While the show likely will never wow audiences as it did during its debut season, those who stuck with the series during its particularly rocky second season were eventually rewarded with a strong third outing and an impressive fourth. With the introduction of “flash forwards”, rather than the “backwards” previews that we’d been seeing for three seasons (up until the third season finale, at least), the series was revitalized with the same wonderful feeling of disorientation and mystery that made Lost so engaging in the first place. Along with a new story gimmick, we were also introduced to a myriad of new faces that once again made it hard to guess who the “bad guy” of the series was really.
More than three months after their fateful crash, the stranded passengers of the ill-fated transcontinental flight learn that the only thing more dangerous than the Island itself might be the people who have come to save them from it. Every twist and turn, and all the secrets and clues of the boldest show on network television come together in one place, revealing some of the dark mysteries at its heart. Shocking revelations and subtle clues about “The Oceanic 6,” “The Others,” the Dharma Initiative and much more make Season Four a must-own DVD or Blu-ray Disc for any fan.
As with most fans of the show, I’ve stuck to it out of pure loyalty, as no matter how aggravating or determined the series seems to be to lose me as a viewer, I hang onto the series with on intent to let go. I’ve had my fair share of “Agh, this is stupid!” moments with the series, but there were very few of those elements occurring in this fourth season. I found myself interested and drawn to the fantastic plot device of flash forwarding, which still makes the season three finale one of the all-time best season finales of any show I’d ever watched. Seeing just who made it off and who remained behind made for an incredibly fascinating season, especially when you mix in the new faces back on the island to contend with.
Although the boat party got a bit tiresome after awhile (though Michael’s return to the series was interesting, albeit rather pointless feeling), there was a particularly awesome episode that focused around Desmond and his ability to see the future. It was such a convoluted mess of a story that to follow it you almost had to watch the episode two or three times, but once you fully understood how the mechanics of it worked, it became incredibly fascinating. Everything about it was wonderfully laid out and it really made you appreciate the intricacies of the stories in this season.
In addition to the new faces we got to see our original crew of the Oceanic survivors pull out all of the stops, with betrayals and surprise alliances all around. It was also a fitting way to close out this fourth season by coming back to how the third season ended and revealing who was in the coffin. While fans may not have remembered it throughout the season, it was always nagging at the back of their minds and when it came to the revelation there was a resounding “Yes!!” that emitted from the mouth. It’s revelations and surprises like this that make this show so entertaining to watch—and watching it all again on the home video format makes all the difference with a show like this.
While it may not be the show we all fell in love with during its first season (imagine trying to pitch the show, in its current state, to a network now), the series has rewarded those who have stuck by it and this fourth season is no different in how it entertains the viewer. As odd as it may sound, this fourth season is also an excellent jumping on point for those who haven’t seen the past seasons, as it attempts to shed some of the fat from previous seasons with the death of old characters and the introduction of new blood.
Overall Lost – The Complete Fourth Season is the best we’ve received from this series since the first season. Highly Recommended.
Although it consisted of a mere thirteen episodes, this season set comes with five discs, four dedicated to the episodes and a fifth focuses entirely on the bonus features. The discs are encased in a double width Blu-ray case with two swinging trays inside. Also included inside is a series of inserts, including one for Monster HDMI cables that states that paying for their overpriced cables is “worth it.” I pray anyone who is jumping for this series on Blu-ray isn’t foolish enough to fall for this ruse. Also included is an insert advertising other ABC DVD/Blu-ray releases (including the recently canned Eli Stone and Dirty Sexy Money). The best of these inserts, however, comes in the form of a high-gloss “Oceanic: For Your Safety” manual, full of humorous safety tips complete with visual aids. One of my favorites: “If you notice black smoke emanating from the plane, please alert the captain. It is either a problem with the engines or a mysterious creature.” There are twelve in all and each one is just as funny as the last. On the back of the pamphlet is a listing of the episodes on each disc.
Everything on this five disc release is encoded with AVC video and it all looks absolutely fantastic. This is definitely a show to watch on Blu-ray, as the “stage” of Hawaii comes through absolutely brilliant. The clarity is top notch, with grain in all of the right places and an astonishing level of detail coming through with each frame. The CGI admittedly still can look hokey at times, but other than that there isn’t a pixel of the video transfer on this set that is out of place. Even though I watched this series in HD during its original broadcast, the 1080p video here has a much higher bitrate than what my cable provider is pushing out, so it’s no wonder I was so blown away by the transfer.
The audio is also a stronger mix than the DD5.1 that came out from the original airing. Here we’re given a English 5.1 Uncompressed (48kHz/16-bit) track that is just as impressive as something that would accompany a major motion picture. The array of sounds that fill the room in any given episode is engrossing and you’d be hard pressed to find a better sounding or looking television show on the Blu-ray format. Absolutely fantastic.
The extras aren’t as expansive as the eight hours worth of content from the previous season, but we’ll blame the writers’ strike on that one. All extras are available in 1080i and starting out on the first disc we have “View Lost in 8:15” (8:12), a very humorous recap of the previous three seasons. Not only will you laugh, but you’ll also get a very quick crash course in what has happened in the series. Next up on the first disc is an Audio commentary on: The Beginning of the End and on the second disc we have Audio Commentaries on “The Constant” and “Ji Yeon”. Disc four wraps up the commentaries with “There’s No Place Like Home (Part 2)” with executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.
Moving onto the fifth disc, we have a series of long-to-short extras that are all worth watching if you’re a Lost buff. Lost on Location (41:55) and The Island Backlot: Lost in Hawaii (17:53) discuss the production and location of the series, while The Right to Bear Arms talks about the guns of the show (that seem to endlessly multiply). Next up we have Soundtrack of Survival: Composing for Character, Conflict & The Crash (26:22) and More from the Symphony (16:08), which show us a live performance of the music of Lost. If you haven’t picked up the soundtracks released for the show, then I recommend checking this taste of what the shows music is all about—you’ll likely be running to Amazon to pick up the soundtracks. Next we have Lost Bloopers (3:22), which I’m fairly certain were just upscaled to fit in with the 1080i flow of the set, and a series of Deleted Scenes (9:11).
Next we have Course of the Future: The Definitive, Interactive Flash Forwards, which as best as I can tell allows you to assemble the flash forwards in consecutive order. Why they couldn’t just make this something you could watch without dinking around with the actual order, I don’t know…but oh well. The Oceanic Six: A Conspiracy of Lies (21:16) is, as the back of the box describes it as a “controversial underground documentary questioning the survivors of Oceanic 815,” so know going into that it isn’t a “real” extra in the truest sense of the word. The Freighter Folk (12:41) shows off the new cast members, while Offshore Shoot (7:50) focuses on the new cast members shooting location. Wrapping up the extras are the Lost: Missing Pieces (Mobisodes) (31:23), which look a little less clear than the regular episodes, but still quite good and well worth watching if you didn’t catch them as they were originally released.
Overall Lost – The Complete Fourth Season is a remarkable HD experience and comes Highly Recommended. Visuals and audio astound and the extras are more than adequate for this shortened season. Fans will be kept busy for hours as they listen to the commentaries and check out the extras, and they’ll also be kept busy with the many seamless menus that are presented on each disc. The menus may be the coolest I’ve ever seen when it comes to this series and I’m consistently impressed by how smooth the animations and transitions are. Although why they only use a small portion of the menu to list the extras, while a good 90% of the screen goes unused, I don’t know.
Lost: The Complete Fourth Season arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on November 9th.