Lost seasons ranked worst to best according to fans

With Lost now on Netflix, here's how each season of the fantastic show ranks according to fans!
Lost Premiere On The Beach
Lost Premiere On The Beach / Marco Garcia/GettyImages

Every now and then, a television series comes around that completely changes the business. 20 years ago, ABC (then in a bit of a slump) took a chance on a series about the survivors of a plane crash handling the dangers of a mysterious island. With a huge pilot episode, Lost ended up becoming not only a smash ratings hit but a critical favorite that scored the Best Drama Series Emmy, a rarity for a genre show. 

The series made stars out of much of its cast while also providing an incredibly dense mythology that grew as it went along. There have been scores of imitators, but few have managed to replicate the same craft and entertainment that Lost provided. With it now on Netflix, here’s a look (via IMDB) at how each season of Lost ranks with fans as a reminder of what a stunning success it was. 

How fans rank Lost from worst to best

The 57th Annual Emmy Awards - Press Room
The 57th Annual Emmy Awards - Press Room / J. Vespa/GettyImages

Season 6 (8.39)

The final season is truly a “love it or hate it” one, depending on who you talk to. Some cite it as a brilliant and daring concept that led to a stellar finale. Others argue it’s a confusing mess with a lackluster conclusion. The big turn was the introduction of an alternate reality where the crash didn’t happen, and everyone lived different lives (Sawyer was a cop, Hugo enjoyed good luck), which was a controversial idea. 

Some of those individual episodes were good like the alternate takes on Ben and Locke and it led to the big final clash with the Smoke Monster and answers on the island. Yet that final scene seemed to land poorly with many fans and wasn't quite the huge payoff the series deserved. Thus, the mix of timelines and the rough ending meant that rather than going out in a blaze of glory, Lost seemed to end with a whimper. 

Season 2 (8.53)

This season really isn’t bad, it just seems lacking after that stellar first year. The introduction of the “Tailes,” another band of plane survivors, was a good push, especially Michelle Rodriguez providing some grit to things. Of course, the big move was introducing the Dharma Initiative, the main threat of the series, led by Ben Linus with Michael Emerson’s Emmy-winning turn providing one of the show’s best characters.

True, not all episodes were winners and there are weaknesses in pacing and the season lacks the surprises of the first year. But the show could be daring, killing off some major characters and amping up the tension. The finale was another gripping affair to keep the show’s momentum going yet this season can be seen as hitting the “sophmore slump” of other series which the show thankfully recovered from. 

Season 3 (8.57)

ABC made a big move here to avoid long breaks by running six episodes in the fall and then sixteen in the spring, which was a good idea in theory. However, the first six episodes were slow-paced and included the much-loathed Nikki and Paulo, with fans not buying the “they’ve been on the island all along” explanation. There’s also “Stranger in a Strange Land,” arguably the worst episode in the history of the show.

The season does pick up later with flashbacks of how Locke ended up in a wheelchair, some surprising connections, and the introduction of Juliet. There’s also the fantastic exploration of Ben’s past and more on the rise of the Others. If nothing else, it ends with the game-changing “flash forward” twist that gave the show new life. So, while this season had a rough start, its mistakes ended up inspiring what would be one of Lost’s best seasons. 

Season 5 (8.68)

The show fully embraced its sci-fi themes here, with a crazy episode of the castaways bouncing back and forth in time before landing in the 1970s. So we got the great turn of Sawyer and Juliet together while the gang inadvertently helped found the Dharma Initiative. There was also the introduction of Jacob, the human form of the Smoke Monster, who made for a deadly foe.

The twists were plentiful, from the survivors reuniting with the escapees to a wild turn involving Locke, and while the mythology got pretty complex, it was still an amazing run of episodes that kept fans on their toes. It may rank a bit lower overall than other years but this season was a wild run for the series that built things up so the penultimate year ranks highly. 

Season 1 (8.69)

No TV series has opened with such an incredible scene as the pilot for Lost. The chaos of the crash, a guy sucked into a plane engine and the characters on display instantly hooked people even before the realization hit that something was wrong with this island. The real shift was “Walkabout,” which revealed Locke’s origins and the first hints that the island was somehow magical. That made it clear this show was not going to play by the rules. 

That first year does have the Smoke Monster and turns, but it’s more focused on the characters, with the flashbacks providing amazing work to keep you guessing. The series grabbed fans from the start and never let go and its Best Drama Series Emmy win is proof of how this was one of the greatest first seasons of any network drama in history. 

Season 4 (8.71)

After the mixed reaction to season 3, Lost's fourth season was a fantastic return to form. The “flash-forwards” gave the series a terrific boost with the twists on who got off the island and how. The one drawback is the 2007 writers strike cut the season down to only 14 episodes and likely a few storyline had to change. In a way, that helped, as it didn’t drag the storylines out but provided some terrific drama.

The entire series was invigorated by the questions of how some castaways got off the island and “The Constant,” with its time-traveling love story, is often cited among the best episodes of the series. The introduction of characters like Daniel and Charlotte and the freighter crew also sparked up the show. It’s amazing that with less episodes, the series still managed to deliver a great ride for fans, so little wonder it’s ranked as the best. 

Lost seasons 1-6 are streaming on Netflix.