Since its beginning, Lost has been an intriguing show that has captured audience’s attention like no other. With the shows pilot being one of the most expensive in history to produce, it paid off big for ABC in the end, as they scored a hit that brought millions of new eyes to the network. Unfortunately, the shows second season seemed to stumble and falter and be devoid of what made the first season so great. After this shaky season, the third season didn’t look too promising, but instead what we got was a season that obliterated the second in terms of quality and writing and nearly matched the first for suspense and excitement. Lost’s triumphant return with its first six episodes was well received by fans and the shows return with the final seventeen episodes returned later in the year to quench the fans thirst for more.
With the shows second season we went even deeper into the minds of “The Others” and were allowed to see some of what made the island such a powerful force. New characters were introduced (and killed) and nearly all of the second season additions were completely killed, with only Desmond’s character surviving it all. Between the emotional character death episodes to the rousing adventures through the forest, Lost excelled in its third season and by the time the season finale aired, fans were ready for anything but what they got. In a twist ending that still has me giddy just thinking about it, it was revealed that our characters overcame their Gilligan’s Island dilemma and were able to make it back to civilization—only Jack has a problem with that.
There were so many great elements to this season and I’d nearly forgotten all of them until I rewatched this DVD set. While the death of Eko came as a bit of a surprise considering he was the only “tail end” survivor left, the deaths of newcomers Nikki and Paolo were even more shocking. After painstakingly reincorporating them all into what we’ve seen of Lost in past seasons, the pair were killed by essentially being buried alive. I remember watching that episode originally and thinking “wow they’ll have to come back, they can’t just kill them like that!” but they did; the pair never returned and it’s almost fitting that their death episode had Sawyer asking “who the hell is Nikki?” in the cold open of the episode. Their appearances were few, but they had perhaps the most shocking deaths out of all of the series so far—mainly because they didn’t actually die until our cast killed them.
The two-part episode finale held so many great moments in the season. When you first begin viewing it and the “flashback” is of Jack again, you start to get upset; this is the third season’s finale and we’re wasting it on Jack? Again? It doesn’t even become apparent until the final minutes of the episode, where it’s revealed that all along, throughout these two hours, it had been a “flash forward”; our cast had actually gotten off the island and for reasons not fully disclosed, Jack is dying to get back to the mystery island.
Of course there were clues throughout the episode that are easily picked up on that this isn’t a flashback; the use of newer cell phones that didn’t exist prior to their crashing on the island and perhaps the biggest telltale sign was Jack going to the mystery funeral of someone who is never named. Jack was a bit strange after his breakup with his wife, sure, but not to the point of going to funerals that no one else attends. Not until I watched the episode again on the DVD did a thought occur to me of who’s funeral it was and if it proves to be true, then Jack really is alone in trying to get back to the island.
Overall Lost’s third season easily matches the first season in intensity and really gives me hope for the upcoming fourth season (whenever it may actually begin airing). One easily forgets the lackluster second season when we jump into this season, as it gives us all new mysteries to ponder and decipher, rather than cluttering up the screen with new characters that are essentially extensions of existing ones. Without hesitation I can say this set comes Highly Recommended.
Buena Vista Home Entertainment has always been generous with the DVD releases for this series, packing on hours of special features and garnishing it with one of the most attractive packaging styles for a television series. Arriving in a plastic shell casing, the digi pak trays, each holding two discs (aside from the lone tray holding the seventh), comes in a nice fold out that mimics the green hue the plastic cover has. Disc art has two characters on each and included is an episode guide for each of the discs as well as a special features listing for the seventh DVD. An advertisement for other DVDs is included as well.
Jumping into the set itself, we get the wonderful menus that they started with the first season on DVD, with scenes from specific episodes being the backdrop. The menus are so well put together and look simply perfect and seamlessly done to make it appear to be video clips but nothing noticeably repetitive. Accompanying the menus in quality are the video and audio, which, as expected, are terrific as well. Having watched the show in HD I expected a drop in quality but the transfers are so immaculate that they look simply awesome. I won’t compare it to ABC’s 720p broadcast, but it does come very close. On top of the wonderful video is the incredible audio, which boasts a powerful surround mix that takes full use of the rear channels, throwing in rustling leaves, voices, sound effects and a particular favorite of mine, the passing of an airplane which travels through all of the speakers before it exits the rear. Perhaps the most immersive mix I’ve ever heard for a TV release.
Moving onto the special features front we start off with a mix of commentaries on four of the seven discs. On disc one we have “A Tale of Two Cities” commentary with Exec. Producer Damon Lindeof and actor Elizabeth Mitchell, on disc two “I Do” commentary with writer/producer Carlton Cuse, actor Evangeline Lilly and actor Josh Holloway, disc four “Expose” with commentary by co-exec producers/writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz and finally on disc five we get “The Man Behind the Curtain” commentary by co-creator/exec producer Damon Lindelof, exec. producer Carlton Cuse and actor Michael Emerson. Surprisingly enough, there is no commentary on the season finale, which sucks as I was kind of eager to listen to what they had to say. I guess they didn’t want to ruin anything of the next season accidentally by talking too soon, so we’re left without a commentary, although there is plenty of behind-the-scenes footage from the episodes on the seventh disc…which is where we’re headed next! Regardless, the commentaries included here are informative and fun to listen to, although the “On Location” featurettes on the seventh disc easily trump these.
The menu system for the special features, is, one assumes, corresponding to the episodes on each disc of the set. Each monitor on the screen has a number and not all of them are selectable; extremely confusing at first, but once you realize your DVD remote directional keys aren’t broke, everything is easier. First up is a trio of featurettes; “Lost Book Club” (8:12) talks about all of the books used in screen, even briefly. Actors mention how they began reading more after all of these books began appearing on screen (and all for a reason) and it was in this featurette I noticed that Rob McElhenney (of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia fame) had a one-episode appearance as Other “Aldo.” I don’t know if you’ll find that humorous, but I did, simply because I’d just been watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia an hour before watching that featurette.
Next up we have “Cast in Clay – Creating the Figures of Todd McFarlane” (5:12), which has intereviews with McFarlane and the actors they scanned for series 1 of the figure line; Jorge Garcia, Daniel Dae Kim and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje talk about the figures the most, offering up their praise of the figures. McFarlane takes us on a brief tour of the sculpting process and the studios in New Jersey where the figures are made. After this featurette we have a featurette for the upcoming video game (4:06), which shows us some behind-the-scenes work and gameplay footage.
Moving onto the next “monitor”, we find ourselves amidst another lump of featurettes, starting off with “Lost: On Location” which covers ten episodes of the series and is perhaps the most in depth looks at the episodes we get on the set. Clocking in at fifty-eight minutes, we get roughly six minutes per episode, full of cast and crew interviews that show just how much work goes into this series. On the flipside, the next featurette, “Crew Tribute with Evangeline Lilly”, shows how much fun the series is to work on as well. Running nearly seven minutes, Lilly takes us around the sets, introducing the fans to people we’d only seen in the background of previous season set extras.
“Lost in a Day” (25 minutes) takes us on a tour of what it’s like to work on the set for a day of Lost, “The World of the Others” (14:12) explores the sets and characters of our favorite nemesis on the series and Terry O’Quinn: Throwing from the Handle (1:40) is a super quick featurette that shows O’Quinn practicing his knife chucking skills that his John Locke character has. A blooper reel (6:35) is included under this menu set as well and is mostly Dominic Monaghan flubbing lines and Evangeline Lilly laughing at other characters line deliveries. Fun stuff!
Finally we have a round of deleted scenes. First up are three “Flashback” scene removals, which add more history to the likes of John Locke, but are ultimately useless in the end. We have nine deleted scenes (17:20) from various episodes; of course all were fun to watch but cut for obvious reasons (or just for time).
Overall this set doesn’t disappoint. There are hours of extras here for fans to dig into and rewatching the episodes themselves reveal things you missed the first time. Lost, along with 24, are two series that are perhaps the most benefiting of DVD releases; slower episodes go by faster when there isn’t a week wait inbetween episodes and the overall flow is uninterrupted. Highly Recommended.
Lost: The Complete Third Season arrives on DVD and Blu-Ray on December 11th.