Tower Prep is the Best Lost Replacement Yet

By Price Peterson

Oct 21, 2010

Ladies and gentlemen, we may have finally found our Lost replacement. You might be saying to your computer screen, "but nobody could replace Lost," or worse, "I didn't like Lost." Which, fine, free country. But the fact remains, Lost, like Battlestar Galactica or The X-Files before it, represented a method of storytelling aimed straight at our brains' pleasure centers. Suspense, twists, character arcs, cliffhangers, danger mixed with melancholy-- these are shows that appealed to our intelligence and rewarded our imaginations.

Regardless of whether you liked Lost or hated it, the networks have been trying to emulate its formula for years. The elephant graveyard of failed mystery shows is littered with things like Surface, Invasion, The Runner, Jericho and FlashForward, while V's looking to crash there soon. The Event will probably just disappear into some unexplained wormhole, because let's get real: The Event is not very good.

It's amazing, then, that Cartoon Network of all places might have finally cracked the code. With much less money and aimed squarely at the young adult demographic, its new live-action hourlong Tower Prep premiered this week and its addictiveness is immediate. So far only one episode has aired, so I'm knocking on wood--I'm knocking on ALL the wood--because so far so good. But here are four reasons why you should give this show a chance.

1. The Central Mystery Is Clearly Stated

When Tower Prep's main hero Ian suddenly wakes up in a prep school dorm room with no memory of having arrived there, we immediately know what this show is about: finding out where Ian is, why he's there, and how he will escape. Compare that to The Event's central mystery: that there is a mystery. Later when Ian befriends three other students looking to escape the isolated yet heavily guarded campus, we learn even more tantalizing information: they each have subtle super powers. Boom! Hooked.

2. The Characters Are Well-Written and Likable

During one terrific scene set in the woods at night, our four main characters talk about their backgrounds and their special abilities while also displaying distinctive personalities and good humor. It's just great writing. I immediately like all four of them and it's clear why they'd become fast friends. Most importantly, my liking them as individuals raises the tension when they find themselves in harm's way. I don't want them to get hurt! Again, compare this to The Event, which five episodes in has still not troubled itself to make us care about its characters.

3. The Creators Have Excellent Resum├ęs

You may recognize writer Paul Dini's name-- He was the primary creative force behind the truly awesome Batman: The Animated Series as well as a number of other underrated animated shows. Other behind-the-scenes names include Glen Morgan and Darin Morgan of The X-Files fame. Although there is nothing too ground-breaking in the Tower Prep pilot, it's clear these guys have identified and distilled all the right elements of other TV mysteries into a new, irresistible concoction. It's clear we're in the capable hands of trusted professionals.

4. A Full Season Has Already Been Produced

How many times have you been burned by falling into a new mystery show only to have it yanked off the air when it doesn't get big numbers? A benefit of being one of Cartoon Network's two live-action shows is they're willing to take a chance on it. The fact that all thirteen episodes have been produced (and even reviewed!) should take away at least a bit of your new-show anxiety.

So if you're hurting for a good mystery filled with nice kids and a Prisoner meets Harry Potter vibe, why not check out this plucky little show? It might be worth watching, at least until Michelle Rodriguez joins the cast in season 2.

Tower Prep airs Tuesdays at 8pm on Cartoon Network

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  • MaryNicola Jun 11, 2011

    i hope they keep it because is great they need to promote it more if they are not satisfied about the results

  • HeatherWilson4 Dec 19, 2010

    This is the best show in the world! If it is taken off I think I will scream!!!!!!

  • KuroganeBlack Dec 14, 2010

    This series deserves a better reputation, it's intense, chilling, suprising, and every moment keeps me in awe, especially when the principal requested to Ross, that she teach them about how to use Chemica Desin. That was something I wasn't expecting. I'm so far loving this series. I hope it will continue, or get a spin off.

  • JolarEQ Nov 16, 2010

    Ok, this is old, but I have to respond. I watched the first two episodes of this show. It's not bad, but comparing it to Lost? Are you on crack? Saying that the central mystery is stated is incorrect. We know he's at Tower Prep, don't know how he got there, and wants to find the way out. That's stating the mystery? Please The Event shows just as much, but you put it down. And they really didn't make you care about the characters THAT much. Yes, they have personalities. Wow. Good catch there. The Event, I cared about the characters, and couldn't wait to see what happened next. With Tower Prep, I can kinda tell what's happening next. Like in episode 2, I knew who the thief was, from the moment they showed him on screen.

    It's a good show, gives me something to watch to pass the time (not to mention that Elise Gatien is so yummy!) but to say it's better than The Event, or to even compare it to Lost, is ludicrous.

  • 2010zas Oct 26, 2010

    how can anything replace lost !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • FirstTimeCritic Oct 26, 2010

    Anyone else think has now officially lost all credibility because of this article?
    If this is the show that replaces Lost, I'm done watching TV forever.

  • xheroesx110 Oct 26, 2010

    i actually happen to like the event and i didnt like lost.

  • zedtaker Oct 25, 2010

    headclub, you must be kidding me if you think season 6 negated season 1-3.
    Now I'm certain you in particular didn't get the show AT ALL.
    Every season was relevant and made sense, it was part of the puzzle. What people don't get is the show wasn't about purgatory and the producers were right, the castaways were NOT in purgatory, its true because everything happened on the island was real so they didn't waste our time, that is what they meant by saying its not purgatory because the viewers thought back in S1 the black smoke, the plane crashing etc was in purgatory and that they were dead BUT they were not. They used a clever way of telling their entire story but using a clever narrative structure in S6 to also show us a purgatory side just for the element of surprise but the show was always about the stories of these characters and how when moving on to let go on the pain which affected them in their lives. The island had a mythology and it was honoured and was all real. I would have felt cheated if it was not real but it WAS real. Season 6 FS wasn't a filler it was part of the story and the payoff at the end. Maybe you have to be a spiritual being to feel the end and I certainly am. I love LOST and miss it!

  • ZeroCals Oct 25, 2010

    I watched the pilot, and though it isn't at Lost's "level", I enjoyed it. You get what you pay for on CN. So, overall, I was more impressed than let down.

    The part about it already having a full season produced... I just hope it's not like Persons Unknown. They promised a wrapped up story for an ending and it was anything but that.

  • saraVaio Oct 24, 2010

    another fail article , just by looking at the show's pic I can tell this show is no where near hell is like Lost , u can't even compare it to Lost . I bet the aurther didn't even watch Lost just like the last article LOL

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