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

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#1 of 11 Matt Hough

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Posted June 11 2009 - 02:39 PM

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Lost: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
Directed by J.J. Abrams et al

Studio: Disney
Year: 2004-2005
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:11080pAVC codec
Running Time: 1068 minutes
Rating: TV-14
Audio: DTS-HD 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 English, French, others
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Region: A
MSRP: $ 69.99

Release Date: June 16, 2009
Review Date: June 11, 2009


The Series

5/5

Oceanic Flight 815 takes off from Sydney, Australia, and crash lands on a tropical island in the south Pacific. The plane was a thousand miles off course so no rescue plane is going to know where to look, and there are forty-eight survivors from the midsection of the plane that lands on the beach. And with that begins one of television’s most exciting, addictive, and enigmatic series ever. There has never been anything on American television remotely like Lost. With its continuing present-day storylines, innumerable flashbacks tracing the histories of all its main characters (every one of which contains surprises galore), and a locale that is as bizarre as it is beautiful, Lost was a sensation during its first full season on the air. And at the end of the season, it came as no surprise when it was voted the Emmy as the Outstanding Drama Series of the 2004-2005 season.

Though cast members have come and gone as Lost has continued through its network run, a few characters and the actors portraying them established themselves as series stalwarts driving forward the mesmerizing saga from week to week from very early on. There are Dr. Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox), the man with serious daddy issues; steadfast Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly) whose assertiveness masks some dark secrets, hunter and gamesman John Locke (Terry O’Quinn), former Iraqi torturer Sayid (Naveen Andrews), con man extraordinaire Sawyer (Josh Holloway), fractured married couple Sun and Jin (Yunjin Kim, Daniel Dae Kim), drug addicted musician Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan), the very pregnant Claire (Emilie de Ravin), eternally optimistic Hugo “Hurley” Reyes (Jorge Garcia), squabbling siblings Boone and Shannon (Ian Somerhalder, Maggie Grace), and uneasy father-son duo Michael and Walt (Harold Perrineau, Malcolm David Kelly). Though not all of them make it through even season one, all have strong, important parts to play in the confounding chronicle that unfolds in each episode.

And as the episodes unfold one after another, unusual conundrums present themselves. We come to realize that there is a purpose for these particular people to be on this particular island, and that, unknown to many of them, there are connections between them that will reveal themselves in good time. Looking back on these first season episodes from the luxury of five seasons’ worth of knowledge, the puzzle pieces established during the first year laid brilliant foundations for the many surprises and shocks to come. Additionally, things that seemed so weird and unexplained (the unknown monster in the jungle, the polar bears, the hatch) now seem clearer with the advantage of several years’ worth of information.

One of the signature motifs of Lost is its use of flashbacks to provide backstories on each of its characters, fleshing out their personalities and offering for viewers a heretofore unknown richness in characterization that is unparalleled in network television. In season one we’re treated to no fewer than three flashback episodes each with Jack and with Kate, two each for Locke, Charlie, Sayid, Sun and Jin, Sawyer, and Michael, and individual focus episodes on Claire, Shannon and Boone, and Hurley.

Here are the season’s twenty-five episodes housed on seven discs in this set. The names in parentheses are the participants in the audio commentaries for that episode.

1 - Pilot: Part 1 (Bryan Burk, Damon Lindelof, J.J. Abrams)
2 - Pilot: Part 2 (Bryan Burk, Damon Lindelof, J.J. Abrams)
3 - Tabula Rasa
4 - Walkabout (Jack Bender, David Fury, Terry O’Quinn)
5 - White Rabbit
6 - House of the Rising Run
7 - The Moth (Bryan Burk, Damon Lindelof, Dominic Monaghan)
8 - Confidence Man
9 - Solitary
10 - Raised by Another
11 - All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues
12 - Whatever the Case May Be
13 - Hearts and Minds (Carlton Cuse, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Maggie Grace, Ian Somerhalder)
14 - Special
15 - Homecoming
16 - Outlaws
17 - …In Translation
18 - Numbers
19 - Deus ex Machina
20 - Do No Harm
21 - The Greater Good
22 - Do No Harm
23 - Exodus: Part 1
24 - Exodus: Part 2
25 - Exodus: Part 3


Video Quality

4.5/5

The program is framed at 1.78:1 and is presented here in 1080p using the AVC codec. In every way superior to the 720p network broadcasts, the Blu-ray presentation’s only possible weaknesses are an occasional soft shot or occasional crushed blacks, but those are so minor and infrequent as to be virtually inconsequential. Otherwise, clarity is astounding with deep color saturation that makes images pop (those island vistas are staggering in their clarity and expansiveness). Blacks are wonderfully deep with excellent detail in shadows and low levels of light. Close-ups reveal every pore, every scratch with razor-edged quality. Each episode has been divided into 7 chapters not counting the pilot two-parter which has 6 chapters each.

Audio Quality

4.5/5

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack of this presentation bests the Dolby Digital network broadcasts in every possible way. The two part pilot episode has interesting and intricate sound design that is the equal to any big budget action film currently available. The other season episodes make good use of music and sound effects (the island’s various monsters and creatures bring forth a fearsome sound explosion) though sometimes rear soundstage channels aren’t exploited to the max. Still, there are few if any network television series that can match the superlative sound design of Lost.


Special Features

5/5

There are five audio commentaries attached to the episodes listed above. The commentaries connected to the pilot episodes are by far the most interesting as the three participants give a very good, thorough detailing of scripting and shooting the first episode. Occasionally, the commentary is interrupted by a branching segment showing behind-the-scenes shooting of a particular sequence. The others are also interesting apart from their celebrity participants who, truth be told, don’t bring much to the table.

All of the featurettes are presented in 480p.

“The Genesis of Lost is an 8 ¾-minute featurette featuring the several producers and creators of the show explaining how the final idea for the program came about. Amazing that the basic outline was pulled together by Lindelof and Abrams in five days.

“Designing a Disaster” details the purchase, separation, and shipping (on three freighters) of the jet aircraft which served as the wrecked jet props for the beach scenes of the show. This lasts 8 minutes.

“Before They Were Lost” is a 23-minute summation on how the series was cast with snippets from many of the audition tapes of several main characters.

There are audition tapes for the thirteen principal actors on the show. Most interesting about these are the actors who are reading for roles they didn’t ultimately get to play. They can be watched individually or in a 24 ½-minute grouping.

“Welcome to Oahu: The Making of the Pilot” is a nicely detailed summary of the writing, casting, and production of the two hour pilot episode of Lost. Featuring the creators and several key cast members, this featurette runs 33 ½ minutes.

“The Art of Matthew Fox” is a featurette with the star doing voiceover describing the series of photographs he took during the shooting of the pilot in order to make a panoramic book for the cast. This runs 6 minutes.

Lost at Comicon” is a too brief look at the very positive reaction the pilot received at the Comicom convention in 2004 prior to the airing of the first episode. It runs 2 minutes.

Lost on Location” is a series of featurettes detailing behind-the-scenes shooting and interviews with participants in ten specific episodes. They are: “The Trouble with Boars” (5 ¼ minutes), “White Rabbit” (3 ¼ minutes), “House of the Rising Sun” (7 ¼ minutes), “The Moth” (1 ¾ minutes), “Confidence Man” (4 ½ minutes), “All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues” (5 minutes), “Whatever the Case May Be” (3 minutes), “Hearts and Minds
“On the Set with Jimmy Kimmel” was one of my favorite bonuses with the comic talk show host asking goofy questions on location with the cast. It runs 7 ¼ minutes.

“Backstage with Driveshaft” features actor Dominic Monaghan discussing his character and the fictional band he belonged to in the series. The show creators also describe how the band’s hit tune was composed in this 6 ¾-minute feature.

“Flashbacks and Mythology” is a generic featurette describing the use of flashbacks in forging the mythology about each of the characters on the show. It runs 7 ½ minutes.

“Live from the Museum of Television and Radio” is an 11-minute panel discussion featuring members of the cast and crew in playful moods about the first season of the show.

There are two flashback outtakes from the season finale. The Claire flashback runs 3 minutes while the Sayid flashback runs 1 ½ minutes.

There are fifteen deleted scenes, each lasting from ½ minute to 2 minutes and which can be viewed separately or in one grouping.

There is a 4 ½-minute blooper reel.

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.

Inside the package is a $20 rebate coupon for those who have previously purchased the first season of Lost on DVD and are now upgrading to Blu-ray.


In Conclusion

5/5 (not an average)

An instant classic and one of the great drama series of the 21st century, Lost notches a near-perfect first season of thrills, comedy, and human interaction that is never less than haunting. This is one of the best TV-on-Blu-ray sets available and comes with the highest possible recommendation.



Matt Hough
Charlotte, NC

#2 of 11 Edward Schatz

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Posted June 11 2009 - 02:41 PM

I've been looking forward to dumping my DVD editions of season 1 and 2 for a long time. I cannot wait until Tuesday!
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#3 of 11 TonyD

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Posted June 12 2009 - 02:53 PM

anything on the blu that isn't on the sd dvd?

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#4 of 11 Matt Hough

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Posted June 12 2009 - 03:00 PM

I believe at least one of the commentaries is new since one of the commentators mentions that they're getting ready to start the last season.

But I didn't have the DVDs so I can't be sure. I may have misunderstood what was being said.

#5 of 11 TravisR

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Posted June 12 2009 - 03:18 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattH.
I believe at least one of the commentaries is new since one of the commentators mentions that they're getting ready to start the last season.
Based on the list you have, those are the same participants on the same episodes so I imagine they're all just ported over from the DVD.

#6 of 11 Matt Hough

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Posted June 12 2009 - 03:21 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisR
Based on the list you have, those are the same participants on the same episodes so I imagine they're all just ported over from the DVD.

OK, thanks. I must have misunderstood what was being said.

#7 of 11 Ray H

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Posted June 21 2009 - 04:16 AM

I watched the first two discs and the picture quality is tremendous.

I did notice, however, some odd flaws. So far, in the episode "Tabula Rasa" on disc 1, I noticed a shot that appeared misframed(?). At about 10 minutes and 58 seconds into the episode, there's a scene between Jack and Kate and one of the shots of Jack has a black bar to the top and the framing seems to be shifted down (and cropped at the bottom). I compared this one to my SD copy and the problem isn't present in it.

Additionally, in the episode, "White Rabbit" on disc two, at about 37 minutes in (I didn't take note of the seconds Posted Image), there's a shot at the beginning of the chapter that starts on the stars and pans down to the survivors sitting around fires around the plane wreckage. Again, a black bar is visible but this time to the left of the shot and the frame is shifted to the right (and cropped on the right). EDIT: I compared this one to my SD copy and the framing IS the same in it.

Can anyone else confirm this issue?

Personally, it's not a huge deal. The shots don't last long and I easily could've missed it if I wasn't so taken by the PQ.
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#8 of 11 ATimson

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Posted June 23 2009 - 04:23 PM

I can confirm both of those on the Blu-ray; I don't have SD-DVDs (or ideally, the original HD broadcasts) to compare against, though.

I've noticed a shot in season two's "Lockdown" that sounds very similar--very poor PQ, black bars at top/bottom, and I think it may have been squished instead of cropped. (It's when the timer resets, towards the end, but I didn't think to get a timestamp.) I think that was just a screwup when grabbing stock footage, though, unlike your other two examples.
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#9 of 11 Arild

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Posted June 24 2009 - 05:55 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATimson
I've noticed a shot in season two's "Lockdown" that sounds very similar--very poor PQ, black bars at top/bottom, and I think it may have been squished instead of cropped. (It's when the timer resets, towards the end, but I didn't think to get a timestamp.) I think that was just a screwup when grabbing stock footage, though, unlike your other two examples.
That one's the same on the DVD, I remember noticing it when rewatching the series earlier this year.

#10 of 11 Ray H

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Posted June 24 2009 - 10:07 AM

I investigated the Jack shot I described above a bit further and compared it again with my DVD copy. It actually looks like the Blu-ray has more image despite the black bar at the top. Maybe it was an editorial thing and they forgot to zoom in for the Blu-ray?
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#11 of 11 TravisR

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Posted July 02 2009 - 07:44 AM

Copy and pasted from Lostpedia, here's the list of easter eggs for the S1 Blu-ray set. They're all the same ones from the DVDs just in different places (and there's no omissions from the DVD either).

http://lostpedia.wik...D)#Blu-ray_Disc 

  • On the main menu of Disc 2, highlight "SeasonPlay", then press right. A dot appears to the left. Press enter to listen to Rousseau's distress call iterate from 17294531 to 17294535.
  • If you stay on the Disc 6 Menu long enough, the plane eventually falls to the ground.
  • On the main menu of Disc 7, highlight "Features", then press left, followed by up to highlight a dot. Press Enter to view the alternate main title sequence.
  • On the main menu of Disc 7, highlight "Setup", then press left to select "Disc 7". Press Enter to view the filming of Locke's smiling orange sequence
  • On the Main Menu of Disc 7, highlight "SeasonPlay", then press left, then down. A dot appears to the left. Press enter to view the alternate version of the end sequence of the deleted scene "The Climb"
I haven't gotten to watch them yet so I can't vouch for the accuracy.

A nice addition from Disney is that the featurettes and deleted scenes that were originally on the Best Buy and TV Guide exclusive discs are now part of the Blu-ray set.





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