When Lost premiered in September of 2004, it didn’t take long for its castaways to become a global phenomenon. Created by Jeffrey Lieber, J. J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof, the show told the story of Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 which crashed on a remote island somewhere in the South Pacific. Mixing science fiction with supernatural elements, Lost built a layered mythology over its six seasons as the island haunted the surviving members with ghosts from their past, a smoke monster, a potentially dangerous group of “Others,” and a cryptic hatch in the ground that could be a crucial piece to the island’s puzzle and a lifeline to the outside world.
Throughout the show’s run, showrunners Lindelof and Carlton Cuse explored each character’s past with flashbacks (and later flash-forwards), with each episode focusing in on one particular character and providing insightful looks into their lives and struggles back home. The show’s characters were deeply rich, flawed and human, and thanks in part to the attention given to this character work, viewers became enthralled as they waited to learn the fates of their favorites on the metaphysical island.
The show ended its run in 2010 having made many of its cast stars and launching the careers of those it introduced. It’s an addicting, action-packed binge and you can watch all 121 episodes of Lost streaming online. Here’s how.
How to Watch Lost Online & Stream the Complete Series
Among all the streaming services, Hulu has exclusive rights to every episode of Lost. There are a couple different options when signing up for Hulu, but either one will get you access to the show’s complete library:
If you simply want Hulu’s extensive on-demand library, you can sign up right here. It costs $7.99 per month for the limited commercials plan or $11.99 per month for the no commercials plan.
If you want to go from watching Hulu’s on-demand library to watching MLB games or other live TV without changing the app, you can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV”. This option gives you access to Hulu’s extensive on-demand library, as well as a bundle of 50-plus live TV channels. It costs $39.99 per month for the plan that includes limited commercials with the on-demand content or $43.99 per month for the plan that includes no commercials with the on-demand content.
After signing up for either of the above options, you can watch every episode of Lost on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead
How Many Lost Seasons Are There?
There are six twisty-turny seasons of Lost, all of which kept viewers on their toes.
Lost Season 1
25 Episodes | September 2004 – May 2005
Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 crashes on what appears to be a deserted tropical island, and Season 1 spends most of the time dealing with the aftermath of the crash. We meet Jack Shephard, a doctor, who naturally steps up as leader. The castaways quickly find out that the island isn’t what it seems. There are polar bears, smoke monsters and malevolent beings called “The Others” to content with, all threatening their newfound existence on the island. The group meets Danielle Rousseau, a woman shipwrecked 16 years ago who is still looking for her daughter Alex. While Locke and Boone find a weird metal hatch in the ground, Michael, Jin, Walt and Sawyer attempt to escape via raft. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t go well.
Lost Season 2
24 Episodes | September 2005 – May 2006
Conflict with The Others comes to a head, as does Jack and Locke’s back and forth discussions regarding science vs. faith. The Others ambush the raft and kidnap Walt, Michael’s son. The hatch is revealed to be a research station created by the Dharma Initiative, a group of scientist conducting experiments on the island in the past. The group finds a man living in the island, Desmond Hume, who tells them they must activate a computer program every 108 minutes to avoid a catastrophic event that could destroy the entire island. Thanks to a betrayal by a desperate Michael, Jack, Kate and Sawyer are kidnapped, while Michael and Walt are given a boat to leave. Locke destroys the computer in the hatch which leads to an electromagnetic event, which allows for Penelope Widmore’s team (aka, Desmond’s boo) to detect the island. It’s believed that a similar event caused the plane to crash in the first place.
Lost Season 3
23 Episodes | October 2006 – May 2007
Season 3 continues exploring The Others along with the fate of the Dharma Initiative. The leader of The Others is Benjamin Linus, a dangerous man who always seems to know more than he’s letting on. Time travel is introduced as Desmond’s mind is sent eight years to the past. When he returns, he’s suddenly able to see the future which doesn’t bode well for castaway Charlie. Ben promises Jack that he can leave the island in a submarine if he operates on Ben who has cancer. Jack completes the surgery but Locke destroys the sub. Naomi crashes to the island in a copter telling the group that she was sent by Penelope, but Charlie speaks with Penelope later who tells him she doesn’t know any Naomi. The season finale follows what appears to be a flashback, only to later reveal that Jack and Kate did escape the island and what we were shown was actually a flash-forward!
Lost Season 4
14 Episodes | January 2008 – May 2008
The flash-forwards continue as we see how the “Oceanic Six” (Kate, Jack, Hurley, Sayid, Sun and Aaron) adapt to life back on the mainland. Meanwhile, back on the island, a freighter arrives with orders to kill everyone who stays. Ben and Lock take a journey to visit Jacob, the island’s leader, and find Jack’s dead dad there speaking for Jacob. Following Jacob’s instructions, Ben moves the island with a large frozen wheel hidden in a Dharma sub-station, which transports Ben to the Sahara. (None of this makes any sense. Welcome to Lost.) It is revealed that the funeral we saw Jack attending in previous flash-forwards is actually the funeral of the one and only John Locke.
Lost Season 5
17 Episodes | January 2009 – May 2009
Two timelines emerge in Season 5, the first of which follows the lives of the rest of the survivors on the island who are now hyper-actively jumping back and forth through time. Richard Alpert, an Other, tells Locke that the Oceanic Six must return to the island in order to save the lives of those left behind. Locke stops the time shifting by turning the same wheel Ben did in the season prior, only to trap the survivors in 1974 with the former team of Dharma Initiative researchers. The other timeline takes place in 2007 off-island as Jack runs around trying to convince the others to return to the island. The Oceanic Six board a plane—with Locke’s dead body in tow—in order to get back to the island, but some of them land in 1977 and others end up in 2007. With instruction from Daniel Faraday (1977 timeline), Juliet sacrifices herself to detonate the construction site of the hatch, thus, altering the future (aka the present timeline).
Lost Season 6
18 Episodes | February 2010 – May 2010
John Locke, who was alive and then dead and then “alive” but later revealed to be another entity, is now the human form of the smoke monster. The monster wants to escape the island which leads to a final battle between good and evil. A flash-sideways timeline emerges showing us what the characters’ lives would’ve been like had they never crashed onto the island. Jacon and the Man in Black are revealed to be twin brothers; the members of the original flight were candidates selected by Jacob to be the island’s new protector, while the smoke monster (aka the Man in Black) spent the series trying to eliminate the candidates, thus, allowing him to be free. Once the Man in Black becomes mortal after reaching the heart of the island, Jack becomes the island’s new protector. Kate kills the Man in Black, but Jack is wounded in battle. Some survivors escape the island for good, others die and some remain on the island, like Hurley who ultimately becomes the new protector after Jack. The series finale reveals that the flash-sideways timeline was actually a form of afterlife purgatory, where the survivors and other characters from their island lives were finally reunited. They all move into the light together.
What Are the Best Lost Episodes?
With so much mystery and so many twists, Lost was a series that was constantly trying to pull the rug out from under viewers’ feet. Here’s a list of some of the best Lost episodes.
Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2: “Pilot”
The show’s “Pilot” episode is a thrilling introduction to the strange mystery that is “The Island.” We feel the survivors struggles and the danger of the island feels incredibly real and tangible. We meet Jack, the group’s newfound leader, in addition to Hurley, a recent lottery winner, Claire, a pregnant mother-to-be, Sawyer, a con man, Kate, a fugitive, and a plethora of others. Polar bears and smoke monsters are introduced and by episodes’ end, we’re treated to multiple “WTF!?” moments.
Season 1, Episode 4: “Walkabout”
Terry O’Quinn was Emmy nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his performance in “Walkabout” (he would later go on to win the award for a Season 3 episode). “Walkabout” also showed viewers just how important the flashback scenes were as it was revealed that Locke was paralyzed and wheelchair-bound before he boarded Oceanic Airlines Flight 815. The episode expertly navigates its past storylines with present events on the island, showing that Lost was truly unique and not just a show to watch in the background.
Season 2, Episode 1: “Man of Science, Man of Faith”
The Season 1 finale is finally explored as Jack, Kate and Locke investigate the hatch and meet Desmond, a man living inside who claims he must hit a button every 108 minutes to prevent cataclysmic destruction. While searching for Vincent the dog, Shannon has a frightening vision of Walt in the jungle. In flashbacks, we discover that Jack has met Desmond before in his real life. The episode introduces the show’s “science vs. faith” theme which continues until the very end.
Season 3, Episodes 22 and 23: “Through the Looking Glass”
This was the episode that turned the show’s most reliant plot device, the flashbacks, on its head. In the final moments of Season 3, we realize that Jack and Kate are actually off-island and that everything we saw throughout the episodes were actually flash-forwards. It was the watercooler moment of the year, if that’s still a thing people say. The episode also features Charlie’s heartbreaking suicide mission and three words that would change everything going forward: “Not Penny’s boat.”
Season 4, Episode 5: “The Constant”
“The Constant” revolves around a time-travelling Desmond when he finds himself stuck in a fluctuating time-warp, switching back and forth between present time on the freighter and his past in England. He locates Daniel Faraday for help who explains that Desmond needs a “constant” who can anchor him as he’s switching between time periods or else his brain will fry or mush or get the Scanners treatment. Desmond turns to Penny and gets her phone number telling her, “I won’t call you for eight years.” It’s brilliantly acted, well-written and packs a huge emotional punch—the true Lost trifecta.
Who Are the Actors in the Lost Cast?
Matthew Fox as Jack Shephard
Jack is Lost’s “man of science.” He takes on a leader role within the group, often going head to head with Locke. Fox played Charlie Salinger in Party of Five.
Evangeline Lilly as Kate Austen
When we first meet Kate, she’s handcuffed to her plane seat after evading the police for three years. Lilly was recently seen in Ant-Man and the Wasp and will appear in next summer’s upcoming Avengers movie.
Terry O’Quinn as John Locke
Locke has a fascination with faith and claims there’s a high powered reason why they all end up on the island. O’Quinn starred in the cult horror film The Stepfather and can now be seen on Hulu’s Castle Rock.
Josh Holloway as James “Sawyer” Ford
Sawyer is a con man who was deported from Australia for assaulting a politician. He killed the man he thought had ruined his life, only to realize the mistake after the fact. More recently, Holloway starred in Colony and Intelligence.
Other castaways taking up residence on the island are Hurley (Jorge Garcia), Sun (Yunjin Kim), Sayid (Naveen Andrews), Jin (Daniel Dae Kim) and Charlie (Dominic Monaghan).
Who Are the Top Guest Stars on Lost?
Lost was always a show with a huge main and recurring cast, but these guest stars played significant roles in the lives of the survivors. Here’s a list of the most important Lost guest stars.
Swoosie Kurtz as Emily Locke
Kurtz played the mother of O’Quinn’s John Locke, who conned her son into giving his father a kidney—just one of many life events that caused Locke hurt and heartbreak. Kurtz is an acting veteran with roles like Alex on the series Sisters and Lily on Pushing Daisies.
Lance Reddick as Matthew Abaddon
An agent of Charles Widmore, Abaddon visits various characters throughout the series helping them be in the right place at the right time (or wrong place at the wrong time—whatever your perspective!). Matthew visits Locke as he’s recovering from his spinal injury and plants the seed of Locke going on a walkabout in Australia, ultimately putting Locke on Oceanic Flight 815. Reddick is known for portraying Agent Broyles in another J.J. Abrams show, Fringe. He also played Lt. Cedric Daniels on HBO’s The Wire.
Allison Janney as Mother
In the show’s sixth season, Janney plays a character known only as “Mother,” the protector of the island and “the source” before Jacob. Janney appears on the CBS sitcom Mom and also won an Academy Award this year for I, Tonya.
Who Are the Writers & Creators Behind Lost?
J.J Abrams: Lost Co-creator, Writer and Director
Abrams is a powerful producer and director in Hollywood whose TV credits include Felicity, Alias and Fringe.
Damon Lindelof: Lost Co-creator, Joint Showrunner, Writer and Producer
After Lost, Lindelof created The Leftovers for HBO to much acclaim.
Carlton Cuse: Lost Producer, Writer and Joint Showrunner
Once he bid farewell to the castaways, Cuse created Bates Motel, a TV series prequel of sorts to Hitchcock’s Psycho.
Where Lost Ranks in the Television Pantheon
Lost made a huge splash in the TV world with its imaginative fantasy world and open-ended narrative. It sparked a rabid fandom that loved to unravel the show’s many mysteries and debate all the deliberate clues sprinkled in along the way. Though some would argue that the show introduced more mystery than it cared to bother with by its end, EW’s Jeff Jenson explains that, “…part of our attraction to Lost was the implicit danger.” He continues: “Lost helped change the way we watch and talk about television. A once-passive experience processed the next day around the water cooler is now an interactive experience parsed immediately via social media, recaps, and blogs.”