Tuesday, September 14, 2010

LOST: THE SIXTH AND FINAL SEASON (Blu-ray)

After six years, the television phenomenon LOST (2004-2010) finally came to an end, wrapping up a long, occasionally meandering epic battle between good and evil, and disappointing about as many people as it satisfied.

The series began with the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 on an apparently desert island somewhere in the South Pacific. As the survivors struggled to stay alive, it soon became apparent that they were not alone on the island, and, indeed, the island itself was much more mysterious than it appeared. Over the subsequent 121 episodes, viewers followed the survivors of Flight 815 - as well as a wide variety of other colorful characters - as they sought to unravel the island's secrets, fought for control of it, took sides, changed sides, bounced back and forth through time, tried to escape the island and tried to go back to it.

With its huge cast and multiple storylines - not to mention multiple timelines - the series made for fascinating, often surprising drama, and it was a helluva ride. So what if some characters and stories were abruptly abandoned, or some mysteries were never explained? So what if the writers did seem to be making it up as they went along, despite the official PR line? It was entertaining, and really, that's all a television show (or movie, or book, et al) really owes its audience. If the ending wasn't the one you wanted, that's a shame, but it doesn't mean that the six years were a waste. LOST, at its best, was smart, engaging fantasy, and that's a hell of an accomplishment in its own right.

Throughout its run, LOST maintained extremely high production values and smart writing. Casting was especially strong - the entire cast was appealing and talented, and were greatly responsible for the show's popularity. It made stars out of its fresh faces, and brought new fans to veteran thesps like Terry O'Quinn and Jeff Fahey. Much more than the frankly absurd story, it is the characters that brought viewers back week after week, and I suspect they'll be missed profoundly by most fans.

LOST: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON was recently released on DVD and Blu-Ray, and its the Blu that I have to review. The final 16 episodes are spread across five discs, and are presented in flawless 1.78:1 1080p HD widescreen, with a choice of audio: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio or Dolby Digital 2.0. There are a slew of bonus features, including at least 4 behind-the-scenes featurettes, the LOST in 8:15 series recap, bloopers, deleted scenes and audio commentaries by cast and crew on select episodes. There is also THE NEW MAN IN CHARGE, a mini-episode/epilogue that explains and answers more questions in its brief running time than the entire 6th season.

Exclusive to the Blu-Ray edition is the BD LIVE "LOST University Master's Program," an interactive online "course" exploring the mysteries of the series and its backstory.

I followed the show on home video and enjoyed most of it. Back during the first season I realized that it wasn't going to be quite the show I expected, and afterwards, I just tried to go with it. My wife, on the other hand, was deeply committed to the show and its characters, and found the conclusion deeply satisfying.

As always, with multi-season TV sets, it comes down to this: if you bought seasons 1-5, you're going to buy season 6. Picture quality and audio are perfect. If you've never seen the show, rent it from the beginning. If you're already a fan, but don't own any of the DVDs or Blu-Rays, a "Complete Series" set is also available.

BUY: Lost: The Complete Sixth and Final Season [Blu-ray]