Lost: The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
Directed by Stephen Williams et al
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:11080pAVC codec
Running Time: 604 minutes
Audio: PCM 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 English, French; 2.0 Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, others
MSRP: $ 94.99
Release Date: December 9, 2008
Review Date: November 28, 2008
Season four of ABC’s Lost began answering some of the mysteries which have fascinated and frustrated viewers since the beginning of its run. No, not every mystery has been solved, and in their own clever and crafty way, the producers have set more mysteries into motion. Given the fact that ABC and the show’s producers agreed that season four would be the first of three additional seasons for the show, the time was right to begin with some explanations, and the stories, now varying from offering only flashbacks to now using flash forwards as well has given the show a richness which is offering huge payoffs for fans who have stayed faithful to the program from the beginning despite some lapses along the way. Season four was as near perfect as an action-filled enigmatic series such as Lost could have possibly hoped for.
At the end of season three, our castaways seemed to have made contact with a rescue ship, only the freighter off the coast isn’t a salvage boat as dear, departed Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) learned and communicated seconds before his death, and the four individuals launched to the island in a helicopter aren’t there to save Jack (Matthew Fox), Kate (Evangeline Lilly), Hurley (Jorge Garcia), Sawyer (Josh Holloway) or any of the others. No, they’ve come for Benjamin Linus (Michael Emerson), leader of the “The Others,” and they’ll do just about anything to snag him. The reason Ben is being hunted and the castaways’ attempts to stay safe but also find a way off the island gives the season many colorful and action-filled sequences, the episodes often ratcheting the tension to the breaking point.
Among the greatest of this season’s episodes is “The Constant,“ a mind-bending time travel tale that gains in power with each new viewing. The use of the flash techniques which have given Lost its unique identity are displayed most effectively and heartrendingly in “Ji Yeon.“ And the extended-length season finale is among the most important in the series to date, an episode that sets up what is sure to be an explosive season five.
This season, we say goodbye to an additional number of islanders whose identities I’ll refrain from revealing lest any surprises be spoiled (but kudos to the producers who have made it clear that lives are at stake and that death does happen. There are sometimes nasty consequences waiting to claim victims, and no one seems immune to danger.) The backstories and now future stories for the characters remain a pivotal part of Lost’s appeal, and this season we’re treated to more information about Hurley, the Freighter Folk, Said, Kate, Desmond, Juliet, Sun and Jin, Michael, Ben, Jack, Locke, and the Oceanic 6. The series continues to be one of the most gripping and surprising dramatic series on television, and most astonishing of all, the episodes can have a commanding emotional pull that can wallop the heart almost before you know it‘s happening.
Here the rundown of episode titles for all thirteen outings for season four. An asterisk (*) indicates an episode which contains an audio commentary with the participants in parentheses.
*1 - The Beginning of the End (Jorge Garcia, Evangeline Lilly)
2 - Confirmed Dead
3 - The Economist
4 - Eggtown
*5 - The Constant (Carlton Cuse, Damon Lindelof, Mark Goldman)
6 - The Other Woman
*7 - Ji Yeon (Daniel Dae Kim, Yunjin Kim, Stephen Semel)
8 - Meet Kevin Johnson
9 - The Shape of Things to Come
10 - Something Nice Back Home
11 - Cabin Fever
12 - There’s No Place Like Home (Part 1)
*13 - There’s No Place Like Home (Part 2) (Carlton Cuse, Damon Lindelof)
The program is broadcast on ABC in 1.78:1 aspect ratio at 720p, and these 1080p transfers constitute (as last year’s Blu-ray release did) a major improvement in image quality from the network broadcasts. Sharpness is usually astonishingly crisp and detailed (you can count the pores on the faces of every actor in close-up), and color saturation and richness is superb. As with last year’s set, there is an occasional soft shot, sometimes in low light there is a flatness and increase in grain that’s unseemly, and there are a few thin edge halos. Still, the show will never look better than on these fantastic transfers. Each episode has been divided into 7 chapters.
The PCM (4.6 Mbps) 5.1 track is a sensational upgrade from the usual Dolby Digital 5.1 lossy track of the network broadcast (and also provided on the disc). The soundfield is wonderfully expanded in uncompressed form, and that sense of “being there” is especially prominent during storms, helicopter take-offs and landings, and explosions where the surrounds are quite active and LFE kicks in with some impressive rumbles. Elsewhere, the track doesn’t give as extensive a workout to the surrounds as it should given the island setting, but it’s still a first-rate sound mix, especially for a television series.
The four audio commentaries are all good-natured affairs, but none of them are invaluable commentaries. I did enjoy the comments on the season finale episode the most.
All of the bonus material is presented in 1080i.
“Lost in 8:15” is an 8-minute, 12-second summation of the first three seasons of Lost, but unless you’ve been following the show from the beginning, the information and characters fly by so fast that it’s virtually useless to all but the experienced viewer.
“Lost on Location” analyzes eight of the season’s thirteen episodes in greater depth with behind-the-scenes glimpses of the location shooting including stunt work, new cast members, and reintroductions of some old friends. It runs for 41 ¾ minutes.
“Island Backlot” is a fascinating featurette on how different locations on the island of Oahu have been utilized for many ports of call including Iraq, Cambridge, Korea, and London. It lasts for 17 ¾ minutes.
“The Right to Bear Arms” traces the use of weaponry during the show’s four seasons on the air in an 11 ¼-minute featurette.
“Soundtrack of Survival” is a 26 ¼-minute featurette on composer Michael Giacchino’s music adapted into symphonic suites played by the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. The viewer may also choose to listen to one entire movement of the event: “The Others Theme.”
A typical blooper reel runs 3 ¼ minutes.
There are nine deleted scenes which the viewer may view individually or in one 9-minute chunk.
“Course of the Future” is an interactive Blu-ray exclusive in which the viewer is asked to place the flash forward excerpts in the correct chronological order. Once that is accomplished, the viewer is taken to a documentary featuring producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof discussing their use of these techniques and then a 56-minute compilation of all of the flash forward scenes in one place. Also the viewer may choose to watch each character’s flash forwards individually, and there are some script pages which can be viewed dealing with specific characters.
“Oceanic 6: A Conspiracy of Lies” is an entertaining faux documentary/exposé on the various lies told by each of the Oceanic 6 upon returning to civilization. It lasts 21 ¼ minutes.
“Freighter Folk” is an entertaining 12 ½-minute introduction to the five new cast members from the offshore freighter introduced during season four. We also meet actors Jeff Fahey, Jeremy Davies, Rebecca Mader, Ken Leung, and Kevin Durand who play these enigmatic characters.
“Offshore Shoot” takes a look at the preparations for location shooting being done on a freighter for a good portion of season four. This featurette runs 7 ¾ minutes.
“Lost: Missing Pieces” are the 13 “mobisodes” from the Lost website collected in one place. The viewer may watch individual ones (each runs a little over 2 minutes) or in one 31 ¼-minute grouping.
As with Grey’s Anatomy on Blu-ray, Disney has included a feature called “SeasonPlay” which charts which episodes you’ve already watched and holds your place if you end an episode before it’s finished. It’s a nice, convenient structure, but it doesn’t work on the bonus features, and it did reset the audio to the default Dolby Digital track with each new disc.
Lost had its best season since its premiere season during this its fourth year on the air. Involving character development and exciting action-filled plots are beautifully delivered in a Blu-ray package that is hard to beat. Highly recommended!