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LOST: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
Blu-ray Edition

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Naveen Andrews, Emilie de Ravin, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia, Maggie Grace, Josh Holloway, Malcolm David Kelly, Daniel Dae Kim, Yunjin Kim, Evangeline Lilly, Dominic Monaghan, Terry O’Quinn, Harold Perrineau, Ian Somerhalder
Creators: J.J. Abrams, Jeffrey Lieber, Damon Lindelof
Audio: DTS HD 5.1, Dolby Digital 2.0
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1
Studio: Buena Vista/ABC Studios
Features: See Review
Length: 1068 Minutes
Release Date: June 16, 2009

“Where are we?”

Shows ****

The evolution of the television series can be directed at two specific shows. The first is 24, which applied a groundbreaking use of real time as a narrative device for an entire season, in addition to its unique approach to split screen imagery. Three years after that show’s debut came a series that would challenge its audience and take television storytelling to new heights, in addition to creating a heavily devoted fan base.

Lost has had viewers gripped in the palm of its hand ever since its debut in 2004. In the five years since, it has managed to leave its dedicated followers in an equal state of amazement and confusion. But whether it’s blown you away or turned you off completely, I think we can all agree on one thing…there’s never been any show like it!

It was a clear early indicator of the genius that lies within series creator J.J. Abrams. The amazing success of this show has helped catapult Abrams to the status of cinematic extravaganza mastermind, having directed both Mission: Impossible III and the brilliant reincarnation of Star Trek. Here’s a guy whose past credits include creator of the series Felicity in addition to contributing to screenplays such as Regarding Henry, Armageddon and Gone Fishin’ (YES, GONE FISHIN’), illustrating that you shouldn’t always judge a creative mind by past examples.

Abrams had garnered strong credibility in the television world following the success of his spy series creation, Alias. Though I’m not familiar with the behind the scenes details, I’m convinced one of two things happened when Lost was pitched to network executives. Either Abrams could sell the life out of a series, or the network was willing to take a gamble…because either way, the show was a gamble.

And the gamble certainly paid off! Like 24, this show is riveting in how it reinvents television narrative. At the heart of Lost is mystery of epic and paranoid proportions and each episode introduces a new twist or clue behind the plot and the people involved.

The first scene of the pilot episodes opens in on Jack (Matthew Fox), who awakes in jungle like setting. After several minutes of running he reaches a shore, and discovers that the plane he was on has crashed on an island.

That opening scene, which paints quite a horrific picture of a plane crash aftermath, perfectly lays out the level of intensity that will linger throughout the series. The 48 survivors of Oceanic flight 815, who boarded the plane as complete strangers, will become acquainted with one another as they attempt to survive and find a way off the island.

With every episode, we learn something new about each survivor through intriguing flashbacks. Jack is a doctor and is doing what he can to maintain moral on the island, in addition to healing all who are sick or injured. We see that he’s been though a painful event in the past, but if there’s one thing that can be said…he’s about the only person among the survivors who isn’t keeping any dark secrets.

And we soon come to learn that everyone else on the island is hiding something in one way or another. Perhaps the most surprising case is the beautiful Kate (Evangeline Lilly), who has the perfect appearance of the innocent girl next door. As it turns out, she was a prisoner escorted by an air marshal on board the plane.

But she’s just one of many characters on the show who aren’t what they seem. Other characters with shady secrets include Sawyer (Josh Holloway), a conman of sorts, Sayid (Naveen Andrews), a former torture specialist for the Iraqi Republican Guard, Charlie (Dominic Monaghan), a former rock star and current heroin addict, Claire (Emilie de Ravin), a pregnant lady from down under, Michael (Harold Perrineau), a man who’s just now getting to know his son, Walt (Malcolm David Kelly). There’s also Hurley (Jorge Garcia), a lottery winner who seems to think he has the worst case of bad luck, Jin and Sun (Daniel Dae Kim, Yunjin Kim), an Asian couple with unusual marriage issues, and Boone (Ian Somerhalder) whose sister, Shannon (Maggie Grace), is constantly driving him up the wall.

And yet, the most mysterious out of all the survivors is a man named Locke (Terry O’Quinn). He also appears to be the most resourceful one amongst the group. He’s sort of like MacGyver, but with serious trust issues…oh, and a bad leg.

As Season One progresses, Lost goes to places and reaches depths far beyond the expected. And those places are the very elements that seem to simultaneously thrill and irritate people, and by that I mean things like numbers, black smoke, the debate of why they’re on the island to begin with and, most especially, the four words everyone will asks themselves at the end of the season…what’s inside the hatch? I am one of those who were incredibly thrilled for every minute of these first 25 episodes, and now I can’t wait to see where the show goes from here.

When the show first hit DVD, I rented several discs of the first season and got instantly hooked. However, for reasons I can’t even remember, I fell out of the loop and never got back into it, thinking I may never get to experience the enthralling feeling so many have with this show. Thanks to the miracle of Blu-ray, I’m now able and proud to call myself an official Lost addict!

Video ****

I couldn’t have found a better TV show to start out with on Blu-ray. Lost is a series that was practically made for high def viewing! Another fantastic element of the show I never got around to detailing is the marvelous production value. The island setting is as authentic as can be, and the 1080p delivers to you every possible bit of detail that can be seen. You see the area in morning, day and night time, and all such sequences get magnificent treatment. I can’t remember seeing so much detail in night time shots. Colors are phenomenal and the anamorphic picture is consistently clean and crisp. There’s no denying that this is by far the best presentation you could ever hope to experience this show in.

Audio ****

Sound plays a huge factor in the show, and the DTS HD mix supplied takes full, incredible advantage of that. The island itself is the most important character in the show, and there are a variety of eerily effective sounds that lie within, whether it be a mysterious predator or voices in the distance (this show’s got em all). Surround sound quality is downright amazing, as every channel does its part to bring this one of a kind setting to life. Music and dialogue delivery are also incredibly balanced with every bit of suspense.

Features ****

This is one amazing, seven disc Blu-ray set from Buena Vista. From what I gather, pretty much all the extras from the DVD release have made their way onto this one. As far as Blu-ray exclusives go, there is one great little feature called Season Play, where you can create a profile and basically bookmark where you’re at in the season and pick right back up at that spot if you have to take the disc out or turn off your player. Trust me; I took full advantage of this feature. As for the rest of the extras, we have commentaries on five selected episodes with cast and crew members. There’s also some extensive behind the scenes material, including “The Lost Flashbacks”, which feature unseen flashbacks, “Welcome To Oahu: The Making Of The Pilot”, “The Genesis Of Lost”, “Designing A Disaster”, “Before They Were Lost”, as well as Deleted Scenes And Bloopers.

And there’s even more extras than indicated on the box. We get more featurettes including “The Art of Matthew Fox”, “Lost on Location”, “Lost @ Comicon”, “On Set with Jimmy Kimmel”, “Backstage with Drive Shaft” (Charlie’s former rock band)”, “Live From the Museum of Television and Radio” and “Flashbacks and Mythology”.

Summary:

The phenomenon that has had everybody talking is now finally available in the format it was destined for. The Complete First Season of Lost is one of the most stunning and intense introductory seasons of any television series I can remember, and the amazing presentation this Blu-ray release provides enhances it even further. If you have access to Blu-ray, and have been curious about this show just as much as I was, you owe it to yourself to endure this experience!

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