'Lost': Season 4 DVD Review
The holiday season officially starts today, Lost fans. It's the day you've been waiting for: the release of Season 4 of your favorite show on DVD! And we here at Zap2It have you covered. If you're a fan, you've already seen everything from exploding papayas to the reveal of Jeremy Bentham's identity. But this set, as with all Lost DVD sets, has content well beyond the episodes you know and already love. So without further ado, here's an FAQ to prime you for the viewing experience that should tide you will over until Season 5.
(Props to AICN's Herc for the format inspiration.)
So which version are you going to review: DVD or Blu-Ray?
What are the technical specs on the Blu-Ray?
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 (Widescreen)
Video: 1080p H.264/MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: 5.1 Uncompressed LPCM (48kHz/16-bit)
What does that all mean?
It's waaaaayy purty.
Will I miss out on anything if I just buy the regular DVDs?
Only superior picture and sound quality. There's also a hilarious Oceanic Safety Guide included in the packaging.
What if I want to see said packaging, but don't own a Blu-Ray player?
Easy! My wife scanned them for your viewing pleasure. They can be found on the Zap2It Guide to Lost's Facebook group.
Need I feel inferior for only owning the normal DVD set?
Heck no, though I can't stress enough that Lost is meant to be viewed in high-definition. If you're wondering if you should spring for a Blu-Ray player this holiday just to watch Seasons 3 and 4 of Lost in this format, the answer is unequivocally yes. (Also, if you buy a Playstation 3 as your Blu-Ray player of choice, let me know so we can totally play Call of Duty together online.)
So how many discs we talking in the Blu-Ray version?
Five, with one dedicated entirely to extras.
What's on the first four?
The 13 episodes, spread across the discs, plus selected commentary tracks, one additional featurette, and a few Easter eggs.
So what's extra on Disc 1?
The documentary "Lost in 8:15" and an audio commentary of "The Beginning of the End" with Evangeline Lilly and Jorge Garcia.
Haven't I seen "Lost in 8:15" before?
Yup, ABC.com aired it a while back. It's a semi-ironically narrated, condensed version of the show's first three seasons.
Do Lilly and Garcia add anything to the proceedings?
There's a semi-humorous discussion of how complex the satellite phone was to "use," and talk of "casting" walkie talkies earns a few giggles.
No insight into the cabin?
They talk about Gentle Ben and Flipper during this part. I wish I were kidding.
OK, so what's Disc 2 hold?
Audio commentary on both "The Constant" and "Ji Yeon."
Who talks on them?
Editor Mark Goldman and Darlton talk over "The Constant," Director Stephen Semel, Daniel Dae Kim, and Yunjin Kim discuss "Ji Yeon."
Are either better than the commentary for "Beginning?"
Absolutely! Listen to Goldman talk about the opportunity to use editing "mistakes" as a narrative technique. Hear what new word Darlton invented in the script to call for said "mistake." Learn how Darlton love to inject what they call the "shot computer" to keep the show's narrative pace interesting. If you're a Lost fan, you'll soak up everything Darlton says in general.
OK, but that's all about "The Constant." Is the "Ji Yeon" commentary worth it?
If you have the time, by all means. But it's not the necessary listen that "The Constant" is. I found it a good listen, but nothing vital to your understanding of the show. However, as a major Sun/Jin fan, I loved hearing these three talk.
Gotcha. What about Disc 3?
Disc 3 doesn't have squat in the way of extras.
Are you serious?
100%. Disc 3 is like the Oliver to the set's Brady Bunch, in terms of extra footage. Just doesn't bring a thing to the table, and brings everything else down simply by existing.
Surely Disc 4 doesn't skimp, correct?
Correct! Darlton return for commentary on "There's No Place Like Home (Part 2)."
What's special about this?
It's the first audio commentary ever given for a finale of Lost. Also? It's Darlton! That one word alone should send you here as quickly as possible.
True dat. So what's on that final disc?
SO many awesome things, I can't even begin to tell you.
Isn't it like, your JOB to begin?
Oh, true. How astute of you. Let me take you through each of the sections, highlighting what's worth checking out.
Are you going to be Mr. Spoilypants, thereby ruining my own viewing experience?
Absolutely not. Mr. Spoilypants is my least favorite villain ever. My goal is not to spoil, but rather clue you in on what you should watch yourself. Also? I plan on dropping enough hints to make you want to leap from your computer and buy the set this instant.
So what's the first feature?
Lost on Location.
What's the gist?
It's a behind-the-scenes look at several episodes of the season.
What's a more accurate term for this extra?
"We Love Stunt Doubles."
So it's all about stunt doubles?
Seemingly! It gets a little old. Nothing against stunt doubles, but this feature does spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with the minutiae of stunts on the show.
Yikes. Anything worth watching?
Absolutely! Watch Elizabeth Mitchell and Rebecca Mader share a post-scene snack. Watch Michael Emerson lounge in a hammock as he describes Keamy's invasion of New Otherton. Watch Darlton defend their use of Michael Dawson during this season.
So I could skip this part right away?
Sure, but definitely check it out at some point.
What's next on the list?
The Island Backlot: Lost in Hawaii.
Better than Lost on Location?
Most definitely. It's absolutely staggering to watch the production crew transform Hawaii into Germany, Iraq, Tunisia, and the other sundry places that our characters visit over the course of the show. The use of both practical staging and green-screen magic only heightens one appreciation for what you see on a weekly basis.
Sounds great. What comes next?
The Right to Bear Arms.
A constitutional debate?
It's 25% about the show's various forms of weaponry, and 75% about script coordination.
Script coordination? Isn't that incredibly boring?
Depends. You may indeed find Gregg Nations' task of keeping all the guns straight sleep-inducing, but I found it a great way to gain insight into just how much work goes into keeping the story of Lost straight. If it's this freakin' hard to keep track of who has what gun when, imagine trying to maintain the other narrative elements of the show.
Is it really THAT hard to keep track of the guns?
Both Carleton Cuse and Damon Lindelof separately recall threatening Nations with violence upon asking them a question about the guns at one point. So yes, I'd say it's very difficult.
Is this a must watch?
Only if you're interested in behind-the-scenes stuff as it pertains to show business in general, not if you're looking for penetrating insight into the world of Lost.
OK, anything for the music lover in me?
Glad you asked! It just so happens that the next feature is up your alley. It's entitled Soundtrack of Survival: Composing for Character, Conflict, & the Crash.
So I take it this section's all about the man-god better known as Michael Giacchino?
You betcha: it's set against a performance by the Honolulu Symphony of his work from the show, intertwined with his creative process.
How Michael derives inspiration for writing music for a particular episode. What J.J. Abrams feels Lost would be without Michael's input. Just how much the actors appreciate how his music lifts their performance. How one of the signature musical motifs angered ABC management so much that it became a running joke in Giacchino's arsenal.
Is is true that your feelings towards Michael Giacchino make you re-examine whether not not you could physically love another man?
Um, er, uh, next question!
Sadly, yes. I didn't crack a smile. Next.
What would a DVD set be without deleted scenes?
A shell of a fully realized set, that's what. But aren't most deleted scenes, like, deleted for a reason?
Usually, yes. I generally don't watch deleted scenes, because if the director doesn't like them, why should I?
So, are these any different?
Can you tease without spoiling?
One involves Miles and the sonic fence. Another involves Ben's side mission before checking into the Tunisian hotel. And the third involves Claire seeing something strange in the aftermath of Keamy's attack on New Otherton.
Should they have been included in their respective episodes?
The first two, absolutely. They add mythological intrigue and character backstory in very interesting ways. As for the third, given what happens to Claire later, I see why they omitted it from the final cut, but it's a great scene anyways.
And what about the other deleted scenes?
Eh, take 'em or leave 'em. Fine little character moments, but nothing truly missed.
OK, chief, what's next?
Course of the Future: The Definitive, Interactive Flash Forwards.
Interactive, you say?
Yup, you get to turn the donkey wheel, baby! You're asked to place ten snippets of flash forward in chronological order. As you do so, the wheel turns, and the screen gets brighter.
Did you tell Jacob that you hope he's happy?
C'mon, I'm not THAT big of a dork. (OK, maybe I said it a little.)
So what happens once you complete your task?
Darlton appear, and tell you you can now watch, in the correct order, how all the flash forwards occur.
Are Darlton their usual, charming selves?
Yes, and they even get a flash forward of their own!
I won't spoil it, but it involves eye patches and robot overloads. It's pretty hysterical.
So how can I watch these flash forwards?
Well, you can watch them one of three ways: by tracking a particular character, by watching all of them in order, and watching all of them in order with producer "commentary" along the bottom.
What do we learn in said commentary?
That someone on the production team LOVES to drop the F bomb.
Does it get incredibly annoying after a while?
Oh Lord yes.
Fair enough. I'm ready for a faux documentary right about now. Whatcha got for me?
The Oceanic Six: A Conspiracy of Lies.
Worth my precious time to watch?
If you like watching a "Loose Change"-esque take on the holes in the Oceanic 6's theories, sure. Was it worth my time? Not especially.
Any redeeming qualities?
Well, when the narrator suggests that the Oceanic 6's lack of weight loss might have come from eating Charlie, Libby, and Boone, I sorta chuckled. Other than that? Nah.
Did the next feature cheer you up?
Hell yea. The Freighter Folk is good times.
What's so good about it?
Confirmation from Lindelof that these characters were introduced to help explain some of the Island's various mysteries, a theory I've long espoused. How Jurassic Park helped influence their makeup. The "likes" and "dislikes" for each characters. Kevin Durand's dry sense of humor generally. Jeremy Davies' "It's too late to recast, right?" specifically.
But do we see anything about life on the Kahana?
We do indeed, in the next feature: Offshore Shoot.
I have a weak constitution: is there a lot of puking in this section?
We see buckets galore. But we neither hear nor see anyone lose their lunch. Mercifully.
Who was most susceptible to the ill affects of the ocean?
Director Jack Bender. He looks green merely recounting his time onboard the boat.
Wow, there are a LOT of extras on this sucker. Anything else?
Yup, all of the mobisodes.
You don't remember the mobisodes? Silly Lost fan. These were the 2-3 minute snippets of Lost broadcast on ABC's website to whet our appetite for Season 4.
Didn't you recap them way back when?
I did. And I have the Wikipedia entry to prove it.
They let YOU on Wikipedia?
I know, they'll pretty much let anyone in these days. Place has gone to hell.
Didn't Hurley also say "never say never" to Jack in "The Beginning of the End"?
That's the most interesting thing about the mobisodes?
Well, this time around, at least. The mobisodes themselves are a hit-and-miss endeavor, with episodes ranging from absolutely awful to mind-blowingly brilliant.
Which one's so brilliant?
"So It Begins." Read my original take on it here.
What about Easter Eggs?
Lostpedia has you covered.
What's the best Easter Egg?
I'm partial to the one where Lindelof compares the Island to a certain DC superhero and Jack Shephard to a plastic cup of coffee.
Anything else I should know about?
You've already spent way too long reading about it. My bad. Now go out and buy it!
Ryan also posts every 108 minutes over at Boob Tube Dude, then peruses Zap2It's Guide to Lost Facebook group. He also encourages you to join the all-new Zap2It's Guide to Lost Twitter feed. Pretty soon he'll have as many platforms as this DVD set has Easter eggs.