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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Lost: The Complete Fourth Season

Blu-ray Reviews

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#1 of 31 Matt Hough

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Posted November 28 2008 - 01:37 AM


Lost: The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
Directed by Stephen Williams et al

Studio: Disney
Year: 2008
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:11080pAVC codec
Running Time: 604 minutes
Rating: TV-14
Audio: PCM 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 English, French; 2.0 Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, others
Region: A
MSRP: $ 94.99

Release Date: December 9, 2008
Review Date: November 28, 2008


The Series

5/5

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)


Video Quality

4.5/5

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.

Audio Quality

4.5/5

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.


Special Features

5/5


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.


In Conclusion

5/5 (not an average)

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!


Matt Hough
Charlotte, NC

#2 of 31 ChrisCook

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Posted November 28 2008 - 06:00 AM

Thanks for the review Matt. They really top themselves last season. I'm really looking forward to this when it arrives, and seeing the mobisodes again (in 1080i).

#3 of 31 TravisR

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Posted November 28 2008 - 06:20 AM

Thanks for the review, Matt. I can't wait to pick this up!

#4 of 31 Southpaw

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Posted November 28 2008 - 07:48 AM

Can't wait. Got it ordered. Thanks for the detailed review.

#5 of 31 Jeff Cooper

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Posted December 09 2008 - 11:57 AM

Does anyone know if this comes in a hard cardboard book-cover, like Season 3? I saw it at Target, and it just had the thin paper slip-cover.
-Jeff Cooper

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#6 of 31 TravisR

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Posted December 09 2008 - 02:28 PM

I've seen it in Target and Best Buy and they both had the slip cover. I don't own it but I know I saw Grey's Anatomy and it had the same style slip cover so I think Buena Vista made a switch to those and dropped the cardboard box.

#7 of 31 pitchman

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Posted December 09 2008 - 05:09 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Cooper
Does anyone know if this comes in a hard cardboard book-cover, like Season 3? I saw it at Target, and it just had the thin paper slip-cover.
The copy I bought at Best Buy today had a cardboard sleeve (like the one on The Dark Knight BD.) I also bought Lost season 3 (to upgrade from my DVD and take advantage of the $20 off deal in this week's ad.) They had four copies but none were in any kind of case or sleeve, they were all just shrink-wrapped. I wonder when Disney stopped shipping season 3 in a cardboard case.
Gary

#8 of 31 Jeff Cooper

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Posted December 09 2008 - 05:19 PM

OK, thanks. One more question; my copy of season 4 also didn't come with an insert that listed all the episode summaries, like season 3 did. Anyone get an insert like that?
-Jeff Cooper

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#9 of 31 Dave Mack

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Posted December 09 2008 - 05:44 PM

So what would encourage people to keep buying these sets if the only way in the future to get S1 and S2 in BD is via the boxset? that is just asinine.
I have S3, was about to get S4 but now I'll hold off.
Also a big F you to the fans who poined up for these sets in the first place.

#10 of 31 pitchman

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Posted December 10 2008 - 12:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Cooper
OK, thanks. One more question; my copy of season 4 also didn't come with an insert that listed all the episode summaries, like season 3 did. Anyone get an insert like that?
Mine came with an insert called the "Oceanic Airlines Safety Guide." It has an episode list on the back page, but no episode synopsis.
Gary

#11 of 31 pitchman

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Posted December 10 2008 - 01:02 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Mack
So what would encourage people to keep buying these sets if the only way in the future to get S1 and S2 in BD is via the boxset? that is just asinine.
I have S3, was about to get S4 but now I'll hold off.
Also a big F you to the fans who poined up for these sets in the first place.
First off, I was unaware of that, Dave. Secondly, using price matches and the BB $20 off offer in this week's circular, I bought both seasons for around $85. The difference between the BD and SD was negligible IMO, so I took the plunge. Lastly, only YOU know when it makes sense to buy for your personal situation. The home video market is volatile at best and sometimes you end up waiting for something that never materializes. Case in point, how many folks around here are still waiting for those "special edition" Pee-Wee Playhouse sets? If we have to wait for a complete series box-set to get all of Lost on BD, that may be up to two and a half or three years away. For me, it is worth it to pony up $40+ for a season on BD, that I can enjoy right now rather than waiting. As always YMMV, but I am quite comfortable with my purchase.
Gary

#12 of 31 TravisR

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Posted December 10 2008 - 07:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Mack
So what would encourage people to keep buying these sets if the only way in the future to get S1 and S2 in BD is via the boxset? that is just asinine.
I have S3, was about to get S4 but now I'll hold off.
Also a big F you to the fans who poined up for these sets in the first place.
I know what article you're talking about but I can't believe that there won't be individual releases of S1 and S2 on Blu-ray. It will probably take until 2010 when the series set comes out but it'll happen. People may be dedicated to the show but how many of them are going to spend $300 (and that's being really optimistic about the price) to rebuy S3, S4 and S5 again in order to get S1 and S2? By that rationale, they won't release the S6 Blu-ray individually either because it'll be in the series set. Doing that will just make people say "Fuck that" rather than make them buy the series set but if Buena Vista releases S1, S2 and S6 on their own, plenty of fans will line up to buy those ones.

#13 of 31 TravisR

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Posted December 10 2008 - 08:09 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Cooper
OK, thanks. One more question; my copy of season 4 also didn't come with an insert that listed all the episode summaries, like season 3 did. Anyone get an insert like that?
I didn't get one either and assumed that there wasn't one (thanks for the heads up, Pitchman!). I called the customer service phone number on the discs and they said that they didn't have the inserts in stock right now but they would send one out to me when they came in. In my dealings with Disney, they've been pretty quick with replacements so I'd recommend giving them a call.

#14 of 31 Sam Favate

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Posted December 10 2008 - 09:31 AM

I got mine today, and no inserts. I have to say that I hate these Blu-Ray packages. The standard DVD packages and multi-unit cases were much more substantial. Every Blu-Ray looks and feels like a video game. Lost Season 4 wasn't a cheap set, and I have no doubt the content is on the discs, but really, would it have been so hard to dedicate some thought and some effort to the physical presentation?

#15 of 31 Dave Mack

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Posted December 10 2008 - 10:10 AM

Sorry y'all. Here's the link to the article and info. I was mentioning. (link didn't appear before)

Lost Creators See Full Series in Blu - BLU STATE - Blog on Video Business Online

"During a Tuesday Q&A roundtable, Lost creators Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindeloff predicted that upon the series completion in 2009-2010 there should be a full six-season Blu-ray release. However, Cuse and Lindeloff didn't think that the show's earlier first and second seasons would get individual Blu-ray releases..."

Like I said, that's a big screw you to the fans like me who ponied up the dough for S3 and maybe S4. We're suppossed to buy these sets AGAIN to get S1 and S2..?!?!? They just LOST a sale of S4 to me.

#16 of 31 TravisR

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Posted December 10 2008 - 10:38 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Mack
Sorry y'all. Here's the link to the article and info. I was mentioning. (link didn't appear before)
Like I said, I know what article you're talking about but I don't think Buena Vista is that dumb. They said they "didn't think" rather than state anything definitively and I wonder how much they know about the plans of the home video department two years in advance or how firm those plans even are. But most of all, it makes no financial sense to do that. At the price the set will cost, that would just piss off fans rather than get them entice them to buy it but they will make money by releasing them individually.

#17 of 31 pitchman

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Posted December 10 2008 - 11:31 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisR
I didn't get one either and assumed that there wasn't one (thanks for the heads up, Pitchman!). I called the customer service phone number on the discs and they said that they didn't have the inserts in stock right now but they would send one out to me when they came in. In my dealings with Disney, they've been pretty quick with replacements so I'd recommend giving them a call.
Just out of curiosity, Travis, where did you get yours? I bought mine at Best Buy and there is a sticker on the outer cardboard sleeve that reads: "New to Blu-ray: With Revealing Extras Including Exclusive Oceanic Airlines Safety Guide." It doesn't say BB exclusive, so I just assumed it came with all Blu-ray editions.
Gary

#18 of 31 TravisR

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Posted December 10 2008 - 02:10 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by pitchman
Just out of curiosity, Travis, where did you get yours? I bought mine at Best Buy and there is a sticker on the outer cardboard sleeve that reads: "New to Blu-ray: With Revealing Extras Including Exclusive Oceanic Airlines Safety Guide." It doesn't say BB exclusive, so I just assumed it came with all Blu-ray editions.
I picked mine up at Target and it didn't have any sticker on it. The Buena Vista CS lady didn't say anything about it being a store exclusive though. I also picked up a copy of the DVD at Target (as a Christmas gift) and that had the "...Includes Exclusive Oceanic Airlines Safety Guide" sticker on it so I'm guessing that it isn't a store exclusive. Maybe it's a semi-limited type of thing? Like when they stopped having the cardboard box on the S3 set after a while.

#19 of 31 Southpaw

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Posted December 10 2008 - 02:28 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Mack
Sorry y'all. Here's the link to the article and info. I was mentioning. (link didn't appear before)

Lost Creators See Full Series in Blu - BLU STATE - Blog on Video Business Online

"During a Tuesday Q&A roundtable, Lost creators Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindeloff predicted that upon the series completion in 2009-2010 there should be a full six-season Blu-ray release. However, Cuse and Lindeloff didn't think that the show's earlier first and second seasons would get individual Blu-ray releases..."

Like I said, that's a big screw you to the fans like me who ponied up the dough for S3 and maybe S4. We're suppossed to buy these sets AGAIN to get S1 and S2..?!?!? They just LOST a sale of S4 to me.

So you are going to base your decision on not purchasing the S4 BD just from an interview that Cuse/Lindeloff did with a video business magazine where they stated they "didn't think" S1 and S2 would get individual releases 2 years from now? Something that might or might not happen 2 years down the road? And something that they probably have no control over? I mean, who knows what the state of Blu-ray will be 2 years from now.
If Disney believes it can make money from the fans of the show who purchased S3, S4 and presumably S5 next year by releasing S1 and S2 in 2 years, they will.
I'm certainly not going to withhold myself from purchasing and enjoying the S4 BD just based on speculation that is very far in the future.

#20 of 31 Dave Mack

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Posted December 10 2008 - 03:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Southpaw
So you are going to base your decision on not purchasing the S4 BD just from an interview that Cuse/Lindeloff did with a video business magazine where they stated they "didn't think" S1 and S2 would get individual releases 2 years from now? Something that might or might not happen 2 years down the road? And something that they probably have no control over? I mean, who knows what the state of Blu-ray will be 2 years from now.
If Disney believes it can make money from the fans of the show who purchased S3, S4 and presumably S5 next year by releasing S1 and S2 in 2 years, they will.
I'm certainly not going to withhold myself from purchasing and enjoying the S4 BD just based on speculation that is very far in the future.


I am indeed. I can very easily enjoy LOST S4 on BD via Netflix. If I went on purchasing these sets and that they did indeed only release S1 and S2 through a boxset, I'm supposed to buy them all over again? Now if I knew they were all definitely coming, I would pick up S4.


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