There was a good deal of time-travel in the ABC hit series Lost, one of the more ambitious and popular shows of the past decade. But neither Jack, Sawyer, Hurley, nor any of our other beloved 21st century castaways ever went back to the year 1969. If they had, and if they’d had access to a TV, they might have found themselves watching a show about — themselves.
Well, sort of. The New People ran on Friday nights on ABC from September 1969 through January 1970 (It lasted only 17 episodes). We’ll take a shot at summarizing the general premise, which might ring a couple of bells:
A plane crashes on a remote island in the Pacific, leaving its motley group of survivors stranded and fighting about what to do next…. As they explore their new home, they find an entire town, fully stocked with provisions and weapons, but creepily empty. Soon the survivors discover that this island was once set up ….to be an Atomic Energy Commission testing site!
No Lost fan can live without a conspiracy theory, but we’re pretty sure there was nothing fishy in the commonalities, and in the end, are we not all children of Gilligan? Furthermore, there’s a good deal more to the plot, which includes racial conflict, adolescent angst (the survivors are all college students), and a healthy dose of Lord of the Flies-style chaos. Full episodes are not online, but at TVobscurities you can find a wealth of related content, clips, links to reviews, and even the theme song, with lyrics.
Also, be sure to check out the episode guide, which really does intrigue. Number 12, for example:
The Pied Piper of Pot. Steppenwolf thinks his fellow islanders are too uptight, so he grows potent marijuana that threatens to send the students into a harrowing, one-way trip.
The New People was produced by Aaron Spelling, who went on to bring us Charlie’s Angels, The Love Boat, Hart to Hart, and Beverly Hills 90210, among many, many others. But we’re not sure if he ever did come up with another character as compelling as Steppenwolf.
(Thanks to Bryan Thomas)
Sheerly Avni is a San Francisco-based arts and culture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Weekly, Mother Jones, and many other publications. You can follow her on twitter at @sheerly.