Arguably one of the most groundbreaking, innovative, and mind-bending series to come out of television in decades, J.J. Abrams Lost wowed viewers in its early seasons with its sense of isolation and confusion as the survivors of the horrific plane crash attempted to figure out where they were. Now with the series having just completed its fifth season (and gearing up for its sixth, and final, season), viewers are no longer questioning where the island is…but when the island is. With a time travelling season that left viewers and critics on the edge of their season, Buena Vista is giving fans the opportunity to re-watch the mind bending (then again, which season isn’t) season over again before the February premiere with the home video release of Lost: The Complete Fifth Season, The Journey Back – Expanded Edition.
The show that revolutionized primetime proves once again why it is television’s most addictive and creative series, as the epic story of LOST twists, turns and spirals through time in its brilliant fifth season. Destiny sends the Oceanic 6 back to the Island and into the heart of the enigmatic Dharma Initiative. The reason they had to return and the fate of all those who were left behind is revealed as the momentum builds toward the much anticipated series finale in 2010. Some of LOST’s most pressing questions are finally answered in a spectacular 5-disc collection, packed with deleted scenes, exclusive interviews, as well as Blu-ray exclusive content.
Although the season is comprised of a scant seventeen episodes (well, it seems scant—I guess that’s pretty lengthy), the show has shed the often-referred to “filler” episodes that plague a series usual twenty-some episode runs. While the season is basically built upon storylines that carry on and weave their way through each episode (and various seasons), none of the episodes feel superfluous. Each week we move forward in an exciting and engaging manner and with this seasons newly introduced and developed time travel element we were given an even more confusing (but interesting) angle to throw into the already bewildering world of Lost.
Honestly if you took a step back and looked at the “big” picture of the show, your mind would probably start to hurt. As you try to connect all the various lines, now not only represented by the cornucopia of characters and storylines but now with a time travel element thrown in (albeit not for the entire season), you received a sensation not unlike the one you get from sucking down an Icee too fast. But as confusing as it can all get, if you’ve been into the show since season one then it’s hard not to role with the punches; it’s such a rewarding show as it packs in plenty of action, drama and comedy (oftentimes into one single episode). Plus even when someone dies, there is always a chance for them to return (and in Locke’s case…man that was quite a return).
The big draw this season was the retro-escapades with the Dharma Initiative in the 70s. Familiar names (of dead Dharma members) returned in living form and a rather surprise romance between Sawyer and Juliette’s characters began to blossom. It eventually began to tear apart throughout the season as well, only to revitalize itself in the finale…before blowing itself up again (quite literally). I won’t completely ruin the details of the seasons ending for those who have yet to watch it, but it was definitely a satisfying cliffhanger. True, there were small things in the season that didn’t work, such as the separations of the characters due to the time lines which caused some of the more chemistry fueled relationships to disperse accordingly, but overall the season was a very satisfactory watch.
There’s a certain sense of finality that you get from watching this show. Knowing that it will go on for as long as it has to and then end with its sixth season means that it won’t be drawn out or wear out its welcome. The second season gave us a glimpse of what this show could be like if it was to go on longer than it was meant to, but luckily the show was put back on track. The fifth season is a fantastic example of what this show can achieve when everything is firing on all cylinders and there is a clear goal in sight; even if that goal is obscured by another seasons worth of questions and bewilderment. In more ways than one this season fulfilled a myriad of other questions and yet still only felt like the calm before the storm.
Overall a Highly Recommended season, although not one that should be viewed by novice Lost fans. There’s simply too much here to really suck in that requires past knowledge of previous seasons to fully enjoy this outing. The series has always been better with references and little easter eggs if you’ve seen past episodes, but this whole season really took that to a whole new level and if you don’t pay attention then you’re bound to be left wondering what everyone’s talking about. Then again many of those who have watched the show since the beginning say that regardless.
Lost arrives on Blu-ray in the usual casing that past seasons have received, with a double-wide Blu-ray case housing all the discs of the series. Included is a reflective foil/embossed slipcover and inside is a series of inserts, mostly for other Disney products but also the manual for this season. Included are the always fantastic menu systems that transition seamlessly, although I still take issue with the font size on the menus as it’s a giant image with a small space occupied. I had a problem with this from the previous season sets but they made a re-appearance this season as well. I guess it’s not overly noticeable on a 60” plasma, but still.
As one would guess, the latest season of lost looks stunning in its AVC encoded 1080p transfer. Although it changes from present day to years past, the transfer is nonetheless an exciting and stunning visage to partake. Details are high, colors are brilliant and blacks are nice and deep. I doubt that there is a finer show to watch on Blu-ray than Lost has it mixes in all the visual greats with its varied palette of interiors, exteriors and combinations of both. Toss in the mixture of various time periods of clothing and you also get a nice little visual history lesson in fashion which just jumps to life off of the screen with exhilarating detail. There are a few moments where compression crops up, but that’s often the case for any TV show on Blu-ray. As is, however, you would be hard pressed to find a better example of the Blu-ray format than Lost if only because it offers so many varied visuals to show off what Blu-ray is capable of…and then proceeds to knock it out of the park each and every time.
Audio arrives in the form of a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix and, like the visuals, the options offered up here is varied. Every little sound effect that the series emits is heard here with deafening clarity. Subtle moments are impacted by a musical cue that runs throughout the room then up your spine, while the nosier sound effects like a gunshot or an explosion resound from the surrounds and out the subwoofer into your chest. There are few things about this sound mix that don’t impress and while the show does spend a lot of time in the front channels with dialogue, it’s no stranger to the other channels as well. If ever there was a show that demoed what the Blu-ray format and a properly tuned home theater setup is capable of, this is the one.
While extras have always been the strong point of past Lost sets, this one is slightly…underwhelming. A mere two episodes feature commentary (“Because You Left” and “He’s Our You”) and the rest of the extras are incredibly brief in length. While it’s no real surprise the season doesn’t have a lot to talk about (it was pretty straightforward as Lost material goes, even if it was brilliantly complex at the same time), it’s still a bit of a downer nonetheless. The full roster of extras includes:
Lost Starter Kit – Season 1-4 Recap
LOST on Location – Get the inside stories from the cast and crew
Building 23 & Beyond – Join Michael Emerson as he infiltrates the secret Lost offices to meet the team who is behind the show’s real mysteries.
An Epic Day with Richard Alpert – follow Nestor Carbonell across the island on the intese last day of the season’s finale.
Making up for LOST Time – An interesting and humorous look at how the producers, writers, and cast sort out the survivors’ leaps through time.
Mysteries of the Universe: The DHARMA Initiative – the recently unearthed and complete expose questioning the truth of the DHARMA initiative.
Lost University – Enroll, take classes and immerse yourself in this interactive collegiate experience exploring the themes, stories and secrets of Lost.
Lost 100 – Go in-depth as the cast reflects on the first 100 episodes and be a part of the cake=cutting ceremony with Duff Goldman of “Ace of Cakes.”
The list is pretty stacked, but the longest bit is the “On Location” segment from disc 5 that runs nearly forty minutes. The remaining pieces, all in HD (aside from “Mysteries of the Universe” for some reason), are short and range from a scant four minutes to twelve or so. It’s not a staggering group of extras and when you tally it all up you end up with nearly four hours of content (including the two commentaries)…but at the same time it just doesn’t seem like a lot, probably because there just isn’t a lot of worthwhile information in the extras. The “Lost University” bit that’s mentioned above isn’t live for my testing yet either, but that could prove be an interesting experience for fans once it launches.
Overall this fifth season is a solid Blu-ray release and one that’s Highly Recommended. I think more than anything the reason the extras seem so slim is the fact there’s only two commentaries, but the rest of it is worth checking out if you’re a fan of the show, no doubt. Plus that “Starter Kit” is hilarious; I love watching them.
Lost: The Complete Fifth Season, The Journey Back – Expanded Edition arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on December 8th.