Lost: The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)
Directed by Stephen Williams et al
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 1080p AVC codec
Running Time: 731 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; DTS 5.1 French, Spanish; others
Subtitles: SDH, French, Spanish, others
MSRP: $ 79.99
MSRP: $ 79.99
Release Date: December 8, 2009
Review Date: November 29, 2009
If Season Four of Lost was designated by the producers as the “season of lies,” then Season Five most assuredly must be the “season of time,” for time travel is an overwhelming component of all of the episodes for this penultimate season of one of television’s most compelling and addictive series. Those who have remained loyal to the twisting convolutions of the plotting on the series know by now not to be surprised by anything the producers of the series come up with in order to tell their story, and season five compounds the jaw-dropping moments ad infinitum. There isn’t a single episode in this terrific fifth season of Lost that doesn’t contain moments that absolutely take the breath away.
At the end of season four, our six island survivors (known as the Oceanic Six) have been having a rocky road in trying to live a lie for the past three years since their rescue at sea. It now becomes clear that they’re going to have to return to the island in order to get events back in some kind of preordained order. The last shocking image of season four was the dead body of John Locke (aka Jeremy Bentham played by Terry O’Quinn) in a casket, and Benjamin Linus (Emmy-winner for this season Michael Emerson) has persuaded the five adults to return to the island hoping there to find their true destinies. What they find are innumerable surprises and unexpected events, none more so than a suddenly alive John Locke, apparently revived by the island’s restorative powers, and several of them finding themselves in 1977 with several core members of the cast now part of the Dharma Initiative. Ah, but on Lost very few things are ever what they seem, and one must learn to take nothing at face value with this always astonishing series.
By the middle of the season’s sixteen episodes, the time shifting has settled into two basic time periods: 1977 and 2007. That the program keeps the two time periods crystal clear as the rest of the season progresses is a testament to the strong writing, direction, and acting of the entire cast and crew of this series. And in case anyone is worried that with time shifting comes the end of the backstories, that’s just not the case. This season, we get more information about Desmond, Sayid, Locke, Kate, Ben (two episodes), Miles, Daniel, and the enigmatic Jacob. While Season Five may not rank as anyone’s favorite season of the show, it remains a fascinating viewing experience for which fans who have continued with the series through its many ins and outs are now being richly rewarded.
Here is a list of the sixteen episodes for season five. The names in parentheses refer to the participants in that episode’s audio commentary.
1 – Because You Left (Carlton Cuse, Damon Lindelof)
2 – The Lie
3 – Jughead
4 – The Little Prince
5 – This Place Is Death
6 – 316
7 – The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham
8 – LaFleur
9 – Namaste
10 – He’s Our You (writers Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsir)
11 – Whatever Happened, Happened
12 – Dead Is Dead
13 – Some Like It Hoth
14 – The Variable
15 – Follow the Leader
16 – The Incident
The program has been framed at 1.78:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Clearly superior to the 720p network broadcasts, these transfers are, until the season finale episode, reference quality in every respect: sharpness, detail, black levels, color resolution, and flesh tone accuracy. That finale episode, however, goes awry with some troublesome contrast adjustments that lead to occasionally yellowish skin tones, color than seems off, and erratic sharpness levels. Each episode has been divided into 7 chapters not counting the 87-minute season finale which has 12 chapters.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix has admirable cinematic surround envelopment for a network television series. The fronts and rears get frequent use of panning sound effects, and when the smoke monster makes occasional visits, your subwoofer will know it. The tense, throbbing music of the series adds much to the excitement level of the ongoing storylines, and it’s routed through the soundfield beautifully. There is also a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo surround track available, but it’s notably less impressive in every respect from the lossless encode.
There are two audio commentaries. As in past seasons, the commentaries don’t really reveal too much extra information though Cuse and Lindelof in their talk do reveal spoilers for many episodes in season five and they caution (as does the disc) not to listen to the commentary until you are familiar with all of the episodes of season five.
All featurettes unless otherwise noted are in 1080i.
“Lost 100” (contained on disc four) is a featurette commemorating the one hundredth episode of the show. It features members of the crew in a pre-production meeting prior to shooting and then various cast members talking about being around for one hundred episodes.
The remaining bonus features are on disc five:
“Lost University” is a BD-Live based interactive feature which does not go active until December 8 (street date of the set). From the publicity release, here is what this bonus feature (exclusive for Blu-ray) allegedly entails:
As a Lost University student, you will be encouraged to explore a wide range of academic courses that delve into the themes and storylines regularly explored on the groundbreaking television series including: “Foreign Language for Beginners,” “Ancient Writing on the Wall,” “Jungle Survival Basics,” “I’m Lost Therefore I Am” and “New Physics with Jeremy Davies.”
The JUNGLE SURIVIOR BASICS class at Lost University will give you basic information to survive until you are rescued. This class will be taught by several Lost cast members via never-before-seen interviews with Naveen Andrews, Jorge Garcia, Josh Holloway, Daniel Dae Kim, Yunjin Kim, Evangeline Lilly, Terry O'Quinn, Michael Emerson, and Henry Ian Cusik.
“Professor” Jeremy Davies will also teach the class NEW PHYSICS WITH JEREMY DAVIES this semester that will focus on cutting-edge physics seen on Lost.
Classes begin at Lost University when Lost: The Complete Fifth Season arrives on Blu-ray on December 8, 2009.
“Mysteries of the Universe” is a faux investigative half hour program allegedly from the late 1970s-early 1980s looking into a mysterious organization in an episode of the series entitled “The Dharma Initiative.” Done in grainy, fuzzy 480i to simulate a poor analog broadcast of the era, this 26 ¼-minute goof is harmless fun but not the least revealing of any secrets of the show.
“Making Up for Lost Time” spends 13 ¾ minutes with the cast and crew of the show mentioning the logistical problems of the time shifting stories that make up the bulk of this season’s episodes.
“An Epic Day with Richard Alpert” finds actor Nestor Carbonell (who plays the mysterious island sage) on the last (long) day of shooting season five arriving a little before 7 a.m. and leaving the following morning at 2:20 a.m., his day extended by the fact that his character must take part in stories in both 1977 and 2007 which are shooting under different directors on different parts of the island. A camera follows him along from hair and make-up through wardrobe, shooting, lunch, a nap, more shooting, travel across the island, and finally wrapping very, very early the following morning. This long day is condensed into a 12 ¼-minute featurette, the most interesting information of which is that the actor does not wear eyeliner but rather has his lashes painted with concealer to soften the darkness of his eyelashes.
“Building 23 and Beyond” is a tour of the Lost offices in Burbank as co-star Michael Emerson meets many of the writers and production staff responsible for writing and designing the show. Most don’t talk much about what they’re doing (the show was in the midst of the season when the featurette was shot). This lasts 12 minutes.
“Lost on Location” is a behind the scenes look at elaborate stunt work done for seven of the season’s episodes. They may be watched in one 37 ¾-minute grouping or individually by show. The seven shows dealt with are “The Lie,” “The Little Prince,” “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham,” “Namaste,” “He’s Our You,” “Whatever Happened, Happened,” and “The Incident.”
There are eight deleted scenes which can be watched separately or in one 13 ¾-minute group. They’re in 480i.
There is a 3 ¾-minute blooper reel which is presented in 1080i.
Disney Blu-rays of their television series include 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.
There are 1080p trailers for Alice in Wonderland, Extract, 10 Things I Hate About You, Everybody’s Fine, and Surrogates.
4.5/5 (not an average)
The fifth season of Lost brought its producers yet another Emmy nomination as the year’s Best Dramatic Series (losing for a second year in a row to Mad Men). The Blu-ray set contains astonishing picture and sound quality for a network series and a treasury full of entertaining and illuminating bonus material. Highly recommended!