003797Reviews & Counting
Lost (S4)
DVD disk
12.16.2008 By: Jason Adams
Lost (S4) order

Matthew Fox
Evangeline Lily
Michael Emerson


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[SPOILER ALERT] OMG! They get off the island!

After the arrival of rescuers from the suspicious freighter turns out to be simply more stalling and unanswered questions, the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 split up once again—half still holding out hope for Jack’s promise of going home, and half heeding Locke’s warning that they were meant to stay on the island. Meanwhile, flashforwards (!) tell how the rescued Oceanic Six fare being reintroduced to normal civilization and why all the intrigue, conspiracies and mystery are far from over.
Any qualms that Lost had, um, lost all its steam should’ve been extinguished by the stellar third season, but just in case, any doubt that the show is the most involving, intelligent and entertaining program on television was rightly decimated as season four kicked in to gear.

The show continues strongly from the explosive third season finale, with the fresh injection of flashforwards of characters who made it off the island. While the technique is a response to the tired flashback formula and a cool storytelling technique in its own right, taking them off the island is itself a huge creative risk (and a giant eff you to critics who complained of predictability). I think it’s safe to say we have no idea where the show will take us in its final two years and that is perfectly fine with me.

The format may have switched up a bit, but at its heart Lost still manages to balance a complex mythology, a nice mix of hardcore sci-fi elements with meaningful dramatic arcs, and of course an inordinate number of very different characters. (A perfect example is the season’s best ep, the Desmond time-traveling romance centric “The Constant,” which still gives me both geeky and weepy chills). Sure, some characters continue to be more compelling than others, but for the most part everyone gets their share of the action. They even add some newcomers with the freighter ship this season, with Daniel Faraday and Frank Lapidus quickly becoming new favorites, while it’s safe to say Miles and Charlotte have yet to be explored enough to their potential (we can blame the writers strike for that). The return of Michael (and Walt briefly!) gives his character needed closure, but given the hubbub about Harold Perrineau’s return and the wide open opportunity, it initially seems a little underwhelming.

However, the VIP for the season is Michael Emerson, who deserves at least seven Emmys for his work as Benjamin Linus. Ben is probably the only television character I can remember that runs the gamut of every emotion, from creepy to funny to menacing to pathetic to badass. It’s truly remarkable work, on both the writers’ part and Emerson’s. Ben also represents another favorite quality of the show I appreciate; its ability to evolve. The fact that Ben was only meant to be a brief guest star, but was expanded due to positive chemistry and reactions, as well as the premature departure of Mr. Eko, is equal parts luck and skill to adapt to the medium by the talented writers. The other blessing this season is the decided end date and the slimmer 16 episode order. That’s right; no filler. The season moves at a breakneck speed and is chock full of important stuff (and plenty of WTF moments), as evidenced by the thrilling and thought provoking season finale, which leaves me excited to see what’s in store for us. And with the conclusion in sight and the right people behind the wheel (thank you Cuse and Lindelof!), it’s going to be one helluva ride.
The season may have been cut short by the strike, but they don’t skimp on the DVD or the packaging. The episodes themselves come on four discs, plus two more solely for quality bonus material.

Commentaries by various cast and crew: You get vocal contributions from actors Evangeline Lily, Jorge Garcia, Daniel Dae Kim and Yunjin Kim, as well as the show’s editor, directors and creators on four key episodes, including The Constant and the second half of the finale “There’s No Place Like Home.” There’s interesting stuff for fans in each one, but what Cuse and Lindelof have to say about time traveling in “The Constant” and the secrets behind the season finale are the most intriguing (i.e. get some hints about the next season).

Deleted Scenes (9:31): Nine cut scenes, all of which are fairly short. Most are filler but there are a few good ones involving Ben and Claire, as well as Hurley finding out Kate and Sawyer had sex.

Lost in 8:15 (8:15): They somehow manage to recap the entire first three seasons of this show in under ten minutes fairly successfully. Of course lots of great stuff is left out, and I definitely suggest watching the full seasons. Duh.

Lost on Location (41:56): Behind the scenes footage from eight episodes, with specific looks at make up effects, visual effects, stunt work, fight choreography and more.

The Island Backlot (17:52): Despite all the various locales that each character’s flashbacks take them, you’ll be surprised to know that almost everything is filmed in Hawaii. That includes snowy Berlin and even Iraq. Props go to the hardworking and creative production designers and some surprisingly flawless computer effects and greenscreen work.

The Right To Bear Arms (11:14): For a show about people stranded on a desert island, there sure are a lot of guns used on the show. Here we see the history of the guns on the show and how they keep track of who has what and when. A fun feature.

The Freighter Folk (12:40): A look at the newest cast members from the freighter (Faraday, Miles, Charlotte, Lapidus and Keamy) and the role they play in the season and what’s to come. A good companion feature considering the season was cut short due to the writer’s strike and we missed out on at least one character’s story. Plus, Faraday and Lapidus are especially worthwhile additions.

Course of the Future: The Definitive Flash Forwards (56:03): All of the flashforwards from the season put together chronologically. It answers a lot of questions about what happened when and clears up a surprising amount of stuff.

The Oceanic Six: A Conspiracy Of Lies (21:13): This fun mockumentary tries to poke holes in the story told by the returning Oceanic Six. It’s nicely put together and makes some good points thanks to some clever “experts.” And look for an appearance by the dead pilot and awesome Alias vet Greg Grunberg.

Offshore Shoot (7:50): A segment about shooting on a real ship in the middle of the ocean, and the hardships that come with doing so. (For example, puke buckets!)

Soundtrack of Survival: Composing For Character, Conflict & The Crash (26:20): A performance of the Lost score by the Honolulu symphony in 2007 is the backdrop for this overall look at the amazing music used in the show. Michael Giacchino is a genius with his weekly work on the show (and THE INCREDIBLES).

Lost Bloopers (3:23): Actors flubbing their lines! Nice to see a lighter mood to the dramatic show, but it’s also creepy seeing Benjamin Linus smiling and laughing.

Lost: Missing Pieces (31:22): These thirteen “mobisodes” were released one a week during last year’s hiatus and while they’re not lengthy (~ two and a half minutes each) they’re definitely meaty. Some are lighter in mood (nice to see Hurley enjoying more golf) but most contain what seem to be key bits of information or hints to the larger puzzle. For fans of the show’s elaborate mythology I’d say these are a necessary watch if you’re hoping to piece everything together. (Especially the final one featuring…[gulp] Jack’s father.)
When I hear people around the water cooler say with a straight face that shows like Gossip Girl, CSI or American Idol are the best things on television, it hurts me inside. There’s no show on TV better when it comes to writing, acting, production quality or keeping its fans in mind than Lost. It’s a show that deserves not to just be watched and forgotten, but appreciated as an involving and entertaining experience. For the love of God, if you’re not already watching, start now.

Extra Tidbit: Only four scenes in the entire series up to this point were not shot in Hawaii. That’s damn impressive.
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