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10 Shows Like The OA To Watch If You Enjoy Mind-bending Sci-Fi

Shows like The OA

The OA created a one-of-a-kind fantasy/sci-fi experience hitting all the nerves of deep thriller/science fiction and supernatural fans. The American mystery drama television series The OA show was created by Brit Marling and Zat Batmanglij. The OA gained popularity with its supernatural, fantasy and science fiction elements.  In this series, a young woman named Prairie Johnson (Brit Marling) resurfaces after having been missing for 7 years. She now calls herself “the OA” and can mysteriously see from her eyes despite having been blind before her disappearance. If you enjoyed all the strange and wonderful elements of this show, then you can check out this list of shows like The OA that we have compiled.

List of TV Shows Like The OA

  1. Awake
  2. Maniac
  3. Black Mirror
  4. Twin Peaks
  5. Devs
  6. Dispatches from Elsewhere
  7. Travellers
  8. Glitch
  9. Holistic Detective Academy
  10. Tales From the Loop

1. Awake (2012)

Jason Isaacs’s performance in The OA was of such high class that I’m sure you want to see more of his work, and the show Awake fits the bill perfectly. Not only does it have Jason’s character as one of the central characters, but the storyline also focuses on the loss of family and the question of reality like in The OA. It’s probably not among the best-executed shows but the concept is very unique and brilliant.  

In this show, Jason plays Michael Britten, an LAPD detective who is involved in a car accident with his wife and son on board and finds himself existing in two parallel dimensions. In one of these dimensions his wife dies and in another his son. He struggles to determine which one of them is real and uses the clues from each reality to solve the other. If you want to watch shows like The OA that are full of mystery and intrigue then we would highly recommend Awake to you. 

2. Maniac (2018)

Maniac is a limited series, which like The OA centres on characters whose personal desperation to improve mental anguish leads to an odd science experiment and this science experiment takes them to all kinds of new worlds and situations. The show reminds me of something that was told to Prairie in The OA, ‘living is difficult’ which is a core theme for Maniac. 

In OA, Prairie wants to save the boys after she wakes up in the hospital and in Maniac, Annie and Owen also have an unspoken connection that ends up threatening the experiment. Emma Stone and Jonah Hill’s performances are thrilling and excellent. Maniac is a visually gorgeous show and definitely worth watching if you are in search of shows like OA.

3. Black Mirror (2011)

Black Mirror is a very popular Netflix anthology series known for its near-future dystopian speculative stories driven by the advancement of science technologies. Every episode has a new story, and new cast, and is directed by a new person. While you may not like every single one of the episodes, some of the episodes will leave a strong effect on you.

Black Mirror features many talented artists like Anthony Mackie, Andrew Scott and Jodie Foster. Be Right Back, USS Callister and Playtest are some of my personal favourite episodes since they highlight the themes of grief, obsession/mental captivity and losing one’s memory similar to The OA. You should check out these episodes from Black Mirror if you are looking for a series similar to The OA

4. Twin Peaks (1990)

A great reputation precedes the American mystery drama Twin Peaks. The show has a cult-like status amongst the fans which is why Twin Peaks had a third-season revival in 2017. At the beginning of this show, schoolgirl Laura Palmer is murdered, and the investigation is led by FBI Agent Dale Cooper. Shows like Twin Peaks are rare and only come about once in a generation.

While the story sounds like a procedural murder mystery, Cooper’s goofy and erratic behaviour combined with the show’s unique and experimental style of direction from iconic director David Lynch makes it a very unique watch. Twin Peaks masterfully combines horror, suspense, comedy and mystery similar to how The OA combines various fantastical elements. As a fan of shows like The OA, Twin Peaks is one of the best shows you can watch. 

5. Devs (2020)

Devs is a recently created show which is quite similar to The OA, it has its own ever-changing rules, it’s filled with surprises and leaves the audience thinking until the very end. Devs’ story follows a character called Lily who works at a company called Amaya which is conducting strange experiments that mess with the flow of time and history.

When her boyfriend, Sergei is invited to join a top-secret branch there called ‘Devs’ he stumbles upon something he shouldn’t have and suffers a terrible fate. Devs may be a bit slow-paced for some viewers we can assure you it picks up the pace during the final episodes. We also enjoyed the artistic approach of the show which focused on showing every frame in an artistic approach, similar to how The OA does it. This show is well-written and genuinely eerie and unnerving to watch. If you wish to check out more shows like The OA then you should watch Devs.

6. Dispatches from Elsewhere (2020)

Dispatches from Elsewhere’s creator and the main actor Jason Segel is widely known by many as Marshall from HIMYM. Dispatches from Elsewhere is a show set in Philadelphia and follows a group of ordinary people as they stumble upon the puzzle of life hiding behind the veil of everyday life, which is also a theme explored in The OA.

Dispatches from Elsewhere is visually beautiful, highly engaging and a deeply thought provoking show. All of the cast involved have done a fantastic job in creating an unpredictable and confusing but great storyline for this show. If you want to see more series likeThe OA with bizarre journeys of the main characters, then Dispatches from Elsewhere is the right choice for you.

7. Travellers (2016)

Traveller looks at humans 100 years from now at a time when we have discovered how to send human consciousness back in Time. In this show, humankind sends their consciousness back to the 21st century to occupy the bodies of soon-to-die people in desperation of changing their fate. Travellers is a highly entertaining and engrossing show to watch with a very unique and innovative storyline.

Though the idea of a group of people stopping the world from annihilation is hardly a unique idea, the concept and narrative style sets them apart from the well-worn time-travel shows. Something I really like about Travellers is that, as the seasons progress, the show only gets better, season 3 was a HIGHLIGHT of the show’s mystery, action, and thrill. Eric McCormack’s performance as the leader of the eclectic bunch of people is absolutely brilliant. Travellers should be on your list if you are a fan of mind-bending and challenging shows like The OA.

Also Read: Shows like Lost

8. Glitch (2015)

The show Glitch is set in the fictional country town of Yoorana, where a group of people miraculously climb out of their graves in perfect health but have no memory of the past. It then follows the characters figuring out who they are and why they have been resurrected which are also themes explored in The OA.

The show does an amazing job of making you care for the characters and builds the relationships flawlessly, especially between oddly matched people. My only problem with Glitch is that it leaves many questions unanswered. However, overall, the show is quite interesting. The ending is poignant and moving, and a fairly logical one. If you are searching for more shows similar to The OA then you can try watching Glitch.

9. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Academy (2016)

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Academy was inspired by Gently’s novel series of the same name, and it is centred around the titular character Dirk who investigates obscure cases. A millionaire called Patrick Spring has been murdered and dick befriends two men named Todd and Farah who help him solve his cases.

I really found the title to be unappealing upon the first read but don’t dismiss the show because of it, the eccentric detective Dirk is entertaining to watch, and the show is in fact criminally underrated. Holistic Detective Academy’s trippy storyline embedded with philosophical concepts, goofy tones and side characters is definitely something that is common with The OA. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Academy is worth a watch if you want to see shows similar to The OA

10. Tales From the Loop (2020)

Tales From the Loop is an anthology series that was released on Amazon Prime. Each episode features a different concept of science fiction and its implications. The story follows the interconnected lives of the residents in the fictional town of Mercer, Ohio. ‘Mercer Centre’ is a home for Experimental Physics researchers who are in an attempt to “make the impossible possible”, and a similar concept is also shown in The OA.

The story of Tales From the Loop is based on the art book of the same name by Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag. If you are looking for a hasty thrill and laser beams, this is not the show for you. Rather Tales From the Loop is like watching art. The acting felt realistic, the music is so peaceful, and the stories are mostly kept open for interpretation, making you think about what exactly just happened. The show is like a calmer and bittersweet version of The OA. This show is profound, compelling and panoramic and we highly recommend Tales From the Loop if you want to see shows like The OA.

Honourable Mentions

Some great series like The OA didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Living with Yourself
  2. Fringe
  3. The Leftovers 
  4. Severance
  5. Solos

When Lost aired over a decade ago, its successful narrative created a pop culture impact and changed the landscape of television. If you are a fan and want to watch shows like Lost then you can have a look at this list we made just for you.


The hugely successful television series Lost aired in 2004. The premise, as we know, deals with a group of people surviving a commercial passenger plane crash on a remote island. The show masterfully explores supernatural and sci-fi elements on this mysterious south Pacific island.

The use of cliffhangers at the end of each episode of Lost kept the viewers on the edge of their seats, desperately craving for the next episode to come. Even though it's a large ensemble cast, most of the characters receive a justifiable personal arch. Lost was inspired by the movie Castaway and became one of the most expensive pilots to be shot at the time! Lost continues to be appreciated for its originality in storytelling and dynamic character arcs. 

List of TV Shows Like Lost

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Manifest
  3. Lost Room
  4. Twin Peaks
  5. The Prisoners
  6. Battlestar Galactica
  7. The New People
  8. Flight 29 Down
  9. Fringe
  10. Alcatraz
  11. Under the Dome
  12. Dark

1. The Leftovers (2014)

IMDB ratings: 8.3/10

Cast: Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Margaret Qualley

Creator: Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta

The director of Lost, Damon Lindel also created a supernatural drama series called The Leftovers. The show begins 3 years after an unexplainable global event called ‘Sudden Departure’  where almost 2 per cent of the population, nearly 140 million people, disappear. The Leftovers isn't about WHY people are gone, it's about how the ones who remain dealt with their loss, people often try to comfort themselves with dreams, angels, gods, or even death.

The Leftovers will leave you with so many questions but beyond words, you have to feel it and savour its unanswered questions to find peace. The Leftovers is an incredible television series that starts incredibly well but loses its way by the series's end. I have to say though, Carrie Coon has brilliant moments in the end. The Leftovers is so weird, fragmented and nonsensical at times that it reminds me of Lost. If you are looking for shows like Lost, I recommend that you give The Leftovers a try.

2. Manifest  (2018) 

IMDB ratings: 7.1/10

Cast: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas and J.R. Ramirez 

Creator: Jeff Rake

The Manifest is a supernatural drama show about a bunch of people who discover that they lost 5 years of their lives when they landed in New York after their aeroplane faced severe turbulence. All the people on the plane were presumed to be dead. Now, these people have to find a way to adjust themselves to a new life around their loved ones. Mild spoiler! They learn their loved ones and the rest of society is not as they left it.

I found that the show’s premise was very intriguing and the actors give a very convincing performance. The narrative details of the show, however, in my opinion, are a bit sloppy and inconsistent. The writers surely have room for improvement but their concept is incredibly thrilling. Every episode of Manifest keeps you on your toes. Manifest has completed 3 seasons up until now and continues to be on air. Manifest is a pretty good choice if you want to watch TV shows like Lost.

3. Lost Room (2006)

IMDB ratings: 8.1/10

Cast: Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies and Peter Jacobson

Creator: Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom

This lesser-known show The Lost Room is an American Sci-fi television miniseries which only had 3 episodes of 90 mins each and no follow-up seasons. The show was based on a very unique idea where the room in question (known as the ‘Lost Room’) and the objects in the said room had supernatural powers. This strange room is set in a 1960s motel along the iconic U.S. Route 66.

One day the protagonist (Peter Krause) Joe Miller’s daughter disappears inside the room. Joe, with the help of objects present in the room, tries to find his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning). The story of Lost Room was intensely engaging. I found the direction and the actor’s performances to be absolutely brilliant. It baffles me that the creators did not return to make another short season within the same concept. If you have been searching for TV series like Lost then I can assure you that Lost Room will be worth a watch.

4. Twins Peaks (1990) 

IMDB ratings: 8.8/10

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn and David Lynch

Creator: David Lynch

David Lynch, the well-known director of weird and captivating films such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet created an iconic show called Twin Peaks. It is a hauntingly eccentric show about the investigation of the mysterious murder of a small-town homecoming queen named Laura Palmer. Believe me, as odd as the show may seem at first, you will grow to love it, after all, it is considered to be one of the best mystery shows ever created.

With the mysteries, the supernatural elements and the list of bizarre characters, Twin Peaks has it all. In my opinion, the cinematography of the show was truly ahead of its time. Kyle’s Dale Cooper was especially entertaining. Twin Peaks’ experimental formula of the satirical soap opera is extremely unsettling yet rewarding to watch, I must warn you, it’s not for the faint-hearted!  If you are in search of TV shows like Lost then Twin Peaks won’t disappoint you.

The Prisoners (1967)

IMDB ratings: 8.5/10

Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat and Geroge Markstien

Creator: Patrick McGoohan

The Prisoner centres around an unnamed British agent (Patrick McGoohan) who tries to flee his country after abruptly quitting his high-ranking government job. He is abducted and held captive in a strange ‘sea-side’ village that is isolated from the rest of the world. This village is a highly secure and monitored place filled with weird technology. There are only 17 episodes to this late 60s show but it manages to bring up such surreal surprises, it's sure to leave a great impact on the viewer.

The Prisoner’s unique concept influenced many popular shows including Lost. The creators of Lost even cited the show. I was very impressed by how ahead of its time The Prisoners proves to be. If you want to watch more shows similar to Lost the Prisoners should definitely be on your list.

6. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Katee Sackhoff, Edward James Olmos and Tricia Helfer 

Creator: Glen A. Larson

The 2004 Battlestar Galactica is a reboot of the original 1978 miniseries of the same name. Do not be mistaken by the title, the show is not related to Star Trek.  Battlestar Galactica is set in the 7th millennium AD and follows Cylons, the robot enemy of humanity that resurfaces to destroy the 12 colonies of Mankind. Only a few survive and are able to escape on ships led by a powerful warship called Battlestar Galactica. Mankind struggles to fight the Cylons and work their own political agendas and disputes while finding their long-lost 13th colony Earth.

The show is a dark, intense and gritty socio-political commentary with EPIC cinematic value. The script is especially clever and as a huge fan of sci-fi shows, this show ticks the boxes in all the right categories. When the show was released, it blew the viewers and critics away. As far as an obsessive and gripping story goes, Battlestar Galactica is one of the most similar to shows like Lost. 

7. The New People (1969)

IMDB ratings: 7.3/10

Cast: David Moses, Zooey hall and Tiffany Boiling

Creator: Larry Gordon Aaron Spelling

The New People is an American Tv series that aired only for 1 season and is focused on a couple of college students who survive a plane crash. The incident takes place while they were returning from a trip to Southeast Asia, their plane crashes on an island in the south of the Pacific ocean. 

By now this show must already be sounding a lot like Lost to you, and it surely is. The remaining group of people discover an unusual truth about the island: there’s an above-ground unused nuclear test site filled with supplies for the survivors. If you want to see more plane survival stories like Lost then The New People should definitely be on your list.

8. Flight 29 Down (2005)

IMDB ratings: 7.2/10

Cast: Allen Alvarado, Halle Hirsh and Corbin Bleu

Creator:  Stan Rowgow D. J. MacHale

The show Flight 29 Down is a drama series about a group of pre-teens/teens who are stranded on a South Pacific island after their plane crashes in a tropical storm while they were flying from an eco-adventure camping trip in Palau. The show is in many ways a younger version of the Adult-centred show Lost but sans the supernatural elements. I’d say that the show draws inspiration from the show The New People.

Flight 29 Down uses the technique of a video diary as a plot device for the viewers to keep up with the story of these children. It was very engaging to watch young intelligent characters finding their way on the island. The first two seasons of the show are quite engaging but I seemed to lose interest in its 3rd and final season. Regardless, Flight 29 Down is a really good series to watch if you want to see TV shows like Lost.

9. Fringe (2008)

IMDB ratings: 8.4/10

Cast: Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson

Creator: J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci

Fringe is a popular Sci-fi crime drama television series. It may seem like a standard procedural drama at first, but the show actually explores the parallel universe, alternate versions of people filled with crazy scientific experiments. I personally had a great time watching this show.

Fringe is actually inspired by shows like Lost, The X-files and The Twilight Zone. The 3 main characters of the show work with a special division called Fringe. There are so many brilliant twists and turns in Fringe that in my opinion, the show is at the top of its category. If you are searching for TV series like Lost, I strongly recommend you watch Fringe

10. Alcatraz (2012)

IMDB ratings: 6.9/10

Cast: Sarah Jones, George Garcia and Jonny Coyne 

Creator: Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt

This American fiction show is based on the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary built on Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. The prison is now closed but once kept some of the most dangerous criminals of America. The show takes the liberty to make a show around the conspiracies of the place.

In the interesting premise we see that under unknown circumstances, 256 inmates and 46 guards of the prison disappear without a trace. Later the disappeared ones start to appear one by one without ageing a day and resume their criminal activities with no realisation of disappearance. A special government unit is dedicated to finding and putting those criminals back in prison. If you are looking for mystery shows similar to Lost, try watching Alcatraz. 

11. Under the Dome (2013)

IMDB ratings: 6.5/10

Cast: Alexander Koch and Rachelle Lefevre

Creator: Stephen King

Based on a novel written by the sci-fi legend Stephen King, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the fictional small town called Chester's Mill, when a huge, transparent and indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world.

Now the trapped residents try to find a way to discover the truth, origin and purpose of these domes. This journey forces them into situations where they learn more about each other than they ever knew. Under the Dome may not be on the top of this list but it’s quite a decent watch if you’re looking for mystery shows similar to Lost

12. Dark (2017)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Louis Hofmann, Lisa Vicari and Gina Stiebitz

Creator: Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese

The German-language Netflix series Dark is an interesting blend of Science fiction and Mystery. Truly a compelling and mind-bending story to watch. At the beginning of Dark, many children suspiciously start disappearing in the German town of Winden. The dark past of generational mysteries of 4 families living in the town namely, Kahnwald, Nielsen, Doppler, and Tiedemann is brought to light.

After the discovery of a wormhole, the lives of the families intertwine more than one can imagine. I believe every element of the show is top-notch, especially Dark’s cinematography, which is a TRUE masterpiece. If you are looking for TV series similar to Lost then the intense and gripping story of Dark is sure to keep you engrossed.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few TV shows like Lost that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Carnivale
  2. Yellowjackets
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. Black Mirror
  5. Flashforward
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