land ahead.
Netflix's new sci-fi series The I-Land looks like a ripoff of ABC's long-running series Lost... and that's because it basically is. Written and directed by Neil LaBute (The Wicker Man), The I-Land is about a group of ten strangers who wake up on the beach of a deserted island, and must work together to try and figure out why they are there, and how to escape.
Unfortunately, only Chase (Natalie Martinez) seems to be interested in actually solving the puzzle. Things get off to a bad start when the first person she meets, KC (Kate Bosworth), immediately pulls a knife on her. Things don't get much better than there, with an attempted sexual assault by Brody (Alex Pettyfer) leading to Chase being ostracized from the group. Largely unphased by their situation, the rest of the group seem more interested in sunbathing and swimming than trying to survive and escape. Though the show does eventually explain why most of the characters are sociopaths or jerks, The I-Land is easily one of the worst Netflix Originals - roughly on par with its fellow recent sci-fi series Another Life.
Unlike Lost, The I-Land seems to have been written with an awareness that it's unlikely to get more than one season, and as a result the big mystery behind the island is revealed in episode 3. With only seven episodes in total, each running for around 40 minutes, The I-Land doesn't have nearly as much time to delve into its mysteries as Lost had, and in many ways the show feels half-formed. We won't reveal the secret behind the island and how the characters ended up there, but we have collected some of the plot points that The I-Land "borrows" from Lost.
The Mysterious Island
A lot of people got Lost vibes just from watching the trailer for The I-Land - and with good reason. The island that the ten strangers wash up on does look remarkably similar to the island from Lost, complete with beaches, jungle, and mountains. Also like Lost, whose character names were often allusions to famous philosophers such as John Locke, The I-Land has some none-too-subtle references - like a copy of Jules Verne's The Mysterious Island, which is found buried in the sand by Taylor (Kota Eberhardt)... and immediately discarded and never mentioned again. Chase, meanwhile, wakes up clutching a conch shell in her hand, as an obvious nod to William Golding's Lord of the Flies.
Like Lost, The I-Land has a story thread involving what are frequently referred as "the numbers." However, this doesn't really make sense except as a rip-off of Lost's famous number sequence, since "the numbers" in The I-Land are actually just one number: 39. This is the number of steps between where each of the island's residents woke up on the beach, and following the beach for a further 39 steps leads Chase to a sign that says "Find Your Way Back." The I-Land makes a half-hearted effort to try and spin the number 39 into a bigger mystery than it is, including a scene where Chase breaks down the number to find a code to open a lockbox, but since the show only ever produces a single number the insistence on talking about "the numbers" is pretty confusing. For what it's worth, the significance of the number 39 is at least explained in the final episode.
A Killer Animal
One of the first clues that something strange was going on in Lost was the appearance of a polar bear on a desert island, which made its first appearance in "The Pilot - Part 2." The I-Land has some animal peril of its own, specifically an aggressive school of sharks who attack the group when they go swimming and drag off Donovan (Anthony Lee Medina) - who is later washed up with a bite wound to the leg. In one of the show's more facepalm-worthy scenes, Chase cuts her foot open on a rock and then immediately dives into the shark-infested waters where, unsurprisingly, she's attacked by a shark.
Just as Lost blended the characters' time on the island with flashbacks that slowly revealed their lives before, and what led them to get on that fateful flight, so too does The I-Land lean heavily on flashbacks. Though the characters all start out with complete amnesia, they gradually start to recover memories of their lives and the kinds of people they were before they woke up on the island. Without giving away too much, they're all harboring some pretty dark secrets.
The Others and The Island Village
Just as the castaways on Lost encountered another group of strangers called the Others, who lived in a village on another part of the island, so too do the characters of The I-Land run into a suspicious pair called Bonnie and Clyde. At first pretending to be fellow castaways who woke up on the island just like everyone else, Bonnie and Clyde soon reveal that they were actually put on the island to keep everyone in line. They also reveal that there's a village on the other side of the island, though unlike the Others' home turf, this village is uninhabited and exists primarily as a way to get the characters to splinter off into different groups.
The Second Island
Lost had a second island called Hydra Island, and The I-Land also introduces a second island that's called Two-Land. The island's inhabitants are instructed not to try and make their way to this second island, but Taylor disobeys. Like many elements of The I-Land, the second island feels like a storyline that was abandoned halfway through, so we don't really learn anything about it besides the fact that there's a cannibal living on it.