If you have to watch one Netflix show this July, stream this one

Ian Somerhalder in Lost.
ABC Studios

There’s a rhyme and a reason for Netflix‘s continued success even when almost all of the other major studios have streaming services of their own. For all of its original hits like Cobra Kai, Netflix understands the value of bringing in established shows that had long runs on either broadcast networks or cable channels.

Our previous picks for the one Netflix show you have to watch this month have all been from previously established series like Archer or Dexter. We can’t recommend new Netflix series in the same way because we haven’t had a chance to watch them ahead of time. The older shows are the ones that we can wholeheartedly vouch for, and that’s why Lost is the one Netflix show that you need to watch this month. Lost has actually been on Netflix before, and it’s been readily available to stream on Hulu after that. But since Netflix has a much larger reach than Hulu, we’re sharing the six reasons why you should stream Lost in July. Or as someone says on the show, “We have to go back!”

It has a great premise

A group of people look up in Lost.

The premise of Lost came off to contemporary watchers as a dramatized version of Survivor, yet it soon proved to be much greater. The show followed a disparate group of strangers who were hopelessly stranded on a remote and uncharted tropical island. But as the series progressed, it was clearly about more than just the plight of the survivors.

The island had several mysteries, not all of which were explained during the show’s six season run. Regardless, Lost is one of the last true blockbuster hits to come from the broadcast networks. Since the streaming era began, there haven’t been many shows that have had comparable viewers.

Lost featured several star-making performances

Evangeline Lilly and Ian Somerhalder in Lost.
ABC Studios

Unlike many of its contemporaries, Lost had a very large ensemble cast, many of whom went on to much greater stardom. Evangeline Lilly stands out as a success story, since she went on to become a movie star and played the Wasp in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But she wasn’t the only one who broke out. Ian Somerhalder parlayed a one-season part on Lost into a starring role in The Vampire Diaries. Josh Holloway, Daniel Dae Kim, Henry Ian Cusick, Harold Perrineau, Maggie Grace, Michael Emerson, Jeremy Davies, and Naveen Andrews also had larger roles on TV shows after their time on Lost was over.

Matthew Fox, Terry O’Quinn, Dominic Monaghan, Michelle Rodriguez, and Elizabeth Mitchell were already established performers before they landed on Lost. However, the show went a long way towards upping their profiles as well. Fox took a lengthy hiatus after the series ended, but O’Quinn was elevated to leading man status after decades of playing supporting characters.

The characters are very compelling

The cast of Lost.
ABC Studios

Getting that cast together went a long way towards bringing viewers into the show. But the thing that kept bringing people back was how much they cared for the characters. Fox’s Dr. Jack Shephard seemed like a typical leading man because he was a heroic doctor who stepped up as a leader. Yet as the show went on, the stories peeled back Jack’s layers and revealed how broken he was inside. Similarly, Lilly’s Kate Austen had an air of mystery about her character and motivations that took time to unfold. Even the con artist, Sawyer (Holloway), had more depth than he initially appeared.

Lost was also adept at turning supporting characters like Desmond Hume (Cusick) into beloved members of the regular cast. Desmond’s story of lost love resonated viewers and his role in the series was ramped up as a result. Emerson’s Ben Linus was initially supposed to have just a small villainous role. But because Emerson was so good in the role, Ben became a major part of the show going forward.

The mystery of the island is captivating

The cast of Lost.
ABC Studios

Admittedly, Lost plays better if you’re watching it from the beginning for the first time. Knowing the answers ahead of time does rob the mystery of some of its impact. But the way the show slowly rolled out clues about the island’s true nature had viewers spellbound.

When water cooler shows were still a thing at the workplace, Lost was the series that everyone had a theory about. What was it about the island that seemingly allowed the dead to rise? Miracles happened in small and big ways, especially in an early scene in season 1 where a previously disabled man realizes that his affliction is a thing of the past.

The parallel narratives reveal more about the characters

Henry Ian Cusick in Lost.
ABC Studios

Almost every episode of Lost is divided in half between stories that take place off the island and stories set in the present on the island. This was done largely for budgetary reasons, as it was cheaper to have half the episode in a more contemporary setting. But these parallel narratives also gave one or two cast members a spotlight as revealing chapters in the lives of their characters unfolded before our eyes. Events in the past often informed on events in the present, which allowed viewers to understand why some characters made certain choices.

The second half of the series shook up the parallel narratives in a way that’s much too big of a spoiler to reveal for first-time viewers. Suffice to say that from season 4 onward, the stories that took place off the island had an even larger significance beyond fleshing the characters out.

The show has a definitive ending

Matthew Fox and Evangeline Lilly in Lost.
ABC Studios

Not everyone loves the way that Lost ended, and that conclusion was very divisive at the time. But 14 years after the fact, some of the detractors have softened to the ending after they realized that it doesn’t negate anything that we’ve seen in the show. The creators of Lost pushed ABC to allow them to bring the show to a conclusion three years before they actually did it. That allowed the creative team enough time to properly prepare the storylines for their eventual resolutions.

The final episode of Lost is almost the length of a movie, and it brings things full circle for many of the survivors as their ultimate fate is revealed. That’s more than most shows get to enjoy, and Lost is one of the rare series that was given the chance to end on its own terms.

Watch Lost on Netflix.