A shiver just went down my spine. No, I didn't listen to my birthday message from Mariska Hargitay again. OK, yes I did but that's not where the shiver came from. I just finished reading a first draft of the script for Heroes, NBC's fall pilot about everyday folks blessed with superpowers, and, well, to answer the question I posed in the title, yes, I believe a new Lost-like phenomenon is about to be born. And here's why:

  • THE CAST ROCKS: In addition to one of my FFPOTP Greg Grunberg, the ensemble boasts Gilmore guy Milo Ventimiglia and teenage wunderkind Hayden Panettiere. The show's behind-the-scenes pedigree is equally as impressive. Dave Semel, whose credits include directing the American Dreams pilot, has just signed on to helm the Heroes pilot. And while I may not deem Crossing Jordan FauxVo-worthy, I'm suddenly a big fan of its (and Heroes') creator, Tim Kring.

  • I'M ALREADY OBSESSED WITH THE CHARACTERS: Just as Lost isn't really a show about a haunted island, Heroes isn't a show about crusaders, caped or otherwise. It's about people albeit ones with extraordinary quirks. "I kind of want to stay away from the superhero aspect," says Kring. "It's about very ordinary people all over the world who literally discover that they have special powers, and it's their dealing with that." The superheroes, er, ordinary people include a 30-year-old male nurse who believes he can fly and, unlike R. Kelly, really can; a 28-year-old junkie who has the ability to paint images of the future; a 33-year-old Las Vegas showgirl who can do incredible things with mirrors; a 24-year-old Japanese comic-book geek who literally makes time stand still; a 31-year-old inmate who can transport himself through walls (eat your heart out, Michael Scofield); and a 17-year-old cheerleader who defies death at every turn (think of Bruce Willis in Unbreakable, only with blonde hair and big pom-poms).

  • I CAN RELATE: You didn't hear? I, too, was born with unnatural abilities. All kidding aside (wink, wink), as Kring points out, "It's pretty grounded in reality. Part of what makes it really feel very real is that these people's lives should mirror your own; you should be able to see your ordinary life reflected on screen."   

  • IT'S ALL ONE BIG PUZZLE: And you know the deal with puzzles. "It's a big interconnected saga," says Kring. "They're all drawn together towards a destiny of saving the world." And not to OD on the Lost parallels, but Kring adds, "It's extremely serialized."

  • IT'S SCARY: What would an extremely serialized show about superheroes, er, ordinary people (I have to stop doing that!) be without a creepy antagonist? Heroes' big baddie is described as a "Max Von Sydow-type" whose trademark accessory is a pair of horned rimmed glasses. And although his intentions aren't made crystal clear in the pilot, one thing is certain: He wants to get his hands on some of that super DNA.

  • ONCE AGAIN, IT SENT A SHIVER DOWN MY SPINE: "It" being the final scene. Provided Kring doesn't tinker too much with the script I can't stress enough that I read an early draft the climactic sequence, as inevitable as it may seem, will make you stand up and shout, "It's my new Lost!" And the next words out of your mouth better be: "Ausiello was right!"