Pretty much everything and everyone in the known universe is an inspiration to Lost, from long dead philosophers to the Bible. In reverse order, plenty of TV shows and movies have been compared to Lost. Back to the Future was a pretty popular comparison once the time travel madness of Lost started this season. But for all the movies, people and fables that Lost can be compared to, one movie from almost a decade ago has strong parallels to Lost than almost any of them, and quite accidentally.
In 1999, Frequency was a sleeper hit with Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel – who played Jesus about four years before John Locke did. Frequency played around heavily with time, as a father and his grown up son connect via a ham radio 30 years apart, and set out to change their future. Lost has also got into the mucking around with time business, albeit very very carefully. But with the wild ways Frequency plays with time, and all the red flags it might raise to a time expert, even Lost has more continuity by comparison.
The movie and TV show are separated by five years, but Lost and Frequency didn’t start to share parallels until Season Three. One of Frequency’s supporting actresses was a young, brunette Elizabeth Mitchell, who is now best known as Lost’s Juliet. The first big coincidence comes in that Mitchell’s Frequency character is named Julia, and frequently nicknamed Jules. That can also be a common nickname for Juliet, as Lost’s Juliet was called Jules a few times by the late Tom Friendly.
The parallels get even creepier as Frequency goes along. As a result of changing the future, a serial killer’s killing spree gets even bigger, and winds up resulting in Mitchell’s death. Quaid and Caviezel must find the murderer in two time lines to save her. That’s when Lost and Frequency get even creepier when put together.
The murderer’s name is none other than Jack Shepherd. A character named Jack Shepherd actually kills Lost’s future Juliet. We know Juliet all but took herself out of the running for Lost’s Jack Shepherd’s affections in Season Four, but no need for another Jack to get revenge.
The parallels got another twist in Season Four, as the actor who played Frequency’s Jack Shepherd did a guest star bit on Lost. Shawn Doyle, Frequency’s Jack, got to be the attorney to the love of Lost’s Jack life, Kate, in the Season Four episode “Eggtown.”
The connection between Lost and Frequency actors is one thing – heck, Lost and 24 cast members go on each other’s shows all the time. But the two are now linked even further, thanks to the time travel season of Lost. If anything, Frequency is the kind of movie Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse would use as an example of how not to mess with time. The future and the past are changed in so many ways that logic takes a back seat by the end. Like in most time travel stories, they can be changed willy-nilly without the universe imploding on itself.
But unlike Frequency’s “anything goes” approach to time, Lost has been too skittish to even touch anything different in time. Daniel Faraday, Lost’s resident time travel expert, has been the guide to explain that time cannot be changed – except by special people like him and Desmond, it would seem. But by and large “whatever happened, happened” and the Lost masterminds have taken great pains to back that up. If someone happened in the past, it cannot be changed and messed around with like it would on Heroes or in Frequency. At least that’s what we’ve been told so far.
In Frequency, the “String Theory” is used to describe the Northern Lights phenomenon that triggers the connection through time. Daniel instead used the metaphor of roads, to show that you couldn’t create a new one, unlike Quaid and Caviezel. To unsettle Lost fans even further, there is a scene where a record is skipping at the scene of a murder. Record skipping, of course, was the grand metaphor in the very first episode of Season Five to describe time.
But Lost is unlikely to betray that just to stop a murdering Jack Shepherd from killing Juliet and defending Kate in court. Frequency crossed time and crossed Losties with a great deal more recklessness than Lost is trying to do, or so fans hope.
IMDb.com- “Frequency” www.imdb.com/title/tt0186151/