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Why Are There So Many Shows About Plane Crashes? – TheFantasyTimes

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By Jitin Gambhir

Why Are There So Many Shows About Plane Crashes?



The news of a plane crash, especially a fatal one, can be heartbreaking to hear. However, there is a strange fascination that Americans have with them. While it may be less taboo to admit being intrigued by shows about plane crashes, many people can’t help but keep their eyes glued to the news when a real-life tragedy occurs. It’s a mix of relief, heartbreak, and morbid human curiosity that drives this fascination.

Tragedies have a way of putting things into perspective. When we learn of a tragedy that we aren’t directly affected by, we’re hit with a wave of gratitude for our own lives, making us realize how small many of our problems are. In addition, tragedies bring people together. Whether it’s mourning, fundraising, or waiting for updates, there’s something about a tragic event that makes people forget their differences and ache as one.

Then there’s the curiosity that comes with tragedies. It’s morbid and taboo, but when something like a plane crash happens, it’s hard not to wonder about the last thoughts of the passengers, what caused the malfunction, whether it was human error, and more. These curiosities can cause guilt, much like the fascination with true crime. That’s why fictionalized tragedies are so great; people can indulge in their curiosity without the consequences on their conscience. Plane crash shows are also popular because it’s a tragedy that most people will never experience directly, so it’s not as sensitive to watch.

Lost is one of the earliest and most iconic plane crash shows. It focuses on the aftermath of the crash and the survivors’ struggle to survive on a mysterious island. The show explores the survivors’ lives before the crash through flashbacks and their present-day mourning. The island itself is full of mysteries and danger, harboring underground bunkers and vicious survivors. Lost ran for six seasons and is often regarded as one of the greatest shows of all time.

Manifest is another show that focuses on the aftermath of a plane crash, but with a twist. The plane never actually crashed. When Montego Air Flight 828 landed after a turbulent flight, the world was shocked. By the time the flight landed, the world had aged five years. Their loved ones and the world thought the plane crashed because, after taking off five years ago, it never landed. Now that the passengers have returned from their presumed graves, everything changes. Not only do they have to rejoin society, but they also begin having visions of the future referred to as “callings.” Manifest premiered in 2018 and ran for three seasons before being canceled by NBC. It was added to Netflix, where its shocking popularity convinced Netflix to release one final season, which was released in two parts.

The Wilds and Yellowjackets are two shows that follow a group stranded on an island after a plane crash. The Wilds is about a group of teenage girls who were stranded there on purpose to be the subject of a social experiment. On the other hand, Yellowjackets is about a group of soccer players who crash in the Ontario wilderness and try to keep their humanity despite the overwhelming need to survive. Their story is told by older versions of themselves 25 years in the future through a series of flashbacks and glimpses at their lives in the present. Yellowjackets aired in 2021 and was renewed for a third season in December 2022.

Dear Edward tells the story of a 12-year-old boy who is the sole survivor of a plane crash and how he navigates life after the crash. This show focuses on a different aspect of the plane crash as it explores Edward rejoining society after surviving a tragedy. This perspective also shows the aftermath of emotions and moving on for the families and friends of people lost in the crash. This series only had one season on Apple TV, but it was impactful, giving viewers teary eyes every episode. Following the pattern of being different from many other plane crash shows, Dear Edward was based on a novel that was inspired by a true story.

Finally, Departure is a show that is similar to Dear Edward in its dissimilarity to other plane crash shows. The story does not follow the passengers of Flight 716, which disappeared while flying over the Atlantic Ocean. Instead, the story follows aviation investigator Kendra Malley, who is tasked with finding the plane to search for survivors and figure out what happened. Departure is a Peacock original that has run for two seasons between 2018 and 2022, with a third season scheduled to air in August 2023.

In conclusion, while the reasons for the popularity of shows about plane crashes may be subjective, there’s no denying that they are popular. These shows can be streamed on various platforms, including Peacock, Apple TV, and Hulu.

Plane crashes are heartbreaking to hear about especially ones that are fatal, but at the same time, Americans have a strange fascination with them. Although it’s less taboo to admit one is intrigued by shows about plane crashes, a lot of people can’t take their eyes off the news when there is a plane crash in real life. It seems like a mix of relief, heartbreak, and morbid human curiosity. When you learn about a tragedy you aren’t directly affected by, there’s a wave of gratitude for your life that hits you making you realize how small so many of your problems are. In addition to that, tragedies bring people together. Whether it’s mourning, fundraising, or waiting for updates, there’s something about a tragic event that makes people forget their differences to ache as one.

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Then, there’s the curiosity. It’s morbid and taboo, but when something like a plane crash happens, it’s hard not to wonder. Wonder what their last thoughts were, why the plane malfunctioned, whether it was human error that caused the crash, and so on, but these curiosities can cause guilt. It’s like true crime, you know it’s wrong, but sometimes you can’t help your curiosity. That is why fictionalized tragedy is so great: people can gawk at morbidity without the consequences on their conscience.

Plane crash shows are also popular because it’s a tragedy most people will never be affected by, so it’s not as sensitive to watch. Whether it’s the cause or the stranded aftermath, American viewers love shows about plane crashes.


Lost

Lost Season 1 Episode 1
ABC

Lost is one of the first plane crash shows. This show focuses mostly on the aftermath of the crash and surviving the mysterious island they are stranded on. Oceanic Flight 815 boarded 324 passengers but only 70 survived the initial crash along with one dog.

Related: Manifest: How the Series Finale Sets Up a Sequel/Spin-off

Throughout the series, there was an ensemble cast of survivors who all had secrets. They also had lives before the crash that were explored in flashbacks and mourned in the present. The island itself was full of mysteries and danger, harboring underground bunkers and vicious survivors. This show ran for six seasons and is often regarded as the greatest show of all time.

​​​​Manifest

Manifest West Image
Netflix

Manifest is another show that focuses on the aftermath of a plane crash, but not in the way anyone would expect because this plane never actually crashed. When Montego Air Flight 828 landed after a turbulent flight, the world is shocked. By the time this flight landed, the world aged five years. Their loved ones and the world thought the plane crashed because five years ago after it took off, it never landed. Now that this plane full of people has come back from their presumed graves, everything changes. Not only do they have to rejoin society, but they also begin having visions of the future referred to as “callings.”

This show premiered in 2018 and ran for three seasons. Before NBC canceled the show, it was added to Netflix and its shocking popularity convinces Netflix to put out one final season. They released it in two parts, one was released in November 2022 and the second part was released on June 2, 2023.

The Wilds

Sarah Pidgeon as Leah in The Wilds
Amazon Studios

The Wilds is similar to Lost in the sense that it follows a group after they become stranded on an island after being in a plane crash. The most glaring difference between the two at first is that The Wilds is a group exclusively made up of teenage girls. Another major difference becomes apparent quickly to viewers: these girls were stranded here on purpose to be the subject of a social experiment.

As the series progresses, a lot more twisted secrets are exposed about this experiment and its subjects. The Wilds only lasted for two seasons which was disappointing because it ended with a cliffhanger. Between the release of Seasons 1 and 2, Yellowjackets released their first season, which was undoubtedly more popular.

Yellowjackets

Yellowjackets
Showtime

Yellowjackets is a show that features a plane crash leaving a group of teenage girls on a deserted island which sounds like The Wildsbut that premise is where their similarities split. Yellowjackets is about a group of soccer players who crash in the Ontario wilderness and try to keep their humanity despite the overwhelming need to survive.

Related: How Yellowjackets Warps Reality and Expectations

Their story is told by older versions of themselves 25 years in the future through a series of flashbacks and glimpses at their lives in the present. This show aired in 2021 and was renewed for a third season in December 2022. It is on track to become an iconic plane crash show that will be talked about for years to come, like its predecessor, Lost.

Dear Edward

Dear Edward—
Apple TV+

Dear Edward tells the story of a 12-year-old boy who is the sole survivor of a plane crash and how he navigates life after the crash. This show focuses on a different aspect of the plane crash as it explores Edward rejoining society after surviving a tragedy. This perspective also shows the aftermath of emotions and moving on for the families and friends of people lost in the crash.

This series only had one season on Apple TV, but it was an impactful one giving viewers teary eyes every episode. Following the pattern of being different from many other plane crash shows, Dear Edward was based on a novel that was inspired by a true story.

Departure

departure peacock
Peacock

Departure is similar to Dear Edward in its dissimilarity to other plane crash shows. Expectedly the show begins when Flight 716 disappears while flying over the Atlantic Ocean. Unlike many other shows in this genre, this story does not follow the passengers. In the aftermath of this plane’s disappearance, presumed widow and aviation investigator Kendra Malley is tasked with finding the plane to search for survivors and to figure out what happened. Despite grieving the likely loss of her husband, she must find answers before it’s too late.

Departure is a Peacock original that ran for two seasons between 2018 and 2022. A third season is scheduled to air in August of this year.

While there is room for subjectivity on why shows about plane crashes are so popular, there’s no debating that they are. These shows can be streamed on various platforms including Peacock, Apple TV, and Hulu.

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